British craftsmen strive to preserve "lost" skills

When its last practioner died in 1958, the art of pole lathe bowl turning died with him, but now former forester Robin Wood has taken up the foot-powered lathe to revive the craft. (photos)

Wood, who calls himself a "self-directed learner," taught himself to turn wooden bowls using a foot-powered lathe. He and other traditional craftsmen, such as barrel and scissor makers, are striving to hold on to their skills in a world ever more automated.

"Whilst the last guy is working the skill isn't classed as heritage, but when he dies it becomes heritage. Surely it's far, far, cheaper to keep the skill alive rather than trying to set up a facsimile of it in a museum,"he said.