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Tom Pearson – Lavender Bottle

Club Meeting: 18 March 2020
Report by: Bill Alden

Tom showed us various boxes that he had made over the years of many sizes. Including a spinning top box which was an ancient game originating in the Middle East

The blank used for the Lavender Bottle was 20mm X 20mm and 120mm long was placed between centres. Tom used a “story stick” with the dimensions of each element of the bottle. From the Headstock end. 60 mm for the bottle 15mm for the 8mm spigot plug and 20 mm for the knob.

Leaving the bulk of the base square he shaped the foot and the neck of the bottle with a bulb at the top. The next 15cms were parted down to 8mm using parting tool and calipers. The lid was then shaped as per the photograph with a spindle gouge reducing the waste at the top for later removal.

At this stage the bottle should be sanded and finished.

Hold the base in in a small set of jaws and centre using the steb centre. A 2 mm parting tool is now used to cut off the spigot. With an 8mm bit drill to a depth of about 25mm and fit the lid spigot into this hole . Tom used a round file and sandpaper to achieve a snug fit. It was noted that the spigot may be shaped more narrow where it meets the hole to assist fit. The lid can now be removed from the waste and final sanding and finishing done at this point. The spigot is sanded if necessary to ease the fit.

The base is now parted off and sanded on a sanding mandrel in a Jacobs chuck on the lathe or a belt sander. Finish with oil wax or lacquer as preferred.

When ready to sell or gift pour no more than 2-3 drops of oil in the hole. This will permeate through the wood to perfume handbags, drawer or car, etc. Too much lavender oil can be overpowering.

Tom sells these with a small bottle of lavender oil in an origami box made from Calendar pictures. For instructions see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8_uUz5__nk

Terry Scott – Spoon Lidded Box

Club Meeting: 11th March 2020
Report by: Bob Yandell

The “House Full” sign was up and Terry was at his best – humour, skill and knowledge for all present. The start was, as only Terry, the entrepreneur and entertainer could, an opportunity following the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent shortage of toilet paper. We woodturners could meet the shortfall by providing toilet paper by supplying the leaf from Salanum maurtianum plant, better known as Woolly Nightshade or Tobacco plant which Terry observed was growing in plentiful numbers either by itself or in combination with our turnings and a few chemicals mixed together, compressed then peeled like a veneer and rolled. If you weren’t there you missed the business opportunity of 2020.

The actual demonstration began with Terry showing examples of spoons and his development of the concept into the lidded box. Spoons for a salt pig through spoons with long handles. (Refer Club projects sheets – Spoons for the basic concept).

Terry started with a block of Kauri 60x60x180mm. Hard woods are best used when making spoons. The block was mounted between centres and turned round. The final diameter was  53mm based on the internal dimensions of the sphere cutter being used and a 48mm spigot was put on each end. The lid section was parted off at 64mm. The box/spoon section was that left. At this point Terry informed that the length of the spoon was dictated by the swing over the lathe and a maximum length for the lathe was 400mm to which the allowance for the lid and spigots “X”mm is to be added.

The Spoon/Box portion was mounted in the 50mm chuck; end cleaned up and a line defining the centre of the sphere clearly drawn, approximately 28mm in from the end, and a fainter line defining the sphere diameter marked. This latter line is where the handle starts and a cut on the lathe head side of the line, with the parting tool indicates the beginning of the handle profile and diameter. The distance between the line defining the centre of the sphere and the external diameter is divided into 4 equal parts(3 lines either side of the main line) because a sphere is formed from 4 flats( starting with the centre line being the beginning of the curve and end furthest from centre being the end of the curve and the beginning of the next and repeating until curve complete).

The sphere profile is refined gently using a pipe tool with the lathe running. This is a piece of tube with a handle fitted in one end that allows approximately half the diameter to extent, like a chisel tip, and is sharpened on the belt sander. The “roundness” is checked using bottle caps and until no gaps between wood and cap. Sand and finish.

