Category Archives: Reports

Tunnelled Cube – Bruce Wood

Club Meeting: 19 September 2018
Report by: Graeme MacKay

Bruce Wood showed the original version which was very chunky before showing use the evolution and the matching perspex templates to gauge the shape.  He did admit to bending role slightly not starting with a cube, rather with a rectangle of hundred and 130 x 180 mm. The extra length is, at an early stage, to allow him to cut the holes on the edge.

So then, Bruce went to Paul Hedman style that was accurate, however, was a little thin.

A large solid jig very engineered, the holes predrilled.
Bruce was able to keep the holes vertical with a Forstner bit – and little bit of action.
The jig gets a bit more complicated, through doweling fixed and carefully drilled in place.
Once set on the jig, extra lead is added to balance, in this case 375 g spinning at 740 rpm.
So another hole was made on the new centre using a template to gauge the depth and shape.
Fine cuts, little standing.

A Ha! moment: the use of longer screws is good as the MDF gets worn.

A few minutes more, a rebalancing of the lead, a new centre, and a second hole is made using this very engineered template. Samples are well marked and provided indication of the other cuts to be made. Good samples were handed around and gave clear example of the direction of this particular type of wood-turning.

Another Ha! Moment: using the right index finger as a guide. An old method promoted by Ian Fish and works every time.

Soren Berger sphere:

Bahat then went on to turning a sphere Soren Berger’s way. The cube used was 125 mm and made into a sphere using the special Soren Berger tool for measurement.
Initially, turning a cylinder in the standard manner. Outside edges first, the centre of its, and in reality the beginning of sphere. Using the Soren Berger tool, the cylinder is now hundred and 124 mm in diameter and transferred to the measurement of the sphere.

The cylinder was marked. In this case 124 mm. The length of the cylinder is now the same as a diameter and sitting between two centres. The new cylinder marked using the Soren Berger tool. The first cut was made straight between the two lines marked on each face – and using specialist tool.

Then, second lines and marked using the third part of the specialist tool or caliper. The cuts then straight lined between the marks. The sphere is starting to emerge. These new lines are now the high spots on the proposed sphere.

A line is now drawn on the midway point between these lines. They represent now the low point in the older high points, the original lines, are now carefully cleaned with relatively straight short lines. Sandy now removes imperfections. The little holding spigots, about the diameter of the stem centres, can now be removed by a number of methods: cups fixed on the jaws and tailstock, cutting off the greater part, gentle chisel work and some sanding.

Another Ha!
Don’t be a hero and try the saw, gentle hands avoid tearout, hand standing avoid dimples.

Branchwood: A Fruitful Journey – Chris Hooton

Club Meeting: 12 September 2018
Report by: Graeme MacKay

A humorous and very informative demonstration from a woodworker of long-standing. A well prepared approach to dealing with fruit wood branches supported by a regular commentary on safety for operation and fixing. Chris started with the pitfalls of a long thin blank that required an understanding of negative space and shadow directed cutting.

The initial checklist for starting with new fruit wood highlighted Chris Hooton’s approach:

  • check for nails and cracks
  • work out the correct way to cut the branch including having a suitable jig for using on the bandsaw
  • sort out and mark the cuts
  • measure and mark the centreline to allow for installation of faceplate.
  • Ensure that schooling through appropriate for the fixing of the faceplate

And simple things such as

  • ensure that the faceplate holes of the correct size to take the tech screws
  • and very simply, with humour, check that the tech screws are long enough

Chris provided a clearly illustrated approach to cutting across spaces and working with shadows. A useful tip was the placement of lights and shifting them around to get a clear and definitive shadow to work with. Then, using the shadow of the chisel to judge the distance to make initial contacts and start cutting.

A tip for sanding: Chris uses chalk gently rubbed across the face of the surface being worked to highlight and identify scratches, marks cuts and hollows. Chris used a standard soft builders chalk stick rubbed across the surface and using the marks to decide on the type and placement of the next cut. This process was used for final sanding with Chris providing illustration of what marks show through at the movement through the sanding paper grades.

