18 Jun 2024 – Workshop night

 In Workshop Nights

Welcome to our Workshop Activity Night

On this pleasant June evening twenty three members, including our latest recruit from British Columbia, settled down to see what this month’s workshop would bring. As always, we started with the show and tell feature which this month saw a diverse collection of work from nine of our members.

This month’s turners were Chris and John; Chris opting to move out of his comfort zone and demonstrate the art of thread chasing while John opted to turn an “emerging” vase complete with turned flower.

John started by mounting a piece of wood with the bark still attached into the chuck. He decided what the length of the vase would be and started the task of removing the bark from the arear that would from the vase and then shaping the vase itself. The base of the vase disappeared into the rest of the wood that retained the bark; hence the vase appears to emerge from the log. Having roughly shaped the body and neck of the vase it was time to drill a 16mm hole down the centre that would accommodate the test tube for the flower. There then followed some fine tuning and shaping of the body and neck until John achieved a shape he was happy with. The next operation involved the use of a Proxon disc cutter enabling John to make cuts in the wood at the junction of the vase and the bark thereby giving the illusion of the vase pushing out of the log. That done the vase was complete, apart from applying a finish and parting of (but that could wait) so John removed it from the lathe and replaced it with a piece of Ash from which the flower would be fashioned. To do this John used the short point of a skew chisel and pushed it into the wood in order to peel the wood back. By repeatedly doing this the “flower” is created. Unfortunately, this did not go quite as planned and John concluded that the wood was too dry to properly create the peeling. For this job the wood needs to be wet. The solution would be to soak the wood in water for some hours. Once the flower head was formed the base was shaped. With colouring applied the flower would be complete. The stem was fashioned from a piece of Bamboo. Once assembled we have a vase “emerging” from a log complete with flower. With some time to spare John then finished a tea light holder he made previously.

Having sprayed the top surface with ebonising lacquer he then randomly applied drops of Jo Sonja iridescent paint, wrapped the holder in cling film to merge the different colours and spread the paint out resulting in a very pleasing piece. John then fielded questions on a range of topics from his audience and also gave some hints and tips on various workshop procedures. His evening’s work was done.

For something different Chris decided that he would attempt thread chasing, admitting that he had tried this about a year ago but gave up as it was not working. However, having recently seen the tools in his workshop he decided to once more give it a go. Chris was of the opinion that when he previously tried it the main problem was that he used wood that was too wet. To successfully cut threads the wood needs to be dry. Before attempting to cut any threads Chris spent some time discussing types of woods that are suitable for the operation together with an explanation of how the tools work and how best to sharpen them. Among the woods Chris cited were Box, London Plane, Laburnum, Lignum Vitae and Oak. Having said that any wood other than softwood should be suitable and if using an unsuitable wood an insert could be attached to both the box and lid to carry the threads. Having mounted a piece of wood onto the lathe Chris quickly shaped a box and parted off the lid. That was mounted on the lathe and hollowed out. Care must be taken to ensure that the sides are straight before the threads are cut and this was checked by holding a pencil inside the top against the side and ensuring it lined up perfectly with the lathe bed bars. Using a special tool a small recess was cut at the junction of the side wall and base in order to ensure the threads ended in the correct place. With the speed turned down to 370 rpm (Chris has found that this speed works best for him) the thread cutting began. With the tool rest adjusted to ensure the tool works at the centre the cutting requires a rhythmic circular motion of the tool in order to ensure consistent threads.

With the top done the internal measurement of the top was transferred to the base so as to create a flange for the threads. At this point things did not go quite according to plan and Chris was not able to perfect the cutting of the threads such that the lid screwed on as it should have done, despite several attempts. However, along the way Chris demonstrated the techniques required and pointed out the hazards and difficulties involved in this operation. There is no doubt that we shall see threaded, lidded boxes superbly made and finished in Chris’s unique style in times to come.

Things did not work out perfectly for either Chris or John but as woodturners we know that, more often than not this happens, and we have to deal with it. What we did have however was a great evening, we saw different techniques and methods and the audiences of both turners were both involved and entertained, what more could we ask?

A big thank you to Chris and John for a superb workshop.

Thank you Alan Selden for capturing the evening in words and pictures.  For more screenshots of the evening please check out the Gallery HERE.

And Finally….

We have a change in the previously advertised demonstrator on the 25 Jun 2024. Instead of Eric Conover, we now have the fantastic Rick Dobney who has demonstrated for us on several occasions both in person in the Hall but also online.  Eric has now been moved to the Septembers demo.  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 3 comments
  • David Eason

    Great evening. Although this time it didn’t work out right for Chris I’m sure everyone enjoyed the experience and took away some valuable tips

  • Rob Smyth

    Everyone has days when they have problems in their workshops and we all can empathise with Chris and John. Both carried on and engaged with their audiences making it a fruitful and enjoyable evening. Your endeavours where appreciated I’m sure by all of us, well done guys.

  • Paul Tunmore

    A wonderful evening with a great bunch of people, how many little remote rural clubs can boast of two members ,one in Colorado and another on a remote British Columbian island discussing their success in the worlds biggest woodturning symposium. We are a great club , attracting members not because we are the biggest and best but probably because we are the friendliest and most open to every level of turner.

    Our two turners both showed what we all experience, which is that when things go wrong we don’t give up but soldier on against anything. John’s flower refused to open fully open due to the wood drying out too much, and Chris refused to give up on his thread chasing until the base of his box was a disc . We learn so much from things going wrong and so little from perfect demonstrations.

    Congratulations to all our turners who constantly put themselves out there on workshop nights, Hand on nights and training days to forward the aims of the club encouraging people to take up the hobby.

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