Complete the handle profile and part off. Texture, captive ring, may be pyrography – sand and finish.

The next stages require a jamb chuck and ideally a second chuck for the yet to be made lid.

Making the box requires a jamb chuck mounted in 50mm chuck. The sphere plus handle needs to fit snuggly so handle is flush with face of the jamb chuck. Determine diameter with callipers or Vernier and mark face of jamb chuck and turn out always checking fit. It must be snug and firm. Cut a slot to accommodate handle. Terry used an Arbortec. Drill a hole from the side of the jamb chuck into the bottom to assist removal. Position the sphere in the jamb chuck to optimise the strength of the grain and visual appearance. Hot melt glue can be used to ensure no movement of the sphere. Mark the centre so a drill can be used to define the depth of the cavity of the box. The depth is the diameter id the sphere less wall thickness.

Cut the opening for the lid and hollow it and cut the rim to accept the top part. Finish all these surfaces. Terry used a cup tool and emphasised the need to rub the bevel. He also used a scrapper in a circular motion, like the hand on a clock to maintain the inside of the sphere.

Next stage was the lid using the piece set aside at the beginning. The face is cleaned up and the internal hollowed so that the curve is a continuation of the internal curve of the box. There is sufficient wood so Terry was able to develop the external profile so it matched/complimented the box. This is where a second chuck is of value as you can produce the lid and then fit it to the box to finish the top albeit a finial, knob or handle. Complete the handle profile and part off. Texture, captive ring, may be pyrography – sand and finish.


By Dick Veitch

Despite marbling being a craft practised since the 12th century we still don’t have a precise recipe on how to do it. It has, however, been part of the NAW National Certificate in Woodturning since its inception. In the training books we find a recipe that works – but, it seems, not well enough for many to use marbling as a frequent enhancement of their woodturning.

When Walter Wager, from near Tallahassee, offered us a marbling demo I was a bit ho-hum. He included a copy of his marbling report to the American Woodturner journal. Nice pictures, nice work, and yet another recipe requiring the mixing of spoonsful of this with quarts of that to make up gallons – probably US gallons. There also was a statement about “pure” this and using distilled water. A little web search established that I could buy distilled water in the supermarket and I could order in pure methylcellulose and pure alum.

That suggestion of not using our chemical-laden town water and not using wallpaper paste (methylcellulose with unknown additives) made great sense. Please do visit us, Walter.

To prepare for his visit I worked my way through many recipes to make up an alum solution and the methylcellulose size needed to float the acrylic paint needed to create the marbled effects.
Now, bear in mind that there are marbling kits available in some New Zealand stores and online – they all work, but most are designed for one-person use. We were going to have ten, or more, people wanting to put marbling on their choice of wood. The National Certificate in Woodturning also needs to cater for more than the single user. So, getting information on the important ingredients is necessary.

The important wood preparation is firstly to choose a dense white wood, turn it, sand it, and apply alum to the wood – just keep the items small please? That meant that most arrived with eggs, egg cups, a wig stand foot and little bowls but, as always, one had to arrive with an item that challenged our biggest dipping dish!

Any acrylic art paint is supposed to work – true, most do – but, as a rule, the cheaper the paint the coarser the granules within the paint.

Next challenge is to get a nice pattern of paint floating on the surface of the methylcellulose size mixture. Amongst the crowd at Walter’s hands-on afternoon we had some fairly basic acrylics, tubes of quality colours and some of the Golden High Flow Acrylic mentioned above. Most of those had to be thinned with water (or, later, more paint added) so that the paint would float on the surface of the size. Some spread more readily than others. Some colours of the same brand spread well when used alone but then either would not spread when placed over other colours or would spread madly and push everything aside.

Our choice now is Golden High Flow Acrylic. Ok, appears to not be cheap but only a few drops are needed for each marbling action. This paint has a fine and consistent texture and is available in more than 50 colours.

