A Visit to King Arthur’s Tools

Yesterday I took a pyrography (wood burning) class from Cynthia Gibson at King Arthur’s Tools, Camelot’s Woodworking Studios
Camelot Woodworking
I had met Cynthia before, when I was videographer for her and her husband Michael at last year’s AAW Symposium in Tampa and when she and Michael were one of our national demonstrators at the years Florida Woodturning Symposium. She does such beautiful work, fine and detailed, where I use my woodburner mainly to burn texture into my pieces. I thought she’d be a good one to learn from.


One of Cynthia and Michael’s Teapots

I was very happy to see that King Arthur’s was bringing her to Tallahassee, which is only a 2 1/2 hr drive from Jacksonville. Arthur Aveling started up the company a number of years ago focusing on power carving tools. They had a deservedly good reputation, so I was happy when they decided to get more involved with woodturning. With some insight from Jimmy Clewes they set up the Camelot’s Woodworking Studio, with six lathes and a separate workroom for classes like Cynthia’s.


Turning Classroom

They also have a nice display area for the work done by local artists and class demonstrators. I saw a lot of my favorites, like Nick Agar, Ashley Harwood and Keith Larrett from our own club.


Nick Agar’s Viking Sunset Bowls


Ashley Harwood’s sea urchin ornament


After meeting the other four students, including Walt Wager who was kind enough to put me up for the night and fed me a great dinner and breakfast to fortify me for the day’s class, we went down to the conference room where Cynthia talked about inspirations for her decoration and some of the key elements that must be addressed to achieve a well balanced design.


Walt, Cynthia and Lisa

Then we headed up to the classroom. After talking to Cynthia, I realized that I should have come for the Saturday class as well. The session I was taking was Pyrography on Three Dimensional Surface, but this class was going to apply the techniques they learned on Saturday. Cynthia did a brief review of her setup and techniques and showed some more examples of designs that worked.


Cynthia reviewing design considerations

The design info was very good and something that will definitely help me. Then everybody started to work on their projects. Lisa’s husband had turned her a small bowl to work on and Walt had turned some small hollowforms for the students. The things I brought were pretty big and I had bleached some of them, which Cynthia thought may not work that well. In the end I decided to just work on a practice board, like they did yesterday. I used Cynthia’s as a model.


Cynthia’s sample board

Actually I only worked on a couple and then started to think about designs for a maple, triangular suspended bowl I had brought. I really wanted to practice my curves, since that is what I had been having the most trouble with and I made some progress, but never got to the triangular bowl.

The rest of the students were hard at it.


Lisa hard at work

Lisa did vines and flowers. Sandy was working on some abstract shapes.


Sandy’s designs


Walt worked a design that was inspired from a recent trip to Charleston, SC and Susan worked hard to make a distinctive bottom on her piece.


Walt and Susan at work

Before we knew it , it was time to pack up. Arthur came up and took pictures and we got our certificates and I was off for my ride home, trying to stay ahead of the rain.


Cynthia and Arthur

I’m sure I’ll be coming back sometime for more classes.

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