Category Archives: News

Bruce Wood – Finder Rings

Write up: Holm Miehlbradt
Club Meeting: 25 November 2020

Tonight Bruce demonstrated how to make turned rings.

First he explained and showed how to stabilize the wood blank using a vacuum chamber and “cactus juice”. This is a recommended start as the blanks will be turned very thin.

The blank’s sides are then flattened and a hole is drilled using a horizontal borer. The hole diameter needs to be very accurate to fit the steel ring insert. And the insert vary in size by small increments (corresponding to the ring sizes).

The blank is then mounted on the insert (with medium superglue). The glued ring is held in a ring mandrel to turn the wood surface. Finally the ring is sanded, a finish is applied (Bruce used super thin superglue) and buffed with the Beall’s system.

Bruce also showed how to use Paua shell bits with UV activated resin instead of a wood blank.

Thanks Bruce for your demo, just in time for getting Christmas presents ready!.

Ian Connelly – Wheelie Worm

Club Meeting: 18 November 2020
Report by: Nicole Morley

Last Wednesday we had a “wonderful” demonstration from Ian on how to make a Wheelie Worm.
This is a great project that can inspire creativity as it lends itself to a multitude of adaptations….
Always ask yourself “Can I make this with the tools that I have?”
If not, is there a way of adapting the instructions to suit your tools?
Ian reminded us that the fun thing about making children’s toys, is that you don’t need to aim for perfection, sometimes shape and bright colors are more important.

For the front of your worm, take a block of wood that is approx. 75mm square by 100 long.
Drill a hole (8.50mm) for your wheels approx. 15mm up the block
Turn your block between centers and make a spigot at both ends.
Place in your chuck and drill through the center around ¼” diameter or whatever suits the rope pull size. (if using rope to join the pieces) Another option is that you could use eye screws with jump rings to connect the pieces later on.
Put the piece on a pen mandrel and shape the main body. (Remember to round the ends of each piece to allow for movement)

Alternatively, make a jam chuck with a small pin that will fit in through the hole previously drilled – Making sure that you bring the tail stock up to your work.

Make your wheels, either by using a wheel cutter or turning a tube, drilling an 8mm hole through end and cutting wheels off at width that suits you.

Using 8mm dowel, fix your wheels through the main body.
Make all the remaining pieces using the same steps, but make them smaller sizes as you go down the length.
Tie your rope through the body and make a small handle for the child to pull the toy along.

You can let your imagination go wild with this great little toy…
Glow in the dark paint – would be fantastic if your children leave their toys around the house.
You could add eyes and fake eyelashes.
Dome buttons or spikes down the spine, or even some wings…

Terry Scott – Turning Out Products

Club meeting: 11 Nov 2020
Report by: John Young

Terry’s Production Turning Tips

With Christmas around the corner, and the clubs Christmas shop needing to be stocked, Terry gave three lightning fast demos, with an emphasis on how to get the most out of your time at the lathe.

First Demo – Kauri Spoon

Despite already having made a astronomical number of wooden spoons (2747 to be precise!). Terry was happy to shred through a bit of kiln dried Kauri and show us how he makes his production spoons (in 12 minutes no less!).

He batch makes them for speed, 25-30 at time to achieve a $70 hr rate at the lathe.

  1. Start by taking a rectangular piece of wood and marking the centers at either end. If you want to conserve timber, the sides can be cut off for pen blanks.
  2. The blank is fitted between centers.
  3. Spoon handle is roughed out with roughing gouge. Skew chisel used to achieve a good finish.
  4. Power sander with 240 grit sandpaper to smooth handle.
  5. Handle textured with Terry’s famous $10 tool.
  6. Band saw used to shape spoon head, followed by disk sander to tidy up.
  7. Power sander used to smooth up spoon head, and finished with Bee Kind beeswax.

Inside can be alternately scooped out with power carver. Right and left hand versions can also be made.

Second Demo – Tea light

*Note: Any candle must have a metal case/layer to separate it from the wood and prevent it catching fire.

  1. Start with a square block of timber (Kauri in this case). Mark center and fit between centers.
  2. Make a 48mm spigot and round the bottom. Mark 1/3 way down from the top, as this will be your widest point.
  3. Turn around and insert spigot into a 50mm chuck.
  4. Shape top third to pleasing shape.
  5. Use small parting tool to create hollow on top for tea light.
  6. Tidy up outside shape, sand, and add texture with texturing tool.
  7. Remove from chuck, turn around and insert opening into small expansion chuck.
  8. Turn off spigot, sand base and texture.

Third Demo – Potpourri holder

  1. Take timber round and drill a shallow hole to fit an expansion chuck. Mount on 50mm scroll chuck.
  2. Cut a 48mm spigot on bottom and shape underside.
  3. Flip around, insert spigot into chuck and shape top half
  4. Mark the opening diameter for the top and hollow out with bowl gouge. Check your metal fitting fits flush into top. Only need to hollow a shallow cove. No finish is needed inside, to allow perfume to penetrate into wood.
  5. Sand, then texture rim for appearance.
  6. Turn round and fit into expansion chuck. Remove spigot and sand bottom to finish. Coat with wax.

