Category Archives: Reports

Something – Ian Fish

Club Meeting : 12 October 2016
Report By: Richard Johnstone​​​​

What a great evening with Ian Fish. I thoroughly enjoyed his presentation, beginning with his explanation of the part he played in the history of woodturning in New Zealand and then moving on to the more practical skills of using tools and turning wood.

Ian brought along a number of boxes filled with examples of turnings he had produced over the years. He brought pieces out of the boxes and described the journey he took as his turning developed from turning basic bowls to being a recognised artist in New Zealand.

Most impressive was the thin wall turning. While we take it for granted today, this was something new and innovative in the turning and art world at the time. Ian said that he wanted people to be surprised by the light weight of the bowls when they picked them up. He thought that his pieces were “mostly useless as utensils, but are nice to look at”.

Ian had a little involvement in helping Nova with developing the DVR lathe. I especially enjoyed the story of testing out the gyro in the DVR. Ian took the headstock off the bed and while holding it in his arms, turned the lathe on at 3000 rpm. (Don’t try this at home) The gyro resisted his movement when he tried to walk. Ian said that it felt like walking in slow motion.

Ian completed the evening with a short turning demonstration which was full on verbal maxims and good advice. For example:

“Thou shalt rub the bevel with determination and persistence.”

“Good bowl gouge skills equal less sanding.”
Thanks Ian for a great evening of fun and learning.

Airbrush – Gordon Pembridge

Club Meeting: 21 September 2016
Report by Roger Wilson

Gordon gave an interesting precise of the intricacies involved with the airbrushing art form.

He covered equipment and how it performed.  This included how to maintain the airbrush, the different needle configurations and subsequent results.

Safety in operating the equipment with regards to the various paints and solvents which include a quality mask and good ventilation as some paints could be carcinogenic.


Colour theory and the art of colour mixing and Gordon demonstrated how with some experimenting there was no limit to the range and depth of colour that may be achieved.  Gordon emphasised that quality paints are important and in the long run much better value.


Airbrushing opens up a vast range of embellishment however it is not forgiving if the surface to be painted is not finished to a high standard.


Lots of questions were asked and answered and Gordon certainly generated interest in airbrushing as another way to be creative with woodturning.

Sandblasting – Dick Veitch

Club Meeting 14 September 2016
Report by Strett Nicolson

This week we were treated to a dual demo.

First came the mini safety lecture by Alistair on using hazardous chemical  materials such as resins. Fundamentally he reminded us that personal health responsibility lies with each individual. Read the labels on products you use, be aware of the chemical hazards of each product,  and use safety equipment to protect yourself. Thanks Alistair for the reminder.

Dick followed up with a ‘Sand Blasting and Multi-Colouring for Dummies’   demo.  He outlined clearly the various components of a sandblasting cabinet and their particular function, he explained the basic mechanics of the sand blasting gun, all this amidst a few wise cracks from the floor. He explained the value of understanding which blasting medium to use to obtain the required affect   and demonstrated how to create patterns on a turned piece by making plastic templates and masking the pattern   onto the wood, using tape, before blasting. The results of colouring, masking   and blasting with various mediums were displayed through pre-prepared samples.


A word of warning from Dick, “Do not sand blast wet wood, it does not work”.
Finally he demonstrated how one can use colouring and sanding with sand paper or bushing with a wire brush to   enhance or draw out the natural wood patterns and grains.  Again a word of warning from Dick, “ Go slowly, do a little at a time and check the result,  or you may find you sand or blast away too much material and colour and have to start over”

In response to the question,  ”Are there any native woods that lend themselves more than others to sand blasting?”, Dick replied, “Go and experiment.”


Thanks Dick for an informative demo.

Pen Embellishment – Bruce Wood

Club Meeting: 31 August 2016
Report by: Richard Johnstone

This was a great night of fun and instruction. Bruce’s experience certainly came to the fore as he set out to show us various different ways to embellish pens. He brought with him a display box filled with pens with many different types of texture and colour.


He began by turning a blank using a skew chisel. 2500 rpm and the shavings flew off the blank in a hurry. Bruce didn’t bother with sanding. He had a good enough finish straight off the skew for what he wanted to show us.

