21 May 2024 – Workshop Night

 In Workshop Nights

Welcome to our Workshop Activity Night

As usual this month’s workshop started with the Show and Tell feature which allowed us to see numerous pieces submitted by five of our members, once again varied in nature but all to a very high standard.

This month’s turners were Mick and Zak who both offered a choice of projects.

At the request of his audience Mick’s first project was the turning of a vase from a piece of Monkey Puzzle wood, a tree native to parts of both Chile and Argentina but was introduced to many gardens as an ornamental plant in Europe and the USA. The name “Monkey Puzzle” was created by a 19th century lawyer, Charles Austin, when he first saw the tree and remarked that monkeys would be puzzled trying to climb the spiny branches. Mick’s piece of wood was covered in small spines and at one end it was clear that several branches had been cut from the trunk. Stripping off these spines and the bark required care but proved no obstacle to Mick who soon formed the basic shape of the vase, the knots left where the branches had been providing an interesting pattern at the bottom of the vase.

Mick then carefully shaped the stem and blended it into the base. That done a hole was drilled down the centre using a forstner bit. The rim and top of the hole were refined using a gouge and the vase ready for sanding followed by sanding sealer and a coat of wax. Once parted off we had the Monkey Puzzle Vase.

Mick’s second project was a top hat trinket box. This involved turning a top hat but hollowing it from the top to the bottom and then turning another hollow form that would fit over the hat to form the “lid”. With the wood mounted between centres Mick trued it up, reduced it to the required diameter and created a tenon on one end. Remounted on the tenon the base of the box, effectively the brim of the top hat, was created which was sanded, sealed and finished.

The wood was reversed held in expansion by the newly created base. This allowed Mick to reduce the “hat” to the required diameter before hollowing it out. This was achieved using a combination of forstner bit and gouge and followed by sanding and finishing. Another piece of wood was mounted on the lathe in order to turn the lid of the box which would fit over the outside of the hollowed-out hat. The outside diameter was achieved, and the lid hollowed using the previous method but at this point care was needed in order to achieve the correct internal diameter which would allow the lid to slip neatly onto the box. However, time had caught up with us so the box was not entirely complete, but we shall doubtless see the finished article in the not too distant future.

Zak also offered a choice of project to his audience and somewhat predictably they chose his offer of making a winged bowl from an awkward shaped piece of wood which would also incorporate a natural edge. To make life even more complicated the wood also contained several cracks of varying depth and length. With the wood mounted in the chuck Zak set about shaping the outside of the bowl. The object here was to form some curves to the outside wall as well as forming the wings. However, it became apparent that the shape of the wood was not lending itself to a bowl with symmetric wings and ultimately that idea was sacrificed.

At Chris’s suggestion the chucking point was moved so that some turning was carried out in an offset manner in order to achieve a better shape. Zak spent time to achieve an outside shape he thought acceptable along the way filling the cracks with superglue. That done the bowl was reversed on the chuck so that the hollowing process could begin. Despite the poor qualities of the wood, Zak hollowed the bowl and achieved a good quality finish straight off the tools. Time ran out before the project could be finished entirely but we still had a natural edged bowl (minus the wings) that had proved to be a challenge to make. This project demonstrated how it is sometimes necessary to alter and adapt the process of making something in reaction to the nature of the piece of wood being used and Zak changed his design as he went along as it became apparent that his original ideas would not work.

Both Mick and Zak gave us an insight into dealing with the different properties of wood producing between them three very different but excellent items. Thanks to both of them and to the members who were most forthcoming with their comments, advice and ideas.

For more screens taken during the evening, please look in the Gallery HERE.

Thanks Alan Selden for once again an excellent write up of the nights events.

To do these reports Alan has to jump between rooms which is difficult to say the least to keep track of what has happened.  Are there any budding reporters out there who fancy staying in one breakout room during the whole meeting and taking some notes/screen shots of what is going on.  Then put the notes into a mini report likes what Alan has done above and send it in along with the screenshots via the Dropbox link provided in the Zoom meeting link email.  This would be a great help and also good to get other members opinions on the meeting.

And Finally….

Don’t forget we have a new Turner to our screens on the 28 May 2024, Kirk Deheer from Utah, USA, 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.  Meeting links will be sent out on Friday, so if you have not got it by Monday, please get in contact.

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Showing 3 comments
  • Paul Tunmore

    Another great night Mick’s Monkey puzzle was stunning and different as was his top hat box showing them at even in failure something good can emerge. It was good to o see LWWA’s double act of Zak and Chris in the same room and exchanging banter. Thanks to Alan for the write up and the new innovation if a botanical lesson about the wood being used. See you all next week

  • Rob Smyth

    Thoroughly enjoyed the evening with the 2 demonstrators and other club members. Both interacting with their audience and utilising their experience to overcome the problems nature provides. All our in house demonstrators try to offer a varied and original item for the evenings, they all do a sterling job. Thanks to them and the team that make the evenings run so smoothly and Alan for his informative write up.

  • Rob Collin

    Well done Mick and Zak for an. entertaining evening.
    Very enjoyable as usual.

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