Other, simple items Terry suggested for the Christmas shop included bag holders, salt pigs, back scratchers, honey dippers, lemon squeezers, wooden fruit, and Christmas ornaments.

Again, it was another highly informative demo from Terry. One which is sure to help get the shop filled to the brim this Christmas.

Emma James-Ries – Jewellery Stand

Club Meeting: 4 Nov 2020
Report by: John Whitmore

With Christmas approaching, Emma showed us how to make an attractive jewellery stand that would go down well as a festive present. The idea had been sourced from the Internet, and refined. It involved a mixture of faceplate and spindle turning that prompted practice of a range of turning skills and gave additional decorative opportunities; the latter being only limited by personal imagination.
The design involved a cupped base, a central column shaped to a stylised female form, a ‘hat’ with pronounced rim and a finial to finish. This will be written up as a project sheet so I am not cluttering the report with construction detail but will comment on a few notable features.

The demonstration was conducted with careful attention to the accepted safety conventions of turning, eg appropriate lathe speeds, positioning the toolrest with the lathe turned off and restraint of long hair. Where multiple holes were index-drilled to take earrings, the drilling was done prior to final turning of that part so as to achieve clean holes. Both recess and spigot were used to hold cross grain work pieces.

Careful evaluation and refinement of the original design was apparent. Emma had concluded that the diameter of the cupped base should match the length of the column for good proportion and that the hat should be slightly tapered rather than parallel sided. Attention to a seamless join between column and base will facilitate lifting of deposited bangles. The stylised female form can be simply appreciated in silhouette or extravagantly decorated in 1920s flapper style (and anything in between!).

This presentation was an ambitious, calmly-executed and well-received first demonstration by a new turner. It was a credit to Emma and an inspiration to other new turners to do likewise.

Graeme Mackay – Christmas Things

Club Meeting: 28 Oct 2020
Report by: Janet McDonald

Graham gave us a lovely tutorial that showed how all small pieces of off cuts can be easily turned into Christmas decorations. How using colour or other embellishing can make a classic shape more dynamic for Christmas. He used bamboo skewers for the centre arms of the decorations and showed us that the thicker Korean skewers are more sturdy.

He recommended Prisma pens for quick colour enhancement and how easily stripes can be added by just hold the pen against the wood while the wood was turning. Metallic paints also add some sparkle that we all love at Christmas.

He emphasized how learning to use your chisels right and left handed gives you more scope for getting into small places and getting out a set of mini chisels is easier to handle on small pieces of wood. Also he showed his Japanese drawsaw which he said gives a great cut.

I love Graham’s enthusiasm for all things small; that not all masterpieces have to be large in size.

Bob Yandell – Christmas Cracker

Club Meeting: 21 Oct 2020
Report by John Young

Bob was kind enough to do this kids toy demo on short notice, due to our emergence from our second Covid 19 lockdown.

He brought along a story stick, which is a helpful template with the dimensions of the final cracker and a plan of how to go about it. Very helpful if you’re needing to make multiple copies with the same dimensions. (Ian reminded him it would be useful to use on occasion.)

He started with a long piece of wood, 50×50 wide by 250mm long. Found the centres on both ends and fitted it between centres.

Using a spindle roughing gouge, followed by a skew chisel, he rounded it into a rough cylinder.

Spigots of 48mm wide by 8mm deep, were made on both ends.

Using the story stick, he carried over the markings onto the cylinder. V-shaped incisions were made on either side to define the cracker handles.

A groove was cut in the middle.

The cylinder was remounted in a 50mm scroll chuck with the tail stock brought up. A thin parting chisel was used to cut most of the way through the middle. A handsaw was used to cut through the remainder.

The cut was tidied up with a spindle gouge before being drilled out with a forstner bit.

The outside ends of the cracker, and one of the insides were drilled out with a 38mm forstner bit.
Drilled to a depth of 40mm.

The inside of the last cracker was drilled out with a smaller 32mm forstner bit so as to fit inside.

When remounting either end back on the lathe, a piece of rubber can be used to protect the wood.

The insides can either be rounded with a spindle gouge, or Dick suggested using a spade bit, with the edges ground back 45 degrees.

Lastly, the male piece must be carefully trimmed so it fits inside the female piece. The aim as Bob said “is to get a satisfying pop”.

Once the cracker fits together firmly and snugly, the tail stock is brought up to support the entire cracker. Here you can tidy up the outside, so it is flush. It can now be sanded and textured however you prefer.

Bob, being the kind soul he is, promised to donate the finished item to the blind foundation.

Thanks to Bob for another entertaining demo!

Dick Veitch – Baby Rattle

Club Meeting: 14 Oct 2020
Report by: Graeme Mackay

An interesting project from the SAWG file. The possibly could be called the measurement way as there is a frequent requirement for measuring and checking. A spherical project can be made from any piece of wood that has good clean grain. Perhaps we should call it a spherical measurement project.

