A Heart Felt Apology to All…


In August 2016 I vanished from social media without saying goodbye. Having built up your trust via Facebook, my blog here at tomturns.com and the AcolyteTurner YouTube channel, I abandoned you. I hope that after reading this you will forgive me and welcome me back to your social media circles.

Those that have ‘followed me’ over the past few years may be all too aware that I suffer a number of health problems, though not all of my ‘complications’ are known to you. I have for many years been fighting a deteriorating condition in my left foot and ankle. 18 months ago I was lucky enough to be referred to a good surgeon who started to lay plans for restoration surgery. Sadly, last year, he gave me the frightening news that he felt he couldn’t make a repair and that my best option was complete below-knee amputation.

In the lead-up to this devastating news, my wife and I had been making changes to our home, along with a small extension (I believe they call this an ‘addition’ in many countries that aren’t at the centre of my universe), in order to provide a safer and more accessible space for us. This renovation work went horrendously wrong, due to problems found underground, and eventually led to me being unable to safely access my beloved workshop.

In a nutshell, the combination of leg amputation and no workshop pushed me ‘over the edge’ and I turned my back on virtually everything ‘wood related’. This probably wasn’t the best and most adult action, but hey it’s my life 😉

So, here we are in February 2017. Our renovation work is ongoing; due to all the problems we ran out of money. However we have (most) walls complete, a poured concrete floor and a new roof over our heads. The rest will come with time.


Following a further series of CAT scans and tests, specialists have now decided that they can save my ankle (phew! was that a relief – I am rather attached to my leg!) and hopefully the operation will happen very soon. The downside to that though is that I will be off my feet for around 6 months. Between now and then however, I am spending as much time in the workshop as possible and look forward to sharing my efforts with you again soon. I promise that I won’t vanish again, even if I am once again unable to turn.

During my ‘disappearance’ I received a great number of enquiries about my absence which lead to a wonderful show of support and good wishes from many. A HUGE thank you to everyone of you, you may never know how much I valued your comments and how much they have helped in getting me back here again now.

Many of you may recall that I bought a new lathe (Jet 3520b) last year and also an Axminster AT1416VS midi-lathe. I only had a few hours use of the Jet, and never even turned the Axminster on until this month. I shall review them and comment on their merits as soon as possible.

A final apology must go to Stephen Ogle and Erik Anderson (The naked Turner). Both put a good deal of effort into information for my regular (and greatly received) Featured Turner articles on tomturns.com. I promise that they will appear soon now that I am back ‘in the real world’.

Once again – a sincere apology to old friends, but also a ‘welcome’ to new!

2 thoughts on “A Heart Felt Apology to All…

  1. Maureen Lisle

    Hello Tom, from Canada. I am very sorry to hear of all your difficulties and hope that you are now on the road to better days ahead. I found your YouTube video for the first time and really enjoyed watching the Alien Pod. Trent Bosch (Colorado USA) also does a lot of carving on his turned pieces. Dust collection on the lathe is very difficult and I noticed your articulated system. I cannot find this here. Do you sell this system, or if not, who does sell it. Any information is greatly appreciated. Take care and all the best to you.

    • Tom Stratton Post author

      Hi Maureen

      My health dipped far lower following my last post on here unfortunately, and I have been confined to a wheelchair for most of the last year. I am getting stronger again now and hope to be back in the workshop (maybe seated) in the new year. Thanks for your wishes. Time away from the workshop sapped my will to keep up with the website too. Hopefully, this will be rejuvenated!

      I’m a big fan of Trent Bosch and his work has been a great influence on me and my carving. I dream of one day taking one of his workshops!

      You might find my video #28 (http://vzc.226.mywebsitetransfer.com/video-28-dust-pipe-viewer-request/) of interest as it relates specifically to the dust collection pipe. If you read through the YouTube comments for the video you should find all the information regarding suppliers.

      Many thanks for the comment and interest



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