Report on the first demonstration by Anwar. It a first for Anwar but it was the first for the club where the demonstrator had his wife his daughter, his son in law and his grandchildren present for the demonstration to give him moral support, not that he needed any.
The demonstration was part of the terms natural edge projects and Anwar talked about the various ways you can mount your wood to achieve the natural edge by using long grain and cross grain,the tools that we can be used to achieve a satisfactory result. He took us back to the beginnings of his Woodturning learning and reinforced what are the key elements of making a well finished product.
He showed us various various examples of what he had achieved over the period using natural edges. Those shown were dependent on the wood choice and some of it was dependent on the objective of achieving a vase or a dish. Regardless of the experience, of those present, all of the points were well made and reinforced need to think through what you were doing to achieve your objective and deciding on what tool to use and when.
Having reinforced all the points that we should remember and practice when turning he then gave us the process by which you can achieve a balanced edge, that is the width of edge when the piece of wood has two high and two low sides, as we do when turning a half round cut from a branch or the trunk.
Anwar then demonstrated turning a dish/bowl and was started by turning cross grain between centres. A forstner bit had been drilled into the centre of the grain side and opposite side to enable the location of the live and drive centres. The inside of the bowl was cut to just below the bark and the piece remounted between centres.
The piece is turned until a cylinder has been achieved. The position of the high side and the low side is marked. The position of the live centre is moved, not much, so the distance between the high and low side is roughly equal and the external side of the bowl is turned checking the width of the natural edge and adjusting the position of the live centre to achieve equal width.
Club Meeting: 7 September 2022 Report by: Kieran FitzGerald
Dave is a fairly tall guy – I dunno, about 6’2” I suppose. Anyway, to set the lathe up at a suitable height he has elevated it on two stands, each with wheels, that go under the legs. He begins his demo by taking a pre-cut sphere, still on a spigot at one end, and mounts it in the chuck. He then proceeds to burn two lines around the circumference of the sphere with a wire. “That’s all the turning we’re going to do tonight” he announces. And the heavy lathe, on its tiny wheels, gets pushed out of the way. Seems like a lot of trouble setting up for such a short display of turning.
To be fair, he did also use the lathe for one other thing – to show us how to use a stanley knife to cut a roll of masking tape in to thin strips by mounting it on the lathe and using the stanley knife like a parting tool. But that’s not woodturning is it? More like Here’s a Hint or Over the Teacups, that they used to have in the Women’s Weekly back in the day, before there were computers.
Next he pulled up a table cluttered with all sorts of paraphernalia and sat himself down behind the table. Using a moderately impolite phrase, Dave said “tonight we’re going to burn the snot out of some wood”. The topic for the night is burning (pyrography) and colouring. Now a confession from me – I rather wish someone else was doing the report tonight, because I know next to nothing about pyrography, and am completely unfamiliar with the tools and terms of the art. Nevertheless, at the end of the demo I approached Dave and said, “Man, I’m really impressed with the precision and detail of your work, I could never do anything like that.” His response was “I could sit down with you for 10 minutes and at the end I could have you doing work like this.” I guess he’s saying it’s not that hard, give it a go.
Before he started Dave unleashed a monster of a tool that was so long it would barely fit in some turners’ workshops. This was the new Rolly Munro hollowing tool. In case you didn’t know, Dave is an agent for the Rolly Munro line of tools (always an opportunity to get a plug in). Dave explained that there is a formula to define the depth capabilities of a hollowing tool. If you take the diameter of the shaft, multiply it by two, and put a zero on the end, that is the capability of the hollowing depth. For the tool he was showing, the hollowing depth was about 460mm, which coincidentally fairly well matches its price.
But back to the demo. The first thing to think about is what pattern you wish to create, and setting it out on the workpiece. It’s no use starting out without a design in mind, and just doing random burning. The two horizontal lines that Dave had burned around the sphere with wire served two purposes – they defined parts of the boundaries of the segments in which Dave would burn his patterns, and they also created an edge which would act like a barrier to stop burns “running” along the wood fibres and across into the next segment. Using the indexing on the lathe, Dave had already marked equal points on his sphere, and now he ran thin strips of masking tape diagonally from point to point, along which he burned lines, effectively dividing the sphere into a number of equal triangle-like segments.
