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Winged Lidded Box – Terry Scott

Club Meeting: 8 Aug 2018
Report by: Earl Culham

The term project for the guild members is to produce an item from a 125mm cube. Terry proceeded to show those in attendance how to make a winged lidded box from a 125mm cube of matai, which one of the hawk eyed observers caused Terry to admit that his cube was in fact only 122.5mm. That is not a bad observation from about 3m away, but it was typical of the fine repartee that took place during a most informative and entertaining demonstration.

As is usual with Terry’s demonstrations there were lots of tips and helpful hints e.g.

  • Turn the cube cross grain
  • Make sure that when centering the cube for a screw chuck, that you get the exact centre. Terry use a Stanley knife to mark the centre, then a centre punch finishing with a smack on the handle of a Phillips screw driver on the centre spot to ensure that when you drill the screw chuck hole the drill does not wander due to the grain
  • Sharp tools are essential, when the chisel starts to feel dull; a couple of quick swipes on the CBN wheel will bring it back to sharp again.
  • Use finger nail ground bowl gouges. Terry’s preference is to grind the tip so that the wings are swept back. Use 35deg and 55deg gouges.
  • Hold the chisel handle in a lowered position, rub the bevel and then raise the handle until it begins to cut cleanly.
  • Use negative rake scrapers; they are much more forgiving than the traditional grind.
  • Keep your eye out for any early 20th century paino’s left on the side of the road for the inorganic collections. If you spot one, grab the black keys, they will be ebony. Great for making small finials. You might spot the odd ebony ornament on Trademe as well.
  • Be careful how thin you make the wings, they may need support with bracing and hot melt glue, depending on the thinness and the sort of timber you use.

Terry finished the winged lidded box by adding some embellishment with his famous $10 texture tool which of course doesn’t cost $10, but adds $10 value to your work each time it is used. Well, that is what Terry reckons and he would be right!

Little Wooden Owl – John Basillie

Club Meeting: 1 August 2018
Report by: India James

This Wednesday we had demonstrator John Basillie from Franklin show us how to make small wooden owls. John has been woodturning at Franklin for 6-7 years and Wednesday was his second visit to SAWG. It was a very interesting and intricate demo which provided some tips (and some longcuts) for turners of all skill levels!

Making the pupils:
John started out by making the pupils for the owl out of black rata which provided a nice contrast to the iris. Using a skew, he turned the pupil to a 10mm diameter with the help of a template. He then used a modified hacksaw blade to part the pupil off. John has found it easier if the pupils are made one at a time.

The pupil

Making the eye:
John then proceeded to make the eye, he firstly drilled the hole for the pupil with a 10mm forstner bit and then the pupil was pushed in and glued, the eye was then turned down to 19mm in total.

The Body:
The body for the owl was made out of a 55x85mm block of Swamp Kauri which was turned parallel to 48mm in diameter with the help of groves cut periodically along the block. The block also had a 20mm spigot which would be the base of the owl.
Next John divided the block into 4 by drawing lines 12mm wide. These were used as guides to create a sphere.
Firstly, he cut from the end of the block and the first 12mm line on the block. He the cut from the centre line to the end of the block.

Despite the decent sphere which was produced Johns ended up adopting the quote “What you lack in skill you make up with a bit of brute force and sandpaper” and he proceeded to grind the ‘sphere’ down to a sphere using a cut steel pipe, it was then finished off with ondina oil and sand paper.

Finishing the body:
Using a reverse chuck John put the body of the owl on the tail stock and then pushed it up to a jamb chuck he had made out of ply wood and MDF; this ensured that the body was centred. The reverse chuck was the removed and the base of the owl was cleaned up and made slightly concave.