Out next came the “Timberly Texturer”. A few seconds of application on the wood was all that was required to put a knurled pattern on the pen barrel. This was followed up with black guilders paste. (Black is one of Terry’s best sellers)


The second demonstration was with the Sorby spiralling tool. Bruce used a piece of Swamp Rata for his blank, and turned this down until round with parallel sides. He explained that the ends can be turned down later after the spiral has been cut. Bruce got the lathe running at 800rpm and applied the spiral cutter. This created a very clean cut spiral. When asked, he did think that the tool could be turned the other way and re-cut to create diamonds on the wood. This would only be possible on a hard piece of wood like Swamp Rata. Softer woods would just break out the edges and not give a clean cut.


Bruce then showed us how to use the Beal Pen Wizard. This is like a little router which he used to carve out four “wiggle wiggle” grooves in a pre-prepared pen blank. These grooves were then filled with coloured resin. When hard, (also pre-prepared) the blank was mounted on a pen mandrel, turned and sanded as usual. Another interesting variation on pen making.


Pen makers can take a lot from this demonstration. The options seem endless, and Bruce seems to have tried most of them. Not all ideas will appeal to every person, but there is certainly plenty of scope for using or modifying Bruce’s ideas.

Resin Inlay – John Moat

Club Meeting:  7 September 2016
Report by Judith Langley

John opened his demonstration with his usual humour and banter and made it known that we were about to see ‘his way’ of inlaying resin, which would be quite contrary to other demonstrations. John was congratulated on his recent success at the Franklin Art Festival with a first place with his resin bowl. Naturally, we were about to see the master himself in action.


First off the spigot must be concave to keep the bowl level when pouring the resin.

A trench is cut around the rim of the bowl deep enough to accommodate the decorative items – these can be a wide variety of stones, shells, pebbles, tumbled puau, or handmade items. Normally the trench would not be more than 10mm deep to minimise the amount of resin needed for one pour. The trench is sealed with PVA glue by painting this directly into the trench. Slip, slap, slop, and make sure to seal the edges so that any paint won’t go into the wood.

Then paint with acrylic paint – John uses a water based metallic paint obtained from a car painter in Whangarei, but Resene’s acrylic test pots are a good source of paint. This seals the trench which reduces air bubbles getting into the resin. John does not find it necessary to sand prior to putting the PVA on.

Place decorative pieces in the trench – using PVA glue to stick any down that may tend to float.

Mix resin: 2 parts Knot hole resin 1 part hardener. Liquid Glass are out West Auckland and are very helpful and knowledgeable.  Mix by weight only. (Polymer Resins by volume).

Electronic scales capable of measuring grams are essential – place plastic pouring container on scales and reset to zero. Measure out required Knot Hole Resin (say 40 grams) WRITE down the weighed amount. Measure 20 grams of hardener. Mix together using a slow mixing technique – do not beat or stir fast as this will create bubbles). Keep up the mixing 1 minute in each direction for 5/6 minutes. John as our chief stirrer was in his element!!


Colour may be added/mixed into the resin but included in the weight and then the hardener weight adjusted. Ubeaut colours, Indian ink, and the likes, all work well. Just a few drops is sufficient.

John poured resin into his prepared trench – and explained that several layers of resin can be added without any detrimental effect. Sometimes it is difficult to judge the exact amount required. Resin is warmed slightly before measuring out. (containers placed in a bucket of warm water for a few minutes).

Leave for 48 hours to cure (minimum) chisel off, hand sand (John used a Vicmark sander). Astra Dot 320>400>600>800 then 3M pad. Follow with Autosol or 0000 steel wool and/or Diamond Art Polish.


The Beal Buffing system as demonstrated by John is an excellent way of polishing the work.

This was a very interesting demonstration and kept everyone fully engaged. Thank you John.

Fancy Finishes – Warwick Day

Club Meeting:    17 Aug 2016
Report by:    Murray Wilton

The trestle table behind the demo lathe was groaning …. not with food, but with an impressive array of turning props: completed and half-finished bowls, various chemicals, cleaning fluids, paints, sprays and dyes, J-cloths, a pyrography set, texturing tools, crackling paint. You name it, it was there. But all would soon be revealed.