With the basic outline for the pattern defined, each of the segments can now be filled in. Using different tips, and sometimes this way, sometimes that way, but always to an ordered pattern, the burning is continued until the whole piece is blackened.
Dave used a Robbie Graham machine which apparently is capable of very high heats and has a quick heat up time. It has air cooling to keep the pen temperature down. Having never seen this type of work done before, I was surprised at the apparent ferocity of it. The tip glowed red hot, and each time it was applied to the wood there was an instant burst of flame and smoke. Dave had a desk fan running to expel the smoke away from the audience. I heard the term “branding” used in relation to this work, and I can sort of see why, but I can’t say specifically whether that is a particular type of pyro work or just a general term.
It would be fair to say that the demo was accompanied by a high amount of banter from Dave and an equally high amount of stirring by the very receptive club members. A video recording of the demo was being made, and Dave confessed he was glad to be able to edit the video to his own satisfaction.
Next was a demonstration of how Dave creates the flame pattern which he uses on his pepper mills. He uses the pin stripe masking tape which he has cut to define the gentle curve of the flames outline. This sounds like a simple artistic manoeuvre but is actually an awkward contortion of knees and hands to hold and shape the tape into a sweeping curve. Using a blade tip, and starting at the narrow top, Dave begins to burn by rolling rather than plunging the blade in to the wood. He uses the tape like a fence, and rests the tip of the blade on the shoulder of the tape as he continues to burn the outline of the flame. A further purpose of the masking tape is that it also serves as a template and a barrier when it comes time to colour the design. Dave uses a pillow slip filled with rice as a working surface to rest his workpiece on.
With pyrography, of course safety is paramount. If Dave needs a break and a cuppa, he turns his equipment off, unplugs it, does a visual inspection of his work piece and his work area for charred embers etc, and then waits ten minutes before leaving the room.
Dave showed us some examples of how to do repair work so that the repairs are least visible in the finished work. In making pepper mills and other items, there are frequently nail holes or other faults in the wood. It is preferable to repair the hole while the wood is still not fully turned, and use sanding sealer before applying glue. Sanding sealer and/or CA glue can create impervious finishes which appear as blemishes under the final finish. The three repair options Dave described were drilling out a nail hole and using a dowel plug, superglue and wood dust, and a wood filler. The dowel plug option was frequently the superior option.
Once burned, the work can be coloured. Dave uses airbrush paint to which he adds just the right amount of mica powder. Too much, and you lose the lovely pearlescent effect created by the powders. Brush the wood with a toothbrush or similar brush, or give it a burst with an air gun to remove any ash dust left over from the burning. When painting Dave described a motion in which he sweeps his paint brush from one edge of the burn mark down and upwards, always working in the one direction, so the shimmer of the metal powders is not erased. It is hard to describe in words, but those of you who have looked at his delicate painted art will know what I mean. Dave told us that colour combinations of three work best, and we should always use complementary colours from the colour wheel.
For further paint effects, Dave showed us how to use an embossed paper towel to daub on paint in a way which was random but also structured because of the reappearing sameness of the embossed pattern. Different household items can be used to create paint effects, and it is worth experimenting with as many as possible to achieve different results. For example, a mandarin bag stretched tight over the wood and then painted over will give a diamond-like effect. Give it a go.
Dave stressed to us that it is important to be comfy when doing this type of work, and a tool that he finds invaluable is the Woodcut Pro-mount which can hold the workpiece in any variety of positions to achieve a comfortable working position.
Thanks a heap Dave for an illuminating demo which will inspire us to extend our skills into this fine branch of art. I can’t wait to view the finished video and see how much of the stirring you leave in.
Club Meeting: 31 August 2022 Report by: Kieran FitzGerald
Denise was keen to demo something that members may not have seen before, and it occurred to her that in her time at the club she had not seen a live edge lidded box. In keeping with the term theme of “natural”, Denise applied her creativity to turning a box with a live edge rim and a matching live edge lid.
Although lidded boxes may be turned cross grain (the butterfly boxes club members turn for the Beads of Courage Programme are often cross grain turnings), frequently lidded boxes are end grain, especially if they are of a smaller size. In this demo, the turning is cross grain. Denise took a small length of branch, approx. 130 x 90, and with a hole drilled in the side for the screw chuck, mounted it longways on the lathe. She turned a tapered curve to form the outside edge of her box. Next, at the tailstock end, she formed a spigot. The bark was cut off the bottom in this process. Turning it around, it was remounted in the chuck.
