17 Oct 2023 – Workshop Night

 In Workshop Nights

Welcome to our Workshop Activity Night

On a cold October evening twenty three members elected to stay n their warm homes to observe what our resident turners had to offer this month and they were present for another first for the club, as this month the turners were joined by John Mitchell, so there were four lathes working to entertain the onlookers.

The evening started with the Show and Tell section in which the efforts of six members were shown giving us an eclectic collection showing a diversity of design and technical expertise. After that it was down to business with the four turners.

For his debut John chose to make a salt shaker, an interesting design he had seen Dutch turner Ronald Kanne demonstrate some time ago. The shaker consists of two parts, a hollowed outer piece with a domed end and a cone shaped piece that fits into the hollowed out section. John mounted the wood for the outer shell onto the lathe and started by drilling a hole to the required depth with a forstner bit. The hollowing was completed using a round nosed scraper making sure to leave a “pip” at the top of the piece which plays an essential part in making the shaker work. The shape of the outside and the domed end was achieved by using a combination of gouge and skew chisel.

Next came the cone. The diameter of the wood was reduced until the outer shell was a good fit over it. A hole was drilled through the length of the piece and the bottom section was hollowed out. The wood was then shaped down towards the headstock, creating the cone shape which was parted off at the point. The outer shell was remounted on the lathe for sanding and John put three decorative lines on it at the base using a home made pointed tool. The cone was glued into the shell and the piece was ready for finishing with food safe oil. John explained that the shaker was filled by pouring salt granules into the base of the cone which would fall through the hole and into void between the outer shell and the cone. Shaking allows the salt to bounce of the “pip” travel back down the hole and onto the food. Simple but effective.

Zak offered his audience a choice of two projects, the first involving painting and spinning the wood while the paint was still wet (Zak’s preferred choice) or a box that would have a square base and lid but round in the middle. Naturally the members voted for the box so a three inch cube was mounted on the lathe and Zak drew the shape he wanted to achieve on one face so that he had guidelines for the depth of the lid and base. Using a parting tool Zak reduced the square to a circle which determined the parting off point of the lid and also formed the lip onto which the lid would eventually sit. With the lid put to one side it was time to shape the centre section of the box. The shaping continued until the centre section was completely round and effectively sitting on a square base. That done the box was hollowed out. The next stage was to remount the lid and hollow it out so that the box would fit into it. A tight fit (perhaps a little too tight) achieved the box was returned to the lathe and Zak set about shaping the wings of the base introducing a downward curving shape from the centre to the edges. Once sanded the box was set aside and the lid returned to the lathe so that the edges of that could be shaped this time the curves swooping up from the centre of the lid to the top edges. The lid was reverse chucked and the outside finished and sanded with the spigot left in place to forma knob. A complex piece but the final result was well worth the effort although Zak did comment that he may not make another!

For his part Mick acknowledged that Christmas is not that far away and so elected to make a snowman with Yew being his wood of choice. Yew of course is noted for its colouring and markings but is also prone to a lot of cracking which can make turning it frustrating. With the wood on the lathe Mick set about shaping the body and head. Once satisfied with the shape the body was put aside and the more delicate job of making a pipe and nose commenced. The last piece in the snowman jigsaw was the hat.

Once turned a hole was drilled in the underside to take a dowel that would allow the hat to be attached to the snowman’s head. Three decorative rings were burned into the hat just above the rim and the hat was complete. Assembly now followed, three buttons were attached to his front, a hole drilled at the side of his mouth to accommodate the pipe, the nose was similarly attached and eyes were glued into position.

To complete the look a multi coloured scarf was wrapped around his neck and his hat put on and there we had a colourful snowman ready for Christmas. With some time to spare Mick then made a small snowman and a Christmas tree both complete with hanging cords ready to be hung on the tree.

Chris had many options this month but started with a demonstration of how a glue chuck can be used to remount work that requires alteration or reworking. Chris applied hot melt glue to a wooden chuck and stuck a platter to it. The chuck was mounted on the lathe and tailstock support added. The face can then be cleaned up resulting in a fresh canvas. Once that was done ebonising lacquer was applied and allowed to dry. He then applied glue in a random fashion and demonstrated the technique for applying metallic leaf. He repeated the process on a second piece creating different types of pattern. As usual Chris makes this type of work look easy which masks the skill required to achieve the visual impact of the finished item. Next up was a bowl using a piece of spalted beech. Mounted on a screw chuck, a tenon was formed on the base of the bowl and the outside shaped.

In places the wood was not very good to some careful work was required in order to achieve a satisfactory result. Now mounted on the tenon the hollowing out followed and the bowl was complete. However as the spalting only covered about one third of the bowl Chris put it to one side so that he could consider what to do next in order to make it more appealing. Top of the list was pyrography in order to mimic the spalting but only time will tell, so we wait and see. The final piece of the evening was a spalted beech tea light holder but with a long stem. As usual Chris spent time deciding refining the shape whilst trying to incorporate comments from the audience. Once complete the piece was finished with several coats of Danish oil.

All in all a very busy and successful evening. Thanks as always to Chris, Mick and Zak with particular thanks to John for volunteering his services on workshop nights.  For more pictures of the evening, please see the Gallery.

Thank you to Alan Selden for yet another great meeting report.  These are not easy to compile and are for the benefit of all to see what went on, so please take the time to give us your feedback on the evening.  Thanks. Martin

And Finally….

Don’t forget we have a new Turner to our screens on the 31 Oct 2023, Dave Landers, so see you all there.  PAYG Members need to be purchasing their ticket as soon as possible if you want to watch this demo.  Any problems with doing this contact us.

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Showing 5 comments
  • Chris Fisher

    Four turners tonight lots going on. I was able to tease the odd word out of the members in my room. A big thank you to lads who helped me to turn like a proper Woodturner.

  • Paul Tunmore

    Another great evening with members and friends. Four lathes was an interesting addition well done Mick, Zak, John and Chris. I like to jump from room to room as Martin suggested but found I missed so much. Maybe having four lathes available could mean they could rotate so that the turners could have the opportunity to be ordinary members sometimes too. One thing that did happen on Tuesday that was interesting was that those of us with John at the end finished a few minutes early and had a very pleasant chat that probably wouldn’t have happened in the the main room.

  • Rob Smyth

    Another entertaining evening with a varied selection of items being produced. I also found it difficult to follow the progress in each room and think a rotation of the 4 Amigos would be a better idea. Each did a great job in keeping the audience engaged and entertained. Show and tell also demonstrated how accomplished our turners have become, well done all who displayed their items.

  • Michael Close

    Another good night for me on the tools. Have had quite a few comments about there being 4 breakout rooms and not being able to take in all the work on offers. May be a good time now to introduce a rota. I really enjoyed the September night when I was on holiday and in the audience.
    Excellent work by all contributors both on the lathes and the “show and tell”.

  • Rob Collin

    An excellent time was had by all, thanks to the 4 turners for putting on a great show.
    Lots of interaction too which is always good.
    I agree with the other comments, it is a job to to follow 3 rooms let alone 4. I sometimes get the feeling of missing out on some of the discussions and tips demonstrated by the turners which considering the time and effort they put into these evenings is a shame.

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