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Terry Scott – Things That Go Round

Club Meeting: 7 December 2022
Report by: Kieran FitzGerald

Terry confessed that when asked to do a demo he didn’t have a clue as to what he might do – hence the highly interpretive topic “Things That Go Round”. But to show the truth in this title, Terry took a loaf of bread (thanks for the freebies Anwar), mounted it between centres, set the lathe spinning, and started to turn it with a roughing gouge. Throwing the partly turned loaf into the audience, he began a more realistic start to his demo.

Some time back (eons, I’d say), Terry scored a bunch of kauri offcuts from a job at Auckland Museum. They were varying sizes – 6 x 1s, 4 x 1s etc. What to make with them? Terry’s answer was spoons. He ended up selling about 50 a month through a shop at the airport. The selling price was $48, of which Terry made $26. To make this economically worthwhile, Terry found he had to “pump them out”. Hence this part of his demo about production turning.

The key to production turning is efficiency, and this includes saving time, by using jigs where possible, and doing work which is staged and in batches. For example, with the spoons Terry has a simple jig for marking the centres on the ends of each blank, and he does runs of 20 – 30 at a time. Between centres, and with a tool rest which is the full length of the spoon, Terry quickly turns the handle round, sands it and textures it, framing the textured part with a skew. Part it off and on to the next one. To avoid chattering Terry supports the handle with his non-tool hand. The wings of a spindle roughing gouge can be used like a skew, or a skew can be used to give a smoother finish and minimise sanding.

Next step is to take all the pieces to the bandsaw and shape out the spoon end, then to the disc sander to round them off. Terry finishes with a hand held angle sander at 240 grit before applying food safe beeswax. A little raffia tag to make it look flash for retailing, and another kauri treasure wings its way around the globe.

Terry estimates he has made over 2000 of these spoons. As an interesting side story, a comment from a buyer that she had never seen a left handed spoon before took Terry by surprise, because he had not considered that lefties and righties might stir in different directions, and the angling of the cuts on the spoon could enable opposing stirring directions.

The next part of Terry’s demo featured a lidded salt pig with a spoon. Starting with a macrocarpa cube mounted between spur centres, Terry roughed it round and cut a spigot at one end. He secured the spigot in a chuck and shaped the pig at the headstock end. At the other end he shaped out the lid, leaving a tenon (later to be the handle of the lid) which he would use in an ingenious (so called) time saving way. This will be described shortly. Then he parted off the lid and turned his attention back to the body of the salt pig. First he made a recess into which the lid would fit. Then he partially hollowed it. Next came the fun part. Returning to his earlier theme of production turning, Terry theorised that it was quicker to use a jam chuck to finish the inside of the lid than it was to remount it in a chuck. So using the body of the partially hollowed pig, Terry cut a mortise to fit the tenon he had made on the lid. “I normally get this right first pop” he said. Yeah right. Several attempts later, and after having had the unfinished lid fly off a couple of times, Terry resorted to jamming it in with toilet paper and taping it up with masking tape as an added measure before he was able to finish the job. Needless to say the audience took great delight in bombarding Terry with cheeky comments to which he responded in kind.

At this stage the lid still wasn’t finished because the tenon had to be re-shaped into a handle, so Terry jammed it into the recess in the pig and did that. Back to the pig, and the inside was finished with a hollower. Final finishing was done on the outside before Terry positioned it in the chuck in expansion mode to remove the spigot. The last step is to take it to the belt sander to form a flat on the lower side so it can sit in traditional salt pig fashion, or alternatively it can sit upright on its base. A useful tip is to make the grain sit horizontally because it looks better that way.

The salt spoon can be made entirely from wood with a ball end, but in this case Terry used a kit with a 3mm hole drilled in the handle to hold it. Lastly Terry drills a hole in the side of the lid to accommodate the spoon.

Terry said he gets $48 for his pigs, and his advice to turners is “bash, bash get the cash”. I dunno about that – some are in to production turning, and others are in it for fun and happy with making one off pieces. Whatever. As always Terry, we love your work, thanks for a great demo.

