Ornamental Turning Lathes, Bob Lynn and Hand Tools Paradise in New Zealand

Jul 27 2018 0 Comments

Posted by Gaston Monge-Grassi 27th of July 2018
While I was working in Christchurch, I made a trip to Ashburton to visit some customers and also a very unique and special place suggested by a very good friend and great woodworker Paul Trolove. The "Lynn Woodwork Museum".
This museum has one of the greatest collections of original ornamental turning lathes in the world:
  • 10 x Ornamental turning lathes dating from 1824.
  • 1 x Extremely rare Rose engine lathe from 1804.
  • 800 pieces of the ancient art of ornamental turning (rated as second only to the famous Fred Howe Collection in England).
  • 5000 woodworking tools dating from 1600 AD.
  • 3000 named pieces of wood from around the world.
  • 3500 Books on lathes, tools and wood, etc.

Lindsay Holland very kindly opened the doors for me and we talked tools for ages. I found Lindsay very passionate and full of knowledge. He is pretty much an open book.

In ornamental turning, an object already subjected to plain turning processes is ornamented by further operations carried out on it by cutters which are made to revolve independently of the lathe mandrel. Ornamental turning is an exceedingly beautiful art.

Bob Lynn, founder of the museum spent a lifetime working with wood. In the process he built a substantial business which produced woodwork for some of New Zealand's most prestigious buildings. Bob was an avid collector of wood crafts, wood turning and tools associated with woodworking and an enthusiast in keeping the traditional crafts alive. Bob developed a special interest in reviving the ancient craft of Rose Engine, Swash and Ornamental Turning.

The finest ornamental turning lathes were made by Holtzapffel who started business in London in 1795. About 200  Holtzapffel lathes are known still exist. The museum has eight of these lathes and other by Gill, Evans and Bower.

The museum is a great place to start if you are interested in OT, but you can also check The Society of Ornamental Turners and Made Lathe.

Here are some pictures I took during my visit.

If you ever go to or drive through Ashburton, you need to visit this place. The collection is amazing. Make sure you contact the people in charge of the museum before you go to arrange a visit.
I also strongly recommend to purchase Bob Lynn's book "Woodwork, My First Seventy Years" directly from them.
  • The museum is located at The Plains Village , Maronan Road, Ashburton
  • Contacts: John 033088349, Lindsay 027523107 or Elizabeth 0274523102

The cherry on top to close my visit to the museum was just hidden behind the building. I could definitely have one of these in my backyard.











Definitely a hand tools and woodwork paradise in New Zealand. Priceless.



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