Obviously, putting drops of colour sequentially at the centre of a bowl results in rings of colour. You can have these rings of colour on your wood or take a comb and stir it a little. Then dip the wood in. Rinse it off and let it dry. When thoroughly dry put a finish over it.

Garry Jones – Ring Box

Club Meeting: 4th March 2020
Report by: Cathy Langley

Garry Jones’ version of this term’s “lidded box” theme was a small jewellery box for storing women’s rings (both under and above the lid) with four feet and a finial providing elegance. Garry had brought a number of finished examples illustrating a range of possible designs.

He started with a block of timber 70 x 70 x 150 cm, emphasising that the blank needs to be exactly rectangular so that the feet are equally spaced. On each side of the blank, he had drawn a line 40 cm from one end for the lid, and had marked the centre point of the longer end on each of the four sides. At these points, he had drilled a 40mm hole into each side, meeting in the centre and creating what would eventually become the space between the four feet.

Using a steb centre in the chuck, he created a spigot on each end, remounted the blank with the holes at the headstock end. He marked a line just beyond the holes on the side toward the lid section, to indicate where the bowl shaping would begin. He then turned the lid section to a cylinder and shaped the bowl and feet, with a narrower diameter where the line had been drawn earlier to indicate the base of the bowl.

The next step was to part off the lid section and hollow out the interior of the box. Garry used a Rolly Munro mini-hollower to leave a raised “finger” in the base of the bowl to hold the rings. Garry then faced off and designed the rim of the bowl as for any other lidded box. He left the sanding and finishing to our imaginations (except to suggest that the edges of the holes be smoothed with a flapper wheel in a drill) and parted off the blank, separating it from the spigot at a point that cut into the bottom edge of the pre-drilled holes to separate the four feet.

The next-to-last step was to mount the lid section in the chuck, face it off, and hollow it. (Garry suggested that a dimple could be left in the inside of the lid with texturing applied around it, as he had done in several of the examples of finished ring boxes that were passed around.) He presented the base of the box to the mounted lid several times to ensure a good (and fairly loose) fit, and then completed the outside of the lid, leaving a spigot at the headstock end which could either be turned as the handle for lifting the lid, or as a 10mm (or just under) dowel over which a finial could be glued into place.

The final step is optional. Several of Garry’s examples had a finial on the box 50-80 mm long with an approximately 25mm base, narrowing to 12-15mm at the top, to hold additional rings. If you decide to do this, mount a 40 x 100 mm blank of similar or contrasting wood, drill a hole 10mm in diameter and about 10 mm deep, bring up a live centre in the tailstock, and shape he finial. Finish and part it off, and glue it over the dowel at the top of the lid.


Colin Wise – Offset Lidded Box

Club Meeting:26 Feb 2020
Report by: Murray Wilton

Colin opened his demo by displaying a range of lidded “boxes” he has made over the years. There was a set of 7 boxes, each one smaller than the next so they could be stacked to fit into the next largest box. Like Russian dolls. Apparently the world record for the number of boxes that can be made to stack in this way is 33. Terry has managed to get up to 17. Can anyone meet the challenge and beat that? The walls have to be so thin that turning must be done carefully with accurate measurements. Colin made his septet of boxes early in his turning career. He also revealed a sample of the finished product he was aiming to turn this evening and showed off a square box beautifully made from laminated timbers.

Colin’s demo started with a block of bird’s-eye pine, about 60 mm square and 180 mm long. He had previously rounded off the block and cut an off-set spigot in one end about 6mm from the true centre of the box, with the equivalent marking at the other end for holding with a steb centre at the tailstock end. With the block held by the offset spigot, he drilled a hole with a 32 mm Forstner bit, drilling slowly to avoid burning and ensuring the depth was sufficient to leave a box bottom about 5 to 8 mm thick. Drilling avoids having to do any hollowing.