David Gillard – Hollowing 101

Club Meeting: 30 November 2022
Report by: Kieran FitzGerald

Tonight’s demo promised to be a blockbuster of epic proportions, and Director Dave Gillard did not let us down, performing to a full opening night audience. The action packed show had it all – drama, comedy, suspense, and most of all, education. Due to the technical nature of much of the subject matter, this review will concentrate on those aspects that were actually understood by the writer. For those parts which are unwritten, I would say take the tools in your hands and give it a go – with practice, practice and more practice the techniques and skills will reveal themselves to you.

The show opened with a log half the size of California mounted between centres on the lathe. Of course it could have been a bigger log if the lathe was a Harvey. But this scene was to be anticlimactic, and Bryan M. predicted it immediately: “he’s not going to turn that, it would take him all night just to rough it round”. Sure enough, this was a leg pull. Dave unmounted the log, but did share with us the method he uses to safely drive extra large turnings. This consists of a custom 75mm faceplate with a 50mm long pipe welded to the centre, and three sharp spurs fashioned from bolts protruding through the faceplate screw holes. Initially between centres, a Vermec reversing live centre with chuck can be fitted at the tailstock end.

Getting down to business, the plot begins as Dave mounts a decent sized chunk of green magnolia – guessing about 360 long by 180 across. It is already partly rounded and has a spigot for 100mm power grip jaws. Taking a ½” bowl gouge Dave shapes the outside, without placing too much importance on form – the emphasis here is on hollowing. A hint when working with wet wood is to wax the bed, tool rest etc to offer a bit of protection against the moisture from the wood. Dave turned the head of the lathe about 30 degrees to give a better working position rather than having to lean over the bed. After cleaning up the top surface Dave removed the tailstock and bored a 30 – 40mm hole with a spindle gouge to start the hollowing. In an alternative take this could have been drilled out, in which case a grunty sized drill bit should be used. Dave uses two forstner bits, one of which has the point ground off so he can go deep into the bottom but still leave it flat.

Now the plot deepens. Laid out on the table behind the lathe is a range of Rolly Munro hollowing tools, and Dave will use each of these as he demonstrates the hollowing techniques. The minimum 6 series, consisting of a Straight, an Owen and a Lister bend have a 6mm tungsten carbide cutter. These three tools have recently been superseded by a single 6mm articulated version. The next size up is the mini 8mm, which as the name implies, is an articulated tool with an 8mm cutter in either HSS or carbide, and ½” shaft. Next size up is the Wunderkutt 10mm with a 5/8” diameter shaft. These tools have an adjustable hood over the cutter which can be removed or retained in place to set the depth of the cut. By this stage I was getting a bit lost as to which tool was which, but there were longer tools as well for those deep hollowing jobs. Dave explained that with any of the Rolly tools the length over the tool rest is shaft diameter x 20. So a 5/8” diameter tool has a hollowing reach of 317.5mm over the rest.

When hollowing, the tool is presented to the wood at centre. With the cutter angled down initially, it is rotated clockwise until the desired cut is achieved. Dave has recently been at a day long demonstration with Rolly Munro, during which Rolly demystified some of the practices associated with hollowing, and explained that with the correct cutting techniques it is very difficult to get a catch. Dave demonstrated the techniques to us. First of all, the hand on the tool over the tool rest acts as a shock absorber, preventing the tool from chattering. If a cutter is inclined to catch, it will turn downwards with the rotation of the wood. When this happens, simply let the tool turn down and out of the cut rather than sharply trying to withdraw the tool. Through a tight opening, it is this reaction which has the potential to shatter the turning.

In this example, when hollowing the sides up from the opening, the cutter is most likely to catch at the point where it hits the shoulder. To avoid this, rather than pushing upwards at the side, cut downwards from the drilled centre hole towards the side. The hollowing tools will cut well in both a push and pull cut. It will be necessary to change the articulated angle of the cutter depending on your cutting location within the vessel.

A good stance involves positioning your body with the handle under your forearm, your front foot forward, and your shoulder positioned over the tool. This position allows the weight of your body to assist to control the hollower.

As the sides get thinner a cleaner cut can be achieved by angling the cutter to make a shear cut. The cutter can be swapped out for a dedicated scraper. The shavings will be smaller, and watch that the shavings don’t disguise the true thickness of your walls.

The hollowing tools will work equally well on dry wood. Dave took a rough turned bowl which had warped a bit as it dried. With the smaller tools especially, the amount of steel at the articulated joint is only about 2mm, so don’t go in too heavy handed with these. Dave showed how easy it is to turn the inside of the bowl with a hollower (although it can be difficult to see, with the shavings flying back at you).

