Category Archives: Reports

John Whitmore – Rough as Guts

Date: 10th April 2019
Report Author: Emma James-Ries

This demonstration by John was complimentary to Richard Johnstons’ demo on wet turning earlier this year. John started by giving us an over view of why one might want to turn wet wood and the different qualities it possesses.

Some positive reasons to wet turn: For Woodturners it can be a feast or famine situation when it comes to acquiring timber and we’re more likely to be offered green wood. Wet wood gives the opportunity to turn very thin work, allowing it to distort and create interesting shapes. Green wood often come with the bark still attached, granting occasion for a natural edge bowl. Additionally cutting of wet wood creates very little dust, it is easier on your tools and creates very little dust. Drying of a green cut bowl will only take a year to dry, as opposed to a raw lump needing several years to properly dry. John reminded us of the very important point of striving for domestic bliss, as turned wet wood creates less storage and clutter within the household.

Some negatives to recognise would be that some timber can distort badly, particularly fruit trees. John told us of an incredible situation where a turned wet bowl of apricot had completely turned inside out whilst drying! Other points would be the possibility of wood going mouldy and to always be aware of irritant or toxic sap when turning wet, best to keep forearms covered.

John went on to demonstrate how one would mount and turn a conventional wet half log. He covered briefly how to cut bowl blanks to get different grain patterns within the bowl, butterfly or oval rings etc. John then used a faceplate to attach his large Rewarewa log to the lathe. He prefers to use passivated Tek screws over galvanised, as they are less likely to shear and they come in a great size range.

John then engaged the tailstock for security and to find the live centre. When turning a wet log into a rough cut bowl, a rule of thumb would be to keep a wall thickness of 20-25mm. The base is to be similar, however the spigot will determine this, as an internal spigot or dovetail recess is suggested to allow for remounting options once dried. John reminded us that we would need to guess the amount of distortion with the wood type, to allow enough timber to re-cut both sides of the bowl.

When moving onto the actual cutting process of the wood, John talked about different tool options. Until recently he used a Texas style Hamlet bowl gauge. However when turning rough, out of balance wood, it creates a bad thumping on the bevel. John found to alleviate this irritation somewhat, he uses large Easy Wood tools with carbide tips, tucked underarm for extra leverage and support.

John also recommends using a Chainsaw helmet for this type of turning as it reduces fogging and allows for ear protection. He went on to demonstrate the impressive carbide tools, cutting on centre.

John then let us imagine a scenario where the faceplate had been jammed on to the lathe by the huge amount of torque created when rough turning. While some people use leather washers to alleviate this problem, most do not and they are hard to find.

John showed us his spanner range that he would use to first undo the Tek screws holding the faceplate and remove the wood. He recommends the Gear Spanner from Trade Tools in Ellerslie. Once the wood has been removed, one can then find an appropriate leverage option (in Johns’ case this was a lump of metal acquired from a concrete power pole!) to lever the faceplate from the lathe.

Next John moved on to show us how to mount a rough block, with no practical flat face, to the lathe. His choice of wood was a 10kg uneven lump of Feijoa. He mounted the block between the centres to adjust the balance on the Steb centre. The problem with such a large unruly piece of timber, is that using a Steb or Spur to drive the wood will result in it boring into the green wood. This will also be the case with a screw chuck. The weight of the timber also rules out boring for a small faceplate or expanding jaws.

Johns solution to this was to create a large custom faceplate, with multiple holes that direct long screws angularly into the wood. This faceplate was a personal development of an earlier prototype that he passed around, very clever. One could either pilot drill or use a guide to direct the screws in if the wood is hard. John then demonstrated making some cuts, once the faceplate had been mounted. He proved that his mount ran true, as there was no evidence of a wobble in the live centre once the tailstock was removed.

To wrap up the demonstration, John let anyone who was interested in trying out his carbide tools, tackle the Feijoa. An offer that Richard Johnston took up eagerly! A very knowledgeable and interesting demo, thank you John.

