Turner of the Year Competition Monday 10th June 2019

Guest Judge - Rick Dobney

The Turner of the Year competition has been running year on year since 2016.  The objective is to provide all our members, regardless of skills and experience, the opportunity to compete fairly with one another. Some of our members have been turning for over forty years whilst others are very new to the craft.  It also provides our old timers with the ability to pass on their tips and skills to the novice. It has been very pleasing to see how members who started in 2016 develop into exceptionally skilled turners. Many of our older members are more than willing to provide the complete novice with one to one tuition. There is no alternative to hands on experience when it comes on using a lathe or presenting tools to the work.

Since the beginning of the year there has been a noticeable drop in the number of people entering their work.  There could be no end of different reasons why this has happened, but if any member feels some reticence in putting their work forward, it might be worth just going over the purpose of the competition.  2016 was the first year under revised rules.  The rules were designed so that all members, either new to the craft or experienced old timers, could compete on a level playing field.  The work displayed included lidded boxes, bowls, goblets, etc., but the common denominator in all the pieces was that they were created using standard tools on a lathe.  

In the following years, new members from 2016 became adept and respected ambassadors of the craft of woodturning.  The quality of their work increased with the addition of colour, staining and texturing.  This development of skills and techniques was great to see. For new inexperienced members the competition became an ever steepening mountain to climb.  The objective of the competition was starting to get lost. We all know what an expensive hobby woodturning can be.  There is no money left over for the likes of chatter or texturing tools, spray guns or power carving machine.  This put new members at a disadvantage when competing with those competitors who regularly use these tools and techniques. A further revision of the rules was designed to bring back a level playing field for all competitors to enjoy.

So if you haven't contributed to the competition for a while then please think about coming back and giving it a try.

The points awarded by the judges were

Changes made to the TOTY Charter

It has become apparent that the Turner Ability Weighting (TAW) element of the competition rules is no longer being effective in fulfilling the objective it was designed to achieve.  In the early years of the competition we had four scoring categories and the TAW. Assuming an exemplary level of workmanship, over eight months of the competition a novice turner could amass 368 points and an experienced practitioner could score a maximum 320. Whilst it would be extremely unlikely for any entrant to always score maximum points, the system effectively provided a level playing field for all members to compete on.

As the number of scoring categories has been reduced to just two a novice turner can score a maximum 208 points.  The experienced entrant can score only a maximum total of 168 points. By the end of the competition, the advantage has been skewed to the greater favour of beginners at the disadvantage of our most experienced members. This was not the objective of the competition.

The Committee has decided to make retrospective changes to the TAW weighting from the start of this year’s competition last January as detailed below:

3 - Learner

Limited ability e.g. a turner whose work reflects limited tool control, design ability and finishing skills. 

2 - Intermediary 

Developing ability e.g. a turner whose work reflects reasonable tool control, design ability and finishing skills.

1 - Established

Established ability e.g. a turner whose work reflects consistency beyond developing ability.

Please note that none of the changes result in any amendment to the marks awarded by either the Clubs Competiton Member or the Guest Demonstrators.


Competition charter for 2019 (REvised April 2019)

Turner of the Year 2019 Charter

1. Entering

a. All work for entry into the competition will submitted at the Clubs regular monthly meetings.

b. To allow ample time for the work to be assessed it must be submitted to the judges by 6:45pm.

c. There are no monthly categories or themes.

d. All work turned on a lathe can be entered with the exception of pens and pencils.

e. Pyrography, woodcarving, paint and staining effects may be used, but other embellishments and adornments will be discounted for marking purposes. 

f. The decision of the judges is final.

g. 2 pieces of work may be entered at each of the following 9 meetings: January, February, March, April, June, August, September and October. 

h. If two pieces of work are entered the top scoring piece will be recorded for that month. 

i. At the end of October, the top 5 scores will be totalled to give an end of year score and the remaining lowest scores will be dropped from the competition [1].

j. Results will be announced at the AGM in November. 

2. Judging

a. The Competitions Member will number your piece and award 

i. Technical Difficulty Points awarded 0 – 10

Technical difficulty will be determined by the Competitions Member prior to judging. 

The various types of turning fall into different technical difficulty ranges. Most novice turners will attempt the less technically demanding bowls, platters and boxes. More experienced turners are capable of producing hollow forms and segmented work. Those members who have even greater experience will attempt off centre turning and fine spindle work. This naturally helps to a fairer competition for both new and experienced turners. A beautifully presented bowl made by a novice can score as highly as poorly produced segmented lamp created by an experienced turner. 

Marks will be awarded on the scale of 0 – 10.

ii. Craftmanship  Points awarded 0 - 10

The Visiting Turner will judge all submissions during the mid-session interval and award marks for the Craftmanship displayed in the work presented. Craftmanship includes the appropriateness of the design and shape, the finish and presentation of the work and an appreciation of the competitor’s lathe and woodturning skills in producing the work.

c. The visiting turner will provide feedback and comments on each of the pieces of work submitted.

Turning Ability Weighting

Turning ability weighting is a handicap system to be set by the Competitions Member. It will be based on the standard of the first piece entered annually in conjunction with knowledge of the entrant’s ability. Weighting may be adjusted by the Competitions Member at any time during any competition year to reflect improvement in turning ability. The table below provides definitions for weighting awards:

Points TAW Level Definition

3 - Learner

Limited ability e.g. a turner whose work reflects limited tool control, design ability and finishing skills. 

2 - Intermediary 

Developing ability e.g. a turner whose work reflects reasonable tool control, design ability and finishing skills.

1 - Established

Established ability e.g. a turner whose work reflects consistency beyond developing ability.

The weighting systems gives new turners and novices the opportunity to compete against seasoned practitioners without the latter taking greater advantage because of their experience. Generally, novices will not attempt segmented, off centre or involuted work until they have become more proficient in the craft. Similarly, such work is usual the province of the more experienced and will be the subject of greater scrutiny by the judges. As novices improve their skills and techniques then their Turner Ability Weighting will be decreased.


Don't forget the appreciation table!

This table provides the opportunity for members who don't want to enter the competition or are into other crafts and hobbies to display their work. You may find pens and pencils, or wood carvings, perhaps even some examples of marquetry.

Please take a few minutes to have a look at what is on the table.