A platter by Tony Sibley

Who are we ? - Where are we ? - When are we ?

The whys and wherefores of Didcot Turners

Where ?

We meet in Harwell village hall about 1.5 miles from central Didcot. The village hall is on the high street, on the right towards the further end if you are coming from Didcot. There is a small car park at the front of the hall ( where you will probably see a Fish & Chips van on club night ) and a larger one at the rear of the hall accessed from 'Westfield' ( carry on along the High St, follow the road around a sharp right bend and then take the first right into 'Westfield'. The car park is about 200 meters on the right.

Entry is up the steps at the front of the hall or disabled access through the side door. If you park in the rear car park in 'Westfield' there is a path running along the left side which goes to the side entrance of the hall. If you come off the path here you can walk around to the front doors as well.

When ?

The club meets on the 4th Wednesday of every month. The hall opens at 7pm so we can get the equipment etc ready for a 7.30pm start. Activities finish around 10pm so we can get cleared up and leave by 10.30pm. Extra hands during the set up and break down times are always welcome.

What do we do ?

Most of our meetings are what we call 'Hands On' The club owns 5 lathes and there is usually one extra private lathe. This lathe (mine) is equipped with video cameras and a TV screen. I would like to say that these are there so people can watch easily..... but, in truth, they are there because I am blind as a bat and cannot see small work pieces. This lathe is also available for others to use as well.

Some of the lathes are used for some of the time by the experienced turners to show / teach beginners how to turn different shapes or items and there is one particular item chosen for each month to demonstrate or practice the various skills needed to make it.

Other lathes might be used for some of the time by learners perfecting their skills or trying out new methods or tools.

If you have a project you would like to try or a technique that you would like to learn, bring it, or your work in progress, along to a hands on evening. You will always find one of the more experience turners willing to give you a hand.

It is all very relaxed with a warm and friendly camaraderie but we must remember that although wood turning is regarded as the safest form of woodworking it can still be dangerous and safety must always be at the forefront. The club has a few pairs of safety glasses and face shields but experienced members are expected to bring their own. All members must read and agree to the clubs risk assessment before any equipment is used.

The club also owns a few sets of turning tools but there will never be enough and if you have your own tools and safety gear we encourage you to bring them...... For the foreseeable future we encourage you to clean the tools with sanitizer ( in the room ) when swapping users.

But what if it isn't a Hands On' night ?

On one or two evenings a year we arrange demonstrations from well known professional turners, some working architectural turners, some art turners. Both of which are always popular. We have, in the recent past, hosted all day demonstrations, usually on a Sunday, and could do again if there is enough interest but they do cost more and need to be arranged well in advance.

Where do Woodturners find their wood ?

That is the question that most new turners ask. One answer is here!! An Oxfordshire woodturner with his own timber yard is a member and brings hard wood turning blanks to most of the meetings. I doubt you will find cheaper. ( Notice how I resisted the urge to say 'just above your neck' You will get some daft answers sometimes )

A sharp tool is a safer tool.

The equation is simple. Sharp tools use less energy to cut and wood turners should never need to use any degree of brute force.

Most new turners are worried about their ability to put an edge on their new tools and keep them sharp. It is not a dark art but it can be difficult to learn alone. Like most things in life it is easier when shown.

The club owns a sharpening system for the club tools ( and yours ) which will be available during ‘hands on’ meeting. We use a grinder and positioning jig as favoured by most turners and sometimes bring along the very popular Sorby ProEdge system which many find easier to use. New turners are welcome to watch, learn, try, and help.

What will it cost you ?

Membership cost is £20.00 per year ( or pro-rata for first year ) for adults and £10.00 per year for younger people still in full time education. This becomes payable after two free meetings as a visitor and is renewable every September.

There is also a charge of £4.00 per meeting attended ( £2.00 for the young ) payable at the door...... we will probably try to sell you a raffle ticket as well.

Find us on Google

View of Harwell village hall from the High Street

A view of Harwell village hall from the 
   		High Street

View of rear carpark for Harwell village hall in 'Westfield'

A view of the rear of Harwell village hall from the 
   		High Street

A small part of the village hall interior showing part of the wood sales area.

A view inside Harwell village hall showing the wood for sale section.


Meet The Team

Chairman & Webmaster

Graham Hall

Chairman, Graham Hall




Duncan Hepburn

Treasurer, Duncan Hepburn

01235 536988



Jeremy Ollenbuttel

Secretary, Jeramy Ollenbuttel,

Tel: 07841 406459
email: X31JPO@gmail.com


Committee Member

Mick Curran

Committee Member, Mick Curran

07976 558143


Committee Member

Trevor Cox

Committee member, Trevor Cox,

01235 813015


Committee Member

Tony Sibley

Committee member, Tony Sibley;



Committee Member

Dave Rolstone

Committee Member, Dave Rolstone

01235 812761‬


Committee Member/ Librarian

Bryan Orchard

Committee Member, Bryan Orchard


Committee Member

Mike W

Committee Member

Frank B

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