28 Feb 2023 – Jason Breach Demo

 In Online Demos


Following our international trip last month February saw thirty four members going no further than Devon to the workshop of Jason Breach, a woodturner who combines woodworking skills with innovative design.

For this demonstration Jason had elected to make a pagoda box. He had prepared a 90mm square, 125mm long, piece of Ash and turned a spigot on each end. He had then cut the wood on a bandsaw using a ratio of 3/5ths for the box and 2/5ths for the lid. Using the bandsaw gives a neater cut than a parting tool and maintains the integrity of the square edges.

The lid was mounted on the lathe and the process of shaping the inside and hollowing commenced. The wood was hand sanded through the grits and Jason described his method of sanding that would ensure his hands were kept well away from the sharp corners. Once he was satisfied with the overall shape he then formed a recess on the inside edge of the lid that would accommodate the corresponding lip on the box itself. Sanding sealer was applied followed by a coat of Microcrystalline wax. The inside of the lid now complete it was removed from the lathe and put to one side so that work on the box itself could begin.

The first job was to determine where the square of the base would merge into the cylinder of the box and then to turn the required length from square to round. This gave us the rough shape and dimension of the box so Jason then set about forming the lip that would engage with the box top. This required some very precise work and much stopping of the lathe in order to check the fit of the lid so that it was a tight fit. That achieved, the next job was to shape the outside of the box, a concave curve narrowing to the top but flaring out to meet the squareness at the bottom.

Now back to the lid which was pushed onto the body of the box which acted as a jam chuck. The bulk of the wood was removed as a flowing curve was formed merging into the square rim, the depth of which was made suitably thin. As part of this process the original spigot had obviously been removed but Jason had shaped the lid such that there was a finial remaining. At this point, using a small Ashley Isles beading tool he then created six beads on the finial reducing in diameter towards the top, delicate work but made to look easy. The final cuts were made to finesse the shape and the lid was complete.

The lid was removed and it was time to hollow out the box. Jason decided how deep the box needed to be and drilled a hole with his spindle gouge to the correct depth. Then, using a combination of gouge and scraper he hollowed out the box which was then sanded inside and out. The lid was repositioned onto the box and it was also sanded. Some sanding with the lathe stopped was necessary in order to achieve the desired finish. Sanding sealer was applied to the lid and both the outside and inside of the box followed by a coat of wax to the inside of the box.

Jason now placed a jam chuck into the lathe and resized it so that the top of the box could be fitted into it thereby allowing the bottom of the box to be finished. The four straight edges of the base were shaped ,effectively creating four feet; the spigot was removed and detail was introduced in its place comprising a bead and a central tiny “finial”. The base was sanded and sanding sealer applied.

The turning of the box was now complete but there was still some sanding to do on the square sides of both box and lid. A board with different grades of abrasive was put onto the lathe bed and each of the four sides were lightly sanded. Any sharp edges were removed by light hand sanding.

All that was left to do was the final polishing of the outside of both box and lid which was done on the buffing wheel and the box was complete.

Throughout the demonstration Jason described in detail what he was doing, what tools he was using and his reasoning behind his choice of tool. He was at great pains to emphasise the dangers of turning an object with square corners and the need to keep hands well clear of them.

There were one or two points to note for the more amateur turner. At times Jason used an unconventional method of supporting his tool with his hand gripping the tool rest. This means that your hand is between the tool rest and the spinning wood, not something that is generally recommended. The nature of the piece also meant that when the lid and box were together on the lathe the only thing keeping them together was the tightness of the fit, there was no support available from the tailstock. This same situation arose when the box was fitted into the jam chuck so that bottom of the box could be detailed. Great care should therefore be taken to try to minimise the danger of the piece flying off the lathe.

Jason was ably assisted by his wife Maddie who did an excellent job of managing the cameras and sound system. Our thanks to them both for an interesting and entertaining demonstration.

Thanks Alan for another great write up.  For more photos check out the Gallery HERE.


Sat 4 Mar 2023 – The Club Shop will be open from 10am to midday so you can top on on what you need.  Also and importantly, we need items you have made to put onto Stand 84 at the Midlands Woodworking Show on the 10 – 11th March 23.  Please bring what you have along on this day as it is your last chance before the show.  They need to be suitably wrapped and boxed to protect them.  Please ensure each item is clearly marked with your name on so we know who to give it back to.

Training Days – 15 Apr 2023 – Booking is now live HERE, however, there are only 6 hours left available and these are all with our resident spindle expert, John Liles. John has a wide range of turning skills and has been turning for many years so can cover most subjects.  This is your golden opportunity to get some lessons from the Skew master himself.  Why have nearly all the sessions gone already? Well we had several people contact us to register their interest and as a result they were given early access to book.  If you have not managed to get on this training day, firstly get in contact and secondly, we do have more training days this year on the 17 Jun, 16 Sept and 18 Nov, so why not register your interest now to get that early notification.  We only have the four Club lathes and a limited number of available turners, however if the demand is enough we might be able to put on a fifth lathe, but as that involves moving one from some ones house, we would prefer not to if possible.

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  • Paul Tunmore

    Another interesting evening with Jason making everything look simple , which of course it won’t be. Explained everything in detail but as usual the demonstrator always comes up with something different . Jasan broke the first rule I was given when woodturning, that the tool rest is a line the you never cross. ie your hand should never get lathe side of the tool rest. I may try making a pakida box but with find an alternative to Jason’s technique lol. Maybe if you turned all day and everyday it would be different. An enjoyable evening just the same . I find it interesting but now little LWWA in West Ashby now finds Devon to be local whereas 3 years ago Sheffield was a foreign country!! Now looking forward to wowing Newark with what we have become

  • Chris Fisher

    Its good to see training days are as popular as ever.
    I noticed at the last demonstration night that there were a few questionable safety issues. For example, hands on the wrong side of tool rest, this is definitely bad practice and very dangerous. I’m sure our instructors would not encourage this.

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