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Woodturning & Pyrography Courses for High School Students

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by Susan Jackson (subscribe)
Gold Coast Explorer since Jan 2010. Always on the lookout for fun, family things to enjoy with my four kids.
Published January 26th 2012
Woodturning & Pyrography courses for High School Students

Wood turned goblets
Wood turned goblets made by high school students

Gold Coast Woodturners offer Woodturning and Pyrography courses to high school students in the January, July and October school holidays. With 8 previous courses under their belt, the classes are proving very popular.

2011 group
Woodturning & Pyrography Students
They run over 3 consecutive days, from 8am until 12 noon. Tutors are club members, who volunteer their time to teach. As a result, costs are minimal at $50 per student, per 3 day course. Juice and biscuits are also provided for morning tea.

It's a pleasure to watch the cross generational sharing of skills and knowledge which would otherwise fade into heritage history.

More about Woodturning

Brown Mallee burl bowl

Woodturning is a form of woodworking that creates wooden objects on a lathe. The two main types are: spindle turning, where the wood is fixed between two points on the lathe, and faceplate turning, in which the wood is secured on one end. Spindle turning produces items such as: table legs, candlesticks, baseball bats, rolling pins, tool handles and even pens. Faceplate turning is the process used to turn items such as bowls, platters and clocks.

Wood turned clocks

The origins of woodturning reach far back in time to the days of the Egyptians, around 1300BC. What began as a two person lathe, with one turning the wood and the other cutting it, developed during Roman times into a bow lathe. Then a foot pedal replaced hand turned lathes in medieval times. Present day lathes are powered by electricity, so the turning process is far faster and more efficient.

What is Pyrography?

Pyrography dragon by a 10 year old student

Pyrography means "writing with fire" - from the Greek "pur" (fire) and "graphos" (writing).

Pyrography decorates wood (or other materials such as leather) with pictures and designs by burning marks into it, using a hot nibbed pen. Images are traced onto the wood using graphite paper. The tracing is then gone over with the heated nib, which creates the picture.

Burning the picture into the wood

This ancient craft was known during the Han Dynasty in China as "Fire Needle Embroidery". It was practiced in Egyptian times and by some African tribes. It was popular during Victorian times and is a traditional folk art in many European countries.

Gold Coast Woodturners Student Courses 2012

The January 2012 Woodturning & Pyrography Students

Wood turned items range from rolling pins to bud vases and honey dippers to mushroom boxes. All students are very proud of their creations, which they take home at the end of the course.
A collection of woodturned honey dippers

Places on each course are limited to 12 for woodturning and 6 for pyrography, due to the number of lathes, pyrography machines and available tutors, as the pupil teacher ratio is 1 to 2 in the beginner's class. Girls and boys are welcome.

The January course was booked out this year, with a waitlist. The remaining dates for 2012 are: 2, 3 & 4 July and 1, 2, 3 Oct. The club is looking at running two session times for the next course in July in order to keep up with the demand.

If you are interested in finding out more about the course or wish to apply for a place, then contact:
Ray Mahoney on or Tel: 07 55592251.

Pyrography student

The web address for the club is:

The clubhouse is located at: Mudgeeraba Heritage Centre, 238 Mudgeeraba Road, Mudgeeraba.

(Exit 79 off M1 on the western side of the M1 tourist route 42. Map 48 ref A, 18 in yellow pages).

Gold Coast Woodturners also runs evening classes for adults. Click here for more information.
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Why? Encourage teenagers to learn a new practical skill
When: School holidays
Where: Gold Coast Woodturners in Mudgeeraba
Cost: $50pp for a 3 day course
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