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John Whitmore – Rough as Guts

Date: 10th April 2019
Report Author: Emma James-Ries

This demonstration by John was complimentary to Richard Johnstons’ demo on wet turning earlier this year. John started by giving us an over view of why one might want to turn wet wood and the different qualities it possesses.

Some positive reasons to wet turn: For Woodturners it can be a feast or famine situation when it comes to acquiring timber and we’re more likely to be offered green wood. Wet wood gives the opportunity to turn very thin work, allowing it to distort and create interesting shapes. Green wood often come with the bark still attached, granting occasion for a natural edge bowl. Additionally cutting of wet wood creates very little dust, it is easier on your tools and creates very little dust. Drying of a green cut bowl will only take a year to dry, as opposed to a raw lump needing several years to properly dry. John reminded us of the very important point of striving for domestic bliss, as turned wet wood creates less storage and clutter within the household.

Some negatives to recognise would be that some timber can distort badly, particularly fruit trees. John told us of an incredible situation where a turned wet bowl of apricot had completely turned inside out whilst drying! Other points would be the possibility of wood going mouldy and to always be aware of irritant or toxic sap when turning wet, best to keep forearms covered.

John went on to demonstrate how one would mount and turn a conventional wet half log. He covered briefly how to cut bowl blanks to get different grain patterns within the bowl, butterfly or oval rings etc. John then used a faceplate to attach his large Rewarewa log to the lathe. He prefers to use passivated Tek screws over galvanised, as they are less likely to shear and they come in a great size range.

John then engaged the tailstock for security and to find the live centre. When turning a wet log into a rough cut bowl, a rule of thumb would be to keep a wall thickness of 20-25mm. The base is to be similar, however the spigot will determine this, as an internal spigot or dovetail recess is suggested to allow for remounting options once dried. John reminded us that we would need to guess the amount of distortion with the wood type, to allow enough timber to re-cut both sides of the bowl.

When moving onto the actual cutting process of the wood, John talked about different tool options. Until recently he used a Texas style Hamlet bowl gauge. However when turning rough, out of balance wood, it creates a bad thumping on the bevel. John found to alleviate this irritation somewhat, he uses large Easy Wood tools with carbide tips, tucked underarm for extra leverage and support.

John also recommends using a Chainsaw helmet for this type of turning as it reduces fogging and allows for ear protection. He went on to demonstrate the impressive carbide tools, cutting on centre.

John then let us imagine a scenario where the faceplate had been jammed on to the lathe by the huge amount of torque created when rough turning. While some people use leather washers to alleviate this problem, most do not and they are hard to find.

John showed us his spanner range that he would use to first undo the Tek screws holding the faceplate and remove the wood. He recommends the Gear Spanner from Trade Tools in Ellerslie. Once the wood has been removed, one can then find an appropriate leverage option (in Johns’ case this was a lump of metal acquired from a concrete power pole!) to lever the faceplate from the lathe.

Next John moved on to show us how to mount a rough block, with no practical flat face, to the lathe. His choice of wood was a 10kg uneven lump of Feijoa. He mounted the block between the centres to adjust the balance on the Steb centre. The problem with such a large unruly piece of timber, is that using a Steb or Spur to drive the wood will result in it boring into the green wood. This will also be the case with a screw chuck. The weight of the timber also rules out boring for a small faceplate or expanding jaws.

Johns solution to this was to create a large custom faceplate, with multiple holes that direct long screws angularly into the wood. This faceplate was a personal development of an earlier prototype that he passed around, very clever. One could either pilot drill or use a guide to direct the screws in if the wood is hard. John then demonstrated making some cuts, once the faceplate had been mounted. He proved that his mount ran true, as there was no evidence of a wobble in the live centre once the tailstock was removed.

To wrap up the demonstration, John let anyone who was interested in trying out his carbide tools, tackle the Feijoa. An offer that Richard Johnston took up eagerly! A very knowledgeable and interesting demo, thank you John.

Dick Veitch – Spinning a Thread

Report by: Janet McDonald
Club Meeting: 3rd April 2019

Dick Veitch gave us a demo on making threaded box lids. After volunteering to write this report I did a double take when he pulled out gadgets and jigs a plenty… but in Dick’s style he soon had everything step by step and slowly everything unfolded in front of us.

There are two main ways of making a thread box thread. One with a hand held tool. The way he showed us was with a setup attached to the lathe bed with a cutter and using a index system. He explained the types of wood suitable for the best results.

I will give the basic outline of what Dick showed us as I am sure this would become a booklet not a report if I detailed everything. Though don’t confuse this with it all being “too hard”, I am sure with practice we could be making threaded jars for our honey dippers in the near future.

Dick used Taraire wood and turned the basic shape of the outside of his box. Then used a forstner bit to take the box centre out. A large wooden jig was placed over the tailstock handle with its own extra large handle, to help keep a more consistent turn of 230r while drilling. A consistent turn helps for a better drilling result. He used Boelue lube on the bit to reduce the squeal.

To prepare for the actual threading, an area of wood was removed from the top outside of the box to allow for the threading depth and for the lid of the box to be threaded over later. 

