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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.


Multicentre Tea Light – Holm Miehlbradt

Holm did his first demo for the club.  He chose the  challenging project of a multicentre tea light holder.

Initial shaping of the outside was done, he then marked out the end with multiple centres, explaining that as he was only tilting the wood in the chuck, that as he went closer to the bottom the offset had to be greater to get a consistent result.

Next he cut a grove for each  centre.

Once he was happy with the groves depth (about 9mm) he then proceeded to hollow the holder.

In the bottom he made a recess to hold the LED tea light, finanlly completing the shaping of the holder and parting it off.

Scobies Donut – Bruce Wood

 Bruce chose to demo a Neil Scobie donut.   

First cut the block in half – the two dowels allow you to align the donut after it is turned when you need to join it together, the pieces are glue together, but only in the middle section.  The idea of the shallow cuts is to prevent the glue from getting to the outer surfaces

Mount between centres

Bruce had a template to assist in making the donut round.

Once a basic donut shape was established, the turning moved from between centres to a jamb chuck.

The centre was then taken out carefully, removing material from one side, then turning to remove material from the other.  This care was to prevent the wood in the centre from damaging the donut.

Another donut was then turned without the split, the the split one put through it, and mounted on a stand.

The slightly larger donut was made by Carol Knowles, the other three were a number of variations the Bruce had completed.

Off the Wall – Warwick Day

Club Meeting: 7 June 2017
Report by Earl Culham

Once again Warwick presented club members with a provocative, interesting and educational demonstration. The demonstration concentrated on “Texture and Colour” using wall plaques as the medium, hence the title Off the Wall.

Warwick had obviously spent a considerable amount of time, imagination and creativity in preparation for the demonstration.


For inspiration in choosing colours, Warwick explained that he would draw on experience, the natural environment such as autumn tones, snorkelling around Pacific islands, Navajo Indian pottery, and poets such as Wordsworth and Coleridge.

To high light what he meant by using the colours inspired by the examples noted above, Warwick displayed several wall plaques he had made. For instance Wordsworth suggested to him streams, daffodils, poppies, and cherry blossoms. From those colours he would pick a theme and colour the plaque to best express what he envisioned.

Coleridge on the other hand suggested to him the sun, moon and shimmering; an example of turning inspiration into colour was demonstrated on a wall plaque which was passed around the members.


In making his wall plaques, Warwick uses a router for fluting, and various texturing tools e.g. a chatter tool, Terry Scott’s textura, and Robert Sorby texturing tools. He also used a Dremel for texture in the flutes or where ever the texturing tools were not the best option. Pyrography added another dimension with many different textures available.

At the conclusion of the demonstration on texturing, Warwick then added colour to his work. He commented that an artist had told him never to scrimp on the quality of brushes he uses, so he doesn’t; he spends a lavish $2.50 for a packet of brushes from the $2 shop. The last of the big spenders!

Thank you Warwick for a very enjoyable and informative demonstration.

Clean Bottoms – Terry Scott

Club Night 31st May 2017
Report by Murray Wilton

Always expect the unexpected from a Terry Scott presentation, and tonight was no exception. However, if the unusually large audience was expecting a super-thin natural edge bowl, or some exotic texturing or inlay work, they were in for a surprise. Following the term theme of “Brown and Round”, Terry informed us that he was going to take us through the basics of bowl turning. With a large number of new members, many of them beginners, Terry quite correctly estimated that this would be a very acceptable lesson.

The Basics If using a lathe with swivel head, check that it is correctly aligned with the tail stock to ensure accurate turning. Use a steb centre mounted in the tail stock to steady the bowl blank mounted on a face plate in the chuck end. Once you are happy that it is rounded true, the steb centre and tail stock can be removed from the work area.

WEAR A SAFETY MASK!! Terry reminded even the experienced turners not to rely on safety goggles alone. Eyes are precious and can’t be replaced. Remember, too, that your own kitchen provides a variety of wood-turning supplies and accessories: paper towels, small dishes, brushes, the coffee whisk, various cooking oils, the microwave. But check with the kitchen manager first!!

When everything is set up, always rotate the work by hand to ensure it won’t be striking the tool rest. Check again every time you change the tool rest or make any other adjustments.

Terry uses up to 6 chisels for bowl work, starting with a 30 degree fingernail grind bowl gouge to rough turn the bowl. When asked about speed, Terry advised setting the speed you are comfortable with, from 1,000 to 1,800 rpm. Keep moving the tool rest so it remains as close as possible to the work. Stand in a comfortable position, chisel low and close to the body and RUB THE BEVEL!

Don’t “white knuckle” as you proceeed. Let the chisel do its work.
Form a 48 mm spigot to fit snugly in 50mm bowl jaws. Once you have the external shape roughed out, change to a 55 degree bowl gouge to smooth it off and complete the outside of the bowl with a scraper to achieve a smooth surface and avoid too much sanding.

Hold the chisel at a 15 degree angle from the work to achieve a slicing action which avoids tearing the grain. Make slow steady cuts to avoid “chatter” and disastrous dig-ins. The small amount of sanding needed is best done with a right-angle drill (better control) working from 180 to 240 grit sandpaper.

Finish the spigot and cut a small “V” at the top of it to improve the grip when the bowl is reversed and held in a chuck. Also at this time make a small hole in the centre of the spigot to ensure accurate lining up later when the work is reversed and held in the various chuck grips mentioned below.

Now remove the bowl from the face plate and mount the spigot firmly in a 50 mm chuck. True up the face (eventual open side of bowl) using a draw cut with a 10 mm bowl gouge. Finish the outer edge and add any texturing at this stage before you start hollowing. The hollowing process begins from the centre hole (made when mounting the blank on the face plate) working from an outer shoulder towards the centre. Work gently — if the chisel gets hot you are pushing too hard. The centre hole is a rough guide to the depth you need to hollow, but use calipers to make sure the bowl sides are even and not too thin.

Keep moving the tool rest to maintain it as close to the inside work face as possible. When cutting near the centre move the chisel round and downwards (not upwards). Use the round edge scraper to finish the inside of bowl, again working from the centre outwards. Sand with a pistol grip drill, 180 to 240 grit, applying sanding sealer between each grit level. Using Ondina oil also assists sanding and it’s “food safe”. Finish with Beall buffing system or your own favourite polishes.

Terry ended with a summary of various methods to remove or re-form the spigot foot: the jam chuck, the pressure chuck (jam into another bowl), the Longworth chuck (better than Cole jaws), vacuum chucks and hot melt glue. See the SAWG web site for more information on these holding methods.

In spite of the usual banter, jokes, unhelpful comments and rude remarks, Terry kept his cool and delivered a master class from which even the old hands could learn something. Well done Terry!

—-Murray Wilton