Category Archives: Reports

Christmasy Things – David Durnie

Club meeting; 7 November 2018
Report by: Graeme Mackay

A traditional Christmas theme: David produced a good procession of completed snowman and a snow lady. Of course there was a tree. However, in a typical engineering fashion, all were made of small bits joined together to make the whole piece. Each piece was turned then joined together through an excellent demonstration of construction and deconstruction. The Christmas cracker itself came in bits- that is before the cracker explosion. Drawings and embellishment was completed in this case by laser work. Also, David produced a smaller version of the cracker with a bang strip held in place by little PIIGS.

Christmas game: David produced are not an old peg game based on the Tower of Hanoi, an old traditional game. A game explanation was shown on screen. This made it easy to see how the pieces move long the tree peg stands. David reminded people that all these operations can be done using all sorts would including scraps and even bits of pallets. For this demonstration, the base was made of Baltic pine pallet wood. The turning system revolves around a fixed spigot and that had a protruding Dowling. Pieces are rotated on the Dowling to allow finishing to top and bottom. Plumbers tape is used as a gap filler when the fit is not that tight. David mentioned that the number of pieces means that there are more moves to complete
Tip: remember to use hardwood for the fixed bigot. It avoids wear and tear.

Garden pot example: David had a really fun idea of putting the small flowerpots together to make a flowerpot man and/or woman with standard colours using normal house paints. The idea is a work in progress. However, the little project brings up a new view to wood turning

Christmas Angel: The angel, like all Dave’s current ideas, as worked on a fixed spigot with the ability to do both and bottom on the same spigot. The key to this particular Christmas piece is taken advantage of the fixed bigot. David recesses the basin to allow the piece to sit flat down on the period base and give a better view of things.
Tip: use a round mandrel with the centre hole taken out. This avoids sanding in one place and is a useful tool to work on a sphere. Noting, the concept are similar to that using a pipe hand on a wooden sphere for cleaning up.

Another tip: the spigot and a chuck is reusable. Just remember to use hardwood and keep all the pieces holes the same size throughout the project. The plumbers tape allow some accommodation of width differences.
Christmas Angel Arms: David reckons the best look is arms facing downward and the shoulders facing inwards. Misconfiguration gives a better look and is easily accommodated using the index on the lathe. Remember, that the key thing is working on a lathe. Many of these jobs can be done off the lathe. However, in reality the use of the lathe as a good thinking advantage; Wood turning techniques versus woodworking techniques.
The making of armholes of the Christmas Angel is a similar wood turning experience. A wooden chuck based jig is used to hold the body of the angel. The body is held in place with hot melt glue. The Jacobs chuck sitting in the tail rest is used for making holes. Next, the hole can be tapered to get better effect of the angel’s arms.
Tip: using chalk to mark where the current lathe based features are being worked on. Allows for a better view.

Tip: use tape on the lathe bed to make sure the ladies banjos our used in the same way. This allows for a well-placed and even second arm hole.
Tip: with offset turning, remember to leave to speed up as the work is spinning quite at the centre of the piece. And with humour, David commented that one should remember keep hands and arms free and away from spinning piece.

Angel wings: these are formed through the use of a small shallow bowl. The piece can be turned on standard manner, on the mandrel, or even use of Coles jaw. The cutting of the recesses of the wing can be achieved by hand, a bobbin on the lathe, offset turning with a hot melt glue holding or even a large sending board mounted on a lathe. The angles for the arms body and wings is all a matter of choice

Go enjoy yourself
Graeme Mackay


Report by: Murray Wilton
Club Meeting: 31 October 2018

Following the theme of Xmas ideas, Terry Scott’s presentation was sure to please. For Terry and others who make a living from turning, production-line techniques are essential. Thus, for making a large number of bottle stops, drill holes in all the starting blocks first. Easily done with a drill press, or make your own jig, and do 30 at one time.

Terry’s demo was to show how easy it is to produce a number of items to do with storage of wine in bottles. He reminded us that corks are coming back into fashion with some wine brands and especially overseas wines from Europe. For bottle stops don’t make the stopper too long or it may not fit in the fridge!