Tip for measuring wall thickness: Chris noted that we often forget what the start point was after two or three checks. A piece of masking tape over one end of the figure 8 calipers and have it sticking out so that a mark to be made on the tape. Once the initial measurement has been taken, a mark is made on the masking tape where the non-taped caliper end stops. The tape cut at that mark. It provides an ongoing guide point for subsequent measurements on that particular surface. Simple and low-tech.

Chris provided a number of excellent workplace tips and directions for the topside cutting on the newly formed spigot. He emphasised the need for soft hands for the chisel work and the usefulness in providing marking lines.

Tips and guides included:

  • Check on your cutting directions, although looking for a flat surface you’re still cutting to the middle like hollowing out a bowl.
  • Mark depth and check.
  • Adjust lighting to show shadow to assist cutting.
  • Keep the tailstock in place until as late as possible.
  • Keep the hands soft, keep chisel sharp, and don’t rush it on the final cuts.
  • When using power tools for sanding, look at your approach and angle for the sanding mandrel.
  • Keep sanding mandrel moving working through the quadrant angles, backspace. A hollow centre dimple means that you have not sand with the correct angles.

Ellsworth Signature Gouge – Raed EL Sarraf

Demonstration Date: 5 September 2018
Demonstration Title: Ellsworth Signature Gouge
Author of Article: Wim Nijmeijer

The challenge for this evening was to produce a bowl made from a 125mm Rimu cube using only the “Ellsworth Signature Gouge”. Raed then explained and demonstrated the various cuts made with this gouge.
(The cube was already mounted on the lathe using the screw chuck method.)

Roughing Cut- Raed explained how to present the gouge, axial pitch of the gouge 45 degrees, shaft horizontal on the tool rest. He then identified the cutting area of the gouge. He then proceeded with the removal of the corners and the rough shaping of the outside of the bowl. Using the gouge in this manner, large quantities of wood can be removed very quickly; the surface left on the wood however is pretty rough.

Following the rough shaping of the bowl, the slicing cut was used.
But before commencing with the slicing cut, Read first cut the spigot, to allow remounting of the bowl at a later stage.

Slicing Cut- Gouge presentation, axial pitch 45 degrees, shaft 20-30 degrees on tool rest. The final form of the bowl was now further refined. This cut also resulted in a lot less tear-out compared to the roughing cut.

With the shaping of the outside completed, it was now time to finish the outside of the bowl by using the shear scraping cut.

Shear scraping Cut- Gouge presentation, axial pitch 85 degrees, shaft 45 degrees on tool rest. With this cut, Read was able to put a very smooth surface on the bowl. Only minimal sanding would be required to finish the exterior of the bowl.

The bowl was now remounted using a scroll chuck.

Raed then preceded roughing out the interior of the bowl by using the Interior Roughing Cut, this cut is basically the same as the roughing cut used on the exterior of the bowl.

Interior Roughing Cut- Gouge presentation, axial pitch 45 degrees, shaft horizontal on tool rest. Read explained the importance of body movement and position during the execution of this cut.

With the roughing out of the interior of the bowl completed, the Interior Finishing Cut was used to make the final cut on the interior in preparation for sanding.

Interior Finishing Cut- Gouge presentation, axial pitch 0 degrees, shaft horizontal on tool rest. Before commencing this cut however, Raed first made a 6 mm deep cut to support the bevel when starting the interior finishing cut. Using this cut Read achieved a very smooth interior surface of the bowl.

All in all it was a very well executed and interesting demo. Thank you Raed.

Further information about:
How to sharpen the Ellsworth Signature Gouge,
Detailed information on the various cuts with the Ellsworth Signature Gouge can be found in the “Ellsworth on Woodturning Book” held in our Library. (Book # 194)

Liquid Polymer Glass – Michael Engel

Club Meeting: 29th August 2018
Report by: Dave Armstrong

Michael introduced himself as owner operator of Liquid Polymer Glass Ltd. He commenced his discussion with an overview of his company and some of the original history that caused its development. Their main product centred around Bar Tops, providing hard wearing coatings that could withstand the constant beating they received from the knobbly bits on the bottom of beer bottles.

The original resins they used were not clear and they set out to address that issue settling on an Epoxy type sourced from Europe. However they required considerable development in order to get the required curing result both hard, resilient and clear with an acceptable cure rate. To that end Michael stressed the need for exact proportions of resin and hardener and to achieve this they settled for a simple method using weight (i.e. 200gr resin / 100gr hardener) as opposed to volume. He showed us examples of various suitable scales with differing degrees of accuracy and cost. Suitable scales can be bought for less than $20 and can measure weight as little as the difference between two postage stamps.

