23 Mar 2021 – John Boyne-Aitken Demo

 In Online Demos


It has been noted before that the current Covid restrictions has benefitted the club when it comes to booking demonstrators that pre Covid we would not have seen. Such was the case on the evening of 23rd March when 35 members welcomed John Boyne-Aitken, based in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, into their homes via the magic of Zoom.

John is known as the Bowler Hatted Turner but on this occasion the bowler hat was replaced by woolly hat. John said this was due to the limited headspace in his workshop but if the experience of our in-house turners is anything to go by it may just have been to keep his head warm!

John is an experienced professional turner of 30 years standing having started at 14 and is now by his own admission 24. Fortunately, the demonstration that followed didn’t include any maths.

John set out to make a hollow form approximately 4 inches tall from a piece of yew. The piece would have a lid which incorporated a finial and, perhaps the most important part of the demonstration, the neck of the piece and the lid would be threaded enabling the lid to be screwed on.

John mounted the wood between centres, roughed it to a circular shape and put a tenon on the end. Having reversed the piece John shaped the ends and then demonstrated his drilling technique as the start of the hollowing process. He started with a 12mm drill, drilled a little way in, withdrew the drill, brushed the shavings off the bit, blew the shavings out of the piece using a piece of plastic tubing, put some wax on the bit and repeated this process until he had drilled to the required depth. He then swapped the 12mm bit for a 22mm forstner bit and repeated the whole process. The hollowing process was started using a spindle gouge. The outside shape was formed using a combination of spindle gouge and skew chisel. The hollowing was then completed using the spindle gouge, round head scraper and a square ended scraper to remove the peak at the bottom.

John then demonstrated the art of thread chasing using a 16TPI chaser supported on a Bill Jones arm rest. Once complete the thread was flooded with super glue which was allowed to dry before using the chaser to finish the process and ensuring that the threads did not have sharp edges. The outside was then sanded, sealed and buffed with wax, a combination of beeswax and carnauba wax.

A piece of African Black Wood was then put onto the lathe and once round John proceeded to form the end of the lid and cut the male end of the thread. He then completed the finial after having reversed the timber and lightly gripping the thread in the chuck jaws. He then chased a thread into a piece of waste, screwed the hollow form onto the waste piece and cleaned up the bottom. Job done!

There was then an interesting question and answer session and John told us more about himself and his work, including his most dramatic piece, the font at St John’s Church, Trowbridge which can be seen on John’s website HERE.


And lastly,

Don’t forget to get your phone cameras or video cameras out and get filming your workshop and what you are making to share with us.  If you have any videos to share, contact us and we will share a Dropbox folder with you so you can upload it.

Our next Workshop night is on the 13 Apr 2021, so if you have any items you have made, send us some photos to add to our Show and Tell feature.  If you have not done so already make sure you have updated your version of Zoom to the latest version before this meeting.

Then on the 27 April we have an online demo by Dennis Wake.  If you are a Pay as you go member, you will need to buy a ticket to this event, so go HERE and purchase it.  Any problems let us know.

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Showing 7 comments
  • Andrew Harris

    Thank you Martin .
    I tried the link to his web site and it shows an error, but as always, a very good write up.

    • Lincs Wolds Woodturning

      Sorry, the link is fixed now. Martin

  • Chris Fisher

    Everyone seemed to enjoy the evening although they did seem a bit quiet.

  • Dai Crawford

    I enjoyed the evening and as always learnt a few things. Will have to try thread chasing at some time.

  • Paul Tunmore

    Another enjoyable evening with a turner for which explaining the basics as well as more complicated techniques. It’s strange but sometimes you feel that interrupting the turner would somehow be impolite but think this is something we need to break as obviously he was more than happy to answer questions. Felt very homely more like visiting a friends shed rather than visiting a studio that some demonstrators project.

    Again a great evening that our club is getting a reputation for providing congratulations to all involved including the excellent write up

  • Mick Close

    Another first time demonstrator for the Club. very interesting and informative.
    Thanks again for keeping the Club alive.

  • Rob Smyth

    Yet another good evening engaging with like-minded people. Great to see something as yet unseen demonstrated. As always a well post demonstration write up. Looking forward to the next Zoom encounter.

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