Making the owl:
To make the eyes John put the body on a flat surface in order to decide where he thought the eyes should go. He generally follows these measurements: eyes 33mm up from the base and 20mm apart from the centre of each eye.
The body was then put back into the jamb chuck and it was lined up using the tail stock. To make the hole for the eye John used a forstner bit after enlarging the hole with a centring bit. John then used tight bond PVA glue to secure the eye and it was the turned down flat against the body. This process was repeated for each eye.

Thanks to John for the great demo! This owl it is a sweet looking creature made for the purpose of holding or for looking at on your desk. The above process was fairly involved but could be made simpler by using a few short cuts… such as using a sanding belt for the base. Overall, I wish John all the best on his mission to create an army of owls!

“What you lack in skill you make up with a bit of brute force and sandpaper” – John Basillie

A Bit Twisted – Jim Newland

Report for 25 July 2018
Report by: Dylan Budd
Jim was demonstrating how he makes his spiral candlestick holders. He usually makes them in pairs, with one having a left handed twist and one having a right handed twist.
He makes them in three sections, as this provides more convenient lengths to work with, and it is easier to keep the internal hole centralised in a shorter piece.
Selection of a good quality auger bit is also essential for a good result. The cheap auger bits with screw points at the front of them do not tend to cut very well, and can wander off centre when drilling the central hole.
Once you have a round piece of stock at the desired external diameter, select the section that you will do the spiral design on. Establish 6 parallel lines using the index on the lathe, and divide them into three sections. Now use a piece of flexible plastic with a straight edge to join the intersections of these lines on the angle. The accuracy of marking out is critical to ensure an even and equally spaced final product.
Using a V block or a square jig that matches the size of your workpiece (and a rod of the right internal diameter to reduce blowout on the back side of the holes), start drilling holes along the length of these marked out lines (using a stop block to get a round of perfectly lined up holes at each end.)
A ‘brad point’ or ’dowel’ drill bit is essential for this step, as the sharp central point on the drill bit ensures accuracy of the hole placement, and prevents the drill bit from wandering as you drill the holes. It also allows you to partially overlap each hole with the previous one to remove more material with the drilling stage and requires less work by hand at later stages.

The smaller designs have 72 holes drilled to make the starting point for the spirals, and larger designs can easily require hundreds of holes.
Once all the holes are drilled, start using a sharp bench chisel to remove the waste between holes and smooth out the spirals. Always work with / downhill on the grain, as this will greatly reduce the risk of taking too much material off and ruining all your hard work to this point.
The next step Jim uses is a microplane. He got a right-angled one and squashed it flat in the vice to provide a flat profile that allows him to get into the gaps between the spirals and continue shaping.
Once the planning is finished, the next step is sanding. Hand cut thin strips of sandpaper with tape added to the backing for extra stiffness are threaded through between the spirals and worked back and forth to sand the rounds on the inside of the spirals. Canvas backed sandpaper is also good for this (as is often found on belt sander belts etc)
The process can take many days of fine hand tool work, but the finished results can be quite spectacular.

Multi-Offset Bowl Turning – Michael Werner

Club Meeting: 4 July 2018
Report by: Murray Wilton

Swiss-born American resident Michael Werner gave a master class in a different approach to bowl turning, although the bowl seemed to be more decorative than practical. His home is in the small rural town of Quincy, at the geographical centre of the state of Washington, where he has given up his professional craft to teach in a small progressive school.

Demonstrating sans safety mask or goggles, Michael chose fruit cherry wood as the medium. The piece had been pre-prepared, rough rounded and the top surface textured and coloured with red acrylic paint. The area where the small “dimples” were to be cut was left bare so that he could see his marking out. The round was mounted on a particle board backing plate which he called a “charter plate”. To balance the offset centres he mounted a small faceplate on the charter plate opposite the first offset centre, moving it as required for each new offset centre to maintain the balance.

Using a European beading tool, really a skew chisel used like a scraper, he turned the first small “dimple” with a flat bottom. Lathe speed was about 1000 rpm. A parting tool was used to avoid tearing of the finished hollow and a bowl gouge made a chamfered edge. The first “dimples” were around 25 mm diameter and progressed in an arc around the edge of the bowl to give the effect of stepping-stones leading to a pond. The depth was about 3 mm.