Dick Veitch – Spinning a Thread

Report by: Janet McDonald
Club Meeting: 3rd April 2019

Dick Veitch gave us a demo on making threaded box lids. After volunteering to write this report I did a double take when he pulled out gadgets and jigs a plenty… but in Dick’s style he soon had everything step by step and slowly everything unfolded in front of us.

There are two main ways of making a thread box thread. One with a hand held tool. The way he showed us was with a setup attached to the lathe bed with a cutter and using a index system. He explained the types of wood suitable for the best results.

I will give the basic outline of what Dick showed us as I am sure this would become a booklet not a report if I detailed everything. Though don’t confuse this with it all being “too hard”, I am sure with practice we could be making threaded jars for our honey dippers in the near future.

Dick used Taraire wood and turned the basic shape of the outside of his box. Then used a forstner bit to take the box centre out. A large wooden jig was placed over the tailstock handle with its own extra large handle, to help keep a more consistent turn of 230r while drilling. A consistent turn helps for a better drilling result. He used Boelue lube on the bit to reduce the squeal.

To prepare for the actual threading, an area of wood was removed from the top outside of the box to allow for the threading depth and for the lid of the box to be threaded over later. 

He attached onto the lathe bed the main cutting jig with a thread cutting bit attached to the head stock. The main cutting jig with a 10tpi thread, which the box was attached to, was wound into the headstock to cut the thread into the wood. After a ‘once around cut’ the jig was adjusted using the jigs index plate and another cut made around to add another thread line. The index plate was adjusted 4 times for 4 cuts at 90°. In the end giving a ‘4 Start Thread’.

Then the inside of the lid on the box was prepared and the threading done on it.

On completion of the threading and the box, Dick with his router made a fluted edge around the edge of the lid to hopefully show people using the box, it was a screw lid and not a pop lid. 

Trefor Roberts – Starting Well

Demonstration Date: 20 March 2019
Demonstrator: Trefor Roberts
Author of Article: Wim Nijmeijer

As Vice President of the NAW, Trefor started by telling us about the work of the NAW and the benefits of becoming a member.

He then started by telling us that form is paramount in woodturning. Without a good form, the end result will always be compromised.
First review your finished turning and determine if embellishment is needed. (Spalted/figured wood, natural edge generally do not need embellishment) To enhance your woodturnings, various techniques of embellishment can be applied. Ideas can be found everywhere, nature, Internet; take pictures such as the Koru, Ferns, Butterflies, etc.

Trefor then proceeded by showing us a picture of a printed leave (laser print) and how this image was transferred onto the wood. First cut out the leave, and then apply Minwax Polycrylic (can be obtained from Mitre 10) to the wood and stick the printed leaf (ink facing wood) firmly onto the wood. Let it dry, once dry, wet the paper leaf with water and gently rub the paper away. The leaf image has now been transferred onto the wood. Various examples were shown of images transferred onto wood, these images could then be permanently marked by using pyrography or carving (Dremel, etc)

Next Trefor showed us some examples of engraving (smoking!) by using a Dremel and a ball shaped burr, to produce/burn indentations of half spheres, followed by wire brushing to remove the carbon.
This was followed by showing us half a dozen of turned eggs. These were already embellished/painted with various patterns/colours. One egg was then further enhanced by using various colours of Guiders Paste.

Next Trefor used some Milk Paint (can be made by mixing 1 part water to 3 parts powdered milk until you get something around the consistency of paint. Blend in a water-based coloured Dyes or foodcolouring if you don’t want neutral white)
Various combinations of using milk paint mixed with coloured dyes, acrylic paint and Guilders Paste were demonstrated.

This was followed by a demonstration using the Burnmaster by burning some patterns on a practice piece.
Last but not least Trefor used the Dremel fitted with a half-cup burr, this was then used to burn perfect half spheres onto the wood.

All in all a well executed and very interesting demo. Thank you Trefor.
Trefor’s last message for the evening: I hope you enjoyed the demo, and make sure you become a member of the NAW!

Richard Johnstone – Wet Turning – Remounting

Club Meeting:13 March 2019
Report: Garry Jones

Richard began by showing us all some of the wet turned bowls he had done over the last 4-5 years. He pointed out how he had left the spigots on them and also showed us the second spigot on the inside and explained that it was there in case the one on the bottom had moved too much.

