Clive Brooks 10 Nov 2011

Clive is well known to many of our members as the face of Robert Sorby. See Clive's PhotosHe came to the club this evening to give a presentation of a selection of the tools made by Sorby's and was accompanied by Dave Green, from Turner’s Retreat, who was selling the tools demonstrated, plus many more, at discounted prices.

Clive demonstrated the following:

  • The use of steb centres.
  • Spindlemaster – Clive said you must never put the bevel on a grinder to sharpen it, instead you should use a diamond file, applied to the flat surface.
  • Sovereign Interchangeable tool system.
  • Micro Interchangeable tool system.
  • Spiralling tool – again you should sharpen this with a diamond file.
  • Multi-tipped hollowing tool – another tool you should sharpen with a diamond file, on the flat surface
  • Sandmaster
  • Sovereign Ultima hollowing system – he sharpened the cutter by mounting it on the cutter jig and working round it with a diamond file. This tool doesn’t have a bevel so you use it on the centre line and, if you want to use it as a shear scraper you turn it over slightly. (See photos CB11_08 and 09).
  • Multi-tip hollowing tool

To demonstrate various techniques and tools he turned an ogee bowl with a textured edge. He mounted a sycamore blank on the lathe using a screw chuck and turned it to a cylinder using a finger nail grind bowl gouge. He then used a spiralling tool to turn a textured pattern on the edge of the blank - he did the spiralling before turning the shape of the bowl to avoid getting tear out, which you would get if you did the spiralling after turning the bowl. (See photos CB11_02 and 03).

He turned a foot then turned the outside of the bowl to an ogee shape, cutting away some of the spiralling to get a nice crisp edge. To get rid of the torn grain he used a multi-tipped hollowing tool fitted with a tear drop cutter which he sharpened on the flat surfaces with a diamond file. First he used it as a scraper with the flat edge resting on the tool rest, then he turned it over and used it as a shear scraper, holding it at a 45 degree angle to the work. Once he was happy with the shape Clive sanded the outside with the sandmaster, using only the edge of the tool, taking one pass from the outer edge to the middle then another pass from the middle to the outer edge. To finish the outside he used the texturing tool , held at 90 degrees to the work, to cut an ‘orange peel’ pattern on the curved area under the rim and the foot then he used a parting tool to define the edges of the pattern. (See photos CB11_04 to 07).

Next Clive mounted the bowl in the chuck then tidied up the face and used a texturing tool turned at a 45 degree angle to create a radial pattern on the outer area of the flat surface. To hollow out the inside he used hollowing cutters on the multi-tip hollowing tool to turn away material from the centre then worked under the rim, to undercut it, leaving some weight in the centre which he gradually turned away as he worked down the inside edge. (See photos CB11_10 to 13).

It’s always a pleasure to see Clive and Dave at the club; they give us a full evening of demonstration and don’t charge us a penny for doing so. Thank you Clive and Dave for a very enjoyable evening.

All of the tools Clive demonstrated this evening are made by Robert Sorby and can be bought from Turners’ Retreat either by visiting their shop in Harworth or, online, from their website at

Lorrie Flannery

SWC club member