Brendan McAreavy

Starting woodturning was my desperate attempt to escape illness.  I had no training in crafts because my life had taken an academic route at that stage in Primary School when futures were being decided so I missed the opportunity, that I yearned for, to work with my hands and my brain.

After I married my wonderful (and patient) Rosemary 30 years ago I became an enthusiastic DIYer, sometimes too enthusiastic (ignorance has no fear) but I got the job done eventually.  However, I still wanted to learn a skill because my great-uncles and cousins were gifted craftsmen and I desperately hoped there was a tiny bit of DNA in me that might help me make things and stay alive at the same time.

Time marches on and we were blessed with a daughter and a son so keeping a roof over their heads and filling their bellies took precedence over idle dreams of Fine Furniture and collecting planes. Eventually they both ate enough to get to university and then onto teacher training in England where they both still work and live.

Just before our children finished their studies I became very ill.  I have had Ankylosing Spondylitis since my late teens but it was the onset of Psoriatic Arthritis that had a devastating impact on my life, and Rosemary’s.  I had to retire from work at 47 (I was a Mathematics Lecturer) and spent 2 years housebound and virtually immobile.  When I started to improve a little I joined a woodturning class in the local Further Education College and I loved it, not just the turning but the camaraderie as well.  I took the plunge and bought a Jet1442 and never regretted it for a moment.

I cannot do as much turning as I would like because of my physical limitations but combined with my other love, vegetable growing, I can vary jobs and devote time to both.  I have tried lots of different forms but, presently, my interest is in simple bowls and I’m discovering they are far from simple.  I am also experimenting with finishes and assessing my results by offering friends their pick of bowls.  So far most have gone for a paste wax finish but I’m about to use Mahoney’s Walnut Oil so that might be interesting.

Like a lot of other people I regret not having discovered woodturning until my middle age but, now that I have, I enjoy everything about it immensely and hope to do so for some time to come.

I want to thank WR for asking me to do this profile because there are far better turners who could have been selected.  Thank you also to the members who make this a very informative and enjoyable site.  Their generosity is exemplary.




Silver Birch 2.25"x 8.25" BLO Finish


Irish Wedding Goblet, Spalted Beech 7.5" x 3.25"


Bell  Ash 5" x 2"


Mini Acrylic Vase


Mini Vase Cherry


Acrylic pens


Natural Edge Ash 2.75"x6.25" Wax


Ring Bowls 5" x 1" Sycamore


Spalted Holly Box 3" x 3"


Apple Goblet 2"x4.25" Wax finish


Silver Birch Weed Pot 2.25"x4.75" Wax


Ash Bowl 3"x6.25" Wax