After a long and successful career in the British Army, which spanned more than two decades. David Martin was left with several disabilities when he was medically discharged from the services in 1999. David had suffered a serious head injury whilst on duty and spent the last years of his career in the care of the military rehabilitation centre at Headley Court, where he was to learn many new skills to cope and live with his disabilities. It was during one of his many cognitive and occupational therapy sessions that David inspired to try the craft of woodturning after seeing one of the therapists turning a pen at the lathe. At first due to David’s blindness in one eye and with limited version in his right eye, combined with sudden bouts of fits, it was thought to dangerous for him to work at the lathe. But with dogged determination, David turned his first of many pens at the lathe. Learning the craft of woodturning, David went on to become a member of the Guilds of Master Craftsmen.
Initially David sold his turned pieces to friends and family, but as his talents were recognised and the word spread, he was soon taking orders for his wooden bowls and vessels. However, one of his proudest creations was his first big commission piece, where he was asked to make a special wedding anniversary gift in the form of a large table lamp.
It is the beauty of the wood that David admires, he explains “Every piece of wood is like a fingerprint and each of my creations is entirely unique in order to reflect this, I use designs which bring out the natural beauty of the wood and imperfections, such as knots or splits, are used to enhance the piece”
After discovering how difficult it was to find reliable high quality tools and timbers suitable for woodturning, both locally and further away from his workshop on the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales (UK). David launched the Turners Tool Box website. Stocking well known top names, such as Robert Sorby woodturning tools & accessories, Liberon and Chestnut Products wood polishes and finishing products, BriMarc and Planet “rotur” pen turning and craft making supplies aswell as tool care and guarding against corrosion products by Shield Technology. The website is the place to find everything you need to create beautiful and unique pieces of work. David was often asked how he achieved some of the finishes on his work, so he contacted the suppliers of his favourite products and the website was born.
The website has already built up a reputation nationally as well as internationally, with customers as far away as the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand aswell as Germany, France, Italy and Denmark just name a few, buying their tools from David. The tools that David supplies are suitable for the complete beginner, novice to the more advanced and master crafts people of all ages. Robert Sorby who’s heritage dates back over 200 years, are the world leading manufactures of specialist turning, carving and woodworking tools, world renowned for their quality
Alongside the collection of woodturning lathes, power tools, abrasives, clamps, marking out and dimensioning tools, pen turning and craft making projects and wood finishes and treatments, you will find a helpful and inspiring selection of books and DVD’s, designed to help you learn, enhance and revise your skills or offer you a guide if you are learning the basics. Including links to “How to use” and where you can watch highly respected crafts people using the many tools and accessories available.
When asked whether others should have a go David says, “I would always encourage other people to get involved and try their hand at woodturning and craft making, I look back to those early days and think about how far I’ve come. It’s a beautiful and inspiring craft but I also think it can help people such as myself who have disabilities and other related medical problems and those with learning disabilities, to regain confidence in what we are capable of” “The crafts person is inside all of us, in some its comes naturally and others, it just needs that little push to bring it out”.