Category Archives: News

Lindsay Amies – Presents for Young and Old

Club Meeting: 11 December 2019
Report by Graeme Mackay

Wig stand to a Christmas gift: a matter of measurement.

A Christmas miracle was performed by Lindsay in front of a very attentive and interactive audience. Lindsay was able to turn a wig stand into a coffee cup holder. This tree like cupholder was developed using two important measurement systems imperial and metric.

In short this demonstration could be called a struggle of imperial versus metric measurement systems for gift construction. Lindsay was able to have the use of tech features magic box in the production of this work and the associated gifts. A central direction was to use recycled wood measured primarily in the imperial system. The writer supposes that this was because of the use of recycled Kauri.

Measurement system: was used to determine the size of the base, the joining spigots, and the vertical stand in the coffee holder pegs. This is achieved through a concise use of the imperial measurement system so that the hanging cups did not neither touch the ground nor bump into each other.

Drilling onto square piece made the formation of the cupholders pegs accurate and facing in the correct direction. A process that gained the audience approval and raise comment of rounding off the square piece. Rounding off was a mixture of spindle roughing gouge and skew. Sanding was simple with the finish either being lacquer or paint. Positive thing about Lindsay’s processes is that the mechanisms for finishing was simple and lathe based i.e. the Jacobs chuck and the sanding mandrels. The writer was not sure whether these were measured in imperial or metric. There were some extensive audience discussion as to the exacting system of measurements. This is particularly applied to the formation of the cup holder pegs made from 10 mm (metric measurement) dowel.

Coffee cup pegs: Lindsay did mention that there are a number of methods for getting dowel down to the size, understood to be 9.25 mm (metric measurement). There was mention of Mac’s sharpened spanner system. However the more accurate measuring persons within the audience felt that this was difficult to maintain a measurement such as 9.25 mm measurements.

Lindsay’s application method allowed for slight inconsistencies in measurement by the use of a 12 ounce (imperial measurement) hammer i.e. hammering it in.

Gift two: The associated gifts were made with very similar precision. The advantage of being that the prime piece for the base of gift one: a mouse, was variable. There was a question raised in the audience as to whether this was imperial variability or metric variability. Lindsay resolved this issue by making one body and imperial and another body and metric. The writer is unsure which was which. Small important notes were; sealing the mouse before making holes for the ears and whiskers and tail. Ensuring that the hole for these items was of sufficient size in this case 3.5 mm (metric measurement) and the use of superglue to finalise the attachment.

Gift three: a mouse on a door wedge. Lindsay used his magic box and showed how the flat surface of the mouse can be dowelled to the angled surface of the wedge. Lindsay did comment that the angle of the wedge is up to the maker and the size of the piece of wood been used. However he did indicate that this could be done in either imperial or metric.

Gift four: Raupo rush poles. A garden implement that can be made in both measurement systems. The steel rods can be purchased and cut source of required. Lindsay did note it is important to drill the bass part of the Raupo rush to the same size of the rod. Again in this case it was a metric measurement is that with the style of the steel rod purchased.

A warning: when using recycled timber particularly Kauri recycled timber, check for nails. They do significant damage to nicely sharpen tools.

Happy Christmas
Graeme Mackay


Demo by: Dick Veitch
Report by: Judith Langley
4th December 2019

Yes, HO! HO! HO! our very own Father Christmas decked out in green with a beautifully groomed white beard, entertained us to a variety of tricks from the rimu ‘magic’ box, and a very skilful demonstration of how to make an seven segmented bauble.

None other, than our Dick Veitch. As can always be expected Dick lines up the lathe using the aculine and then quotes numerous dimensions and degrees and produces slithers of wood from the magic box. The secret to a successful outcome for this project is accuracy. A piece of machined rimu with straight grain and perfectly squared was the fore runner, and as demonstrated even a small variance in the component sizing could spell disaster.

A barrage of tapping and banging from inside the box brought about a red jacketed Father Christmas with white flowing beard, who took up his stance on the end of a piece of pre-war telephone wire jammed into a purpose made blank. He was followed closely by Mother Christmas with long bushy white hair, who met the same fate – left dangling from another piece of wire.

Dick continued his demo insisting that great care was needed when shaping the inside of the bauble, using tiny cuts and very sharp tools. One tip during the sanding process was to use a bobbin sanding spool to sand around the curves.

More tapping and banging from the magic box and out came staged and completed baubles – an elf, a fairy, and then a beautiful little bird house plus a narrated story of the Christmas tree. All taking up a position on the display block.

Finally, a finial was turned on the base of the demo bauble and a suitable top bead and eyelet on the top.

Dick is an accomplished demonstrator and this was a great and entertaining evening. Remember the miniature tool kit from Woodcut Tools which was used by Dick during the demo – available from Timberly and would make a very necessary Christmas present.