Saving Old Timber
Warwick opened his demo by urging us not to throw out old timber, turned pieces with splits and gouges, even mouldy pieces retrieved from under the house or won in the raffles. Almost everything can be resurrected with a little elbow grease, cleaning chemicals and Kiwi know-how. Old wood that looks fit only for the fire can be brought back to life with “Exit Mould”, “Wet ‘N Forget” or Oil of Cloves. Any of these will remove gunge caused by age and neglect, but go easy on the Exit Mould as it can bleach the timber. A voice from the crowd suggested using the microwave to dry out old timber, but beware of fire and the fury of the person in charge of the kitchen.

Spalting is when a piece of timber has hard and soft areas in the grain, especially when some part of the timber is starting to rot. This can be dealt with by spraying the affected areas with a wood hardener (available from Mitre 10 and Bunnings).

Worm holes, cracks etc in old wood (including raffle wood) don’t mean you need to put it on the fire. Dig out affected areas with a Dremel, fill with Starbond glue or epoxy resin, either coloured with powder stain or left natural. Apart from using otherwise perfectly good timber, the aim here is to accentuate the flaw as a contrast, rather than attempting to cover it up which seldom works well.


Warwick proceeded to demonstrate a variety of methods for enhancing and embellishing wood turning projects:

1.    Use colour around the inside rim of a bowl to provide a contrast and to survive if the bowl timber deteriorates through use, water or too much sunlight.

2.    Timbers such as the beautiful purple heart can sometimes be overpowering on their own. Pyrographic enhancement with dark stain on the outer rim of bowls can add interest and contrast.

3.    Experiment with resin inlays around the rim of bowls and platters. Apart from the usual insertion of various trinkets (shells, paua chips, jewels, etc), try adding dyes to increase the contrast. Powder dyes, and various semi-precious stones can be bought on-line and used to fill holes and flaws. Fix with Starbond.

4.    WARWICK’S TIP No. 1:  go to the Two Dollar Shop and buy packets of very cheap artist’s brushes. Rather than laboriously cleaning more expensive brushes, just throw them away after use (and add your carbon footprint to global warming).

5.    Flocking can be used to enhance the interior of small bowls and boxes. Flocking kits are available from Terry, Carbatec, or other on-line sites. They come in a range of colours and with an inexpensive flocking pump. Paint the flock glue onto the area to be flocked (after suitable
masking), then simply spray the flock onto it.

WARWICK’S TIP No. 2:  Wear a mask. Flock isn’t good for the lungs.

6.    Crackle Finishes can also be used for contrast and for covering up flaws. Paint on the crackle base paint (available in various colours in a 2-pot kit from Mitre 10 and Resene), allow to dry then finish with the crackle spray (“Plastikote”) which creates the crackle finish.

7.    Pyrography can be effected on various parts of wood-turning projects. Created patterns of small dots or “waves”. Always complete the job in one session because interruption can change the pattern.


8.    Colouring Effects Get a colour wheel from craft shops to ensure any mixtures you make produce the colour you want and avoid incompatible mixes. Wood dyes are available from craft shops (including Spotlight where you can earn Brownie points by taking your significant other on a trip to search the vast range of materials and sewing things). Look for U-Beaut non-toxic water-based dyes. Use kitchen Mystic Mits (plastic steel wool) to polish between separate colour layers.
Gilders paste can be used to finish pyrography work and give a leather effect to the patterns you have created. Finish with sanding sealer or various solvents.
Other colours can be applied using tubes of acrylic paint available from Spotlight (while your better half spends up big in the curtain department).
Inspired by a trip to Mexico, Warwick experimented with a mixture of loud colours added to resin to create a swirling effect on the inside bottom of a platter.


9.    WARWICK’S TIP No. 3:  Use protective clothing and rubber gloves when doing colour work.

10.    Texturing Tools: When using these tools set the lathe to about 800 rpm and apply firm pressure to the area being enhanced. Apply a light sanding sealer coat to seal the exposed fibres. Mask off the area. Mix Spotlight colours or dyes and apply using a sponge, daubing it onto the bowl or platter in colour bands.

Many thanks to Warwick for providing us with such a wide variety of methods for salvaging and enhancing our projects.

Pyrography – Terry Scott

Club Meeting: 3 August 2016
Author: Richard Johnstone

We had another excellent demonstration from Terry Scott . The theme was pyrography, but you know that you’re always going to get more with Terry.

Terry began by demonstrating shaping the outside of a bowl and getting a smooth finish (before sanding) with a shear cut using a skew. This technique will probably take some of us a fair bit of practice and a few dig ins to perfect.


