News and Events - Pier Wood Bowls by Jon Hammond

Friday 1 May 2015

Jon Hammond is the artist behind Serenity Custom Drums, a high-end English drum boutique creating bespoke hand-carved and turned fine percussive instruments from reclaimed, historical woods. With Serenity, Jon gets to combine his love for woodturning and drums. Two years ago, Jon and his friends reclaimed the entirety of Teddington Locks on The River Thames, which is a complete source of great historical importance, with genuine UK heritage wood. When this wood came in , Jon had to step up his turning game. Why? The wood was greenheart (Chlorocardium rodiei) and the lesser known, much rarer ekki (Lophira alata), part of The River Thames since 1948. Beautiful woods with amazing tone characteristics, and two of the top five hardest, strongest woods in the world. All of Jonâ's research told him not to carve or turn these woods, but he saw this as a challenge, although the challenge was only accomplished through hard work and very tough learning curves. "Much of the Thames wood is earmarked for bespoke snare drums and drum kits - its acoustic resonance sounds like nothing else. I also have an amount allocated for bowls, bar tops and mantles," he tells us. For turning, he uses two modified 1959 Harrison Union Graduate lathes, which are very strong for big bass drums and large bowls.

Pier wood bowls

Last summer, the beloved Eastbourne Pier caught fire and Jon was able to reclaim what little of the 100-year-old decking survived the blaze with help from his local MP, Stephen Lloyd, for bowls only. "Of course, the wood is very weathered ekki, charred and cracked, full of a million footsteps, salt and sand, but like the Thames wood, its history is immense. Just knowing Churchill alone stood on it is enough for me," he comments. Thanks to his experience with The River Thames wood, Jon already knew how to carve it, so he made one bowl. The Facebook post Jon put online then proceeded to viral and he received over 300 messages in two days. "I set up my woodturner Facebook page to cope with the influx,†he tells us. Jon now has very little of the pier wood left and demand is still very high. “Each bowl takes a long time to complete," Jon explains, as he sands to 7,000 grit and finishes with a food-safe wax.

Jon doesn't describe himself as a traditional woodturner as he treats each piece like a sculpture, only ever working with limited, reclaimed sources of wood. He prefers to leave as much evidence of whatever life the wood has had in his work as possible. "After the Pier wood is gone, I will begin a small 'Bowls from Eastbourne Railway Sleepers' collection and continue to make items from Teddington Locks. All around the drums, of course!"


Contact: Jon Hammond


Jon's Facebook page Serenity Custom Drums Facebook page