24 Aug 2021 – Les Thorne Online Demo

 In Online Demos


24th August and we are still in a typical British summer, on a brighter note, our latest offering online was with Les Thorne, all the way from Hampshire. His description when asked what he might demonstrate was and I quote “A textured, coloured hollowed pot with a completely pointless pointed finial” well not sure what that inspired, however, a good turnout appeared on the night and Les agreed it was a bit ambiguous.

What followed was a great demo, full of tips and tricks and as the attending audience seemed to be very quiet, we wondered how it was going down. We need not have worried, Les has a way of keeping your interest, and supported by Martin Saban Smith whom he shares a workshop studio we didn’t have the chance to ask many questions as he covered it all.

After the usual housekeeping, two small videos on getting the best from Zoom IRD meetings and health and safety, Les again quoted his idea from the night, pictures from screen grabs will give you the idea. The textured, coloured pointless thingy.

A piece of oak, from an old newel post, around 4 inches square was mounted between centres, first tip of the day was to use the roughing gouge to cut the wood and not scraping, dropping the handle and moving side to side with the middle of the tool. The final rounding off cut made with the tool rolled over to use the now sharpest edge to get a better finish. Next a tenon was formed on each end with a Les Thorne multipurpose tool, a round bar ground similar to a skew. Work now mounted in the chuck, a thin plug was parted off from the bottom, however, Les dropped in another tip to get rid of the tiny indent that remains when you mount between centres. A witness mark left on the main body for later to identify the size needed for the bottom. The bottom now decorated and sanded and put aside for later.

Onto the main body, the best way to describe apart from looking at the screen grabs is an upside-down goblet shape. Tips on tool usage here with coves, Les showed the most effective way to use the gouge to remove material and achieve the desired shape and finish with minimal movement and effort. A true production turner, outer shape quickly formed and onto the inside hollowing with a variety of tools including bowl gouge and a guide to various hollowing tools, tricks here on avoiding catches, which Les demonstrated with great skill. A question on sharpening lead to a full round up of various methods and the benefits of each system for different situations.
After a ten-minute break work resumed on finalising the outer shape and forming a narrow neck leading to a fluted top, towards the final turning stage the piece was mounted onto a ram chuck allowing Les to carefully shape the neck and drill a 6mm hole.

A tip on sanding Oak and other grained timbers is to go with the grain another one Les managed to squeeze in. To the final finish after an entertaining evening some friendly banter between Martin S.S and Les on colouring; a threading tool was used to create small grooves over most of the lower end of the pot and the whole piece was coloured with Hampshire sheen intrinsic stain and coated with White Hampshire sheen embellishing wax. This was then hand buffed to a finish.

The pointed pointless bit followed, with a small oak block turned into bulb shaped finial, with a point, that plugged the hole in the top, this coloured with a bright orange to enhance the pointless description.. The bottom plug was finally inserted, it was only a friction fit, as apparently Les doesn’t get on with adhesives very well, but he assured us that friction fit is fine.

Not many questions were asked as everything seemed to be covered during, however, some general chat followed, and we all agreed an excellent demo. Many thanks to Les and Martin for an entertaining and informative evening. I’m sure we will be asking them both back again in the future.

If you missed the demo and are a fully paid up member, check your inbox, as Alan B has sent out a special link to the recording of the demo that Les and Martin S. S made.


This Saturday, 28 Aug 21, from 10am to midday, Mick will be opening up the Club Shop so you can top up on your Woodturning supplies.  Please come along and say hello it will be good to see you, plus you could buy yourself a few Xmas Raffle tickets at the same time.

Don’t forget your mask and please remember you need to be staying 2 metres apart at all times.  It’s for every ones protection, so please keep your distance. 

Online Workshop Nights and Physical Hands on Night in the Hall

Firstly, for those that may have missed our last Workshop night, you can now check out the action on a video that Zak recorded HERE

After watching his video, why not watch a new one just posted on our YouTube channel by Chris Fisher, all about applying paint with a brush and airbrushing chestnut products and spirit stains HERE

Now for some important news.  The online Workshop nights are moving to the 3rd Tuesday, so, 21 Sept, 19 Oct, 16 Nov and 21 Dec 2021.  This is because we are opening up the Village Hall to have a physical Hands on Night on the 2nd Tuesday, so 14 Sept, 12 Oct, 9 Nov and 14 Dec 2021.  All members will have been sent either via email or by post, information about the night.  You can also check out the details on the Hands on Night event page HERE.

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Showing 4 comments
  • Paul Tunmore

    Another superb demo that would never would have happened in the hall because of distance. Every move tool and cut explained naturally but Les who it’s obvious is a superb teacher. The pointless thingy was an ideal project to show various techniques that probably would not have been covered if the object was not pointless.
    A very enjoyable and instructive evening and wouldn’t hesitate to attend another demo in the futurebto see Les make something that wasn’t pointless

  • Chris Fisher

    One of the best demonstrations we’ve ever had, it was full of very useful tips and tricks. A thoroughly enjoyable night.

  • Mick Close

    What can you “agen It”. A fantastic demo. that kept everyone tongue tied. Les’s IRD was even better than a ‘live’ one I saw a few years ago at ‘Ally Pally’. I agree with Chris F. that it was one of the
    best demo’s we’ve had. Well done Alan, please don’t forget to book him again in the future.

  • Dai Crawford

    Another great demo. Picked up a good few tips on this one.

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