For his “craft” bowls Terry uses the spigot as the foot of the bowl and turns the foot nearly to completion. When the bowl has been completed he just turns it over, uses a Steb Centre to hold it against a face plate, and curves the sharp edge of the spigot. The clever part was how the centre of the foot was turned out to the size of a Paua dot or a Penny. The marks of the Steb Centre were then covered up with a value add process and didn’t need to be sanded out by hand afterwards.

Terry’s carved and embellished pieces always look as if the pattern has happened randomly, but there is a bit of planning and preparation which goes into that random look. Terry uses the indexer on the lathe to give even segments to his patterns. This prevents working around the bowl or patter and having an uneven gap left at the end.

He moved on to Pyrography and showed us various methods of producing patterns using both commercially available tips and custom designed tips made with Nichrome wire. The variations are only limited by your imagination.
img_1478The final piece of the puzzle was supplied by colouring the various embellishments. Terry’s choice of colouring medium is guilders paste. By adding different colours or by putting colours on top of each other he was able to get some stunning effects which really added to the overall “wow” of what Terry demonstrated.


This demonstration was everything we have come to expect from Terry. There were lots of ideas for decorating bowls and platters using texture, burning and colour. Everyone would have gone home with something to inspire them.  Thanks Terry.

Gilding – David Gillard

Club Meeting: 27 July 2016
Demonstrator: David Gillard
Report by: Graeme Mackay

David’s humour comes through early. He opens a demonstration with this take on gilding and the use of a special gilder’s pinafore or as we commonly known as a pinny. Through this initial humour David started the theme of planning and preparation and time to carry right through the process.


The embellishment process of gilding requires planning: choose a surface, prepare it well, Sand well and make sure the shape is clean. Gilding is an addition or an embellishment. It does not cover up lack of form, mistakes or hiccups.

Checks and steps: overall gilding is a simple process where a medium (size) is used to hold a thin metal foil onto a prepared surface. David  stated that it is all in the planning and ensuring that the correct material processes used for each step.

Size; the medium to hold everything together. The use and drying time means checking the type of size and ensuring that you have the correct medium i.e. oil or water-based. Check; the drying time for this type medium when considering the atmospheric temperature and humidity.

Leaf: which one, which type, what are the restrictions. David demonstrated a range of loose-leaf and packet foils in both metals and plastics. And, showing how each one has to be handled, placed with much laughter in the correct place. The key message was try each form and see how it works for the effect you want to achieve.


Sealing the wood: Dave commented on the need to ensure that the base was sealed and cured. He made mistakes and not wiping all the sealant dust off. I repeated the message to think through the finish. What you want to achieve. And as with all demos think through the process and keep the dust away in a normal workshop conditions are means ensuring that the dust filtering processes of their and that the correct material sealant size or shellac finish is available to be used.

Brushes: a small range is useful for starting up David recommended find him brushes with differing densities. Offering that the density dependent on what part of the process you are doing and that cotton buds are a good fill-in for brushes.

Filtering: David felt the filter on the size or of finish was important. He felt that avoiding synthetic materials for filtering and that using natural materials with that option. He was able to purchase some silk cloth offcuts and reasonable price to use for filtering.


Application of size: David suggested that an airbrush would provide a useful application of size and provides an even finish. This is also a follow-up in the comment of filtering the size material before use.

Holding mechanism: David wanted a holding mechanism that provided two hands free for the many processes of gilding i.e. such as applying size, leaf and finishes. The photo below shows a simple mechanism made without advanced workshop machinery or the need for extremely finely detailed precision engineering.


The simple mechanism uses standard timber bolts and turned bits with a simple slide to make quick adjustments. Dave calls the apparatus to hold the piece a fancy F clamp with a base to stop it falling over.

Purchasing the products: another cheerful checklist from David for purchasing size, sealant and leaf. While the reasons for checking the details before purchase were put forward with great humour, the core exercise still important. Nothing the standard and you often pay too much for too little.
What are the specifications of the size?
How many sheets do you get?
What is the actual colour?
What are the dimensions of the sheets?

Why: gilding as a visual tweak
David commented that the visual and embellishment components are part of the planning working up of a piece.

