Club Profile

The city of Cambridge needs no introduction - famous for its history, University and beautiful buildings. What may be less well known is that it has a thriving woodturning club.

Origins

Animated discussion at a hands-on eventFounded in 2000 with only twenty members, Cambridge Woodturners has seen a steady and continuous rise in membership with some of the original members still being regular attendees at Club meetings. Being an Affiliated Branch of the Association of Woodturners of Great Britain (AWGB) allows the members to take advantage of all the benefits available including discounts and insurance.

The Club objective is simple: to promote woodturning within and outside the Club. The old hands are always willing to give advice to the newer members and often prove the old saying - ask 10 woodturners how to do something and you'll get 11 different answers!

A Growing Membership

A chance fro a bit of tuition at a practical eveningClub membership currently stands at around sixty, spanning a wide spectrum of abilities from veterans to novices but all with a common enthusiasm for woodturning. We continue to welcome new members, many of whom are beginners, reflecting a growing interest in the craft scene in general and woodturning in particular. If there are specific areas of membership the Club would like to see grow it is those of younger turners and lady turners.  For some reason, as in many Clubs, members tend to be male and older - maybe reflecting the tendency to take up this craft in retirement and reinforcing the perception that this is generally a male preserve. 

The Club prides itself on its friendly atmosphere.  We have designated meeters and greeters to make new members feel at home and introduce them to others.  They are encouraged to take part in the activities for instance, the monthly competition and hands-on evenings, the latter being of real value to those with less experience.

Activities

An interesting and varied monthly programme includes demonstrators from outside and within the Club and hands-on sessions with several lathes.

Here's a spinning top for you.Every month the club has a competition, designed for everyone to enter. Entries are judged on design and finish so it does not matter whether the item is large and complex or small and simple. Topics so far have included platters, bowls, two-part hollow forms, boxes and other items suitable for all levels and experience of wood turners.

The Annual Competition provides the opportunity for members to really show off their skill and produce a subject of their own choice.  The quality of the work displayed is testament to the high standard of the work of Club members and to the development and improvement of new members..

A lesson in concentrationClub members also demonstrate woodturning at local events. For several years we had a stall at the Cambridgeshire County Show at Wimpole Hall  where we were recognised as a prime attraction in the Craft Marquee.  The stand was always surrounded by a large crowd of fascinated youngsters watching as members made and gave away spinning tops!  Although the Club has not exhibited since 2014, we are hopeful of returning in the not too distant future.

The Club also participates in several smaller, local shows. These have included the Cambridgeshire Steam Rally and Craft Fair, the Ashwell Show, Chesterton Festival, the Cherry Hinton Festival and the Wandlebury Wood Festival. We are regular exhibitors at the popular annual Audley End Apple Festival.

We are always on the lookout for more local shows where we can promote woodturning in general and the Club in particular.

Complementary pair of vessels by Colin Smith from wood from trinity CollegeTowards the end of 2016, the Club completed a project for Trinity College using mulberry wood from an old tree that the College gardeners had reduced in size after some of its branches had fallen down.  A dozen or so members made an item or two from the wood; the top five were chosen in a Club competition and offered to the College for display in the Master's Lodge. A couple of items - complementary vessels by Colin Smith are shown left. Others can be seen on our Gallery page.

In 2013, the membership voted to nominate a chosen charity, on an annual basis to receive the donations made in return for the spinning tops.  For 2017, the Club chose Jimmy's Cambridge. Jimmy's has been providing help for the homeless in Cambridge for over 20 years, working with the local community, volunteers and agencies.

More Information and Contacts 

Club meetings are generally on the first Thursday in the month and visitors are assured of a warm welcome.

Please contact the Club Secretary for more information.