Adjustments were made to move to the next offset. Each time after removing the charter plate Michael sanded the screw holes to ensure a good flat surface in the new position. To ensure perfect levels he uses a straight edge and checks the shadow. The last stepping stone was cut to 6 mm depth and 70 mm diameter.

The final main bowl hollow was 100mm diameter and hollowed to a depth which would leave sufficient material to complete the base after the bowl is turned over. To ensure there was no tragic event Michael constantly checked the depth and wall thickness. Minimal sanding was needed owing to fine tool work.

To complete the outside and bottom of the bowl the piece was removed from the charter plated and mounted in a chuck (a spigot having been cut earlier). Michael finished the work by mounting the bowl held by the tailstock against a round of particle board and with a paper gasket to avoid slipping. Alternatively hot melt glue could be used and cleaned off later. The rounded outer edge was finished using a skew chisel as a scraper/planer.


Wavy Bowl – Ian Dawkins

Report for 27th June 2018
Report by: Dylan Budd

Ian started by regaling us with stories of his youth growing up on the farm, where he started making toys in the workshop from age 13.

He then went on to talk about some of the interesting works he has learnt how to do from attending symposiums over the years, and encouraged our members to attend all that they can. He considers the admission fee a small price to pay to see such a great collection of international demonstrators that it would otherwise cost thousands to see.

Ian then pulled out a sample of the wave bowl that he was going to show us how to produce, as well as a collection of other pieces that had been made utilising the same concepts and equipment. Some of these pieces also included the creative use of builders bog mixed with paint to fill voids instead of resin.

To start off the process he turns the outside of a bowl to the diameter of the widest (or furthest protruding) part of the finished piece. He would then turn the inside of the bowl, allowing a generous thickness to allow room to work (and to try again if you mess something up!). Once this is turned he placed a fillet of MDF inside the bowl to act as an alignment tool for reassembly, which was also marked to ensure the correct orientation for reassembly.

Ian then started showing us the jig he uses to cut the sections out of the bowl. With a square block of wood mounted in a large chuck on the jig, it seemed that half the audience understood what was being shown, and half the audience didn’t know what they were looking at or how this related to a wave bowl. The latter group included a very confused and exasperated Terry Scott, much to the amusement of all present. Once the square block was removed and the bowl put in place on the jig, the penny dropped and all present were on the same page.

Whilst Ian was demonstrating the wave bowl tonight, it is also clear that this jig could be used to cut wave patterns into almost anything, an example of which were some wooden bangles that had been produced from the same jig.

The jig consists of a base board clamped to the bandsaw table, with an L shaped piece of MDF mounted to the top of it. The base board and the base of the L shape have holes and a slot respectively to allow for indexing and pivoting in a circular motion, and the vertical of the L has a slot cut to enable a chuck to be mounted in it.

It is important to note that the pivot point holes in the base board must line up with the front of the teeth on the bandsaw blade, as this is the cutting point. This will allow for a safe and smooth radius cut in your workpiece.

Once the jig was set up Ian showed how he would take one radiused cut, advance the jig by the desired amount, and take another cut. This would determine the size of the fillets that would either be turned down further to form the bowl, or left at the current diameter to form the protruding waves.

You could also alter the orientation of the bowl in the chuck to achieve non-parallel waves. This introduces all sorts of possibilities for complex patterns and crossing waves. If you have a try with this technique it is important to remember that whatever material you remove (including the kerf of your saw cut), you must put this same thickness back in if you want to achieve different waves all matching up in a single piece. This could be achieved by inserting a veneer matching your saw blade kerf, or by cutting the inserted waves from a different material and allowing for this lost thickness.

Whilst there were no shavings flying this evening, it was an interesting and amusing demonstration for all present, and it will certainly inspire some new creative ideas from our members.

