Category Archives: Reports

Ian Connelly – German Ring Turning

Club Meeting: 12 December 2018
Report by Murray Wilton

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

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

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

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

Definitely something quite different and certainly a challenge.

Dick Veitch – Pencil Box

Club Meeting: 5 Dec 2018
Report by Graeme Mackay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graeme Mackay
December 2018

Garry Jones – Christmas Decoration

Club meeting 28 November 2018
Report by Earl Culham

Garry chose to demonstrate the turning of a Christmas decoration (in his words a doo da) in the shape if a lantern with finials top and bottom.

Using a cube of kauri 50×50, but of course you may use any size or material you wish; Garry marked the centres on all sides. Mount in a 50mm chuck with the end grain towards the head and tail stock. Drill a 7mm hole thru the cube to take the finials. Garry then used a 13mm countersink bit to provide a seat for the finials when they are glued in.

Reposition the cube in the chuck and drill out the four sides using a 35mm forstner bit. Drill half way through, rotate the cube and drill from the other side to complete the hole, sand the hole to a neat finish as you go.

Once the four sides are drilled, the edges have to be rounded. Gary used his own adaption to hold the cube by using his pen mandrel threaded through the finial holes. He added a couple of turned spacers to hold the cube,; worked like a charm.

Round the edges/corners using the shadow technique, sand and finish. At this stage, finish the cube with whatever finishing you prefer, sanding sealer, polyurethane etc.

To make the top and bottom the finials, Garry started with 20mm doweling, used as a contrasting colour to the kauri. He suggested the top finial at 80mm and the bottom 100mm. Turn the finials to any shape you like, leaving a 7mm tenon and a 45deg base to fit the counter sunk recess left in the top and bottom of the cube. It was suggested from the floor that choosing a hard wood to make the finials would result in a better finish with less sanding required than the pine that Garry used.


Finish the decoration by adding a bell to the interior, or let your imagination and creative juices flow.
Well done Garry.

Bruce Wood – In a Spin

Club Meeting: 14 November 2018
Report by: Graeme Mackay

The efficient spinning top: String full driven and provided with actual measurements. Bruce’s demo was a spindle turning top based on the standard woodblock 70 mm x 70 mm x 180 mm. The wood is set between two centres before the attack. Bruce quickly changes the square into a cylinder with a measured spigot on the end.

Full of tips:
Tip 1: Watch the sharp tips on your Vernier callipers. Slightly rounded tips allow for a lot more safety on fingers.
Tip 2: When putting the chuck on, wind on with the headstock in until tight, then use the mechanisms provided.
Tip 3: There are lots of lovely tools for getting the dead centre. And, there is much ease in using a spring-loaded awl for making the mark.

Main body:
Planning is always an emphasis, starting with drilling a 4.5 mm whole on one end. The hole in this case was 40 mm long or twice the distance needed. Again the mantra of Bruce: measure. Then measure again. And then, check the plan.
The three part main body is measured off and worked, all the time being checked, for sealing and sanded. A good tidy with the skew chisel cuts down on sanding.

When the spin drive of the main body is completed, work on defining bead and following Cove for both looks and finish. The bottom section is tapered off slowly and the piece overall, believe it or not, conforms to Fibonacci.

Tip 4: Use the spindle gouge in an underhold style. This saves on fingers.
Tip 5: Sanding sealer cuts down the final effort and provides a good base for either the finishing lacquer or the Beale polishing system.

Turn the main piece around on the lathe and fit into pen jaws. This allows for the finishing of the pointy end. Care needs to be taken with the 4.5 mm hole at the end measurement. Again, to check that the final depth is correct.

Bruce used wood 40 mm x 40 mm x 180 mm. Pre-drilling the holes for the top base and string outlets are best done when the wood is still square. The diameter of the straight round holes allow the fit of the top of the base top. The diameter of the oval holes allow for easy insert of string and the pulling to get the top going. These holes are in the top 1/8 of the length of this section. This section is kept square.
The rest of the handle is turned to make a good holding handle. Most of the work being done for looks rather than functional utility. It has to be said that Bruce’s beads and Cove sections make for a better looking handle.

Bruce tidy handiwork does get the beads and coves even and good-looking. In and turning language this means a lot of fiddly turning for finishing off. The edges of the square section are slightly rounded with gentle sanding. This removes most of the sharp edges.

String handle:
More turning between centres. A cylinder around 25 mm in diameter is tidied up, beaded and coved (looks) and gently sanded off for finish. Again, there is significant advantage in drilling the string hole while the piece is still square.

Tips 6: Drilling the hole on the square form for the string first is quite useful.
Tips 7: An initial dose of sanding sealer allows for a quicker and cleaner finishing and polishing.
Tip 8: Remember, a too heavy or too fast sanding with mechanical tools can leave a mark on the timber. Slowly and with soft hands avoids this issue.

There are many options for taking off the buds at each end of the string handle; penknife, small Japanese saw, power saw poor some form of mechanical sanding.
The nail on the base, one of the final steps, can be rounded off by holding it in a Jacobs chuck on the drive before insertion into the base body.

Then came the end bit:
The trial.
It works!

Graeme Mackay
November 2018

Janet McDonald – Creative Embellishment

Wednesday 16th November 2018
Report by: Bruce Wiseman

Our demonstrator, Janet McDonald, treated us to an evening of Creative Embellishment.
Janet is one of our new members, having been Wood turning only 6 months, hence she was not demonstrating turning, but the enhancement of items already turned.

She explained to us that she had been a hairdresser in 1999 and had subsequently written 7 books on Handcraft Art, including Mosaics.

With her craft work she told us she took a lesson out of Terry’s book and sold them for double the original asking price.

Out of her “Magic box” (no special wand like Dick,) came a number of decorated bowls and objects, which she had enhanced with paint and pyrography, some of which would have been suitable as Christmas decorations.

We were shown her style and method of Pyrography and the tool she used. The wire tips she made from Nichrome wire, bent so she could use it like a pen to draw or write with.
Patterns were traced onto the wooden object, then the tool used to burn into the wood.

Lunch wrap is ideal as a tracing paper. Use an old fine ball pen (no ink) as a tracing tool to transfer the pattern.
If transferring to a curved surface, scrunch up paper then spread over the item. This helps it to mould without deep creases.
Use designs from all sources, look outside the square.

When burning, relax, use light pressure. Wear Safety Glasses and clean the tip regularly to remove Carbon.
Set up a fan or similar airflow to draw fumes away – do not blow towards your work.

Janet used acrylic paint – test pots from Resene are good. The Metallic range is particularly ideal. Apply two base coats, then other colours as needed to produce the effect required.

Janet also showed us some gold and bronze leaf application, (use leaf not vinyl.)
She also demonstrated how to apply the size to where the leaf was to adhere, advising the use of gloves when painting on the size and allow 20 – 30 minutes for it to dry (tacky) before applying the leaf.

Embellishing tools are obtainable from Art Supply shops, E-Bay, or Terry’s Emporium.
Craft glue is available from Spotlight.

To finish with, a selection of decorated bowls, Christmas trees and Christmas puddings were passed around.

Thank you Janet for an unusual and interesting evening.

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.