With a bowl gouge, Denise commenced to hollow out the box. Initially she formed a 6 – 8mm recess for the lid to sit in, and then she used a square edge scraper to hollow the remainder of the box.
The key element to a successful live edge box is having the lid match the box. This means carefully choosing your box blank and your lid blank from the same branch in such a way that the curve and appearance of the lid will be symmetrical with the top profile of the box. Denise took a longways slice of the branch she had selected for the lid, and as she had with the box, attached it to the lathe with a screw chuck. Measuring the depth and diameter from the box, she turned a lid to these dimensions. Removing the piece from the lathe and fitting a handle or finial in the hole made for the screw chuck will complete the piece.
During her practice for the demo, a split formed in a lid Denise turned from a wet branch. She shared a tip – if you wet the piece and clamp it, the split will close. Not perfect perhaps, but nevertheless useful in some circumstances.
Denise also demonstrated an alternative lid for the same box, but in this case the lid was turned with an end grain aspect, and incorporated a one piece finial.
Thanks to Denise for an innovative and entertaining demo. It will be interesting to see how many live edge lidded boxes are on the show and tell table next week.
Club Meeting: 17 August 2022 Report by: Kieran FitzGerald
Dick’s mission tonight was to show us the many variations of form and shape that can be turned to meet the definition of “natural”. As per the NAW Art of Wood page, this is “Any single piece of wood, which may be turned on the lathe or shaped with other tools and retains a part of the natural surface of the wood as it was found, or after the bark has fallen off.”
Dick had brought in a large number of natural edge pieces he has turned from wood in varying stages of dryness and from any number of different wood species. These included pohutukawa, olive, apple, pepper, robinia and puriri, the latter being a delight to turn. Shapes included bowls small and large, hollow forms, a lidded box, a winged piece. When questioned, Dick advised that there is no way of pre-determining which types of wood are better at holding their bark during turning, although generally wet wood will retain its bark better. The only issue that can arise from this is that as the wood dries the bark may shrink if it dries at a different rate, causing it to turn over at the edge and present difficulties for final sanding.
Dick has drafted two pages for the SAWG website showing the multitude of natural edge options. These are titled “Natural Edge Options” and “Natural Edge Bowl”. I’m not sure if the webmaster has posted them yet but they’ll go in the Projects section of the web pages.
Using a piece of fig (ficus) to demonstrate, Dick spoke to us about the challenge of deciding what you want to make from your wood. He covered the many options available to the turner for mounting the wood to the lathe. At the end of this Dick put the fig piece on the floor with the pile of turned and semi-turned pieces and a whole lot of logs suitable for natural edge turning, and offered them for free. These were gratefully received by members at the conclusion of the demo, especially some of the newer turners.
For the practical part of his demo, Dick selected a half log of wet olive. With a forstner bit, he had pre-drilled a 40mm wide hole to a depth of 50mm. Dick mounted this on the lathe using a home made pin chuck, and brought up the tailstock. The pin chuck generated a lot of interest from the audience and was passed around for everyone to have a closer look. The project page for the pin chuck will also be posted on the SAWG website.
Having ascertained who was doing the cleanup, Dick then proceeded to spray shavings far and wide as he shaped the underside of his bowl. He put on a spigot, made the base about 1/3rd of the bowl diameter, and shaped a curve which would give the bowl lift off the table. Care needs to be taken not to dislodge any bark during this process, so cuts made from the bottom should not extend all the way to the top. Using a very sharp chisel, and with delicate cuts because the fibres are unsupported, make the finishing cuts from the top down and blend them in to the existing cuts. Next Dick turned the piece on the lathe, mounting the spigot in the chuck. He partially hollowed the inside, leaving a central core for stability. He stopped hollowing at the point where the 35 degree chisel began to chatter as it came off the bevel.
Now comes the interesting part. Dick wants to thin turn this bowl, so starting at the rim he will cut down step by step. Placing the work light close to the outside of the bowl, Dick began turning down until the light showed brightly on the inside. He was at a wall thickness of approx 4mm to achieve this transparency. Working his way down towards the bottom of the bowl, he gauged his thickness by maintaining an even brightness of the light as it shone through the bowl wall. Dick double checked his thickness (or thinness) using digital calipers for a more precise measurement. Dick switched to a 55 degree bowl gouge to finish with a nice curve on the bottom.