The linked plan gives all the dimensions and instructions on how to make this bauble without duplicating them in this report.

Project Sheet – Christmas Tree Bauble

Merry Christmas to you all.

Ian Connelly – Snowman

Club Meeting 27th Nov 2019
Report by Bill Alden

Ian used the project sheet on our website. Which can be downloaded and printed at

He started with some 40X40mm softwood 70 mm long and rounded it to 30mm. The drawing on the project sheet is a slightly smaller scale but can be used as a guide to mark where the hat, head, scarf and the rest of the body lines go. He then made v cuts on these marks and proceeded to shape the parts as per the diagram. A minimal amount of sanding is all that is required as the item will be painted.

Next he turned the nose from 10 mm dowel inserted into a 25 mm long nosed chuck to the shape of a carrot approx. 10 mm long.

The dowel was pulled further out from the chuck and the scarf ends were then turned to the shape on the drawing again about 10 mm long. This piece when parted off was then split with a Stanley knife. The flat side may need to be sanded flat.

The rest of the dowel was used to make 2 arms approx. 20 mm long shaping a hand and when complete sand a flat to adhere to the sides of the snowman. The top of the hat and the base can be sanded on a mandrel attached to the lathe, use a chuck for the bigger ones and a Jacobs chuck with a mandrel for the smaller pieces

Next comes the painting and miraculously a white snowman appeared. Ian suggested using Gesso which is an Acrylic Primer, and is quick drying and formulated to take ordinary artists acrylic paints.

Colour of hat gloves and scarf is up to you but the colour ways on the plan look good. The plan suggests hot melt glue for assembly.

Ian then prepared another blank and used a 5mm offset at the hat end and a 10 mm offset at the base. This allowed him to turn a hat at a raked angle. It was however decided that slightly less of an offset and allowing more length to the piece would make the job easier.

The body parts were then turned as before after the blank was re-centred. He then showed us some other variations including one with a cap instead of a top hat.

Bruce Wood – Inside/Outside Turning

Club Meeting: 20th November 2019
Report by Murrary Wilton

Bruce’s project turned out to be an example of “inside-out” turning. For those, like this reporter, who had often wondered how items were made on a lathe by the “inside-out” process, the mystery was soon revealed. As always, the project begins with a plan, drawn to scale if possible. But in this case the plan was the shape of a Christmas Tree to be worked into two opposing faces of the ornament. Another requirement of good turning is to make templates of the tree branches, this time actual size, so they can be accurately turned as explained in what follows. The stencils are cut from thin aluminium sheet.

The project starts with four blocks 25 mm square by 150 mm long. They need to be carefully sawn as they will be glued together later. Number them 1 to 4 in cyclic order to ensure they are in the right place when finally glued “outside in”. They can be held together temporarily with hot melt glue, but this is not the best system as they won’t pull up tight enough. Better to use hose clamps with rounded wedges to maintain the roundness of the clamps and ensure a tight squeeze on the blocks. Attach them one at each end of the four blocks and tighten. Left-handed Bruce had to contend with the usual banter as he screwed up the clamps and proceeded with more skill than most right-handers. The clamps are located about 10 mm from the end of the block to allow a spigot to be formed for later mounting in a chuck.

The clamped blocks are now marked to show top and bottom and held between steb centres. As a safety lesson Bruce wrapped the clamps in electrical tape to avoid a nasty gash to the hand. (“We don’t want blood on the ceiling”, said one observer. “Takes all the fun out of it”, said another.) The “inside” turning proceeds with the edges of the block being shaped. Now the tree is formed branch by branch, the points marked with the stencils which he previously cut. Bruce used a parting tool and small bowl gouge for this work, constantly checking each of the four or five branches with its appropriate stencil.

Once the branches have been shaped, it is time to form the outside of the ornament, rounding off to the required diameter. During this time an annoying rattle was finally silenced by Dick Veitch who deftly moved the tool table a couple of millimetres from the lathe. (“Was it keeping you awake? Asked one wag.) When this task was finished Bruce applied sanding sealer before removing the piece from the lathe and painting it forest green from a spray can. This, when dry, becomes the inside of the ornament. Apply a second coat when dry and leave overnight before proceeding.

Now the “inside-out” miracle occurs. The blocks are separated and turned round 180 degrees in correct order. Sand off any paint that may have strayed onto the surfaces to be glued. Start by gluing each matching pair of blocks, then glue the pairs together, clamp tightly together again Keep in mind that you want the joints to be so tight that they will not be visible in the finished article. Allow to dry and re-mount the block on the lathe. Mark the position of various enhancements to the top and bottom of the ornament and start turning the outside shape. As with all spindle turning, sharp tools will ensure a nice finish without the need for sanding.

The finished article will be a feature on any Christmas tree and provoke a good deal of conversation about how the tree shape was effected in what amounts to a “box”. Great project for any turner and can be adapted to other kinds of small boxes to add to your repertoire. Many thanks Bruce for another master class and for revealing the mysteries of “inside-out” turning.