One of the trickier parts of hollowing is removing the nipple that tends to form at bottom centre of your hollowing, where the rotation is near to zero rpm. Dave explained how the rotation of the vessel will carry the cutter towards the bottom of the nipple at which time you apply gentle downwards pressure on the handle, which lifts the cutter and nibbles away at the little nub. Dave was using a Wunderkutt 10 without a shield for this.

The finale of tonight’s show was a very informative discussion about sharpening. A sharp cutter, when drawn across your thumb nail, will dig in. If it takes a shaving from your nail it is not sharp. Cutters may be rotated, normally by about 1/3rd, to expose an unused edge. The recommended process for sharpening the cutters is to use a 2000 – 3000 grit diamond disc on the lathe at 300 rpm, and the cutter on a mandrel in a power drill rotating upwards at full speed. The diamond disc needs to be lubricated with water. Start on the bevel and bring the cutter forward until the edge is contacting. The black slurry line means the edge is sharpening.

The Rolly Munro cutters may be either high speed steel (HSS) or tungsten carbide (carbide). The carbide will not be able to achieve as sharp an edge as HSS, but the cutting edge will last much longer than HSS. You can identify which cutters are carbide because they have a star shaped pattern on top, and the angle of the sides is not as sharp as HSS. The list of what sharpening compounds should be used for the various types of steel is shown in the following table:

And the Oscar goes to…….

……. let’s just say woodturning was the winner on the night.

Thanks Dave, for a hugely informative demo.

Strett Nicolson– Toy Gun

Club Meeting: 16 November 2022
Report by: Kieran FitzGerald

In tonight’s demo Strett shows us how to make a toy gun. In a previous show and tell he had demonstrated a highly effective toy bow and arrow. But how safe was such a toy in the hands of a reckless child?

Not to be dissuaded, Strett pursued his theme with enthusiasm to create a safer alternative. In his own words: “Grandpa’s developing a range of renewable energy toy canons. These are carbon neutral, so a very PC toy. Perfect for Christmas prezzies for the green brigade. Awaiting COP 27 approval.”

To be pedantic, in speaking of canons instead of cannons, it is clear he is confusing theology with hoplology. But moving on….

In the following picture, the toy at the top is the closest representation of the bow and arrow, and the toy at the bottom is similar to the toy Strett makes in the demonstration, except it utilises the short “bullets” shown above it in the picture.

To make the toy, Strett starts with a piece of wood approx. 45 x 45 x 150, which he will turn between centres to make the handle. Strett offered this an opportunity to practice using the skew, and he explained the correct presentation of the tool to the wood etc, an aspect of the demo which less experienced turners found very useful. The handle was shaped and sized to fit a child or young person’s hand and decorative features added. One end was tapered down to 16mm to fit the hole which had been pre-drilled in the piece of wood from which the gun barrel would be made. Test fit, and then part off. A tight and tidy fit is important for both looks and strength of purpose.

The gun barrel is fashioned from a length approx. 60 x 60 x 220. One end of the blank may be used to make the plunger, or firing mechanism. More on that shortly. The key to making the barrel is to drill the bore longitudinally through the centre. To do this Strett rounded off the blank and cut a spigot on each end. Lacking a drill bit of sufficient length to drill through in one pass, he had to turn the piece in the lathe and drill it from both ends, ensuring a clean meet in the middle. The diameter of the bore should be marginally wider than the dowel from which the bullets are made, to accommodate slight variances in the thickness of the dowel. Once the bore is drilled the barrel can be shaped to a suitable design of choice. One point to remember is that eyes (as in hook and eye) will be screwed to the barrel for holding the elastic band, so be sure to leave enough thickness for this in the barrel. Once finished, a skew chisel is used to make a clean parting cut.

The next component is the plunger, which fits on the non-firing end of the barrel. This knob-like piece has a 15mm deep hole drilled in to it to accept a dowel, and two eyes through which the elastic cord will pass. The velocity with which the dowel bullets are fired may be determined by the positioning and strength of the elastic band. All the pieces were sanded before being taken off the lathe.

Thank you Strett for an enjoyable, instructive and innovative demo.