To complete the bowl Dick needed to remove the tenon and cut the feet. He used a reverse adaptor to turn it around and bring it up on a vacuum chuck. Inside the vacuum chuck he taped an LED light so he could see the thickness as he finished the base. The issue that potentially arises at this point in the process is that the thin turned wet wood can be porous and therefore the vacuum suction may not be sufficient to hold the piece strongly. Dick brought up the tailstock again, with a small live spur drive, just to play it safe. He cut away the tenon, and shaped the bottom so that it formed a continuous curve with the sides. The lift created earlier needs to be enough to ensure only the feet touch the table, and not the bottom part of the curve of the bowl. Dick checked his curve with a profile gauge.
The position for the three feet were marked out at intervals of 8 notches on the indexing plate and cut using an arbortec carver fitted with a hedgehog ball gouge. Dick noted that the lathe should be locked and the tool held in two hands for safety reasons. With the feet shaped out, withdraw the tailstock and gently nibble away the remaining nub from the tenon.
Wrap the bowl in one or two sheets of newspaper and store it for drying. It will lose weight as it dries, and it is dry once the weight is stable. Now it can be sanded. This can be tedious, but Dick uses a power sander. To do the inside he holds a block of wood in the vice, pads it with a folded towel, and places the bowl over the top of it. The outside is sanded against a folded towel laid on the benchtop.
Thanks Dick, for a comprehensive and most interesting demo on the limitless options for natural edge turnings. I don’t know why he titled the demo “Rough As”, because it was anything but. How was that cleanup Denise?
Club Meeting: 10 August 2022 Report by: Kieran FitzGerald
In keeping with the theme for the term of “natural”, Garry chose to demonstrate a simple but aesthetically pleasing subject of bottles, which he advised look cool in a set, and which are great as a gift, or a good seller at the markets etc. The thing about Garry’s bottles is that they are made from old posts – totara, puriri, whatever, or from a tree branch, and then turned to retain most of their original shape and patina.
Making bottles is a good way to use cracked or damaged wood for purposes other than firewood. With a hole drilled through the top they can be used for dry flower arrangements, or with a glass tube inserted, as a conventional vase. Timberly, or a florist, can supply the glass tubes.
With the post shortened to an appropriate length, find an approximate centre at each end. Dead centre is not important because the look is natural and the shape of the post is irregular anyway. Mount between centres and turn a spigot at one end. At the other end commence to shape the neck and top of your bottle. Decide what form you want the neck to be – short or long, fat or thin etc. Bottles look best in a set, and even better in groups of odd numbers, with each bottle having different characteristics – height, shape, neck etc. Garry likened this to having rocks in a garden – two rocks looks like two rocks, three rocks looks like landscaping.
Complete turning the neck to the design of your choosing. Remember to leave enough wood for the hole you will drill. Give it a quick sand if needed. You can get ideas from old bottles for different shapes. Next give a little bit of shape to the bottom of the bottle. Garry prefers to create a slight concave so the bottle sits nicely. Make sure to leave a shoulder for the chuck jaws to sit against.
To complete the turned piece, grab the spigot in the chuck. Line it up on centre using the live centre in the tailstock. Tighten the jaws. Turn the lathe speed down to around 500, and with a 20mm drill in the Jacobs chuck, drill your centre hole. If necessary, tidy up the entry point of the drill with your chisel or with sandpaper.
To remove the tenon, Garry used a home made mandrel which mounted in the chuck and fitted neatly into the newly drilled hole in the neck of his bottle. With the tailstock up, he nibbled away the tenon until just the nub was left around the point of the live centre, and once off the lathe this was removed with a chisel. A final sand to the bottom, and a bit of wax or oil to finish, and hey presto you’re done.
One trick that I hadn’t heard before – if your wood chips (which totara is very prone to do), and the chipped area looks new against the weathered look of the rest of the wood, give it some fast aging by soaking it in yoghurt or stale milk.
Thanks for the demo Garry, and for showing us that wood art doesn’t need to be technically complex to be highly effective.