Starting with a block of suitable size (say 80 mm x 40 mm) drill a centre hole about 2 mm longer than the custom-made steel and rubber stopper onto which your turned top will go. Next screw the block onto the mandrel that comes with your chuck. Any timber will do for the job, but hard varieties are more likely to withstand the moisture inevitable in the stopper’s work. Turn and finish to your own design and add any enhancements you wish, including scalloped edges, texturing and paua dots. You may wish to insert an old coin in the top to celebrate a birthday or whatever. (The offer to Terry of a kruger rand was not treated very seriously.) When gluing coins don’t use superglue which reacts with the metal and discolours the timber around it. Use Araldite or some similar adhesive.

If you are working with resin, you can make a deeper hole, paint edges with blackboard paint, or other kinds, and pour the resin over the coin. In this case leave the finishing work until after the resin dries because inevitably some will overflow the hole and dry on the outside of the stopper. When finishing off the spilt resin push gently on the chisels to avoid heating the resin and causing further staining. With resins, measure quantities carefully to avoid having too much or too little, or if you are on a production-line mix sufficient for all the work. Leave the resin to stand for several minutes to disperse the bubbles. Terry uses Gemcote resin.

Although a non-drinker, Terry happily makes these wine bottle gifts for friends when invited to dinner at their home. He will take a full bottle of wine with a nice turned stopper attached with a ribbon and the bottle sitting in a turned bottle-holder. Which brings us to his next trick, making the bottle- holder. Start with a blank about 100 mm diameter by 60 mm long and mount on the mandrel or in a chuck if you have one large enough. Allow extra for a spigot if you don’t own a 130 mm chuck in your collection of a dozen $350 chucks. Effectively you are making a little square-sided bowl to contain the wine bottle, so start by cleaning off the outer end and then shape to the finished diameter. Add the finishing touches as above for the bottle stopper then remove and re-mount in the big chuck or on the spigot you turned first. Or, if you have them, mount in Cole jaws.

Complete the hollowing with straight square sides checking the diameter is right for a standard wine bottle. Larger if you plan on putting a champagne or jeroboam bottle in it! Terry uses a Soren chisel to get the sides and bottom nice and square. The skew chisel is useful here. Finish off with 400+ grit sandpaper, seal with sanding-sealer and polish with the Beale buffing system. Any marks caused by holding the piece in the chuck or Cole jaws can be eliminated using the texturing tool.

Terry’s demo finished with the production-line turning of small ornaments for the Xmas tree, using a jig (which his company sells) enabling three or four to be done at one time. Kits come with gold metal tube inserts to enable hanging on the Xmas tree. For these ornaments, the bottle-stops and myriad other household gadgets like graters, thread un-pickers, shoe horns, nut-crackers and so on, consult Terry who markets all these items at reasonable prices. Great for creating small gifts quickly for low cost and giving great pleasure to those receiving them. Thanks again Terry for a great presentation.

Things to Hang on a Christmas Tree – Graeme Mackay

Club Meeting: 24 October 2018
Report by: Bill Alden

Graham showed us his home-made sanding blocks from the various foam offcuts of different sizes, to which he had glued Velcro and used fabric backed sanding pieces

First Piece

Offcut blocks are used for this project and don’t need to be exactly square. Mark centres using diagonal lines and use a bradawl to indent the centre. Graham used steb centres. He also explained all the usual setup and safety points and spin the work before switching on the lathe.

Rough to a round and then use a small bowl gouge to work on the shapes. This first piece was a simple shape with gentle curves top and bottom the lower finial being left slightly longer than the upper finial. Before finishing the top a small hole possibly 3 mm as Graham was not specific on this (about that size) was drilled at the top to allow for a string to hang the ornament. Final finishing and parting off produced the first piece.

Second Piece

This was again marked out and roughed out this time using a 13 mm bowl gouge and using a spindle gouge to form the new shape which this time had two wings Graeme also talked about colour using felt pens and these need to be applied to the spinning work of course after final sanding and finishing.

Third piece

Graeme use different tools to finish this one and was roughing out partially with the skew chisel the design of this one was a little more complicated and three sections were marked out with Long point of skew and which were then shaped with a small skew and a spindle gouge.


