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I have been working with wood for most of my adult life. I became a professional turner in about 1981 and was accepted onto the Register of Professional Turners in 2009. I became the Chairman of the RPT in 2016 stepping down from the role in 2021. I was made a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Turners of London in November 2020. I am one of the few turners in the country to earn my living through turning. I undertake commercial work for the building industry such as stair spindles and newel posts, I also work for furniture makers producing legs and other componentry for their bespoke designs and carryout repairs for the antiques industry. I am a members of Wiltshire Crafts of Lacock which is a co-operative craft outlet.I also enjoy demonstrating at woodturning clubs and since Covid I also now offer live remote demonstrations. As a qualified adult educator I give woodturning lessons in my workshop in Wiltshire.
I served in Her Majesty’s Grenadier Guards Band from the age of 15 to 25 traveling the world and making lots of noise as a tuba player. For the next couple of years I tried working in a hospital and training as a driving instructor. I then then found my true vocation when I worked for a builder friend who trained me up as a General builder at the age of 27 and I have been running my own business until the present time. I started woodturning in 2010 and found it an easy change. My practical use of timber and carpentry tools and my attention to detail from my Army days where a great help to me. I was encouraged by club members to demonstrate to my woodturning club in 2017 and finaly started demonstrating to other clubs in February 2019. I like to demonstrate things that are different to the normal things that you see and add a little fun at the same time. I also love meeting with other turners and often find that I learn as much from them as they do from me. I have had some success with turning for competition and love to make things that are out of the usual, often not knowing if they are even possible.
Phil Jones has a lifetime of experience in woodturning and has a wide range of experience to fall back on, whether you require a one-off item or a production run of turned items whether copy turned on a copy lathe for mass production or as is often required hand turned. The picture is of a set of African Blackwood door handles which are finished to a very high standard whether you require a small antique replacement part or a run of chair back sticks Phil is likely to have completed them previously.
Phil was taught by time served woodturners in an informal apprenticeship and has also worked in other woodturning establishments before starting Acorn woodturning Ltd in 1988 although it was initially as a sole trader rather than Ltd. He also offers woodturning lessons in a well-equipped traditional woodturning workshop with all the tools and safety equipment provided. The workshop has dust extraction and ambient air filters, tools and lathes, and a plentiful supply of timber, just waiting to be turned into shavings and of course a completed item.
On 24th April 2019, I was awarded the honour of Master in Turning, in recognition of my contribution the art and mystery of the craft of turning. This was awarded to me by an Electoral College, comprising of representatives from the Worshipful Company of Turners, The Society of Ornamental Turners, The Association of Pole Lathe Turners and Green Woodworkers. In 1975, at the age of 16, Gary started a three year apprenticeship with a small woodturning company in Chesham called Joseph Reynolds. After 18 months was put on piece work turning mainly peppermills and kitchen ware. This experience was to help enormously when he became self-employed in 1987. However, prior to this was a 10 year period with another woodturning firm turning stair balusters and chair parts. It was at this point that Gary became involved with Stewart Linford of High Wycombe who makes the famous Windsor Chair and exports world-wide.It is since becoming self-employed that Gary has made his mark on the woodturning scene, with success in competitions, articles of his work in various woodworking magazines, and demonstrating for trade companies. One of these being Racal, where Gary demonstrated their respirator for several years and was involved heavily in its promotion at woodworking exhibitions. Exhibitions include the National Exhibition Centre Birmingham, Wembley, Axminster in Devon as well as woodturning clubs all over Great Britain, Belgium, France, Channel Islands, Ireland, Norway and two Utah Symposiums in Provo, Salt Lake City and Iceland. Gary has also demonstrated twice at the AWGB International Seminar at Warwick University. Gary is also on the Register of Professional Turners. Gary is considered one of the fastest and most accurate production woodturners in the U.K and is one of only a few whose income comes solely from woodturning.
Gary has a customer base of approximately 500, some of these are supplying such places as Harrods and Liberty’s and has also produced work for the homes of the Duke of Westminster and British celebrities. Gary was also asked to turn a wooden baby rattle, which was presented to Prince Harry on the birth of his son Archie.
Gary has also produced tools for the woodturner, notably his round skew chisels which come in different sizes, lightpull drive, Box Scraper and his Easybead tool. He can turn his hand to spindle turning, bowl turning, hollow forms and twists and says that he will make anything from a lace bobbin to a billiard table leg.
Gary has been asked to teach on numerous occasions by Craft Supplies and has been teaching at Craft Supplies in France past two years. Axminster Power Tools plus many individuals. You can often see him taking a Master Class at various shows and has taught for three days at Axminster but due to the demands of his production business does not always have the time.