Big and Ugly – Warwick Day

Club Meeting: 13 June 2018
Report by Lindsay Amies

A Warwick Day Demo is a great way to spend a Wednesday evening. Warwick is always well prepared, considered and thoughtful, informative, and his presentation is laced with a dry and self deprecating wit. All good fun which Club members responded well to on Wednesday.

The theme for this term has been “Out of your Comfort Zone” which Warwick took up with some  examples of his recent experimenting. An episode where four litres of resin melted the holding bucket, and chainsawing some “free” kowhai which concealed a bolt raised a few laughs before he moved on to his theme of “Big and Ugly.”

Warwick has been experimenting making oversized bowls, not for the faint-hearted. Getting access to large pieces of wood clearly was a lot of fun and a challenge has been to get these “monsters” on to the lathe and ready for turning was  an adventure in itself. Warwick discussed chainsaw preferences for cutting wood down to size. His choice is an 18″ chainsaw as he found a larger saw was too heavy to manage safely. Two chainsaw safety tips Warwick gave are worth mentioning here: Don’t cut above waist high and make sure no one is nearby while you are working. An early experience cutting branch wood with a skilsaw is a no no, and of course fancy dress is essential at all times while using your chainsaw.

Once your monster slab(attached to a faceplate) is on the lathe, work is needed to shape the outside of the bowl before starting the lathe. Warwick used a Bosch electric saw which he won in a raffle to cut off the rough corners, followed by an electric planer, also won in a raffle, and finally a King Arthur sander. Ready to turn? Not quite. Warwick produced an electrical gadget which slowed down the lathe so turning could proceed at a safe speed.

Turning the inside of a monster is relatively straight forward. If you have the tools of course. Several heavy duty bowl gouges, big scrapers, a DVR outrigger, a big Roly, (and bowl savers if you want to save some wood). Some of Warwick’s collection of tools were also acquired by buying tickets in raffles. 

Finishing the bottom can be a challenge. Warwick tried a Harvey but the lathe turned in the wrong direction and basically destroyed all his good work. A jig made out of custom wood worked. Rather clever I thought. (See Warwick for details)

Warwick is definitely not a production turner. He finds a lot of pleasure and satisfaction from trying out new ideas and experimenting. Exploring new techniques and finding solutions to problems on the woodturning journey is a real interest and strength.

Anyone interested in turning the “Big” stuff and needing some advice about techniques and tools should talk with Warwick who I’m sure will be happy to share his ideas.

Thanks Warwick. As always a great demo, and much appreciated.😊


Coloured Resin – Bruce Wood

Club Meeting: 6th June 2018
Report By: Judith Langley

TOPIC: Application and Use of Liquid Polymer Glass

Bruce opened his demonstration with a hand out display of resin moulded pen blanks and a cluster of completed resin pens, some displaying pine cones and seeds. We knew we were in for an interesting night – a great array of dyes, stains, paints, pigment, and bright coloured powders. There was a professional looking pressure tank, a Bahat made vacuum tank, scales, battery screwdriver and a digital laser thermometer. We were in for a treat! Coffee beans – what were they for?

First up, out came the digital scales, two paper pottles, a couple of stirring sticks and Bruce was away. The Liquid Polymer Glass is measured by weight – 50 gms of LPG and 25 gms Hardener into each pot. Coloured powder of choice is added (level teaspoon) Stir like crazy for a few minutes – out with the laser thermometer – temperature 60 degrees. Stir over the next 1 hour – until the temperature rises to around 100 degrees. At this point Bruce prepares a silicone mould ready to pour the liquid into. Pouring both colours into the mould at the same time to meld the colours. Once poured the mould is placed into the vacuum pump system – a large sized drain pipe 300mm diameter approx, 200mm high with a sealed bottom. A large heavy glass plate sealed the top. A small vacuum pump created the vacuum (too much pressure made the liquid bubble so the pressure had to be adjusted to create an atmosphere to remove any bubbles from the resin.

