Category Archives: Reports

Cam Cosford – Triangular Box

Club Night: 12 Feb 2020
Report by: John Whitmore

Cam Cosford treated us to a demonstration of box making with a difference. The shape was of triangular footprint but having convex (not straight) sides. The complexities of this were somewhat baffling to many and way beyond the scope of this report to record in detail, but there were some take home messages that are worth recording for posterity:

The project was made from a blank of 150 mm dia and 80 mm long – which gives a good idea of the overall size. This can be scaled either way for personal preference.

When removing and replacing a project on a 4 jaw chuck in compression mode, mark the work opposite a known jaw number so that the item is remounted exactly as it was first positioned, using the original pressure marks. This facilitates consistently true running.

Parting off a box lid is best started using the thinnest parting tool available and completed by hand saw with the work stationary. A thin parting tool enables grain to be better matched between box and lid.

Marking out the design intentions involves careful geometric drawing. To create a triangle out of the original circular disc requires offset turning and a great deal of hit-and-miss cutting. Off-setting is by means of a custom faceplate made from 30 mm mdf and necessitates very accurate (again, of geometric quality) laying out of positioning marks. Securing of the work to the offset faceplate is assisted by means of a screw into the workpiece centre to allow rotation between the three cutting centres and blobs of hotmelt glue for security at each stop. A counterbalance weight is essential.

The feet were cunningly made by utilising the original flat base of the blank as their resting surfaces and shaping the sides via the process of creating the convex triangular curves. Unusually, the underside was deeply dished between the feet with the effect of letting light underneath to create lift of the box and visual separation of the feet.

The likelihood is that this will be written up as a project plan for our website so greater detail is expected in due course along with drawings to illustrate the finer points. This project does flag the benefits of precision planning and that there are endless permutations in woodturning to be explored and experimented with.

Bob Yandell – Lidded Apple Box

Club Night: 5 Feb 2020
Report: Bob Yandell/Strett Nicolson


Grain can enhance the result.
Plain straight grain needs to be given a lift just as too much figure has its own difficulties. Material of choice Macrocarpa as it is stable and grain lends itself to natural wood colour or dyes.
90 x 90 x 110mm, ideally has faces at right angles.

1.      Square off ends and turn a 48mm x 10mm spigot on both ends and take off square edges thus reducing chance of splintering off and cuts i.e. just a radius.

2.      Lock and mark middle point between spigots and decide which will be the lid and which will be the box based on grain and mark accordingly.

3.      Cut through using the Bandsaw. You now have 2 pieces      
a.      The Lid
b.      The Box

Mount the Box in the 50mm chuck and square off face.

1.      The rough shape of the base of the apple the curve begins about 20% down from the squared off face and end at the spigot.

2.      Cut the tenon approximately 4mm in from the outside edge using the Parting Tool to a depth of 6mm approx.  Start the internal wall so overall thickness is roughly 10mm.

3.      Hollow out using 10mm Bowl Gouges (35 and 55), Hollowing Tools and Scrappers assist. Check the depth, you must not go into the spigot. Sand and finish inside and apply sanding sealer.

Mount the Lid in the 50mm chuck and square off face.

1.      The rough shape of the top of the apple the curve begins about 20% down from the squared off face and end at the spigot.

2.      Mark the size of the diameter of the tenon using dividers.

3.      Carefully cut the mortise to a depth of approximately 4mm using the Parting Tool to a depth that will allow you to check the box fit(Tenon is 6mm). Check fit often. Not too tight – you cannot put wood back. Start the internal wall so overall thickness is roughly 10mm

4.      Hollow out using 10mm Bowl Gouges (35 and 55), Hollowing Tools and Scrappers assist. Sand inside and apply sanding sealer.

Mount the Box in the 50mm chuck using expansion mode

1.      The rough shape of the base of the apple the curve begins about 20% down from the squared off face down removing the spigot to an acceptable diameter for the base of the fruit(40mm) then turn in to create the hollow at the base of a fruit.

2.      Sand and finish

Mount the Lid in the 50mm chuck and square off face.

1.      The rough shape of the top of the apple the curve begins about 20% down from the squared off face down removing the spigot to an acceptable diameter for the top of the fruit(50mm) then turn in to create the hollow but leave a 5mm spigot to create the stalk of a fruit. You can use an actual stalk.