Strett Nicolson – Christmas Trees

Club Meeting:13th November 2019
Report by: Bob Yandell

In keeping with the run up to Christmas Strett demonstrated how to turn a Christmas tree and depending on size it could be an ornament to hang on the tree or a standalone item for the table or mantel.

The process was based on spindle turning with off centre stages. The use of offcuts or short lengths of large diameter, greater than 40mm, dowel meant no wood will be wasted.

The demo was based on a piece of scrap pre turned to a cylinder with a diameter of 100mm + and a length of approximately 300mm. Spiggots are turned on both ends to fit 50mm jaws. The cylinder is then mounted in the chuck and with the tail stock up a marked out. Ensure the chuck jaws are tight. The demo was turning a tree with an overall height of approximately 240mm. Based on 1/3rds the first 1/3rd started 30mm from the face of the chuck and this was to be the tub and trunk of the tree. The remaining 2/3rds will be the tree.

Using the Parting tool a gap of 10mm deep and 20mm wide (indicative only) was created between the base of the “tub” and the chuck and a similar gap created between the top of the tree and the tail stock.

Back off the tail stock and mark 3 location on the circumference of a circle of 10mm radius equal distance apart using the indexing facility or if using a spur drive count the impressions.

Turn the Tub and Trunk:

Bring the tail stock up to the centre and again ensure chuck is firmly closed. Create the trunk using the parting tool and shape the tub, half wine barrel. Decorate the tub with “hoops” scored with skew and burnt.

Shape the Tree:

Using the roughing gouge, spindle gouge and skew create a cone profile from trunk to tree top but ensure the treetop is 10mm, approximately, and up to the gap created at the tail stock. The gap was created to enable this to be achieved and the spigot untouched.

Prepare for off centre turning:

Mark the tree off in 10mm increments from trunk end. Because you will be cutting on each of the index marks you will be cutting every 4th line on each off-centre position you could indicate the line to be cut with a different coloured pencil.

Off centre Cutting:

Back off the tail stock and loosen the chuck to enable the live centre to be located in the appropriate location, either number or colour code to ensure increment to be cut matched location of live centre.

Using the skew with the point to make the cut at the first increment and positioned at right angles to the cone make the cut to a depth of up to 5mm. Withdraw the skew and make a second cut at the same location but an angle to the first coming from the tree top side of the first cut thus forming a vee. Repeat and the next increment,4th or same colour, and so on the top of the tree approx. 3 – 4 times.

Repeat process for each index/off centre mark.

Tidy and finish:

Re position to centre on tail stock and at this point you can paint the vees created in colours of your choice. When dry take a skim cut with the skew to clean up any paint on areas outside the vee.

The tree can be parted off remembering to undercut the base so it can stand and should you wish the top of the tree can be carved to create a star or what ever you wish.

Terry Scott – Spinning-Top Box

Club Night: 6 Nov 2019
Report by: Murray Wilton

Here’s a turned box with a difference. The lid is a spinning top. Terry started his presentation by showing a boxful of various spinning tops he had made over the years. They ranged in size from tiny tops, designed to be spun by tiny fingers, to a massive example about the size of a discus on a broomstick, which Terry spun using an electric drill to start it. In spinning-top competitions (last one to stop spinning) this massive top will always win because it simply wipes out all the others.

For this demo Terry chose to make the little box with a finial lid that can be spun as a top. Makes a nice trinket box for a child to keep their little treasures in and show off to friends who will be surprised to see that the lid is a spinning top. Mounting a suitable sized block between steb centres, Terry rounded it and fashioned a spigot on each end. He parted off about halfway to produce sufficient for two boxes and set one end in the chuck with a steb centre holding the other end in the tailstock. Next the tailstock end was turned to a suitable shape for its dual purpose. This is the bottom end of the lid (or top). It included a rebate for fitting to the box as well as enabling it to be jammed so the upper side of the lid/top can be turned later. The lid/top was parted off with sufficient depth to allow for shaping the upper end.

The box was then finished and, as Terry explained and demonstrated, this is the time to add any enhancements, such as grooves around the circumference. In this instance the groove was filled with metal paste, made from metal powder mixed with super glue, a talking-point on its own for the future owner of the box. (Check with Terry for the source of the powder.) After hollowing out the box the lid is jammed on so that its upper part can be finished and a finial added. Made from African ebony or old black piano keys if you can find any.

For much more detail please use the the following link to see an 18-step explanation of the whole project:

Also, consult the book “Tops” by Michael Cullen (not the former Finance Minister).

Another interesting project to add to your collection, which could be made in time for Christmas presents or Kids First projects. Many thanks to Terry for another excellent presentation.

There is also a new project sheet written up by Dick Veitch – Spinning Top Box