While all this was going on Bruce dismantled a mould made of kitchen chopping boards – screwed together so that once a pouring had set it could be easily unscrewed (using the nifty little battery screwdriver). This was all undertaken with great speed – Bruce spending considerable time wiping up spilt resin and being encouraged by members in the gallery. Dave Gillard was not short of a comment, and on occasion had some good tips for both the demonstrator and club members alike.

Next we saw coffee beans laid out in a pen sized silicone mould – another brew of LPG and hardener to be combined with white pigment, another stirring stick and Bruce was away again – faster, faster, until all the pigment was well mixed with the resin. This was poured over the coffee beans – a strip of jib stopping mesh was spread over the mould to stop the beans from popping out of the mix. This was placed in the pressure tank which has a safety valve set at 50psi – which meant that the pressure was maintained between 45 and 50 psi. Pressure tanks need to be treated with great respect.

Bruce turned a seasoned coffee bean blank – light cuts as the beans are inclined to chip and they are softer than the resin. No finishing compounds are used so that the coffee aroma can be enjoyed, interesting.

On a more serious note Bruce demonstrated the turning and finishing of a pen blank. Mounted on a pen mandrel at 3000 rpm the blank was completely turned using a roughing gouge. To obtain a high class finish Bruce sanded through all the grades 180/240/320/400/600/800/1200 and then on to the Micromesh, used wet > 15,000 grit. After sanding polish with toilet paper, Diamond polish or Triple EEE. A brilliant finish. Not to be outdone, Terry asked Bruce to demonstrate his latest finishing technique – sanding done with a power sander 180/400/1200 finished. Polished with Aussie oil (similar to Glowax) – an interesting result!

OK Bruce, if I’ve confused things it’s because you showed us so much in such a short time. We are very appreciative of your expertise, energy and skill. Thank you.

Beware Elliptical Contraptions!

Demo: Ian Connelly
Date: 30 May 2018
Report by : John Whitmore

On 30 May, our new President, Ian Connelly, stepped into the breach and displayed a device that arrived as an accessory with his first lathe and hadn’t seen the light of day since. This was very much in keeping with the theme for the term – ‘out of your comfort zone’. It was an engineer’s chuck for making all things oval eg a picture frame or box; or at least all things oval that would clear the bed of the demonstration lathe. The contraption had been modified to fit a lathe of the same centre height, otherwise he would have been in trouble.

The elliptical chuck was not pretty; but was certainly solidly made.
This comprised 2 assemblies, involving a lot of steel. A frame was clamped to the lathe bed (so making it impossible to swivel the headstock for greater capacity) and comprised a back plate with slide to which a large roller bearing was attached, centred on the spindle height. The bearing acts as a cam during turning to facilitate movement of the workpiece from side to side that, together with the lathe’s rotation, results in an ellipse at the business end. The relative position across the lathe bed gives variable degrees of ovality.

The second assembly was the drive mechanism which comprised a plate structure upon which the workpiece was glued and with an integral morse taper that fitted through the large roller bearing into the headstock spindle. This morse taper was secured using a tie rod to ensure that it did not come adrift during proceedings – to the immense relief of parties sitting in the front row.

Turning of an oval box shape proceeded at no more than 400rpm, accompanied by various mechanical noises and contributions from the audience – some of the comments being helpful, but most not.

The interesting points were that cutting must occur on the centreline otherwise there will be imbalance created in the workpiece; and the cutting tool remains stationary while the workpiece is moved both away and back again with each revolution. With all this unnatural movement, it was something of a blessing that the speed was kept low.

For more detail of the mechanics involved, please consult our library book “Adventures in Woodturning” by David Springett or the AAW website for a downloadable explanation.

Vicmarc also make an oval turning device based on designs by Professor Johannes Volmer

This was an unusual demonstration and very well received.