25 Jan 2022 – Chris Fisher ‘The Blind Woodturner’ Demo

 In Online Demos


25th January 2022, Tuesday saw this year’s first online Interactive demonstration with Chris Fisher, AKA ‘The Blind Woodturner’ who was the first blind person to be added to the Register of Professional Turners (RPT) in 2018.

We started the evening with our usual club notices and introduced Chris to the members.

Chris, accompanied by his wife Nicola, who manages the technical online side of the demonstration, told us briefly about himself and then described his project for the evening; a shallow Viking style textured, and coloured bowl inspired by his good friend and fellow professional turner, Nick Agar.

Chris had prepared a sycamore blank on a face plate. He has a very useful guide which centres on the tailstock to give exact measurements for different chuck sizes. Already, things we all take for granted show how hard it must be to turn without sight. The recessed mounting point would end up as the foot for the piece formed with a square carbide tool. The bottom of the bowl was then shaped with a half inch bowl gouge. Chris all the time judging the shape and finish by touch. He explained that he had learnt to turn by watching/listening to hours of YouTube videos. Asked how he knows the speed of his lathe, he explained he now knows by the sound. On to sanding to a 400 grit finish and out with two texturing wheels which he would use to add patterns and textures to the base before adding his own twist of colour variation.

Airbrushing on a green Chestnut spirit stain and then rubbed into the surface with gloved hands, a Nordic bronze gilt cream, which is a polymer-based product from Cromacraft USA (other similar products are available). While the cream was being applied, we had a short break, but as usual the chat remained until everyone was back in the room.

While the demo was going on, Nicola took HD still photographs which she then shared via the chat facility on Zoom, a great addition to the presentation which you will see in the pictures below.

After the break the project was reversed, face plate removed and piece mounted on it’s chucking point. Chris has adapted the method lots of turners use to pre-determine the depth to turn to, all the time feeling his way and listening to the sounds the work is making. He left a small medallion shape in the centre and turned out the rest with a round carbide tool, leaving a wide rim on the edge so that he could match the texture and colour to the reverse.
Again, a short sand and then texture to the rim and medallion, followed by the green stain and gilt cream. The edges were sharpened up where there was a little over-spray, although very little as Chris is able to feel exactly where the spray is applied, a light sand and the job was complete.

Chris stopped on for a Q & A session and was quite open about his life journey and move into woodturning and his relentless drive to encourage others into woodturning. He is a great ambassador for our craft/hobby/profession, surely an inspiration to all of us turners to keep trying no matter what befalls us.

A big thank you to Chris and Nicola for the evening.

Chris and Nicola have very kindly provided to the Club a copy of the demo in HD format which will be uploaded to the Club’s YouTube channel in due course.  The video will be set as private and the link will be emailed to all those paid up members.  The link is not to be shared outside of the Club members.


In addition to the Hands on Night in the hall on 8 Feb, the Club Shop will also be opening on the 5 Feb and 26 Feb 2022, from 10am to midday.  So please come and see what goodies we have and to make it worth while for our shop keepers giving up their time.

And lastly,

Dates for your calendar:

Hands on Nights in the hall are back from 8 Feb 2022.  A lot of effort goes into these nights, setting everything up etc, so it would be great to see everyone again, especially those who may not have ventured onto Zoom. With the Government reducing the Covid restrictions, whether you agree with that decision or not, its up to you whether you wear a mask or not, but for everyone’s safety, we would encourage you to consider others and still wear it.  The precautions such as hand sanitiser will still be available so again please use it.

We hope to have three lathes set up in the main hall and one dedicated for beginners to have a go on which will be set up in the bar area. If we are able to set up a screen this is to keep those not turning from watching as not everyone likes to turn with an audience.  So unless you are turning on it, can you please stay away from it.  You will still be able to exit via the fire door for the shop.

15 Feb – Workshop Night on line.  If you have items to show, can you send us the photos please.

22 Feb – Online Demo by Glenn Lucas from Ireland.

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  • Mick Close

    What a demo. It was far better carried out than some of the other able bodied and sighted turners we’ve had over the years. Everybody goes on about listening to the machines/tools and feeling the work, this really put it into prospective. What a talented team Chris and Nicola make. Cannot wait to see them again.
    I first tried to book them about 4 years ago for a demo. It was certainly worth waiting for.

  • Paul Tunmore

    Amazing evening a superb woodturner and an inspiration to anyone who knows his full story. Chris and Nicola are the blind woodturner she being his technician and eyes. I have never come away from a demo being amazed and inspired before but never moved. The work and encouragement he gives to all disabled people is amazing and look forward to seeing Chris and Nicola again and seeing Nathan when he achieved his RPT

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