Mixing is extremely important and instructions must be followed precisely to avoid bubbles and to ensure correct resin to hardener ratio within the mix. Michael prefers to Double mix the brew. To achieve this he ensures all product is scrapped away from the bottom and sides of the mixing vessel and stirred in well, then transfer the mix to a clean dry vessel and repeat the mixing before pouring into your project. Ideally ambient temperature should be around 20deg C to provide a cure time of between 12 to 24 hours and in some cases depending on film thickness up to several days.

Michael went on to discuss methods of colouring resins including the use of powders, inks, paints and dyes. Liquid Polymer Glass use oxides only in their work.

Problems were addressed and Michael again stressed the need for patience and to keep your mind on the job at hand. NEVER answer the phone or take unwanted distractions when doing a mix/pour as the likelihood of failure is high due to inadvertently forgetting a step or using incorrect proportions. He also mentioned that Air and Moisture are your enemies and work must be sealed to prevent its affects. Several methods were discussed to achieve this but it is as simple as coating a void or trench with a coat of the resin, PVA glue or water based paint.

Never add more hardener thinking you will speed up cure time as this will only weaken the cured resin. However you can add a tiny amount more resin to give a slightly longer cure time. Michael also mentioned viscosity and that the resin can be warmed slightly to make it flow better but NEVER heat the hardener.

Slow and cool cures are achievable but contact Michael for an appropriate brew as the resins are quite different and the exothermic temperatures can be quite extreme.

As usual, it is preferable to layer smaller amounts in your pour than one big deep run. Although it is possible to achieve different levels of clarity (i.e. Satin,Clear etc) in your result he said the easiest way was to simply cut back the surface to get the desired effect.

Michael’s presentation was very enlightening and I feel I almost had brain overload but he imparted his knowledge clearly and he answered many pertinent questions from the floor throughout his talk but he always reverted to his topic. Of course he is keen to promote his company but it is rare today to find a welcoming and knowledgeable character keen to help fellow woodworkers.

Thank you Michael for the colour samples and information sheets given to members.

Footnote – Don’t put samples in your pocket. I thrust my hand into my pocket to get my car keys only to be covered in red additive which spread its self around the car and my wallet.

Lidded Box – Dave Gillard

Club Meeting: 29 August 2018
Report by: Dave Armstrong

Our speaker this evening was to be Michael Engel from Liquid Polymer Glass Ltd. However, due to a slight communication error, Michael was not due until 8.00pm so David Gillard stepped in to fill the slot with a quick demo of making a lidded box.

Dave started with a piece of hard wood he had bought along to be identified and cut off a piece fitting the term project of 125mm cubed. He mounted the wood between centres and rough turned it round making a tenon on each end for mounting into a 50mm chuck.

After fitting the chuck Dave mounted the piece using the tenon made on one end and turned down the outside shape of his box in keeping with a drawing he scribbled up on the white board. Using a thin parting tool he parted off the lid and set it aside and commenced to hollow out the inside using a series of tools. His preference for a cup tool saw him ultimately having the piece dramatically leave the lathe to the rapturous cheers and guffaws from the appreciative audience. He then took advice from a member and finished the main hollowing with a forstner bit and then refined the bottom and called it done. Dave then miraculously sanded the piece to 2000 grit using just one tiny piece of sandpaper. He then mounted the lid section on its tenon and quickly finished it off as Michael Engel had arrived and set up.

Dave received some light hearted ribbing and applause and handed over to Michael.

Three Wings – Colin Wise

Club Meeting: 22 Aug 2018
Report by: Cathy Langley

This Wednesday Colin Wise demonstrated the creation of a three-cornered bowl with upward-pointing wings, after showing us a number of other ways to use a cube of wood. These examples included several hollowed boxes with a variety of openings and included shapes, and an amazing tower of graduated thin-walled cylinders, resting on a cube from which these cylinders were cut by bandsaw.

