Category Archives: Reports

SANTA COMES TO CLUB NIGHT

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 https://sawg.org.nz/sawg/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Christmas-Tree-Snowman.pdf.

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

A CHRISTMAS TREE ORNAMENT
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:

https://www.woodworkersinstitute.com/wood-turning/projects/spindle-work/games-toys/spinning-top-box/

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

Holm Miehlbradt – Square Plates

Club Meeting: October 30 2019
Report by: Grant Miles

Demonstrations by Holm are always well thought out and planned and this one was no exception. Holm began with a square block with 100mm sides and about 35mm thick. The centres of the block faces were found and the block was mounted between the chuck and the tailstock centre. The chuck jaws being used as a faceplate and the pressure from the centre in the tailstock holding the work in place.

A spigot of approx. 32-35mm was turned on the tailstock end of the block. It was turned with parallel sides and no chuck jaw recess as we would normally do. This is to allow for the work to be offset in the chuck jaws later in the process. The work is then turned around and mounted in the 35mm chuck. A shallow bowl is then hollowed out and the radius checked against a 230mm radius template cut out of card. Finish cuts were made outside in to ensure a good fit with the template. The bowl is then finished by hand sanding (the wings make it difficult to power sand). Holm used a piece of foam with the sandpaper over it to help follow the curved surface while sanding. He also noted that it can help improve the sanded surface if the wood is damped as it makes the timber fibres stand up and leads to a smoother finish.

The sanded bowl was then painted with Reeves acrylic paint. Black was used in the demo but any colour can be used. The front face only was painted using an artists brush. Care needs to be taken not to get paint on the sides of the wings. Once the paint was dry Holm at sanded at 45 degrees to the edge along the edge of the bowl to produce a definite line which helped sharpen the edge of the painted face. Holm shared some designs of bowls he had decorated previously. All of the designs were achieved by offsetting the bowl in the chuck. With care Holm showed us how to achieve the spiral design. First a corner is offset and a cut made. Next the bowl is offset to the middle of an adjacent side, a cut taken, then the next corner is offset and so on, continuing in the same direction, until the spiral ends near the centre of the bowl. Because of the bowls shape the cuts get shallower and shorter as you move towards the centre of the bowl. A piece of tape was stuck on the tools rest to enable the cutting tool to be located and to allow cuts to be repeated. The cuts in the bowl were made using a Glenn Lucas spigot(dovetail) tool.

Once the spiral was complete the square was reversed and mounted on a face plate with a centre holding it in place. The face place was a foam covered dome which was turned to a radius of 230mm. This matched the inside of the four-sided bowl allowing it to be held firmly and safely. The foot was turned down to approx. 30mm dia. The outside of the bowl was then turned down to a wall thickness of about 3mm at the outer edge. As part of this the foot was shaped. The bulk of material was removed with the centre in place. The work piece was then taped to the faceplate and the last of the foot was removed and turned to its finished shape. The bowl was removed from the face plate and given a hand sand to complete. A number of bowls with different designs had been circulating as part of the demo and the different effects made for very attractive finished bowls.

Thank you, Holm for an interesting demo. I for one learnt something new and I now have an idea I want to go away and try.

Dave Gillard – Decorative Christmas Ornament


Club meeting 23 October 2019
Report by Earl Culham

Dave opened with a promise that his demonstration would be the best attendees had ever seen! Or:- maybe not. But whatever, as he had a reputation for being a stirrer, he expected the same but to remember, that he is very sensitive and easily hurt; yeh right!

Dave’s daughter had found a kina shell (sea egg) on the beach so Dave had turned the shell into a very lovely delicate hanging ornament . The demonstration was how he had accomplished this feat.

To start Dave had prepared a cylinder about 150mm by 70mm mounted in a four jaw chuck with the tail stock in support. The first activity was to shape the portion nearest to the tailstock into a stylised representation of a kina. Somewhat bulb shaped. The tailstock was then removed and a 9mm holed bored right through the piece.