Club Meeting: 3 August 2022 Report by: Kieran FitzGerald
About 10 years ago Terry purchased a large load of Australian burls, and many of his signature pieces have been turned from these burls. Terry commenced his demo tonight by showing us a range of completed and partially finished burls which he was still turning. The unfinished pieces comprise a stock of canvases for him to apply his finishing skills to, including carving.
Preparing for a demo can be time consuming and Terry spent a fair while turning and putting together the tools and materials needed for tonight’s demo. However even the best don’t get it right every time, and Terry managed to forget at least two finished pieces and a chuck with the correct size jaws to hold pieces that he was meant to use in the demonstration. However, despite these small setbacks the show went on without a noticeable hiccup.
A noteworthy aspect of Terry’s presentation was the quality of his commentary. Throughout the demonstration Terry peppered his audience with useful tips and advice to both entertain and inform turners of all skill levels.
The prime piece of advice Terry gifted to us tonight was to use a support ring when turning a potentially fragile rim or winged area on a bowl or platter. Hopefully our photographer captured a good photo of this which will be the easiest way to demonstrate the support ring in use. Terry explained that many of his burls are too shallow to be considered useful for a traditionally shaped bowl, but can still be turned into a “bowl which is not a bowl”, at the same time displaying all the inherent beauty of the burl.
The wood Terry chose to turn for tonight’s demo was a shallowish coolibah burl. Coolibah is a eucalyptus and is one of the hardest woods in the world. Typically it is an irregular shape, and Terry mounted it with a screw faceplate on the flat side and the knobby and knurly bits facing the tailstock. His first tip was that before bringing up the tailstock he will turn a flat for the live centre to sit against. The purpose of this, he explained, is so that the live centre is accurately centrally positioned rather than perhaps pulling slightly off centre. Throughout the turning process maintaining true centre is important especially because a tiny degree of off-centredness (a new word, add it to the OED) can cause a very noticeable variation at the perimeter, especially with a narrow rimmed bowl.
The first operation is to face off the area which will form the upper side of what will be the winged area of the bowl. Terry shared several hints as he commenced cutting:
Bring your visor down before turning on the lathe Many catches occur after finishing a cut, so don’t look away until you have safely withdrawn the tool Due to the non-round shape of the burl there is a lot of air, so turn the lathe speed up to increase the amount of tool contact If you have suitable extensions use these to create turning room between the piece being turned, and the headstock and tailstock Finish with a skew, using it as a scraper, to create a smooth finish. Terry explained the properties of a negative raked scraper versus a traditional scraper and how it reduces the likelihood of a catch.
On the tailstock end Terry cut a spigot before commencing to shape the underside of the bowl. He continued to create the thin underside of the wings, with the lathe spinning at around 800rpm at this stage. Terry was using a draw cut, stopping the cut when he reached air. The nature of the burl wood is that it is extremely hard, and as it does not follow any grain pattern, it comes off the chisel in chips. The commentary was ongoing as Terry turned. Listening to the wood and noting the sound variations gives good clues to aid the cutting process. Terry applies the heel of the gouge to the wood, listens for the tap tap tap, and gently lifts the tool to begin the cut. You could hear the hardness of the wood. A scraper is used to bring the finished shape of the underside to a point where minimal sanding is required.
When the underside is finished the piece is reverse chucked and turned. At this point the support ring can be hot glued on to the underside of the bowl, typically directly under the rim, or near to the top of the bowl. The support ring gives much stability to the piece being turned, reducing vibrations and preventing the movement which occurs in the wood as tension is released in the wood due to the fibres being turned away. If the glue begins to dry before you have finished applying it completely around the ring, give it a burst with the hot air gun to soften it again. Terry advised that sometimes with a larger bowl he will use two support rings. In the same manner as the ring provides support in a bowl, he also uses struts with some of his winged vessels.
The next step is to turn the inside of the bowl. Starting with the wings, and finishing as you go, work towards the centre of the bowl, about 10mm at a time. Maintaining a continuous flow, and cutting a small bead to mark the point where the wings dive into the bowl creates an impression that the bowl is larger and deeper than it actually is. Measuring with calipers, Terry cut down to an even 5mm thickness. He pointed out that he prefers to use a spigot over a recess because it is easier to get a measurement of the bottom thickness. The tailstock was kept in place for as long as possible while the central core was cut away, and Terry cut downwards rather than crossways, still rubbing the bevel, so the pressure was against the headstock. Finishing cuts to get a regular curve were with a 55 degree bottoming chisel and a scraper, then checked with a profile gauge and a glue stick to ensure a perfectly smooth curve. With the scraper, pivot the tool rather than dragging it across the tool rest, to get a flowing curve. Sand with the lathe stopped so as not to round over the edges of the wings.