2.      Shape stalk, sand and finish.

Bruce Wood – Lawn Bowl to Lidded Box

Write up: Holm Miehlbradt
Club Meeting: 30 Jan 2020

Tonight Bruce demonstrated how to make a lidded box out of an old lawn bowls.

The first “obvious” advice was to make sure that the bowl is made of wood rather than a plastic one!

To initially mount the bowl, one of the existing rings (after cleaning it out) is used with a fitting chuck and with a padded jig on the tailstock. A spigot is the turned and the diameter is reduced/shaped on the tailstock side. This will be the bottom of the box.

The bowl is then mounted with the spigot. The outside of the lid is then shaped and while parting it off a tenon is formed.

Starting with a Forstner bit, the box is hollowed out partly. The lid is then fitted onto the box and once the connection is shaped it is finished (including sanding, sealing, wax, lacquer, etc.). At this point, Bruce showed how effectively oil-sand which eliminated dust and keeps the sanding paper unclogged for longer.

The box is then fully hollowed out and finished.

The box is then turned around and the bottom is shaped and finished. With sufficient care some of the original features and decorations of the bowl can be kept near the base to enhance the box.

Finally the lid is mounted (while protected with tape) and the inside of it is finished.

Thanks Bruce for the entertaining demo and the advice which can be used in any turning project.

Lindsay Amies – Presents for Young and Old

Club Meeting: 11 December 2019
Report by Graeme Mackay

Wig stand to a Christmas gift: a matter of measurement.

A Christmas miracle was performed by Lindsay in front of a very attentive and interactive audience. Lindsay was able to turn a wig stand into a coffee cup holder. This tree like cupholder was developed using two important measurement systems imperial and metric.

In short this demonstration could be called a struggle of imperial versus metric measurement systems for gift construction. Lindsay was able to have the use of tech features magic box in the production of this work and the associated gifts. A central direction was to use recycled wood measured primarily in the imperial system. The writer supposes that this was because of the use of recycled Kauri.

Measurement system: was used to determine the size of the base, the joining spigots, and the vertical stand in the coffee holder pegs. This is achieved through a concise use of the imperial measurement system so that the hanging cups did not neither touch the ground nor bump into each other.

Drilling onto square piece made the formation of the cupholders pegs accurate and facing in the correct direction. A process that gained the audience approval and raise comment of rounding off the square piece. Rounding off was a mixture of spindle roughing gouge and skew. Sanding was simple with the finish either being lacquer or paint. Positive thing about Lindsay’s processes is that the mechanisms for finishing was simple and lathe based i.e. the Jacobs chuck and the sanding mandrels. The writer was not sure whether these were measured in imperial or metric. There were some extensive audience discussion as to the exacting system of measurements. This is particularly applied to the formation of the cup holder pegs made from 10 mm (metric measurement) dowel.

Coffee cup pegs: Lindsay did mention that there are a number of methods for getting dowel down to the size, understood to be 9.25 mm (metric measurement). There was mention of Mac’s sharpened spanner system. However the more accurate measuring persons within the audience felt that this was difficult to maintain a measurement such as 9.25 mm measurements.

Lindsay’s application method allowed for slight inconsistencies in measurement by the use of a 12 ounce (imperial measurement) hammer i.e. hammering it in.

Gift two: The associated gifts were made with very similar precision. The advantage of being that the prime piece for the base of gift one: a mouse, was variable. There was a question raised in the audience as to whether this was imperial variability or metric variability. Lindsay resolved this issue by making one body and imperial and another body and metric. The writer is unsure which was which. Small important notes were; sealing the mouse before making holes for the ears and whiskers and tail. Ensuring that the hole for these items was of sufficient size in this case 3.5 mm (metric measurement) and the use of superglue to finalise the attachment.

Gift three: a mouse on a door wedge. Lindsay used his magic box and showed how the flat surface of the mouse can be dowelled to the angled surface of the wedge. Lindsay did comment that the angle of the wedge is up to the maker and the size of the piece of wood been used. However he did indicate that this could be done in either imperial or metric.

Gift four: Raupo rush poles. A garden implement that can be made in both measurement systems. The steel rods can be purchased and cut source of required. Lindsay did note it is important to drill the bass part of the Raupo rush to the same size of the rod. Again in this case it was a metric measurement is that with the style of the steel rod purchased.

A warning: when using recycled timber particularly Kauri recycled timber, check for nails. They do significant damage to nicely sharpen tools.

Happy Christmas
Graeme Mackay


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

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

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:

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.