31 Jan 2023 – Kade Bolger Online Demo

 In Online Demos


Our first demonstration of 2023 saw thirty six of our members indulge in international travel to Whitby, Ontario Canada, not Yorkshire although there are some that subscribe to the theory that Yorkshire is a foreign land but that’s another argument.

We zoomed in to Canada to see Kade Bolger an internationally renowned woodturner. Kade had chosen to make a piece he referred to as a lotus bowl, the shape being similar to that of an open lotus flower. Before he began the demonstration Kade went through the basics of the safety precautions he takes when turning, safety glasses, face shield, ear plugs etc, things we all know about but it doesn’t do any harm to be reminded of the steps that should be taken to ensure we all turn safely.

Kade turns these bowls from different woods for example Poplar, Butternut, Crab Apple and Roasted Ash (more of that wood later). For this demonstration ha had chosen Poplar. The starting point was a 3.5 inch cube of wood and Kade emphasised that it must be a perfect cube in order to achieve consistent wall thickness and uniformity. He ran through how he prepares the cubes using a combination of bandsaw, chop saw and table saw.

The cube was mounted with one corner in the head stock and the opposite corner in the tail stock without the use of either a chuck or a tail centre. Once he was happy that the cube was accurately mounted and secure, the turning began. Initial cuts determined the “joint” between the bowl and the base. Great care is required when making these cuts; hands to be kept well away from the spinning corners and cuts carefully picked up so as to avoid chipping those same corners. As an aid to this process Kade attached a portable light bar to his tool rest which made seeing the edges of the wood much easier.

The next step was to sand those outer shapes and at this point Kade demonstrated how he does this either using power sanding or hand sanding with the lathe running. The key point here being that sanding such a piece comes with risk and so it is important to ensure that sanding arbor is carefully positioned and similarly if hand sanding the fingers must be kept well away from the spinning corners and Kade used the tool rest as an anchor for his arm which helped keep his fingers positioned exactly where he wanted them. If in doubt hand sand with the lathe switched off.

Next a tenon was formed at the tailstock end to enable the piece to be reversed and held in a chuck. That done the hollowing started but having noticed some vibration, Kade removed the wood from the chuck and discovered a small crack in the tenon. Kade therefore created a jam chuck and glued the piece onto it so that the hollowing could be completed. This was done by accurately determining the wall thickness at the edges of the bowl before continuing the curve round to remove the wood from the centre portion. Sanding was the next job again observing all the previous precautions.
Another jam chuck was placed into the chuck the shape mimicking the inside shape of the bowl and hot melt glue was again used to secure the bowl onto the chuck. The base was hollowed and shaped using the same techniques as on the bowl itself. Once sanded the piece was complete. The glue chuck was removed using acetone and it was ready for finishing.

Kade explained that his preferred finish was Tung Oil which he diluted by 50% with white spirit. Depending on the wood up to fifteen coats are applied,lightly sanding (400 to 800 grit) between coats. The final coat is buffed using micro pads starting at 3000 grit and finishing at 8000. Depending on the wood and atmospheric conditions it is only possible to apply two to three coats a day so this is not a quick process but the results are certainly worth the effort.

Kade then went on to show us many examples of his superb work answering questions along the way. One of the woods he showed us was the aforementioned Roasted Ash. This is (not surprisingly), Ash that has been roasted in a kiln at 2850C for anything between three and eight hours. The result is a black wood with an emphasised grain and extreme stability.

This was an excellent demonstration by a first class exponent of the woodturning art.

Thank you Alan Selden for the excellent write up as usual.  For more photos of the demo, please have a look at the Gallery HERE.

If you were a fully paid up member as of the 31 Jan 23 or a PAYG member who had paid to see the demo, we will be sending you a link to the recorded demo that Kade has kindly provided access to for 30 days.  So if you missed it, here is your chance.


Our next Hands on Night is on the 14 Feb 2023, so for a change, Chris will be doing a pyrography master class so if you fancy having a go at that there will be a few pyro machines, so get creative!  We will still be having the lathes in use as well as normal.

Like we do for the Workshop Night with the Show n Tell where you show us items you have made, we are starting the same sort of thing at Hands on Nights.  Please bring along any items you have made to put on display for others to admire, talk about and if you want it, obtain constructive critique.

On the same theme, we need items of members work to display on our Stand at the Newark Show on the 10/11 March. This Hands on Night will be the last meeting at the Hall to drop off your items.  Please ensure they are wrapped up well to protect them, in a box and make sure you put your name on a label attached to the item itself, otherwise we won’t know who to give it back to.  We will take care of your item(s) to the best of our ability, but won’t be held responsible for any breakages, especially at the show where the public are involved.  Here is a glimpse of what our stand looked like at a previous show.

If you can’t make this Hands on Night, you have one other opportunity to drop off your items to display at the Show.  This will be on Sat 4 Mar 2023 where we will open up the Club Shop 10am to Midday.  If you don’t have anything to display you are of course welcome to come to the shop.  We will be loading up the items we need to take to the show on that day.

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Showing 5 comments
  • Chris Fisher

    I think everyone enjoyed it.

    • Paul Tunmore

      Thoroughly enjoyable evening with a entertaining expert. Everything was clear and understandable and the “no problem” approach to setbacks was very impressive. Kade made the whole process look simple leaving members thinking that , even myself, could make one. Think many of us will have a go and I look forward to seeing completed ones on Hands on night. I think we may also see a number of members with plastered and bandaged fingers !!!

  • David Crawford

    I thought this demo was really good. Kade explained clearly what was going on and didn’t make it sound too difficult to do.

  • Rob Smyth

    An enjoyable demo well delivered. He explained every step of the process, therefore very few questions. Was able to deal comfortably with setbacks and how to recover from them. In all a good evening which has inspired Martin to make one and probably others.

  • John Mitchell

    Another great evening with a world class demonstrator we are unlikely to see in the Uk any time soon. His detailed detailed explanation of every step of the process was clear and easy to understand. The key steps, preparation of the blank cube, its mounting between centres and the finish were covered in detail along with the cuts required to make sure the walls were of even thickness and the bowl did not end as a funnel! The one thing he emphasised was keep your fingers behind the tool rest when turning or it will hurt and you will get a red stain effect!

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