The final step is to carve three feet on the bottom to give lift to the bowl. Using dividers, mark out opposite points across the longest diameter of the bowl, and then opposite points across the shortest diameter. Position two of the feet on the longest diameter, and the remaining foot on one of the shortest diameters. Carve the feet taking care to blend the bottom so the line of the bowl flows through.
Terry showed us a partially turned burl which had a naturally occurring void in it. He advised that it is possible to use the turned chips and superglue to invisibly fill the void. Sometimes it may be necessary to add strength to the void by inserting panel pins to make a cage to hold the repair. Instead of using wood chips, turquoise or copper could also be used. However as a word of caution, if a piece is being added to a collection it must not have superglue in it. Over time, superglue can deteriorate, so collectors will not buy such pieces.
Conversationally, Terry advised that buyers always seem to want to know how long a piece takes to make. His reply is 34 years. He says it is irrelevant how long it takes to make, because time can never be recovered. When he bought the burls ten years ago they cost about $140 each, but they would be worth double that now. Pieces like those being demonstrated tonight might have a selling price of $1200 to $1800. When you look at the beauty of each piece of wood, the quality of craftsmanship that goes into making them, and the sheer beauty of the artistry, you can see they are worth every penny. Thank you Terry.
Club Meeting: 27 July 2022 Report by: Kieran FitzGerald
The theme for this term is “Natural”, and this meeting marked the first club night for the term. Accordingly, Bob chose a naturally themed item to turn for the enjoyment of members.
Bob encouraged members to turn to nature as an inspiration for woodturned art.
A seed pod from an unknown tree triggered his idea to turn a piece in which the original shape of the blank is retained in its natural form, but the piece is turned in such a way that the form of the object is silhouetted within the piece.
Before picking up a chisel, Bob used a profile gauge to outline the shape of his hidden object, in this case a bud vase, and transferred it to graph paper. From here he was able to translate the dimensions to suit his blank piece of wood. The wood he chose was a branch (possibly camellia?) about 200mm long and 90mm diameter. To simplify his turning, Bob transcribed the depth measurement of his cuts on to a length of masking tape which he stuck to the tool rest.
Bob had pre-turned the spigot on his blank, and he fitted it in the chuck. With an engineer’s twist drill (one with a morse taper which eliminated the need to use a Jacobs chuck), he commenced to drill a 20mm (approx.) hole into the centre of his blank.
Starting at the tailstock end (the top of the vase), and using only a parting tool, Bob made a cut to the depth of his first measurement. Next he took a narrow strip of masking tape (approx. 6mm) and wound it around the blank beneath his first cut. This it to delineate where he will make his next cut. Then he made his second cut to the next measurement on the masking tape on the tool rest. More masking tape, another cut to the next measurement, more masking tape, next cut, and so on, until the shape of the hidden vase is fully profiled within the length of the branch. Initially Bob checked the depth of his cut with calipers, but as the form of his piece took shape he was able to eyeball the depth of the cuts. Each cut was refined so that rather than having a square edge it was angled towards the next cut to create a continuous line.
To make the outline of the bud vase stand out more within the natural form of the blank timber, Bob took a small paintbrush and with a dark coloured acrylic paint he coloured the interior face of each of his cuts. To flash it up from a weed pot to a bud vase a glass tube can be inserted in the drilled centre hole.
The demonstration was a lively affair with considerable audience participation, and our thanks go out to Bob for kicking the term off with such an entertaining demo.
Club Meeting: 22 June 2022 Report: by Kevin De Freitas
Bryan started with a history lesson of when the club approached the council to take on the club rooms. When asked what the club would do for the community, Wig Stands and Toys were to be made and he encouraged members to get making.
The origins of this toy start with Bryan wondering what to do with the offcut corners from bowl blanks so size is not specific. (However, the piece used in the demo was approximately 55mm diameter and 90mm long.)
