Introducing 600 Scouts to Woodturning

Wednesday 21 September 2011

During this summer, the East Herts Woodturners (EHWT) have been introducing Scouts to the craft of Woodturning. Following discussions between the Scout Association and the Association of Woodturners of Great Britain (AWGB), woodturning has been introduced into the badge work for Scouts. On behalf of the AWGB, the East Herts Woodturners have organised two events this year, to bring woodturning to young people.

Gilwell 24

In July, the East Herts Woodturners attended Gilwell 24 for the second time. This was a one day activity packed event for 2000 Explorer Scouts and Senior Section Guides, which was held at Gilwell Park, Chingford, the Headquarters of World Scouting. The activities included rock climbing and abseiling, grass sledging, go kart racing and crafts. Woodturning was one of the craft activities on offer. It was set up in a 40ft x 80ft marquee, with demonstrations of woodturning and a display of turned items ranging from bowls and goblets to Faberge type eggs. In the marquee, a training area with 15 training lathes was set up, to enable hands-on woodturning taster sessions. During the day, nearly 200 young people and their leaders tried woodturning. After a safety briefing, each had a short, hands-on, woodturning session, under the supervision of an experienced woodturner, during which they made a small wooden item such as a garden dibber, a porridge stirrer or a toadstool. The supervision was provided by turners from East Herts, Cambridge and Herts and Beds Clubs, together with members of the AWGB Executive and a local professional turner.

CamJam 2011

In August, the East Herts Woodturners, with support from other woodturning clubs and professional turners, organised hands-on woodturning at the Cambridge Jamboree (CamJam 2011). This was held over 5 days, at Huntingdon Racecourse and attended by over 3500 Scouts and staff. At this event more than 430 Scouts and their leaders, each experienced a hands-on woodturning taster session. In addition to the hands on sessions, there were demonstrations of woodturning and a display of turned items.

At both events, woodturning proved so popular that the demand for places exceeded those available and many scouts had to be disappointed.


To put on events of this size, the support of many people and companies is essential. The East Herts Woodturners gratefully acknowledge the support of a number of organisations including, Axminster, Charnwood, JET, Henry Taylor Tools, Frank Howard Tools, Chestnut Products, Toolpost, the Birchanger Wood Trust, The National Trust, Multistage, Staples and Stansted Airport Community Trust.

These two events follow two other events for Scouts organised by the East Herts Woodturners in previous years. In 2007 they demonstrated woodturning at the 21st World Scout Jamboree which was attended by about 40000 Scouts and leaders. At Gilwell 24 in 2010, 120 Scouts and leaders experienced hands-on woodturning. In total, 750 people have had hands-on woodturning sessions at these events.

Club meetings

The East Herts Woodturners meet on the third Wednesday of each month (except November). The Club has a membership of 60 and welcomes new members of all abilities from beginner to professional. Anyone interested in joining should contact the Secretary; see details below.


Contact: East Herts Woodturners

Tel: 01279 814 337


Images, from top to bottom:

1. A safety talk to Scouts at Giwell 24

2. A display of woodturnings at CamJam, 2011

3. A Scout woodturning at CamJam

4. Part of the team of turners at Gilwell 24 (PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOHN LEACH & ROGER WILMOT)