Bruce Wiseman – A Bit of Everything

Club Meeting: 28 September 2022
Report by: Kieran FitzGerald

Wow! It is the last meeting for term three. Where did that go??? It is fitting that the term finished with another demo themed around the term topic of “Natural”. Bruce engaged the clubbies with a challenging (for some) discussion around design opportunities for wood which still contains original features enabling it to be designated as natural, and which preserve the characteristics which mark each piece as unique.

As an introduction, Bruce told us about a time long ago when he and Ross were members of a Maraetai club when Terry Scott visited and did a demo. This was Bruce’s inspiration to begin woodturning, and he produced a live edge bowl he turned in those early years. Of course club nights wouldn’t be the same if there wasn’t a degree of toing and froing between the demonstrator and the audience, and in this instance the topic was “recess or tenon?”. Terry encouraged tenons based on both practical and safety reasons, but of course Bruce’s early turnings featured a recess to hold the piece.

From his box of tricks Bruce took out a beautiful, large, dark coloured bowl which exhibited all the holey features of a burl. Next he pulled out a smaller piece turned from the same burl, and which still had a flat where it was sawed off the main piece. Finally, from the same burl, a pretty lidded bowl. This last offering underwent a design transformation while Bruce was turning it, because he saw the opportunities to better highlight the natural beauty of the wood. These three pieces, he said, would stay in his possession until his time was up. After that, it was up to his family to decide what to do. Obviously very treasured pieces.

The next block of wood Bruce brought out was a largish block of macrocarpa, chainsawed on all edges. From the front view, it looked like a clean piece suitable for a decent size bowl. But when Bruce first turned it over, it had a large bark inclusion. Once he chiselled out the bark it was a deep river running right through the piece, rendering it totally unsuitable for any conventional types of turning. What to do with it? All saw the inherent opportunities the piece offered, but opinions were varied. I think the majority saw a resin fill as presenting the most suitable use.

Next up was a nearly finished turning of a large, three sided, winged bowl, too big to fit over the bed of most lathes. This attractive piece, pepper I think, was thin-turned with stepped-down thicknesses on the underside of the wings. Having lots of natural cavities, the challenge was how to remove the tenon and finish the foot. Suggestions indicated that this was not as difficult as it might seem. Dick said that covering it with gladwrap and using a vacuum would be a satisfactory method. Alternatively taping it to a big faceplate.

Bruce showed another burl which was milled in such a way to retain a small burl on one face, and from which a number of small burls had already been cut off for various types of use. He had a live edge pepper turning, and then unwrapped a pepper burl which he had started to turn. This burl had a very coarse bark adorning the top, and was semi turned with straightish sides angling towards a foot near the bottom. The problem with this piece of burl, Bruce said, was the triangular, V shape in which it was cut made it difficult to envisage a design which maximised the bark, grain and colouring etc. Much discussion ensued with the final outcome being that it needed to be re-positioned between centres so that the top would be better balanced. Some height would be lost off the bottom, but it would be an opportunity to create a more graceful external shape for the sides. The top would probably benefit from applying the 1third 2 thirds rule for determining the ratio of bark to bowl size.

The last piece of wood that we looked at was a small burl, I’m guessing about 80mm diameter, sitting fairly centrally on a length about 120mm. The consensus was that this could quite simply be turned in to a nice bud vase. Bruce positioned it between steb centres in long grain mode and turned a tenon on the bottom. Grabbing it in the chuck, he drilled a 21mm hole the right length for a glass insert, before shaping the neck with a spindle gouge. With a bit of off-lathe finishing, this will become a distinct and unique bud vase.

Bruce’s demonstration was an interesting foray for all present in to the endless possibilities for design and form options with these beautiful natural wood formations. Sometimes they look impossible to get something out of, and at the same time, actually have so many possibilities that it is difficult to know what is the best option. Thank you Bruce, for closing out our third term with a thought provoking examination of design opportunities.

Ian Connelly – Resin as a Component

Club Meeting: 21 Sept 2022
Report by: Graeme Mackay

A demonstration event that was full of questioning and audience interface. Ian presented an open approach to Resin, in all its forms, as part of the process and/or one of the components. Questions gave rise to an introduction to resin as part of enhancement and to encourage new turners to take it up and consider its place in the woodturning process.