To create the winged bowl, Colin mounted two opposite corners of a cube between centres, pressing the cube between the headstock spindle and tailstock cup. When spinning the cube, we saw separate points created by two sets of three corners.

With the lathe running at about 1000 rpm, Colin turned away the set of three corners nearest the tailstock to create and finish the external surface of the bowl, as well as a spigot at the tailstock end. After removing waste beyond the spigot, he reversed the workpiece to hold it with a 50mm chuck.

He then turned away the wood that was now at the tailstock side of the three points, creating three wings. When the spindle of waste between the points and the tailstock became thin enough, Colin knocked it off and then turned the inside of the bowl at higher speed (about 1400 rpm) using a cup tool , thinning the wings at the same time.

Interior sanding required care given the risk created by three points spinning around; Colin suggested shaping a curved wood-and-Velcro sandpaper holder to reach into the bowl while keeping the fingers safe. He used a sanding block to smooth the flat wing surfaces.

Colin pointed out the tearout that is inevitable in turning a cross-grained bowl, and suggested using sanding sealer during the final cuts, to minimise this. He then described finishing the outside and the foot with the bowl held between centres using cushioning at the headstock end to protect the inside surface.

Throughout, Colin repeatedly emphasised the need to check the alignment each time the workpiece was reversed, to ensure the bowl remained perfectly balanced. He agreed with members’ suggestion that the order of events could be modified to create a similar bowl with the corners of the rim pointing down instead of up.

Thanks, Colin, for a demo that was carefully planned and brilliantly executed.

Six of the Best – Dick Veitch

Club Meeting: 15th August 2018
Report by: Bob Yandell

The term project for the guild members is to produce an item from a 125mm cube but true to past form Dick was not content with producing 1 item he made 6.

The block of wood was 125 x 125 x125mm Kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides) White Pine. In addition to the block of wood Dick had a block that was cut into 9 pieces 41x41x125mm, give or take a fraction, and his Magic Box and wand. The pieces are held by the square end for spindle turning, long grain.

  1.  BALL AND CUP TOY as per that in the Club projects.

The piece was held in the chuck with a Steb live centre in the tail stock, a practice used in all of the 6 demonstrations, whilst using the roughing gouge to round and roughly shape. The tail stock was removed to ease finishing with either a spindle gouge and/or skew. None of the pieces were sanded as Dick’s skill and technique resulted in clean surfaces.

The initial roughing process didn’t go without incident. The piece was not securely locked in the chuck and went walk about. Once back on the lathe and back on track the ball, 10mm in diameter was put in the Magic Box followed by the Cup. The Box was tapped with the wand and low and behold the finished toy, complete with ball attached with string was revealed.

2.   SANTA TREE DECORATION or was it a selfie? It is also as per that in the Club Projects.

This time Dick demonstrated that by putting masking tape on the tool rest and marking where the cuts were to be made saved time.

Once the Santa was finished it was parted off, close to the chuck, cutting a slight concave in the base. The Santa went into the Magic Box and tapped with the wand and low and behold the finished Santa, complete with beard and red and white clothing was revealed


The cone shape was roughly formed with the roughing gouge. With the tail stock removed Dick proceeded to cut 4 cones with the skew, with each getting wider, as he worked from the top of the tree toward the chuck. Care needs to be taken as the initial cuts forming the sides of the cone are not supporting the bevel.

After the cones are cut a trunk is formed with the parting tool and a base made. The Christmas was finished and parted off, close to the chuck, cutting a slight concave in the base. It too went into the Magic Box and tapped with the wand and low and behold the finished green tree was revealed.

4. A real challenge –  TEA LIGHT DECORATION using 4 of the pieces together for Inside Out Turning.

The key to the success of this is all 4 pieces being dimensionally equal.

In Dick’s demo the pieces are not glued but held, as a “block”, 80×80(indicative) in place between 2 chucks. This requires a live centre in the tail stock for 1 of the 100mm chucks. The wood between the chuck faces is divided roughly into 3. Mark all 4 faces with the lines so they can be clearly seen when the piece is turning.

An alternative to using 2 chucks is to use hotmelt glue on the ends only, firstly joining 2 pieces to form 1 of 80 x 40mm then join these, again with hotmelt on ends only. Carry this process out using the flat surface of your lathe bed. Wrap duck-tape around the glued ends and turn using spur drive and live centre.