He pointed out some of the reasons the wet turned bowls had cracked and had heaps of examples to show us along with a very entertaining commentary on each of the bowls

Some good questions came from the audience and Richard gave very knowledgeable answers and explanations that everyone could understand

He explained to us why wet turned bowls should be packed in their own shavings and into a paper bag rather than a plastic one that would make the wood go moldy

He also went through a quick explanation of where and how you should cut up a log to get the best quality wood for your bowl

From here he went to the blank of wet wood (liquid amber) that he had and demonstrated attaching a small face plate ready for turning

He turned the blank to shape and turned a spigot on the bottom to the required size, it was great to watch the shavings flying off the chisel and into the second row, the wood was really wet so the guys in the front row got an unwanted shower

Richard explained that you can turn the blank to the final shape if you want but that this was not necessary, again he had shavings flying off the chisel and into the audience in a well controlled demo of good tool technique, once the piece was shaped on the bottom he took it off the lathe and removed the face plate in preparation for turning the inside

Richard talked about the shape of the inside and the reasons for having a nice smooth sweeping curve, mainly for ease of sanding and finishing

He gave a good explanation of why he turns the 2 spigots, one on the bottom and one on the inside to the audience as an answer to some great questions

He demonstrated using the parting tool to make a grove on the inside so that the tool doesn’t slip when you start to hollow and also explained that the normal wall thickness for wet turning this size bowl would be a round 20-25mm

The internal spigot was then turned with about a 2-3mm recess just enough to give the chuck a hold for remounting, he also mentioned that with an internal spigot you need to have enough room for the chuck and be able to use the chuck key

Some other great options and discussions on remounting were also given from the audience

Richard then coated the outside and a small portion of the inside of the bowl with a wax solution to retard the drying process and ultimately the movement of the wood

Richard then remounted a walnut bowl that had been turned back in 2014 to demonstrate the techniques discussed in the audience. The spigot was returned to the required size using a draw cut and the bowl was ready to be returned to the desired shape

A very entertaining and informative demo by Richard that created lots of questions and discussion from the audience
Thanks Richard

Bruce Wood – Kitchen Things

Club Meeting : 6 March 2019
Report by: Murray Wilton

Bruce’s subject was advertised as “Bits & Pieces”, which was meant to be “From the Kitchen”, so the topic became useful kitchen devices. The first was how to make a kitchen funnel, to be followed by two rolling pins (a Baker’s Rolling Pin and the Italian job). But time only allowed the funnel to be made at the demo and we were treated to another master class punctuated with pearls of turning wisdom. In fact, Bruce began with a discussion of various chuck options, demonstrating the advantages of the Infinity chuck which allows jaws to be replaced with a flick of a special tool. No more fiddling with screws and worn-out allen keys.

Back to the funnel. Bruce loaded a block from a large kauri post on the lathe between steb and live centres and turned it to round in a flash, slicing though the timber like butter. Then he formed a 60mm spigot 30mm deep at one end so that it could be firmly held in shark jaws. Once mounted in the jaws (tube end of funnel) he started forming the outside of the funnel, working at 2000rpm. The exterior wide end of the funnel is 100mm diameter and wall thickness 5mm. Marking these dimensions with a pencil, Bruce commented that he had glued a magnet to the pencil so he could place it on the lathe body where it was always handy. (Helpful Hint Number 2.) The triangular shape is formed to 60 degree angle at the (triangle) base. Bruce uses a 60 degree template to check the angle, forming the outside to a depth of about 80mm. (In other words, an isosceles triangle with base 100 mm wide, base angles 60 degrees and altitude 80 mm.).

Once the funnel exterior shape is achieved, Bruce proceeds to drill an 8mm hole through to the bottom of the triangle. He calculated the depth accurately by working out that each turn of the tailstock would bite 2.5 mm into the block, meaning 30 turns would get him to 80 mm. Now he hollows the funnel using a 35˚ bowl gouge, drawing it across from the centre hole in careful sweeps, rubbing the bevel (Helpful Hint Number 3), checking the angle with the template and marking high spots with his magnetic pencil. Reaching the bottom of the hole, and satisfied that the angle and thickness are correct, Bruce sands the inside using cloth-backed sandpaper which can be folded to a point to get into the interior apex of the funnel. Finally with both inside and outside sanded up to 400 grit, Bruce finishes with sanding sealer.

