by Jean Francious Escoulen
I had the very great privilege of taking in a turning
demonstration by Mr. Jean Francious Escoulen.
The demo was put on by the Far East Woodturners Society (FEWS)
of which I'm now proudly a member of.
Mr. Naoto Suzuki, who runs JAWS
arranged the visit
(Jean Francious Escoulen in the middle, his daughter Emily on the
and Mr. Naoto Suzuki on the right)
Here Jean and his daughter introduce themselves. Emily is a student at a
university here in Tokyo, she has been here for one year studying Japanese, and
I have to say that here Japanese is VERY good. Jean's lovely wife Monique also
attended, and she is a world class cabinet/furniture maker in here own right.
What a talented family!
Mr. Sano hosted the demo in his amazing workshop.
The demo took place in Musashiurawa station, which is about 30
minutest North of Shinjuku on the Saikyo line. I went with my friend Alex Reid,
who had to travel up from Zushi, on the South coast, and must have been up very
early! We were picked up at the station by some of the FEWS members in cars and
had a quick 5 minute drive to Mr. Sano's house.
The Demo was held in a great space that Mr. Sano has, it is
usually parking for his two cars, but today it was a demo space. Beside the
parking area he has his workshop, and I counted 6 or 7 lathes in there! His
Bandsaw makes Big Blue look like a toy!
The ceiling is a good 8 feet.
The big old planer he has is really nice too. His collection
of tools shows a lifetime commitment to woodworking, and a definite addiction to
In the lathe room he has two Vicmarc VL200 lathes set up on the one wall
A Beaver lathe set up at the end of one bench
(I'm very interested in buying one of these lathes)
Mr. Sano, our gracious host on the left, and
Jean hand sharpening a detail gouge on the right
Here are a few of the examples of the eccentric turnings that Jean brought
Here are some examples I found on the web
One of the things that Alex and I both found very interesting,
to the point of "HOLY COW" was the Bedan tool that he uses so much.
This tool is used like it shows in the picture, with the bevel
up, when cutting a convex curve the very corner of the tool is only used. He
rolls the tool on it's axis, to raise one corner up, and this lets the cutting
corner dig in. He says it is like a skew in that respect, and if you get catches
on the skew, you will get catches on the Bedan.
Here is Jean with his daughter Emily explaining some finer points of using this
At points, he uses it as a large parting tool, the wood chips just flies of the
Using the corners of the tool, he very, VERY quickly cuts super smooth convex
Next up he turned an egg, I swear it took less than 2 minutes, amazing!
Here he is parting the egg off, again, with the Bedan.
Two minutes egg!
Using his thumb as a support on this super thin form
Super thin, all done with the Bedan tool
Multi Axis Turning
Now we get into some fun stuff, the stuff that makes Jean so
famous, his multi axis turnings.
He starts with a square piece of wood, he does NOT rough it
out into a cylinder.
Looking at the wood from the side, you can see the three axis, Jean starts with
the both centers on number one
Starting off on a multi axis turning. this one will have three axis.
Here Jean sands the first axis cut, as once you move it, you will never get it
quite right again.
This is what the first cut looks like when done
Here he has gone to the second axis, which just happens to run right down the
middle of the blank.
(Jean's angles were tighter than the ones I used in this drawing)
Here Jean is showing us where the next cut will be (and where NOT to put your
Making the third axis cut
Now back level you see the effect he gets (not withstanding my lousy drawing).
You can keep doing this and get many more kinks, only limited by the size of the
After he cut the three axis, he then put a cylinder on each
It was an amazing demonstration.
I had to leave early due to work, but a great experience none
A pic of myself on the left, Jean in the middle, and Alex on the right