Jimmy Clewes Demonstration 03.22.2014

by Bob Hunt

Jimmy Clewes, a professional woodturner, teacher and all around amazing chap visited with our local woodturning club for two days.  The first day was a hands-on teaching session for about 6 of our members.  Unfortunately, I was out of town on business (so what’s new?) and missed the day and dinner with him that evening.  Saturday was spent watching him create a lidded square box, a round box with ebony and silver insert, and a platter with a colored rim.  The pictures below show just a few of the fun moments we had with him.


Jimmy always has a smile on his face, wood chips in his hair, and an odd British expression in his speech.  My club members will point out to me (club safety officer) that he has his safety glasses on the top of his head.  But, check the rest of the action photos and you will see them protecting his eyes, just as I always preach. 

Jimmy started with a square piece of wood…….


……got rid of all the wood that wasn’t a box……..


……..made a lid…….


…….and created this beautiful lidded square box!  Looks easy, doesn’t it?


Jimmy immediately chucked up another piece of wood to make a round box with an insert.  He stops his turning constantly to explain exactly what he is doing every step of the way.  He also likes to share his opinions of various tools, other professional turners, and life in general.


Here he takes time to describe the “Jimmy Clewes Box Scraper”.  However, Jimmy is the first professional do a demonstration for us who did not bring anything to sell.  He has CD sets available, but he spent his entire time teaching us how to make these wonderful items with no commercial interruptions.  The scraper to the left, he explained, is just a round nosed scraper reground to his liking.


In the middle of his demonstration, Jimmy stopped and asked our club member Ray to tell a story he heard from Mike Mahoney at the Florida Woodturning Symposium.


“Oh, yeah?  Well you can just tell Mahoney……..”


Now, back to the demonstration.

A little work on the base of the box……..


……prepare an insert from ebony, drill holes for some silver wire…..


……and Voila, you have a beautiful lidded box.  I think Nancy had her eye on this one.  It may not make it to the club auction 🙁


For his final, and maybe best known, piece, he chucked up a piece of wood to make his famous platter.  He only had about 20 minutes left before having to leave for his flight, so he was all business.  He turned, hollowed, carved and died the wood, doused it with alcohol, then pulled out his BIC!


Kids, don’t try this at home!  Jimmy claims this helps the stains set their color.  Then, he admits it is mainly just for show.  What, Jimmy a showman?  No, tell me it isn’t so!


Just beautiful.  And in only 20 minutes!!DSC_0351

With that, Jimmy had to make the mad dash to the airport.  What a great day spent with a wonderful guy.  Jimmy never forgot that he was there for our benefit and gave us everything he had.

Thank you, Jimmy!