[HANDY TIP No. 1: Colin uses boelube on the drill to keep it moving and avoid burning. Always drill slowly with Forstner bits and frequently extract from the hole to clear shavings.]

Once the desired depth is reached Colin marked that level on the outside so later he would know where to part off the lid of the box. He also marked the position of the curves he wanted to apply to the box. Next the box is de-mounted and a plug inserted in the hollow (top) ready for shaping and to give the box its unique (but not altogether beautiful) off-set shape. Now the block is re-mounted in the off-set spigot with the steb centre holding the off-centre mark at the tailstock end marked in the plug. The shaping must be done carefully with frequent checks to ensure the cuts are not encroaching on the 32 mm hole. If this happens the box will become a sieve.

[HANDY TIP No. 2: Off-set turning can be hazardous if anything goes wrong, so make sure you wear the full face guard and keep fingers clear of the unevenly spinning work piece.]

The box is demounted again and mounted in the real centre ready for parting off the lid. Before completing the cut, turn the rebate in the top of the box ready to take the lid. Also do any finishing work needed at this stage because once the lid is parted off it won’t be possible to do this.

After parting off the lid Colin completed shaping it to the desired form and cut the rebate to fit the box opening.

[HANDY TIP No. 3: When turning shapes, rebates, etc., to fit other shapes and rebates, keep checking for a good fit as you go along. Very easy to take off too much and lose a tight fit.]

Colin shaped the lid as a spinning top with a short handle to enable the top to be spun in a small notch cut in the bottom of the box. To do this he first shaped the bottom of the top (meaning the spinning-top), then turned it round in the chuck to finish the “top” of the top! If you get my meaning.

Great demo from another of our turning gurus. Many thanks Colin.

— Written up by “Club’s Most Consistent Volunteer Reporter” Murray Wilton

Dick Veitch – Spire Box

Club Meeting: Wednesday 19th February
Report by: Emma James-Ries

This week we were treated to a demo by the one and only Dick Veitch. He started off by talking about the latest Teknatool Nova Orion lathe, kindly loaned by Carba-Tec. Dick was very impressed with this version, asides from the secret Tailstock compartment which held centres. Otherwise, if you’re looking to upgrade your lathe, this model won’t disappoint.

Moving on to the nights project, Dick chose to turn a Spire Box, which was made with multi-centres. It is import to choose a strong grained wood for this project. Taking a piece of wood with dimensions 220mm long and 70mm square, mount on the lathe and round off to 60mm diameter. Once round, cut the curve of the outside of the foot of the box. Then cut a cove in the centre down to 51mm. Now part this cove down the middle and set the spire part aside. Dick then went on to hollow out the lid part of the top section of box. Setting that aside, he hollowed the bottom part of the box to fit the lid. It was at this point that Dick realised he needed to stand on a platform to properly hollow the box, as the new lathe was fractionally too high (it was on a small plinth). Always important to remember to be at the right height for turning to avoid unnecessary strains and pains.

After that was complete, he put both parts of the box together and remounted on the lathe, to recut the curve in the centre. Once cut down to 48mm, mark the centre points on each end. Dick then went on to explain that while making this project, he encountered problems when turning the shaft of the base and the finial on top. This was because the off set body of the box was too heavy for the shaft to bare once it was turned thin. To counteract this problem, Dick made a jam block that fitted neatly into the box to reduce the off-centre weight. Once counterweighted, go on to shape the stem with a spindle gouge. Dick made some lovely beads and wings under the box body and tapered the stem. He then showed us a clever way of sanding the underneath of the box with an electro file. Dick mentioned at this point, that it was wise to put a brace between the box and for to steady the stem when sanding as it is so fragile at this point.

Once Dick was done sanding the base, he went over to his special ‘magic box’ and pulled out one he’d made earlier. A fabulous project, thank you very much. This project sheet is available on the SAWG website under the name Spire Box.

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