Round the centre 3rd and ensure the sides are square.
Cut cove with a deep vee in the centre but don’t go too deep as you need strength for when you are turning the outside. Sand and finish.

Separate the pieces and reassemble so cove is on the inside and permanently glue. Keep glue away from inside so when assembled glue is not squeezed onto finished surface. (If using alternative method of spur drive and live centre turn a chuck bite and remount into scroll chuck.)

Remount and turn the outside to the desires profile. It too went into the Magic Box and tapped with the wand and low and behold the finished decoration complete with Tea light was revealed.

5. HONEY DIPPER as per that in the Club Projects.

Considered by most to be the most useless addition to your cutlery draw was put in the Magic Box and tapped with the wand and low and behold the finished item.

6. The final demonstration had us all wondering “What the Hell”.

This time, after roughing down to a round, Dick demonstrated that by putting masking tape on the tool rest and marking where the cuts were to be made. From the tail stock end and the measurements were 15,10, 15, 25.

The 15mm section was reduced to 6mm diameter and parted off and put into the Magic Box;
The 10mm section was reduced to 9mm diameter and parted off and put into the Magic Box;
The 15mm section was turned into a sphere and the 25mm section was turned into a cylinder then parted off and put into the Magic Box;

The remaining wood was hollowed to a depth of 23mm with a flat bottom and straight sides. The mouth was rounded with a bead produced on the outside lip.

A stem, like found on a wine goblet, complete with base was formed and parted off, close to the chuck, cutting a slight concave in the base. “It then went to the bandsaw” then into the Magic Box and tapped with the wand and low and behold the finished item – a doll, complete with hair courtesy of Dick’s dog, sitting in a chair was revealed.

A challenging demo if ever there was one.

Winged Lidded Box – Terry Scott

Club Meeting: 8 Aug 2018
Report by: Earl Culham

The term project for the guild members is to produce an item from a 125mm cube. Terry proceeded to show those in attendance how to make a winged lidded box from a 125mm cube of matai, which one of the hawk eyed observers caused Terry to admit that his cube was in fact only 122.5mm. That is not a bad observation from about 3m away, but it was typical of the fine repartee that took place during a most informative and entertaining demonstration.

As is usual with Terry’s demonstrations there were lots of tips and helpful hints e.g.

  • Turn the cube cross grain
  • Make sure that when centering the cube for a screw chuck, that you get the exact centre. Terry use a Stanley knife to mark the centre, then a centre punch finishing with a smack on the handle of a Phillips screw driver on the centre spot to ensure that when you drill the screw chuck hole the drill does not wander due to the grain
  • Sharp tools are essential, when the chisel starts to feel dull; a couple of quick swipes on the CBN wheel will bring it back to sharp again.
  • Use finger nail ground bowl gouges. Terry’s preference is to grind the tip so that the wings are swept back. Use 35deg and 55deg gouges.
  • Hold the chisel handle in a lowered position, rub the bevel and then raise the handle until it begins to cut cleanly.
  • Use negative rake scrapers; they are much more forgiving than the traditional grind.
  • Keep your eye out for any early 20th century paino’s left on the side of the road for the inorganic collections. If you spot one, grab the black keys, they will be ebony. Great for making small finials. You might spot the odd ebony ornament on Trademe as well.
  • Be careful how thin you make the wings, they may need support with bracing and hot melt glue, depending on the thinness and the sort of timber you use.

Terry finished the winged lidded box by adding some embellishment with his famous $10 texture tool which of course doesn’t cost $10, but adds $10 value to your work each time it is used. Well, that is what Terry reckons and he would be right!

Little Wooden Owl – John Basillie

Club Meeting: 1 August 2018
Report by: India James

This Wednesday we had demonstrator John Basillie from Franklin show us how to make small wooden owls. John has been woodturning at Franklin for 6-7 years and Wednesday was his second visit to SAWG. It was a very interesting and intricate demo which provided some tips (and some longcuts) for turners of all skill levels!

Making the pupils:
John started out by making the pupils for the owl out of black rata which provided a nice contrast to the iris. Using a skew, he turned the pupil to a 10mm diameter with the help of a template. He then used a modified hacksaw blade to part the pupil off. John has found it easier if the pupils are made one at a time.