Good project notes to follow. All the pieces made from wood including little rattle bits. The three little spheres, designed to make a rattling noise without too much rattling. Dick called this baby Rattle: a grandparent friendly noisemaker.

Dick emphasised that a 50mm square piece is important. The length is variable. The object of manually splitting the wood is to ensure a solid basis for re-joining after the hollowing. And, offer a little bit extra of a challenge. Also, the irregular face reminds the Woodturner of which way is up and encourages more accurate measurement.

The making of the templates is well described in the project sheet. Their accuracy is important to the re-gluing and completion of the enclosed hemisphere. The templates allow a lightning of the rattle weight and increase the brightness of the rattling noise.

A good little joke was to remind persons that the beads have to be put inside the sphere prior to re-joining the pieces. One bright spark did mention that leaving out the little rattle beads would make it a lot more silent to operate.

Tip: Dick mentioned that one of the difficulties of this particular process was showing at the glue did not leak into the sphere and stick to the rattle beads. A number of options were shown with a key point been gentle and easy and consider extra glue after the primary gluing has been finished.

Another tip was to ensure that the finishing did not leaked into the inside and make the beads more muffled. A good point to remember wasn’t that in addition to the handle having to fit grandparents, there has to be scope therefore children who eat baby rattles. Dick showed some simple coving to highlight the handle and leave bits to grip on.

Therefore following the project sheet, making good templates and rechecking measurements produces:

Baby Rattle (Split) – Project Sheet

A quiet little grandparent friendly rattle.

Holm Miehlbradt – Birds

Club Meeting: 5 August 2020
Report by Janet McDonald

Holm gave us a demo on making some charming looking birds with wonderful eyes. The bird body and head are turned from two pieces of wood and the eyes from another two pieces.

The eye was made from two pieces of wood approx 50mm long. Cut a black or darker than other wood used for the body; to a 10mm dowel shape. Now with a light coloured wood at least 15mm in diameter, drill a hole length ways and insert the dark wood dowel. Now turn the whole piece off centre so the dark wood shows on one side.

The head was turned from a 40mm square piece of wood 100mm long. The beak was formed 45mm long with the widest part 12mm. The head then formed 40mm wide. Holm used a metal pipe to shape the final round of the head.

To insert the eye drill a hole each side of the birds head, half way in line with the upper beak. The eye and hole only have to be about 3mm long/deep. Glue in place.

The body was turned from a 70mm square piece of wood 95mm long.

This was turned in a curved shape with a 25mm wide recess (divot) at each end. The recess big enough to hold the curve of the head.

Janet McDonald – Jewellery

Wednesday 22nd July 2020
Report by: Judith Langley

Janet began the evening by handing around a number of jewellery items and explaining the various threads available on the market for threading beads. Janet typically uses 1mm thread through a 2mm hole. Do not use leather thread for bracelets. A huge variety of bead shapes, sizes, and colours are available at Dave’s Emporium in Manukau. Glass, Wood, Plastic are all on offer but it was recommended that glass was preferable over plastic as they look better and it’s all about the final look of the bracelet that sells the item.

Janet is very focused on marketing – identify your market – find your market – make things that your chosen market wants. Targeting the ‘sustainable brigade’ – the modern day hippy – the environmentally aware greenies – the people who only buy NZ Made and natural products. Most bracelets sell for $40 – $50 and when made from NZ wood they are particularly sought after.

Plain glass beads can be decorated with acrylic paint, wooden pieces can be decorated with pyrography, carved, bored and daubed with paint. Shells are often threaded amongst other items.

An extra fine scribing pen was passed around members. This is used for tracing artwork onto items to be decorated. The clearer the traced print the easier it is to pyrography.

Mounted on the lathe was a pre-prepared cylinder of wood (preferably hard wood)– about 100mm depending on the size of the bangle you are turning. This must be able to slip over the persons’ hand but not fall off under normal activities. Janet’s ‘go to’ chisel is the parting tool and the majority of this work is done with this tool. The tool is driven into the end grain after allowing the desired width of the bangle. Cut leaving no ridges on the bangle side as this will be the inside (nearest skin) and can be difficult to hand sand if too many ridges are left. When the desired width is achieved the bangle is parted off.

This piece can then be cut into about 7 parts which make the curved disks used for bracelets. Discussion arose over various methods of simplifying the project, more especially avoiding breakout when 2mm holes are drilled for attaching the 1mm thread to the disks. The solution to this was to drill the holes prior to turning the initial bangle, strapping the pieces with tape prior to drilling, and varieties of ideas. Janet handed around about 20 different examples of her work and challenged everyone to try their hand at making jewellery.

Finally, we were introduced to the ‘tree of life’ – engraved on pieces of branch, large round disks, in fact anything at all, and decorated with carving, pyrography, highlighted with copper powder, gold leaf etc. Kauri pendants carved to compliment an attached sea shell would get you another $5. This was a good return on a free sea shell!!

Overall this was a very interesting and well prepared demonstration. We left with no doubts that there were no limits to woodturning, no limits to one’s imagination, and that establishing and targeting a market was all part of the craft.