25 Apr 2023 – Craig Timmerman Demo

 In Online Demos


April saw twenty nine members once more off to the USA this time to the workshop Of Craig Timmerman in Austin, Texas. As Craig is noted for his offset turning he opted to demonstrate the turning of three different designs of weed pots all using offset techniques to produce the final shape.

Craig started by showing some examples of what he intended to turn followed by a plan showing the dimensions of a larger pot and a smaller one. The plan clearly showed the axes on which the wood would be mounted and how the offsets would work to create the finished article.

The wood, a piece of Cedar Elm native to Texas, was mounted between centres. Using the tool rest as a guide a line was drawn at the centre of the wood from one end to the other. Once removed from the lathe the line was extended across each end of the wood again bisecting the centre. A punch was used to mark the position of the offset on each end. The wood was then mounted between centres using the offset positions and a tenon created that would, in turn, be used to remount the wood facilitating the drilling of the hole down the centre of the vase’s neck. The hole should go to the bottom of the vase so Craig drilled the first part of it using a short drill bit before swapping to a long bit that would drill the whole length. This method reduces the possibility of the hole wandering off as a result of the long bit flexing as it establishes the

The wood was remounted between centres this time on the central axis so that a tenon could be created onto which the piece was secured into the chuck. Craig then drew a line on the wood at the headstock end to determine the area he needed for parting off and then using the one third, two thirds rule marked the point at which the base would end and the neck begin. The base of the vase was shaped and brought to a smooth finish using a negative rake scraper. Once again the wood was remounted between centres this time using the offset centres so that it was sitting at an angle to the lathe bed. Craig then began the process of removing wood from the neck area stressing that for this he used a bowl gouge, not a spindle gouge, due to the forces that were put onto the tool combined with the overhang on the tool rest as a result of the wood being offset. The required diameter of the top of the vase was determined and Craig then set about creating the curved shape of the neck. At the point where the base and neck meet he drew a bold black line so that he could see where he needed to shape to and ensure that there was a crisp edge at the intersection. Once again a negative rake scraper was used to refine the finish. The top of the neck was shaped and as much wood as possible removed around the live centre. All that was left was parting off, ensuring that the last few millimetres were cut using a saw and the job was done.

The second project of the night was a smaller vase using all the principles used in producing the larger version but with one or two differences. Although the neck of the vase would be offset to the base, in this case the offset would run parallel to the lathe bed so that the neck would be perpendicular to the base and not at an angle as in the larger version. This in turn means that the hole can be drilled on a drill press as opposed to on the lathe. This vase was turned in exactly the same way as the larger one. As before care was taken to accurately turn and define the line between neck and base.

The final example differed from the previous ones in that there was no distinct line between base and neck. In this case the base was essentially a bead that was then blended into the neck. In order to create that border line the wood was turned as far as possible but because of the offset the turning had to stop leaving a small ridge visible and a bump on one side of the neck. The only way to remove these was to mount the piece on a carving jig and, using a rotary tool blend the two together, followed by hand sanding to perfect the shape and finish.

Having done all of that Craig then went on to show examples of his inlay work using man made turquoise crystals. He has perfected this technique in order to fill in cracks that are common in the American Mesquite wood he commonly uses. This solves a problem and also yields decorative, pleasing pieces.

Another interesting and fascinating demonstration helped throughout by Craig’s detailed descriptions of what he was doing and why and we thank him for giving us an entertaining evening.

Thanks Alan Selden for capturing the evening in words and screenshots, of which you can see more photos in the Gallery HERE.

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Showing 4 comments
  • Paul Tunmore

    Unfortunately I couldn’t be at the demo and as usual Alan has provided an 3xcellant write up but it would also be useful if members that attended gave their opinions on how good it was , what they learned and how they enjoyed it etc.

  • Chris Fisher

    It would be useful Paul, but this our Club remember, I think I will just leave there and not say anymore.
    I sure Martin who is the Captain of this Galaxy class Star Ship is just as disappointed not to get any feedback.

  • Rob Smyth

    Not like you Chris to hold your tongue. He was very thorough in his explanations. By making 3 different types of off set it was a comprehensive demo. Certainly enabled the audience to try one or all variations with his imparted knowledge.

  • Dai Crawford

    I enjoyed this demo and never really done any multi axis turning I thought Craig explained what he was doing very well. Kept it simple and at a level everyone could appreciate. I’ll be having a go soon.

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