Now he drills the 8mm hole the rest of the way through the tube end of the funnel, taking care not to have the drill chuck scrape against the finished inside walls. To do this he had to progressively pull the drill out of the chuck until it was almost wobbling in space. A drill extender might be the answer.

The final part of the project is to form the outside of the tube end. Bruce uses a 60 degree rubber cone mounted at the tailstock and brought up firmly to the funnel end. The tube is finished to 16mm so that with the 8mm hole it leaves a 4mm wall. To ensure there are no disasters Bruce uses digital vernier calipers and constantly checks the 16 mm diameter for the whole length of the tube.

For this final phase of the project, Bruce changed to smaller jaws (easily done with the Infinity chuck), and mounted a wooden jam chuck with an 8mm “peg” and a small rubber washer to push into the end of the tube and hold it firmly for final finishing work to be done. He advises working gently at this stage to avoid the work flying off the lathe as it is not actually gripped at any point by chuck jaws. For final finishing use the skew chisel if you are brave enough. Then sand off, finish with sanding sealer and polish with wax by your favourite method. Lastly the tube is cut off at 58mm long. About to slice it off at right angles, Bruce was asked by a member whether it would be better to cut the end on an angle to assist with clean pouring, so he obliged.

In answer to a question whether the funnel could be used for liquids like wine, Bruce suggested that the funnel is better suited to fine grain foods, like salt, sugar, etc. Constant cleaning after using liquids would damage the finish. In the end, items like the wooden funnel make nice decorative additions to a kitchen, especially if exotic timbers are used and a range of sizes made.

Well done Bruce. Another consummate performance. Only wish there had been time for the rolling-pins. Maybe another demo later?

Colin Wise – Inside the Square

Club Meeting 27 February 2019
Report by Earl Culham

Colin commenced his demonstration with a quote from an article he had read : “With time, you can hear as well as see when the wood is being cut with precision”. Colin referred to this quote while turning his demonstration pieces to highlight good tool work.

A tip for the meeting related to using a power sander on gummy wood where the sand paper quickly gets clogged with dust and doesn’t cut any more. Spray the sand paper with Ondina oil; a brush with a bronze wire brush will remove the oily dust and allow continued sanding. That is worth a try, if it reduces the need for frequent replacement of clogged paper, it will be quite a saving.

Colin then demonstrated the use of a copy machine to turn a bobbin which is used in making lace by hand. He has made 150-200 of these in the past. People making lace, use in the order of 40-60 bobbins at a time.

Colin has made the pattern template and copying jig himself.

Now to the subject of the demonstration; “Inside the Square”.

Colin produced two pieces of wood cut to the shape of a pyramid, one larger than the other. The larger had a flattened top with a recess in it for a tenon/spigot or to be used as a chuck bite, the smaller pyramid had a chuck bite turned in the base. He then proceeded to turn the pointed end of the smaller pyramid into a spigot so that the two pieces fitted together neatly. Using that spigot to hold the piece, he then turned a bowl in the bottom or base. He repeated the process of turning a bowl in the base of the larger piece, fitted them together, and he now had an example of “Inside the Square”.

Certainly something different, thanks Colin.

Strett Nicolson – Off-Centre Split Sugar Bowl

Club Meeting 20 February 2019
Reported by Murray Wilton
Photos Ross Johnson

Strett wanted a new challenge, to move out of his comfort zone, so he chose a fairly complex bowl-turning project he found in a magazine. Regrettably, when he came to start the project he couldn’t find the recipe and had to rely on his memory, which must be quite good because he managed the presentation with suitable aplomb.

If newer members and beginners, including the reporter, were puzzled by some of what was going on, at least they learned some valuable lessons on alternative ways to mount their work. In his efforts to avoid mounting on a faceplate with inevitable screw holes that are hard to eliminate, Strett turned to the age-old glue-and- paper-gasket method. First he made an mdf mount, screwed with self-tapping wood-screws to a faceplate and rounded to about 200 mm diameter.

