Do I spoil my students?

Published by Les on

Probably about 60% of my income, prior to lock-down, has come from teaching woodturning techniques to private students who are either thinking of taking up turning as a hobby, or already turning and wanting to improve certain techniques. My style of teaching involves occasional close-contact working with hand-over-hand guidance, and this is very important to me. I strongly believe that when teaching a practical skill which is fundamentally centered on the feel of the tool against the wood, and of the privilege of working with such a wonderfully tactile material, it must be taught in this way. I have colleagues and friends who believe that they can effectively teach from a distance of 2 metres or more, but that simply doesn’t work for me!

Now that lock-down restrictions are being eased and businesses are beginning to re-open, I’m delighted that the Welsh Government is taking a cautious approach. This might well be slowing down the return to the new-norm, but rather that than running too high a risk of the second-spike. Thus I will re-commence my teaching programme from Monday 27th July, which is when other businesses which rely upon occasional face-to-face contact and occasional physical touch; businesses such as tattoo artists and beauticians.

However, after all the usual precautions involving PPE and sanitising have been allowed for, there still remains the slight problem of not having an outside toilet that students can use when they spend a day with us. Prior to lock-down, students have come into the house and used our own bathroom, but we feel that we need to make better arrangements for the future. Thus I have been busy this week, converting one of my sheds connected to the workshop, into a toilet cubicle.

The sheds are currently used for storing all manner of gear that doesn’t need to be in the workshop, such as timber being seasoned, boxes of tools for plumbing or electrical work etc, etc. The best of the sheds looked a bit like this, so start with, so it was emptied and a trailer full of things that I hung on to because I might need them one day, was taken to recycling or sold on Facebook.

Once emptied, a partition was set across the shed, half way down it. The next photo shows the other-half of the shed, which now be shelved out and used for drying rough-turned bowls

The cubicle was then given a new floor, using a pack of solid oak flooring left over from when we re-floored our lounge, then the entire walls and ceiling were lined with PVC paneling, whilst the window and door-frame were re-lined with softwood, which will next be painted white.

Fortunately, we already had mains electricity in the shed, as this is where the ring-main serving the workshop is based, so it was a simple matter (but a days work) to conceal it all beneath the OSB paneling before the pvc cladding was put in place. A water pipe was also run down to the shed from the house, before all the paneling was installed, and this was heavily insulated and then boxed-in with softwood so that it could disappear into our fence and trellis-work.

The main job for today was to open up the decking alongside the shed the dig down until I found a drain which runs alongside the shed. The drain was cut open and a connection made for the macerator-pump that will be installed to serve the toilet, then the ground was re-filled and the decking re-laid.

What remains to be done is to install the toilet, the macerator, the hand-basin and water heater, then lots of little finishing touches, like obscure-film over the window and touching up the decking.

I do hope that the students who arrive next month, appreciate all the work!


1 Comment

Pauline Johnson · July 29, 2020 at 8:59 am

What a great job on the new toilet! I have been watching your site since the start of lockdown, hoping to see news that you would be opening again for students. I have never done any turning before have long wanted to. Now that I am semi-retired, although I still run a gift shop in Rhos on Sea and have had to put in place my own precautions for social distancing, I would really like to try my hand. When will you have availability to offer taster sessions for a new pupil? I am not looking to start until at least September.

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