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When I first started turning as a hobby around 18 years ago the mainstay works were salad bowls, potpourri holders and a number of other utilitarian items. As a member of the South Auckland Woodturners’ Guild ( part of the club’s calendar was to hold a sale over the three weeks prior to Christmas. This has become a popular event for customers who can choose from more than 2800 items that are for sale over this period. As you can imagine the shop can be a bit daunting for those trying to choose what to buy. One day I had a light-bulb moment when I was wondering how I could add value to my work and also make it different from the hundreds of other bowls on sale. As it happens I had just been given a second-hand Dremel. This is where my love affair with the Dremel began.


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Being a self-confessed toolaholic many have said I could start my own Dremel resale centre. Recently I’ve added some mates to the nine or so I have as Dremel have brought out the cordless range which now allows me to take one away on holiday—great fun sitting on the beach and being able to pick up a piece of driftwood and start carving.

I started using the Dremel tool to add some fairly basic squiggles or dots to the rims of small platters and bowls. This soon advanced to whole works that were embellished with texture and then colour added.

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What I soon learnt was that texturing was no excuse for bad workmanship as when a finish was applied, any chisel marks or sanding scratches along with bad form would only be enhanced by the embellishment. It may seem a strange thing to say but the finished surface is better to be removed entirely wherever you are adding texture because when a finish is applied all you will see are the shiny areas like stars in the sky that you have missed texturing. It does take a bit of practice so you don’t get lines of texture which can also look ugly.

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For 90 percent of the time when I am using a Dremel it is with the flexi shaft as the pen-like hand piece gives more freedom and accuracy of movement. It’s important to hang a Dremel so that the flexi shaft is kept as straight as possible. Essentially the cable is the same as a speedo cable and if the radius is too tight this puts load on the Dremel motor and creates friction which means heat is transferred to the hand piece.

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Wednesday the 21st. Thanks for visiting Woodturners Unlimited.