The 9mm hole was used as the starting point for hollowing the bulb with side walls of approximately 3mm. Lo and behold, the hollowing was done using a Roly Monroe hollower, strange that, maybe it is because Dave sells them, of course this warranted a few jibes from the back row audience.

After hollowing the bulb was parted from the stock. Dave had made up a threaded jig which was mounted on the head stock with an old 9mm drill bit protruding. On the tail stock Dave had turned a sleeve to fit over a stebcentre. The bulb was now held by the 9mm drill and by the wooden sleeve on the tail stock. This allowed Dave to finish the end of the bulb.

Now for the finial. When making a finial, use hard wood or tight grained wood.

After turning the finial blank to round, Dave drilled a small hole in the end. The tailstock was then brought up to the stock again and the piece re-turned. This is a trick of the trade to ensure that the finial is perfectly round and there is no wobble when the tailstock is removed. The shape of the finial is whatever the turner chooses, but remember to measure the depth of the bulb so that the shape fits nicely into the end of the bulb. Form a 9mm tennon on the end of the finial for fitting into the bulb.

To complete the ornament, a piece was turned to fit the top of the bulb and shaped as an attachment point for hanging.

As a grand finale, Dave produced three examples of beautifully finished hanging ornaments. A very informative demonstration of something different for a Christmas ornament.

Graeme Mackay – For the Tree

As blustery gales threatened to rip the plastic cladding off the roof, Graeme Mackay eased feather-like shavings off a tiny wooden bell. 

The theme was Gifts and Christmas, and Graeme demonstrated that if it’s possible to mount on the lathe, it’s possible to make something pretty out of it. This was great inspiration for our term project of making small gifts for those in hospital over Christmas.

Graeme started with a small cylindrical blank gripped between 50mm jaws, no tail stock, and quickly rounded off. The resulting round could have been made into a small sphere, a wooden egg, a mini bowl, a tiny finial, or a spinning top, but he decided the first one would be a Christmas Tree Bauble. 

Favoured tools included 10mm bowl gouge, mini skew, ‘deceased’ woodcut chisel reground to a point, modified spindle gouge chisel, mini parting tool, and Dame Edna Everage glasses.

While technically adept, Graeme’s approach to this small turning was more playful and flexible than outcome driven. Consideration was given to how it would hang in the tree. His advise was to “keep it simple” and “enjoy the process”. Mini turning is good practice for skew, texturing and decorative techniques. 

A jacobs chuck with a brad point bit was used in the tail stock to make a hole in the bauble for a bamboo skewer. This bamboo stick could be hung down as a decorative feature, or pierced and hung up to the tree. Still spinning on the lathe, the bauble was quickly coloured with a felt pen, ‘framed’ with lines made with a skew, and just ‘touched up’ with 240 or 300 grit sandpaper.

The trinket was parted off the lathe with Graeme’s right hand surrounding the piece to catch it as it came off. Graeme showed us that pyrography could make effective embellishments with scorching patterns. He used a mini ‘stylo’ dremel with dentist drill bits to etch decorations into the surface. Acrylic, water colour or other paint could also be used to decorate.

Having turned a bauble, then a mini bell, Graeme finished by showing us that even the spigot left in the lathe after part off can be utilised. He used the wood remaining within the jaws to make a tiny stage to place the wooden bell on.

Janet McDonald – Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Report by: Holm Miehlbradt
Club Night: 25 September 2019

Tonight’s Demo by Janet is called “Barking up the wrong tree”, it could be renamed “Wrong bark up the tree”.

As bark does not always stay on the wood or it is in the wrong place or it does not look as desired, Janet came up with an interesting way of making her own bark. Some of her inspiration comes from painting effects on pottery (www.jackiemasters.com).

The process starts with applying hot melt glue, a few lines at a time. Then using a small fingernail file she a bark-like texture. Care needs to be taken as the glue will flatten out as it cools.