The intent is to make a teardrop shaped figurine featured with hair, eyes, nose, ears and feet. Bryan handed around a collection he had previously made. He recommends making these in batches to save time.
Bryan mounted a chuck with 25mm pin jaws.
The blank was already turned round with a spigot on each end.
The upper (head end) spigot is small to accommodate a single hole for the hair.
The lower (feet end) spigot is larger to accommodate two holes for the feet.
Drilling holes for Hair and Feet – Bryan mounted the blank in the chuck and drilled the holes for the two feet. This could be done in a drill press or free hand; however, Bryan showed the use of a jig he had made.
[The drilling jig consisted of a wooden housing holding a long drill chuck shaft that is free to rotate and move in and out. It is driven by a handheld drill. The housing is mounted on a shaft that fits the lathe banjo in place of the tool rest.]
The two 8mm holes for the feet are drilled with a Brad Point drill bit to avoid chip out. The position can be varied to allow for the feet to be pointing at the desired angle.
Flip the blank around and drill the single hole for the hair with a tailstock mounted drill chuck. The diameter of this hole should be sized according to the diameter of rope to be used. In this case a 7mm Brad Point drill bit was used.
Shaping the body – Remove the chuck and mount the blank between centres ensuring that a drive centre is used in the headstock (not a live centre as initially demonstrated by Bryan). The tailstock live centre will reference into the single hole at the top of the piece.
Turn a basic droplet shape that is larger towards the head stock and tapers towards the tailstock. Avoid sanding by using good turning technique and to save time. Bryan used a bowl gouge and a high lathe speed.
The upper spigot is effectively removed during shaping.
Marking the position for eyes and ears – with the piece still in the lathe, make a pencil line around the body at the point of greatest diameter.
Determine the positions of the eyes and ears on this line being careful to get a pleasing distance between eyes and symmetrical ear positions.
Locking off the lathe, drill out the holes for the eyes and ears with an 8mm Brad Point drill bit.
Don’t make the eyes too deep. The ear holes should be deep enough to receive the spigot of the ear which is later glues in.
Also drill a hole for the nose, again, with enough depth to have a spigot glued in.
Now cut off the bottom spigot and remove the body from the lathe – turning is complete on this part.
Eye detail – using a Dremel, add detail to the eyes. Bryan recessed above and below to give eyelid shapes and, on some examples handed around, eye lashes.
A mouth could be added here also but Bryan’s preference is to ensure the wood grain is positioned to mimic a mouth.
Making the ears and nose – mounting the chuck with 25mm pin jaws again, a blank is loaded to turn the two ears and a nose. This was approx. 30mm square and 150mm long but again, size is not critical. It was recommended to use a relatively straight grained wood for strength. Bryan turned it round with a spindle roughing gouge and a high lathe speed.
Using a small bowl gouge, the ears are shaped like a cupped funnel with a spigot sized to match the 8mm holes previously drilled. Turn the shape with an oversized spigot. Bryan then used a custom tool, made from a sharpened 8mm spanner, to size the spigot exactly.
Turn a nose in the desired shape (Bryan had previously made an oval shape) again with the 8mm spigot to fit the hole previously drilled.
Making the Legs – Bryan had some offcuts that were roughly 30mm x 20mm x 15mm. He mounted them between centres along the longest dimension and slightly off centre. He then turned the leg spigot round and only slightly rounded off the feet. The feet can later be refined by sanding.
Assembly – Medium CA Glue is used to attach the eyes. Using a piece of double-sided tape to pick up the eyes, ensure that you can see the orientation to ensure correct positioning. Add the glue into the eye hole then press in the eye.
[The eye inserts were purchased from Ali Express for <$20 for 100 varied colours and sizes]
Add glue to the holes for ears and legs and press them into place.
The Hair – hemp rope or similar type with the ability to unravel the strands is used. Add CA glue to the end of the rope to bind the fibres together then cut the rope to the desired hair length. [Beware, thin CA glue will wick up the rope quite a long way.] Glue in the rope into the top 7mm hole. Now the strands can be unravelled, and any embellishment can be done on the hair. Bryan suggested sparingly adding dye with a small brush.
Bryan suggested a price of $30 would be acceptable if this item was to be sold at market.
A great demonstration by Bruce on a cold dreary winter night.
