The narrator of WT Dufrane’s Adventure Thriller SevenX is London’s very own lovable Yorksire Mr. Alan Dewey
Mr. Dewey is a master chess restorer and has built or repaired high end chess sets for some very exclusive clientele from all over the world.
A note from Alan Dewey…
The trade of turning is an interesting and varied one, and ranges from the creation of marvels of one-off waney-edged hollowform objects to tedious production runs of lowly but essential drawer pulls, each just like all the others. The pieces I study, restore, and sometimes make are most similar to the latter! This is because the skills I use when working with chess sets are rooted in the workshop skills of the Victorian turners.
There were a lot of turners in the 1800s and early 1900s. In the heyday of the trade, when so many household items were made by the turners, thousands of workshops in England alone competed for business. Those old boys produced an incredible array of everyday household products: shaving brush handles, drawer pulls, instruments, spindles of various sorts, and treen innumerable. They stood at their lathes and produced wonders of function.
Similarly, I do not produce objects that primarily are made to be viewed. I do not make art! I am all for art, but these things I work with are meant to be handled, used, pulled, moved, rolled, scooped, etc. They live in our houses with us. The two links above take you to my attempt to document the fundamental processes of this sort of work. The project ties very closely to my interest in the skill sets of the Victorian turners: their skills are the ones I study … try to copy … hope to figure out.
This is a diary of sorts, and I share it because it is my hope that somehow these skills can be passed along, that there is still interest in doing it. Because some people need to learn it. If they don’t, when we old turners turn our lathes off that one last time, this ancient trade itself will die.
Alan Dewey (In memoriam: Bill Jones, a 5th generation English turner, 1920-2011)