19 Mar 2024 – Workshop Night

 In Workshop Nights

Welcome to our Workshop Night

This month twenty one members gathered in front of their computers so see what magic Chris and Zak could conjure up to provide an evening of entertainment and education.

Before that however, Martin started the evening off with the usual Show and Tell feature, this month showing a variety of items made by five of our members and as usual there was an excellent selection of skills and techniques on display.

Zak started by offering his audience a choice of timber to work on. He had three pieces of wood generically described as bog oak and one piece of an indeterminate species that looked “interesting” i.e. full of cracks and pieces of it missing, but having the potential to be turned into something worthwhile.

Naturally that was the piece of wood that found itself on the lathe. Mounted between centres, the wood was trued up and a spigot formed in order that the turning of a bowl could commence. Zak shaped the outside before moving onto the hollowing at each stage being mindful of the cracks and other imperfections the largest of which being a large hole in the wood which would eventually be an interesting feature in the side wall of the bowl. Once hollowed Zak did stabilise some of the cracks using a mixture of superglue and sawdust. With the turning complete, Zak then power sanded the bowl followed by some hand sanding to achieve the desired finish.

Oil was applied to all the surfaces before the bowl was reverse chucked and the spigot removed. Off the lathe the pip at the centre of the spigot was cut off with a knife the bottom sanded oil applied and the bowl was finished. What looked at the beginning to be a terrible piece of wood yielded a beautiful bowl with unusual markings and full of character.

Next on Zak’s lathe was a piece of the bog oak, although what the wood actually was seemed to be a bit of a mystery. The intention here was to turn a bud vase. This was another piece of wood that didn’t look much to start with but once the outer layers were removed the true nature of it revealed itself with different colourings and markings becoming evident. In places, the wood was very soft and at the base of the vase a piece completely broke off but Zak incorporated the missing area into his design. Once sanded, the vase was finished with oil which brought out all the glory of the wood. The finished shape, reminiscent of a chimney sticking out of a wider base, took full advantage of grain, colour and markings within the wood.

Both of these projects started life as dubious looking pieces of wood but with Zak’s expertise ended up as very decorative items, the ugly ducklings had become swans!

This month, Chris was not turning but concentrating on finishing techniques and in particular using a mixture of white vinegar and steel wool as a stain. This solution is particularly effective of woods that are high in tannin and two of the highest tannin containing woods are oak and chestnut.

Chris had prepared a solution by half filling a jar with white vinegar and immersing a piece of 0000 wire wool in the vinegar and leaving the two components to react. The jar had stood for approximately thirty hours before it was about to be used. The resulting chemical reaction produces both carbon dioxide gas and heat so don’t put a top on the jar unless it has holes in it or alternatively just partially cover the jar with the lid leaving a gap for the gas to escape.

Chris had various pieces that he had turned with which to experiment using the solution. First up was an oak plate onto which he painted some of the mixture then left it to work. He then applied the mixture to a goblet which went dark (bluey/black) very quickly. Next a second coat was put onto the oak plate but only in the centre of it where Chris applied a coat of a much older mixture in order to gauge the difference in using new and old stock. Similarly on a second plate the older more concentrated fluid did turn the wood darker.

Chris then demonstrated that it is possible to use many different finishes on top of the stain, oil, lacquer, sanding sealer followed by wax, Yorkshire Grit and wax; the possibilities are endless and many were demonstrated. So far, we had seen what happens when the solution combines with the tannin in the wood and the varying degrees of darkness that are achieved but there comes a time when Chris, in his own inimitable manner, has to introduce colour.

So, with one of the dark oak plates mounted on the lathe he sanded back some areas of the darkened wood and proceeded to apply paint resulting in a plate of many colours and very effective it was. The second plate was mounted on the lathe and gilt cream was applied to the centre portion, the outer section receiving two coats of sanding sealer, a coat of Yorkshire Grit and a top coat of Hampshire Sheen High Gloss.

A fascinating demonstration with some extremely good results.

As usual another great write up by Alan Selden capturing the evening in words.  Thank you.

For more photos of the demonstrations, please check out the Gallery HERE.

And Finally….

The next meeting is of course our Club AGM on the 26 Mar 24, starting earlier than normal, meeting opens from 6:30pm for a 6:45 pm AGM and demo at 7pm.  The online demo is by yet another new turner to our screens, Mr Mike Mahoney from across the pond.  Please fully support this formal meeting as well as the demo.

All members are welcome to attend the AGM, but PAYG members will need to purchase a ticket if you want to stay and watch the demo.

The meeting link and all the AGM documents have been sent out this evening so please check your inbox.  Please take the time to have a read of the reports etc before the meeting and if you have any questions please contact Stephen Malcolm, Club Minute Secretary.

See you all there…hopefully.

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Showing 6 comments
  • Zak

    Another good night in the WS, thanks to all members who encouraged and joined in with the banter, great images in the gallery, thanks Alan S.

  • Paul Tunmore

    A great evening bouncing between two interesting turners. Zak with his pieces of interesting wood with his usual Let’s see what happens approach and Chris with his interesting and cheap colouring options using white vinegar and wire wool. We used a lot of white vinegar for cleaning and a tip for everyone , in the washing machine instead of expensive fabric conditioner that clogs the drawer of the machine. No it doesn’t mean your clothes smell of chips and it also cleans the machine!

    A really good nite and this morning started a jar of ” natural eboniser”

  • Chris Fisher

    It was a most enjoyable night. Lots of helpful advice from the folks in my room. It was good fun working together trying out ideas seeing what worked and what didn’t. Thanks Paul for mentioning other uses for white vinegar 🤣🤣 maybe we should start a helpful hints page.

  • Rob Collin

    Thanks and well done guys. Great fun as ever. I will have to try the staining mixtures Chris.
    Lovely piece from the knarly log Zak.

  • Zak

    Thanks Rob Collin, I’ve been called a chunky monkey a few times, knarly log is a new one😂😂😂

    • Dave Eason

      You a chunky monkey Zak never

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