Starting with a Matai blank 50mmx60mmx440mm.
Marking the centre first on both ends of the blank using a centre making a indent for steb centres. Choosing the handle end and the top end of the bat
At the top end of the bat mark and punch 2 x 20mm centres offset on either side of the centre hole.
On the same end also mark out 2 x 9mm offset centre holes on either side of the centre hole on the same plane.
Face shield down and running at 2000rpm
Take off the corners of the blank using a spindle roughing gouge. Identify & Mark the dimensions of the ball using a pencil & ruler.
Bruce then centred the blank to the 20mm centre mark. This off centre on the bank at the same time accentuating the ball portion of the bat.
Shaping the handle and head ends of the bat.
Switching to the spindle gouge.
Bruce then moved to the 9mm centre on the head end of the bat. Sneaking up on the back of the ball portion of the bat creating access for the spindle gouge to turn the ball referencing a centre line on the ball portion.
The skilled Bruce then using a spindle gouge started to round the ball portion of the bat into a sphere.
Spraying with ondina oil to reduce dust Bruce at 750rpm sanded the ball portion to desired grit.
Returning the blank to the 20mm centre point on both ends of the piece. Bruce finished turning the bat on either side of the ball portion. Cleaning up these sections using a skew.
Parting the handle portion down to the thickness 30mm followed by tapering the handle portion towards the 30mm thickness.
Finally shaping the handle bead and then rounding off the top end.
Using ondina oil Bruce then sanded the bat portions to the desired grit. 120G>180G>240G>320G. stopping the lathe to sand along the grain of the piece if there are deep scratch marks from the previous grit.
Parting the ends of the piece to thin nibs, taking the piece off the lathe and sawing off the nibs followed by sanding.
Janet began with a background on her experience and knowledge of craft, specifically needlework and quilting which gave us an understanding of where the understanding of colour and multi media we see in work originates. Her journey to wood turning via second hand shops buying wood bowls and the like upon which she applied her pyrography skills and understanding of colour and texture to create saleable items.
The demonstration that followed was thinking of the square, rather than outside the square which is generally what we wood turners do making bowls, and Janet showed us examples of 3 blocks, original 40 x 150/200/250 approximately, had been turned by fellow turners Colin Mitchell and Denise Donovan, into a profile of a hip flask/Gordons Gin bottle with a longer neck. These items, whilst nice in profile, were plain and unappealing, become the canvas for Janet’s creative mind. Don’t sand beyond 320 – 400grit as if the surface is too smooth the colours will not adhere properly.
Janet then tabled many examples of what can be achieved through the use of carving, pyrography and the addition of colour and other mediums, such as felt.
The following are some of the key points Janet showed and whilst not in the order presented will be of assistance and guidance for us in turning a plain piece of wood into a colourful item.
Plan what you are going to do -Create a drawing either by tracing onto lunch wrap or free hand onto lunch wrap. You keep this image for future use. Indicate the colour you want on the original and use this as a reference.
Put another layer of lunch wrap which you have put pencil rubbings on so you have a “carbon paper “ between your drawing and the wood. Inked Carbon paper is not recommended as the ink can stain the wood and will not be able to be removed.
Burn the outline of the image with a pyrography pen using 20 gauge wire. The width and depth of the burn dictated by the image you are looking for. Burning prevents colour bleed whereas a black sharpie will not.
Application of colour is by using U-Beaut Concentrated Non Toxic Water Dyes. You require very little and Janet showed a board with concentrate on one side and beside it the colour at 50% and it clearly demonstrated how little you need. Wear gloves. Remember to put the lid on as it stains. You can premix and store. Carefully shake before use and then use the product on the lid first as it will probably be sufficient.
Take your time and use a clean brush with a fine point. Use a tooth pick for fine detail. Cotton buds are also an option. Clean water for each colour. Multiple applications when dry will intensify the colour
Alcohol based stains can be made using “Sharpies” purchased from Whicoulls as original rather than copy sharpies have a more concentrated pigment. = dismantle the sharpie and take out the sleeve of ink and put it in a plastic container 60 – 100ml and then add Isopropyl Alcohol, 90%, and shake and leave it to defuse the concentrate. The resulting product is more translucent than water based products.
Bruce Wood then demonstrated the process of turning the bottle shape that Janet has been using for her decorating.