27 Jun 2023 – Lyle Jamieson Demo

 In Online Demos


Online Zoom night demonstration with Lyle Jamieson from Traverse City Michigan USA.

After short introduction from our Chair, Martin; Lyle went on to explain his proposed running order for the evening and how he started woodworking with his father in furniture making and not discovering turning until some time later, and like many of us, he was hooked. He described how he sought out the best teachers/instructors from all across the States and then worked out which way suited him the best and developed his own style and tools to achieve his aim. He went from traditional turning in 1988 to more sculptural pieces in 1996 and finally giving up work and focusing full time on his teaching, demonstrating and tool sales.

On to the project, Lyle explained he will use the hollow form format to demonstrate the fundamentals of hollow form turning. He will concentrate on safety, tool control, chucking issues, support problems, vibration issues, grain orientation, hollowing in stages and laser measuring techniques. He will look at techniques for both outside and inside of hollow form turning.

Preferring to turn wet wood, a Cherry blank about 2/3 months from felling was shown and this is where things started to differ from lots of other turners and methods. Most of us start mounting between centres with a prong drive and revolving centre and in the place, we regard as natural centre; Lyle mounted his blank in its balanced centre which he explained allowed it to be turned much faster, without excess vibration and also allows you to choose best orientation and grain but also the best-looking piece of the blank for the end result. Tool of choice a bowl gouge with a 60% swept back grind which he uses 90% of the time. The blank now fully tightened between centres Lyle went to work to round the timber and face the ends ready to accept the faceplate. The faceplate attached with inch and quarter sheet metal screws which give much better grip and hence no need for tailstock support. Throughout the evening Lyle referred us back to his white board to describe in great detail the direction of work with the gouge and the benefits of sheer scraping in the correct way, from widest to narrowest part of the hollow form, for the best results; also using a gouge with no handle to avoid catching it on the lathe bed.

The next stage was hollowing. Lyle started the process by creating a pilot hole for a drill with a pointed tool thereby ensuring the hole would be centred. He drilled the hole with a handheld drill bit although he did make the comment that greater accuracy would probably be obtained by using a Jacobs chuck. That done he set up his hollowing tool onto the lathe, his own design and manufacture. This comprised a frame secured to the lathe bed through which the hollowing tool is passed ensuring it has support and rigidity. The tool is used in conjunction with a laser which allows the user to “see” where the hollowing is occurring on the inside of the vessel. Lyle demonstrated that with minimum effort the tool can be used to hollow out the wood and at the same time create a very smooth finish on the finished piece. Having hollowed a cylinder within the wood it was time to calibrate the laser and hollow the inside to mimic the outside shape. The laser was aligned with a piece of metal held against the outside of the vessel which had a line drawn on it to give the thickness of the wall. Once that was done the hollowing was done until the laser disappeared off the edge of the wood. Stopping at this point gave the correct wall thickness. Alterations were needed to both the angle of the cutting head and the laser in order to ensure that the shape was accurate and also to hollow the very bottom of the piece to the correct depth. That said the whole process was very quick and produced very good results.

Finishing off, Lyle used a parting tool to partially remove the piece from the waste wood before using a saw to complete the process, he then showed ways to reverse chuck to finally finish the base with a clean bottom.

Lyle certainly explained a different way to use the lathe and its equipment, it was discussed that the usual items provided when buying a new lathe i.e. prong drive, revolving tailstock centre and faceplate are rarely used by new turners and therefore this carries on, even with some of the professionals always favouring chucks, some even competing chucks to see how many they can accumulate.

Thank you to Lyle for giving us all something to think about how and why a piece of equipment should and could be used.

Thanks Zak for a great write up capturing the evening in words and pictures of which you can see all the screen  shots taken in the Gallery HERE.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Paul Tunmore

    Was a little disappointed with this demo, was very clear that his way was the right way and without question. The thought these days that you don’t need a chuck was a bit extreme , between centres is not always possible and he uses face plates but doesn’t drilling extra holes weaken the integrity of the faceplate? H&S was also skimmed over , in his long drawn out intro he stressed Safety Safety Safety but was fairly dismissive about my comment about his wedding ring and another members comment about a face shield. He stressed that too many turners have far too many tools and gadgets then proceeded to hollow out a very small vessel using a very expensive hollowing system, overall too many differences from what he says and what he does. It’s a big bonus now that we see a demonstrator and can readily chose not to see them agai.

  • Michael Close

    A big let down! H & S didn’t apply to him. Took 40minutes before using a tool.
    90% of our members could do a hollow form of that size without the aid of a few hundred pounds worth of jig.
    Thanks Zac for the write up, I feel for you having to do it. You made it sound far better than it was. Well done Mate.

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