A Christmas Toy – Trefor Roberts

Club Meeting: 17 October 2018
Report by Earl Culham

Members of SAWG were privileged to have Trefor Roberts from North Shore Woodturning Guild as the demonstrator for the first meeting of the term. The term theme is Christmas Toys and Trefor chose to turn a Christmas cracker.

Trefor said that his aim was to present a number of ideas and techniques to the audience, so that the ideas could be used and adapted for members own creations. In his view, and as a rule of thumb, woodturners may use the ideas of other turners but if it is a straight copy, then the originator should be given credit for the idea.

Trefor used a bought Christmas cracker as a guide for sizing and for some bits to add as contents for the finished article, but anything plastic was only fit for the rubbish bin. Examples of what he would use were the exploder, the paper hat and the joke. You can’t have a Christmas cracker without it making a good cracking sound or a containing a joke can you!

A turned cylinder with two chuck bites was marked into three pieces, i.e. two ends and the middle. Grooves cut to identify the ends and then the centre piece was parted in the middle. The centre and ends were then drilled out and the centre fitted back together as you would when making a lidded box. A hole was drilled through the narrow part of the ends so that the tail of the exploder could be passed through and glued into place when the cracker is assembled.

In addition to the paper hat and the joke which are the contents of the cracker, Trefor turned a small Christmas tree coloured with felt tip pens, and as another example of toys that can be added, he made a trick spinning top. Some of the nuances of making a trick spinning top were explained during the turning of the top e.g. length of spindle in relation to the end bulb needed to be the same, the curve of the bulb where it attaches to the spindle is essential for the top to flip over. Anything you can think of that will fit in to the cylinder is fine. Trefor produced a box full of a wide variety of spinning tops, quick to make and fun for people to use.

The demonstration provided a good example of what can be made for Christmas with a little bit of thought and planning. How much better would wooden crackers be on the Christmas lunch table than those that we can purchase? And what’s more, they could be refilled with new turned pieces for next year.

Many thanks Trefor.

Three Corner Vase – Cam Cosford

Club Meeting 26 September 2018
Report by Murray Wilton

Cam Cosford was the last in line for this term’s “make-something-out -of -a -125- mm block” theme and he did not disappoint. Starting with a 100 mm cube of purple-heart Cam had skilfully laminated on three sides a 5 mm strip of white maple, sandwiched between the purple-heart block and a 20 mm strip of rosewood. The corners were carefully mitred and the block was a thing of beauty on its own before Cam began working on it. In answer to questions from the floor Cam explained that he used a drop saw to cut the pieces, including the mitre joints, and Titebond to glue them together. Firmly clamped of course.

First step was to turn a spigot on the headstock end of the block, held by jam chucks between the main chuck and live centre, and using a bowl gouge for most of the shaping. Make sure the piece is marked so that it can be remounted in exactly the same position. Using a high r.p.m. Cam made the first cuts into the top third (nearest headstock) of the block to fashion the spigot. Keep moving the tool rest so that it is always as close as possible to the work to prevent “chatter”.

Once the spigot has been made the block is removed and remounted in the chuck (using the aforementioned mark). Now the tailstock end of the block is shaped to a flat surface so that the live centre can be brought up to the block with the jam chucks now discarded. Now another spigot is formed at that end (45 mm for a 50 mm chuck). When completed the block can later be held each end by chucks.

At this point Cam began shaping the main body of the vase, always keeping the work firmly held each end. As the three “wings” of the vase begin to appear, more care has to be taken to avoid them catching stray fingers. Once remounted in another chuck at the tailstock end it may be necessary to make slight adjustments to ensure the lamination patterns appear evenly around the vase.

Final exterior smoothing is done with a curved scraper. When completed the piece is turned around with the narrow end of the vase at the headstock end so that hollowing can begin. First the spigot is cleaned off and then normal bowl hollowing and smoothing takes place. Watch fingers with those flying vase “wings”! As hollowing proceeds, care is needed to ensure the bowl thickness is evenly distributed to conform to the outer curve. Use the callipers.

Nice work Cam and another great learning experience for most of us amateurs!

For those wanting to work with laminations using exotic timbers, the best suppliers are Rosenfeld Kidson and Timspec Timbers.

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.