Turning

Subject:
A day with Alan, billard balls

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
Alan's visit was to the turning club where they wanted to know about threaded boxes and other Alan Batty specialties. I attended out of curiosity. I started asking "functional" turning questions and Alan took off on a nostalgia trip of his career as a journeyman turning, training and working in a furniture factory making drawers. Then on to his shop where he made what anyone needed from house parts to lamp parts, furniture parts and balls. One of his jobs was making billiard balls (I think he called them snooker balls?). In no time he chucked up a piece of wood and produced a perfect sphere with a perfect finish, ready for the game.

His speed and finish off the lath was astonishing. I realized that I could never approach his level of skill turning. It took the repetition of making hundreds or thousands of something. Fortunately this is not the case with flat furniture construction or I would acquire another hobby.

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