Gilding is an embellishment which can provide a new visual tweak to a piece.
And, more importantly, that this visual tweak is for the view from the outside.
David believes that it is good to get the outside view versus that of the woodworkers or Woodturner.
The demo provided a good reason to try this line of embellishment. There will be a follow-up article on technical parts of entry into embellishment tree gilding.
July 2016

Finishing – Lindsay Amies

Club Meeting 6 July 2016
Report by Earl Culham

Lindsay’s demonstration commenced with the comment that there are two stages to finishing, firstly to finish your piece to a high standard with chisel and sand paper followed by the application of an appropriate finish for the type of wood used.

Stage One

To  demonstrate stage, finishing  your  work to a high standard;  Lindsay used some demolition rimu which in his terms was “manky”.  By manky, he meant that the fibres in aged timber start to breakdown making it difficult to finish with the chisel especially on cross grain. It is easy to get a tear out and if you try to sand  the defect out, it is easy to get heat checks when working with rimu. The only way to remove heat checks is to cut them out with the chisel.
It is essential to have a very sharp chisel and use fine cuts to achieve the desired smooth finish prior to sanding. Use as high a speed as you are comfortable with when making the final cuts and reduce speed for sanding.


Lindsay used drinking straws to demonstrate the best technique for cutting  through fibres rather than tearing them e.g. a straight cut across the fibre will tend to tear rather than cut. Cutting at an angle across the fibre will achieve a smooth surface.

Rimu is a very dusty wood when being sanded and the dust can be quite irritating. Use a dust mask for protection and ondina oil is useful to reduce the dust.  Sand through the grades to 400 grit or higher if you wish.

There was a suggestion from the floor to use sanding sealer before using ondina oil so that it didn’t soak into the end grain and cause the end grain to be darker than the rest.

Stage Two

There are many different types of finishing products available and it is a matter of personal preference which you use. Lindsay used the following products to show the different finishes that can be achieved:-


Briwax on its own, the result was a low sheen.
Sanding sealer applied and then the wax gave increased sheen
Boiled linseed oil thinned with vegetable turpentine by 10-15%, low sheen.
Sanding sealer applied and then the boiled linseed oil mixture, increased sheen.
Wattyl  lacquer, thinned by 50%, high gloss.
Beall buffing system, using Tripoli, White diamond and Carnauba wax, produces a high gloss finish.


Thanks Lindsay for a well prepared and informative demonstration.  We are all aware now of the pitfalls associated with “manky” rimu.

Wet Turning – Bruce Wood

Club Meeting: 29 June 2016
Report by: Strett Nicolson

After a brief introduction explaining the ‘what’ and  ‘why’ of  wet wood bowl turning  Bruce mounted a piece of wet swamp kauri on a face plate using tek screws. Because the blank was rather more unbalanced than expected the start  turning speed was 250rpm. For safety sake he brought up the tail stock and used the full face mask until the wood was more balanced.

IMG_1243At this point, using  a skew chisel ( and obviously a stationary lathe)  he dug out loose  bark to check the depth of the bark. He then flattened the face , marked the center and cut a 100mm  spigot with his “ make it your bloody self” tool.


Floor question: Would you use a bowl saver tool on a piece of wood like the one you are turning now? Answer, “No!”

While hollowing out he suggested that a wet bowl needs to be about 25mm thick and an even thickness at the bottom of the bowl as well. Then marked  and  cut a recess   of 70mm in the inside of the bowl , not forgetting to mark the centre again for accurate remounting once the bowl is dry.


Floor comments:  1. To remount one can also turn a plug and glue it in the recess. 2. A spigot can be left on the inside as well.

Remove from lathe and paint with log sealer and store for 12 months or dry by freezing  and placing in fridge for  2 weeks. The bowl will lose approximately 1/3 of its weight by the time it is dry so it is important to weigh and record the wet weight, then check weight loss regularly till satisfied it is dry enough to finish the turning.


Complete the  bowl once dry ( 12 months later)  remembering that in the drying process the bowl may be as much as 5mm out of original shape.  Take this into account when  deciding on final shaping.

To remove the foot on the bottom of the bowl  fix the bowl in a rubberised face plate and hold up with tails stock, or  using cole jaws set to size, or fix with vacuum chuck and hold in place with tail stock.

Floor Question:  Because log sealer is a lubricant, is there a chance that the jaws won’t hold the bowl safely?  Answer,  “No!”