Woodturning – introduction to bowl turning with Mark Hancock

Wood, carving and turning

Ref: S3D11716

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Places available

About this course

Learn about turning bowls from a log to finished piece. Gain an understanding of timber and grain orientation on the lathe, tool selection and sharpening, safe working practice, design and finishing.

Course Description

An understanding of timber and grain orientation on the lathe, tool selection and sharpening, safe working practice, design and finishing, will help you gain new skills or refine your existing woodturning skills.

This course will benefit those new to turning, as well as those that need help refining their skills.

Over the course the tutor will cover the safe use of tools and working practices, tool selection and sharpening, an understanding of the material you are working with (timber), grain orientation on the lathe, what leads to good and bad design, and finishing, in this open-minded approach to woodturning.

Hand-outs and reference sources are provided during the course.

The tutor’s approach to teaching is to be as flexible as possible, and he requests you to email him in advance, via the Bookings Office with details of any woodturning experience you have to date, so that he can understand each student’s needs and expectations, and tailor the course accordingly.

Please note: woodturning is a physically demanding activity, please be prepared for this.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Please make sure you email the tutor via bookingsoffice@westdean.ac.uk in advance with details of your woodturning experience to date, especailly if you are a complete beginner to help the tutor prepare.
  • Overalls, boiler suit or smock to protect your clothes against wood dust and shavings. They should be close fitting around the neck.
  • Comfortable sturdy covered footwear is essential (not sandals)
  • Optional:
  • Seasoned or unseasoned English hardwoods (e.g. sycamore, beech, ash) around 150-250mm in diameter and 250-300mm long or bowl blanks: at least 100mm thick, 150-250mm in diameter – if you wish to bring your own.
  • Your favourite finish e.g. oil, wax, etc.
  • Woodturning tools are provided at the College, however you may wish to bring any you own – especially any bowl gouges, hollowing tools, shear scrapers. The use of a selection of hollowing tools will be made available by the tutor.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A selection of timber blanks (cost around £8.50 each)
  • Finishing oil
  • 80, 100, 150, 180, 240 grit, cloth backed abrasive
  • Available from tutor:
  • On this course the tutor will have available timber, abrasives and finishes including oils, lacquers and waxes. Timber costs will be £20. This charge should be paid to the tutor before the end of the course, by cash or cheque.
Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. Safety boots, if specified.


Mark Hancock

Mark Hancock, a woodturner for over 26 years, trained full time with a professional turner in 1989. He has a teaching certificate (PTLLS) along with 15 years of teaching courses in his own workshop, the USA and Europe. Mark's work can be seen in UK galleries and collections worldwide.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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