The pupil

Making the eye:
John then proceeded to make the eye, he firstly drilled the hole for the pupil with a 10mm forstner bit and then the pupil was pushed in and glued, the eye was then turned down to 19mm in total.

The Body:
The body for the owl was made out of a 55x85mm block of Swamp Kauri which was turned parallel to 48mm in diameter with the help of groves cut periodically along the block. The block also had a 20mm spigot which would be the base of the owl.
Next John divided the block into 4 by drawing lines 12mm wide. These were used as guides to create a sphere.
Firstly, he cut from the end of the block and the first 12mm line on the block. He the cut from the centre line to the end of the block.

Despite the decent sphere which was produced Johns ended up adopting the quote “What you lack in skill you make up with a bit of brute force and sandpaper” and he proceeded to grind the ‘sphere’ down to a sphere using a cut steel pipe, it was then finished off with ondina oil and sand paper.

Finishing the body:
Using a reverse chuck John put the body of the owl on the tail stock and then pushed it up to a jamb chuck he had made out of ply wood and MDF; this ensured that the body was centred. The reverse chuck was the removed and the base of the owl was cleaned up and made slightly concave.

Making the owl:
To make the eyes John put the body on a flat surface in order to decide where he thought the eyes should go. He generally follows these measurements: eyes 33mm up from the base and 20mm apart from the centre of each eye.
The body was then put back into the jamb chuck and it was lined up using the tail stock. To make the hole for the eye John used a forstner bit after enlarging the hole with a centring bit. John then used tight bond PVA glue to secure the eye and it was the turned down flat against the body. This process was repeated for each eye.

Thanks to John for the great demo! This owl it is a sweet looking creature made for the purpose of holding or for looking at on your desk. The above process was fairly involved but could be made simpler by using a few short cuts… such as using a sanding belt for the base. Overall, I wish John all the best on his mission to create an army of owls!

“What you lack in skill you make up with a bit of brute force and sandpaper” – John Basillie

A Bit Twisted – Jim Newland

Report for 25 July 2018
Report by: Dylan Budd
Jim was demonstrating how he makes his spiral candlestick holders. He usually makes them in pairs, with one having a left handed twist and one having a right handed twist.
He makes them in three sections, as this provides more convenient lengths to work with, and it is easier to keep the internal hole centralised in a shorter piece.
Selection of a good quality auger bit is also essential for a good result. The cheap auger bits with screw points at the front of them do not tend to cut very well, and can wander off centre when drilling the central hole.
Once you have a round piece of stock at the desired external diameter, select the section that you will do the spiral design on. Establish 6 parallel lines using the index on the lathe, and divide them into three sections. Now use a piece of flexible plastic with a straight edge to join the intersections of these lines on the angle. The accuracy of marking out is critical to ensure an even and equally spaced final product.
Using a V block or a square jig that matches the size of your workpiece (and a rod of the right internal diameter to reduce blowout on the back side of the holes), start drilling holes along the length of these marked out lines (using a stop block to get a round of perfectly lined up holes at each end.)
A ‘brad point’ or ’dowel’ drill bit is essential for this step, as the sharp central point on the drill bit ensures accuracy of the hole placement, and prevents the drill bit from wandering as you drill the holes. It also allows you to partially overlap each hole with the previous one to remove more material with the drilling stage and requires less work by hand at later stages.

The smaller designs have 72 holes drilled to make the starting point for the spirals, and larger designs can easily require hundreds of holes.
Once all the holes are drilled, start using a sharp bench chisel to remove the waste between holes and smooth out the spirals. Always work with / downhill on the grain, as this will greatly reduce the risk of taking too much material off and ruining all your hard work to this point.
The next step Jim uses is a microplane. He got a right-angled one and squashed it flat in the vice to provide a flat profile that allows him to get into the gaps between the spirals and continue shaping.
Once the planning is finished, the next step is sanding. Hand cut thin strips of sandpaper with tape added to the backing for extra stiffness are threaded through between the spirals and worked back and forth to sand the rounds on the inside of the spirals. Canvas backed sandpaper is also good for this (as is often found on belt sander belts etc)
The process can take many days of fine hand tool work, but the finished results can be quite spectacular.