The alternative of a expanding jaws into a hole in the MDF was discussed, the audience questioned the reliability of using mdf in this way, as it is likely to delaminate,

For this project the faceplate timber and the work piece must be perfectly flat, so ensure the faces are flat before proceeding. Remove the mdf or timber mount from the faceplate. Use a paper gasket (120 gsm copy paper best as newsprint will soak up the glue) and apply glue to each side. Strett uses Aquadhere glue. Bring the faceplate timber and the work piece together and apply pressure in a vice or clamp of some sort and leave to dry overnight.

Use a centre-finder to locate the centre of the blank. Bring the tailstock live centre up against it. Squeeze the blank and mount against the chuck and, working gently so that it will stay in place, round it off. All this so screw holes are not required in the work piece.

Locate the mount in a chuck using the spigot cut earlier and begin hollowing out the bowl, leaving an outside flat edge of 5mm. Ensure the hollowing leaves at least 6 to 7 mm at the bottom. Use a contour gauge (available from Machinery Co.) to measure the inside shape of the bowl and make a template. (Some turners use the template method for all their bowl-turning as it removes guesswork.) Remove bowl from the paper gasket and remount on another faceplate blank as above. When dry mount on a chuck and start shaping the outside of the bowl, frequently checking with the template to ensure the bowl sides are of even thickness.

Finding a nail in the bowl led to a slight hiatus as various audience members gave advice on dental extraction procedures to eliminate the nail.

Once the correct shape is achieved Strett completes all finishing work before splitting the bowl off the faceplate. He then cuts the bowl in half with a bandsaw and re-glues to form an almond-shaped offset bowl.

Great demo, although it left some of the audience baffled by science, smoke and mirrors.

Terry Scott – Flowing Over

Club Meeting: 13 February 2019
Report; Bill Alden
Photos: Ross Johnson

Terry used a square piece of wood and found centre using the usual cross lines centre was punched with a Phillips screwdriver which allows the 7 ½ mm drill to not wander. This is then mounted on a screw chuck.

Terry then made the made sure that the tool rest had no nicks in it he used a sanding pad and polish.

The drop wings are formed first and a 50 mm spigot is formed in the middle to reverse chuck. If desired make sure that the piece will sit on the wings not on the base. The chisel used was a 10 mm bowl gouge with swept back wings this is advisable so that the chisel can be turned without catching the bowl in the middle when doing the underside of the wings.

The curves can be checked by laying a glue stick across it and seeing if there are any gaps. If planning to do 3 feet use a larger 75 mm chuck to make a larger ring the bottom of the bowl, and carve feet when finished. The centre of the spigot was marked with the long point of skew chisel for ease of centring when turning the foot of the bowl

Draw a series of lines approximately 4 mm apart from the base of the bowl, vertical gridlines can then be put in using the indexing feature of the lathe. These lines will be used as guides when finally decorating the bowl.

Reverse the bowl onto a 50 mm chuck and cut the wings from the centre out, hollow the bowl and cut a shoulder in order to fully rub the bevel. Form a nice curve so the wings flow into the bowl.


Terry then showed us various ways of decorating the bowl, the inside could have a series of beads to simulate a splash and other decoration to make waves in the wings, using a mini Arbortec to carve the lines. Terry then sanded up to 240 grit on a sanding mandrel.

Other decorations can be done with a wire brush on a drill, a Dremel or a pyrography machine. Using a knife edge on the Burnmaster, Terry showed us how to highlight the grain lines in the wood. Colour can then be applied (Terry prefers black) he uses acrylic paint, Kiwi boot polish or gilders paste. Terry then showed us how he carved feet using a mini Arbortec.

Thank you once again Terry for a very informative and interesting demonstration.