He attached onto the lathe bed the main cutting jig with a thread cutting bit attached to the head stock. The main cutting jig with a 10tpi thread, which the box was attached to, was wound into the headstock to cut the thread into the wood. After a ‘once around cut’ the jig was adjusted using the jigs index plate and another cut made around to add another thread line. The index plate was adjusted 4 times for 4 cuts at 90°. In the end giving a ‘4 Start Thread’.

Then the inside of the lid on the box was prepared and the threading done on it.

On completion of the threading and the box, Dick with his router made a fluted edge around the edge of the lid to hopefully show people using the box, it was a screw lid and not a pop lid. 

Trefor Roberts – Starting Well

Demonstration Date: 20 March 2019
Demonstrator: Trefor Roberts
Author of Article: Wim Nijmeijer

As Vice President of the NAW, Trefor started by telling us about the work of the NAW and the benefits of becoming a member.

He then started by telling us that form is paramount in woodturning. Without a good form, the end result will always be compromised.
First review your finished turning and determine if embellishment is needed. (Spalted/figured wood, natural edge generally do not need embellishment) To enhance your woodturnings, various techniques of embellishment can be applied. Ideas can be found everywhere, nature, Internet; take pictures such as the Koru, Ferns, Butterflies, etc.

Trefor then proceeded by showing us a picture of a printed leave (laser print) and how this image was transferred onto the wood. First cut out the leave, and then apply Minwax Polycrylic (can be obtained from Mitre 10) to the wood and stick the printed leaf (ink facing wood) firmly onto the wood. Let it dry, once dry, wet the paper leaf with water and gently rub the paper away. The leaf image has now been transferred onto the wood. Various examples were shown of images transferred onto wood, these images could then be permanently marked by using pyrography or carving (Dremel, etc)

Next Trefor showed us some examples of engraving (smoking!) by using a Dremel and a ball shaped burr, to produce/burn indentations of half spheres, followed by wire brushing to remove the carbon.
This was followed by showing us half a dozen of turned eggs. These were already embellished/painted with various patterns/colours. One egg was then further enhanced by using various colours of Guiders Paste.

Next Trefor used some Milk Paint (can be made by mixing 1 part water to 3 parts powdered milk until you get something around the consistency of paint. Blend in a water-based coloured Dyes or foodcolouring if you don’t want neutral white)
Various combinations of using milk paint mixed with coloured dyes, acrylic paint and Guilders Paste were demonstrated.

This was followed by a demonstration using the Burnmaster by burning some patterns on a practice piece.
Last but not least Trefor used the Dremel fitted with a half-cup burr, this was then used to burn perfect half spheres onto the wood.

All in all a well executed and very interesting demo. Thank you Trefor.
Trefor’s last message for the evening: I hope you enjoyed the demo, and make sure you become a member of the NAW!

Richard Johnstone – Wet Turning – Remounting

Club Meeting:13 March 2019
Report: Garry Jones

Richard began by showing us all some of the wet turned bowls he had done over the last 4-5 years. He pointed out how he had left the spigots on them and also showed us the second spigot on the inside and explained that it was there in case the one on the bottom had moved too much.

He pointed out some of the reasons the wet turned bowls had cracked and had heaps of examples to show us along with a very entertaining commentary on each of the bowls

Some good questions came from the audience and Richard gave very knowledgeable answers and explanations that everyone could understand

He explained to us why wet turned bowls should be packed in their own shavings and into a paper bag rather than a plastic one that would make the wood go moldy

He also went through a quick explanation of where and how you should cut up a log to get the best quality wood for your bowl

From here he went to the blank of wet wood (liquid amber) that he had and demonstrated attaching a small face plate ready for turning

He turned the blank to shape and turned a spigot on the bottom to the required size, it was great to watch the shavings flying off the chisel and into the second row, the wood was really wet so the guys in the front row got an unwanted shower

Richard explained that you can turn the blank to the final shape if you want but that this was not necessary, again he had shavings flying off the chisel and into the audience in a well controlled demo of good tool technique, once the piece was shaped on the bottom he took it off the lathe and removed the face plate in preparation for turning the inside

Richard talked about the shape of the inside and the reasons for having a nice smooth sweeping curve, mainly for ease of sanding and finishing

He gave a good explanation of why he turns the 2 spigots, one on the bottom and one on the inside to the audience as an answer to some great questions

He demonstrated using the parting tool to make a grove on the inside so that the tool doesn’t slip when you start to hollow and also explained that the normal wall thickness for wet turning this size bowl would be a round 20-25mm

The internal spigot was then turned with about a 2-3mm recess just enough to give the chuck a hold for remounting, he also mentioned that with an internal spigot you need to have enough room for the chuck and be able to use the chuck key

Some other great options and discussions on remounting were also given from the audience

Richard then coated the outside and a small portion of the inside of the bowl with a wax solution to retard the drying process and ultimately the movement of the wood

Richard then remounted a walnut bowl that had been turned back in 2014 to demonstrate the techniques discussed in the audience. The spigot was returned to the required size using a draw cut and the bowl was ready to be returned to the desired shape

A very entertaining and informative demo by Richard that created lots of questions and discussion from the audience
Thanks Richard