Feature Mondays - In the Workshop with Luc Boeye archive

Monday 1 September 2014

Belgian turner Luc Boeye shows us around his workshop and tells us more about his work


How, why and when did you start turning?

I started woodturning by visiting a woodfair in Antwerp, Belgium. An attentive woodturner gave me a flyer. That was the beginning of a long membership of the Flemish Guild of Woodturners. Probably now more than 20 years ago. I'm obsessed by wood.

What and who have been the greatest influences in your work?

To increase my knowledge of the English language, I read every magazine on woodturning. I suppose there will be an influence from that corner, but also from professional woodturners, such as Cindy Drozda and Jimmy Clewes. The one I admire the most is the club member who has great woodturning skills, who is willing to share every secret, who encourages other members and who participates in the survival of our Guild.

If you were to offer one sage piece of advice to someone what would it be?

I still have two eyes and want to keep it that way; always wear eye protection!

What music and which book are you currently into?

I lost my heart in the '80s in my workshop. The radio always plays songs from that period. I'm working as a head of a psychiatric section in a hospital in the north of Antwerp. I'm now reading 100% psychosis. Woodturning is an issue I work with, together with psychiatric patients.

What is your silliest mistake?

Thinking people are not interested in the art of woodturning.

What has been your greatest challenge?

Participating in an art event as the only woodturner.

Name one thing on your turning 'to do' list.

I have to make bracelets for my daughters before they finish school this year.

Tell us about the piece you are currently working on.

I am participating in an art event. The subject is World War I. I created 12 typical English helmets: 'the Brodie' helmet. Separated by a plexi plate, there are 12 faces. The title will be 'lost souls'.

What is the one piece of equipment or tool you would not be without and why?

I had always had problems with light. As you can see in the photo of my home-made jig on the previous page, I turned a 150mm cylinder, cut it in two, drilled a hole in it and stuck one half on my tailstock and the other one on the headstock. Now, I'm able to put my lamp in four different places. Two in the half cylinders and two in the attachments supplied with the lamp, which allows me greater flexibility with my work.

If you could change one thing what would it be and why?

I should ask every woodturner to make an art piece and decorate it on the outside of their house. It would be nice to see how many woodturners there are. Street view should be one great art event.

Briony Darnley

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Feature Mondays , Luc Boeye

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Contact Details

Email: luc.boeye@zna.be

5 Things I Have Learnt With My Woodturning

1. The more you turn, the more you learn. I want to keep on turning and keep on learning as a result
2. Using my imagination sometimes works wonderfully, but sometimes it turns out to be a complete disaster! Sometimes I don't like what I've made, but other times I do
3. Sharing your knowledge in a club, discussing woodturning items and giving demos are the best ways to increase your woodturning skills
4. Wood talks: sometimes I have to change the form because of the hidden pattern in the wood
5. Every piece is unique. I treat it with care and respect and find it is a pleasure to produce a superb finish

Latest Homemade Jig

I made this jig to support my light, so I can see exactly what I am doing while turning. This is very important from a health and safety point of view, and it is also good to see what you are turning! I always had problems with lighting my work and the lamp often stood in the wrong position. I turned a cylinder, sawed it in two halves on the bandsaw and cleaned the two sides with abrasive. This simple jig works really well.
I drilled a hole in both of the half cylinders approximately 1mm wider than the pin on the lamp base. I then stuck one half cylinder on my tailstock and one half on the headstock of the lathe. Now I can position my lamp in four positions: two in the jigs I made and two in the attachments which were delivered with the lamp. Now there is always one suitable position! I made them from hardwood hoping they will last a lifetime.

Handy Hints

1. Buy good equipment; it is a pleasure to work with high quality tools
2. Tell your wife/husband that you are so happy doing woodturning and sometimes give them a wooden jewel. It is always good to say how you feel about something
3. I use plastic gloves to hold fresh finished work. They never leave marks, even when your piece is not totally dry
4. I have got three lathes: two of them are mounted on a wheel base. When the weather is good, I just roll them outside and turn in open air - a real pleasure

Likes & Dislikes

1. Creating something unique
2. Turning wet wood and making shavings fly around
3. Visiting other woodturners
4. Making something on demand
1. Having to transport all your woodturning equipment - lathe, wood, pieces of work - when you do a demo at a club
2. Where can I buy time?
3. I am addicted to woodturning!