Ian Connelly – German Ring Turning

Club Meeting: 12 December 2018
Report by Murray Wilton

President (not for life) Ian Connelly was the last presenter for 2018. He chose a challenging and difficult subject, German ring-turning, about which very little is known. In fact, if you Google it you will get few hits unless you go to a German site (<www.reifentiere.de>) and have enough German language to interpret what you see. However, the associated YouTube videos are so shielded by the turner that it’s almost impossible to see what’s going on. Ian’s presentation was inspired by a German ring-turning inspired piece he won at auction at this year’s Symposium, a New Zealand fantail, turned and carved from a bowl round by expert Derek Weidman. With little to follow in the way of plans or instructions, Ian worked out the detail for himself.

Displaying his turning skills, Ian started with a 250 X 250 mm square of kahikatea, not even rounded with the bandsaw. As he said, he could have cut the corners off, but intrepid and skilled turners don’t need to do that. Ian reminded novice turners to ensure the mounting screw is tight up against the flange and firmly and evenly snug against the chuck. If not it will be moved by centrifugal force and nothing will work after that.

Using a large bowl gouge (Ian showed us an even more massive tool but didn’t use that one) and running the lathe at 600 rpm, Ian transformed a perfect square to a round in minutes, rounding off the inner and outer edges to make the next steps safer. Next a wedge is removed from the round, using a band saw, and a profile of a kiwi is glued to one face. The extremities of the kiwi shape (feet, body curves, beak) are marked on the round and then turning from the face side with a bowl gouge begins. Frequent stops are needed to ensure that the shape is being correctly followed.

The completed kiwi is then cut out from the round and can be finished with the dremel or carving tools. Alternatively the kiwi can be left 2-dimensional and used as hangings on the Christmas tree or other ornamental possibilities. Multiple kiwi or other animals or shapes can be turned from one round.

Definitely something quite different and certainly a challenge.

Dick Veitch – Pencil Box

Club Meeting: 5 Dec 2018
Report by Graeme Mackay

Dick’s pencil boxes demonstration: This exercise was taken from an AAW project that was based on Beth Ireland’s boxes. The process is that the box making system ends up with a pencil looking like a pencil case. Dick started the demo with a history of lead pencils i.e. those with graphite in them in. Then a discourse about the colours that pencils came in.

The base: A cylinder, about 200 mm long is made with two jam chucks it is cleaned and then a parting is taken around 60 mm from one end.

A Dick V tip: When parting off a piece, remember to keep the gap and do not let the tool jam.

The next process is started with hollowing by way of Forstner bit or bits if you are precise. A piece of measured tape on Forstner bit provides a depth check. The second Forstner bit opens the hole further. The second part of the hole is continued with an extension on the Jacobs chuck.

Another Dick B tip: keep to speed down when using Forstner bit and check the actual width of the piece.

The lip at the top of the long section allows for fitting the pencil top onto the box base. Remember, the lip on the box head is made to fit the base lip. Similarly, a hole check on box top depth is required. Measure and make the lip fit in a close manner and this is done while leaving the box top in the chuck.

The pencil faces: Dick brought out his cleverly fashioned jig. A boxlike structure that is attached to the frame of the lathe. After some adjustment, fiddling, shifting around, the Router was used to clean off the six faces of the pencil. Some measuring and judging is required. The box is relatively simple and is technically only a guide for the router. It is simply one of the ways in producing the six sides of the pencil – all hopefully matched even and appropriate looking.

Back to the top i.e. the sharp end that that has imitation graphite in it. The lip is mark with Vernier callipers and cut down with a standard skew. It is hoped that you have remembered to leave sufficient thickness to accommodate the flat faces and that they join into a new top.

The finishing touch: The bead lines highlight the end of the pencil in the piece that holds your eraser. Texturing highlights these beads provides a differentiation to the pencil part and hopefully shows up in its glory, with some clean edges. This part of the process is achieved by putting the top of the box/pencil case onto a cylinder mandrel. Holding the box top on with the stem centres will assist safety and avoid any mishaps.

Colouring helps highlight faces, eraser frame and eraser itself. The sharp end of the pen is highlighted by colour or even just a dark felt -tip.

This is a standard box process with some interesting features. The avoiding confusion is easy, just go onto the site, and follow the box making plan.
Tip
The best tip once you enter this process is
measure, measure again, and check that measurement.

Graeme Mackay
December 2018