Janet recommends to apply a layer of Gesso as undercoat before painting using a stencil brush.

The first coat of paint has to cover all of the undercoat. A dark brown color paint was used.

The next coats are smudged on with a finger. Each coat has a lighter color than the previous and is applied so that it does not cover the entire previous coat. The last coat is applied by tapping with a paint brush.

The obtained effect looks very similar to real bark, but one does not have to be limited by natural bark colors. Janet showed some projects with pink, orange or blue paint, very far from natural bark…..

Thanks Janet for the entertaining demo and the inspiration to enhance our turning projects.

Dick Veitch – A Somewhat Drunken Twist

Wednesday 18th September
Report by Emma James-Ries

Today we had the great Dick Veitch doing a demonstration on the diversity of spindle turning. As our term project is to turn at least one wig stand, Dick decided to show us the great variety in shaft shapes for the wig stand. To start Dick had premade the base and head and just needed to finish it off.

He mounted the base with the spigot in the 50mm chuck and centred it with the Steb centre mounted in the tailstock. He then proceeded to drill a hole in the base, using a 26mm Forstner bit mounted in a Jacobs chuck in the tailstock, to approximately 20ml depth.

Dick then repeated this step with the wig head. After that was completed, using pin jaws in expansion mode he held the head in the 26mm hole, remounted the head and brought up the tailstock to re-centre. The next step was to remove the spigot from the top of the wig head. He did this by nibbling back the edge of the spigot from the top of the spigot towards the head. This put less pressure on the chuck and once the spigot was down to a small size he then cut towards the centre. At this point he removed the tailstock and gently removed the remaining nub of the spigot. He then did a finishing cut on the head, to get the final shape. As the timber was Kahikatea, he did struggle with some end grain tear out at this point, but mentioned that soaking it in cellulose sanding sealer before doing a finishing cut would greatly reduce that issue. Once the head was finished he repeated this process of spigot removal for the base.

Now that the base and head were complete we could move on to the fun part of spindle turning. Mounting some end grain between Steb centres, Dick rounded it with the spindle roughing gouge, slowing down the cut at the end to get a smooth finish. He then proceeded to mark out the ends that would be inserted and glued in the stand and also marked where his beads would be using the rule of thirds. Taking the ends down to size with a parting tool (PT), he then also used the PT to make a cut to mark out the depth of the beads. Taking the spindle gouge he rounded the beads to the depth, a step that can also be done with the Skew. At this point Dick noted how important it is to work backwards from the tailstock when thinning spindle work. He finished up the pretty spindle by tidying up the beads with a tiny parting tool.

With the next spindle blank, Dick marked the centres and then measured 10mm out from centre on the diagonals and made four equal marks. He numbered them 1-4 clockwise. He repeated this step on the other end of the spindle, but off set the numbers by ¼. He then mounted this between Stebs and rounded it leaving a fair amount of width to the spindle. He took about 20mm at each end down to a 40mm width and made a bead at the end of each section.

The next step was when the fun happened. He remounted the spindle using the numbered off centre points he’d marked earlier. So each centre was positioned in the point numbered 1. Before turning the lathe on he marked out the spindle shaft into quarter sections of 40mm each and marked the measurements on the tool rest too. Once the lathe was on, the spindle, turning on its multi-axis, made a fascinating ‘shadow’. Dick cut down the first section so as only the middle part of the section was perfectly round and we could no longer see the shadow at that point. He then repeated this step, moving the axis points onto each sequential number and cut the remaining sections of the spindle. He worked at a speed of 1250 and used the spindle gouge for all of this stage.

Upon finished the last section he stopped the lathe and inspected the result to see if there were any remaining flat spots or areas that needed tidying up. Once satisfied, the spindle was complete. It really was an incredible ‘drunken twist’ formation that really made the viewer question how it was made. Great demo thank you Dick, it was my first time seeing off centre turning and it has given me a lot of inspiration to give it a go.