Determination of the process was seen through Ian’s magic box. Resin pieces were set solid in record time, hard and ready to use. The challenge was put up for those try using Greenwood. In this case Ian used Camellia branches and trimmings. Small pieces were used to allow a realistic goal and initial target.

Newcomers were introduced to fixing pieces into the mould using very standard technologies i.e. hot glue. In this part of the process, the question of bubbles was raised, that is bubbles on the resin rather than in a bubbled wine class. Along with this was raised the aspect of technology level and simple ways around standard problems i.e. using a vacuum pump.

Again a question and challenge to introduce measurement volume (weight vs volume vs calibrated pump), ratios of materials and curing. Then discussions moved on to levels of clarity and how this was achieved. Then broaching the aspect of hardener ratio and the aspect of additives and extras.

Leading on, the Ian drew a whole range of inquiries. The audience participation and discussion providing contrasting views differing types of colours used and the ways in which resin enhancements can be approached. A very neat introduction to jam trucks, friction drive and a whole lot of very basic technologies such as double sided sticky tape. A simple approach using standard tools i.e. bowl gouge raised the question of carbides and associated tools and generally opened the proceedings up to discussion and developing a large range of opinions.

A positive aspect was a need for preparation and associated, the need for a well-prepared Demonstrators magic box which showed of a range of tools, product stages, simple approaches and processes and a willingness to try.

All in all, a well-balanced demonstration and a night of audience participation and opinions.
Everyone had an opinion about one or other parts of the Resin process.
The key point of demonstration as that you should give it a go.

Anwar Jahan – Natural Edge

Club Meeting: 14 Sept 2022
Report by Bob Yandell

Report on the first demonstration by Anwar. It a first for Anwar but it was the first for the club where the demonstrator had his wife his daughter, his son in law and his grandchildren present for the demonstration to give him moral support, not that he needed any.

The demonstration was part of the terms natural edge projects and Anwar talked about the various ways you can mount your wood to achieve the natural edge by using long grain and cross grain,the tools that we can be used to achieve a satisfactory result. He took us back to the beginnings of his Woodturning learning and reinforced what are the key elements of making a well finished product.

He showed us various various examples of what he had achieved over the period using natural edges. Those shown were dependent on the wood choice and some of it was dependent on the objective of achieving a vase or a dish. Regardless of the experience, of those present, all of the points were well made and reinforced need to think through what you were doing to achieve your objective and deciding on what tool to use and when.

Having reinforced all the points that we should remember and practice when turning he then gave us the process by which you can achieve a balanced edge, that is the width of edge when the piece of wood has two high and two low sides, as we do when turning a half round cut from a branch or the trunk.

Anwar then demonstrated turning a dish/bowl and was started by turning cross grain between centres. A forstner bit had been drilled into the centre of the grain side and opposite side to enable the location of the live and drive centres. The inside of the bowl was cut to just below the bark and the piece remounted between centres.

The piece is turned until a cylinder has been achieved. The position of the high side and the low side is marked. The position of the live centre is moved, not much, so the distance between the high and low side is roughly equal and the external side of the bowl is turned checking the width of the natural edge and adjusting the position of the live centre to achieve equal width.

David Gillard – Burning and Colouring

Club Meeting: 7 September 2022
Report by: Kieran FitzGerald

Dave is a fairly tall guy – I dunno, about 6’2” I suppose. Anyway, to set the lathe up at a suitable height he has elevated it on two stands, each with wheels, that go under the legs. He begins his demo by taking a pre-cut sphere, still on a spigot at one end, and mounts it in the chuck. He then proceeds to burn two lines around the circumference of the sphere with a wire. “That’s all the turning we’re going to do tonight” he announces. And the heavy lathe, on its tiny wheels, gets pushed out of the way. Seems like a lot of trouble setting up for such a short display of turning.

To be fair, he did also use the lathe for one other thing – to show us how to use a stanley knife to cut a roll of masking tape in to thin strips by mounting it on the lathe and using the stanley knife like a parting tool. But that’s not woodturning is it? More like Here’s a Hint or Over the Teacups, that they used to have in the Women’s Weekly back in the day, before there were computers.

Next he pulled up a table cluttered with all sorts of paraphernalia and sat himself down behind the table. Using a moderately impolite phrase, Dave said “tonight we’re going to burn the snot out of some wood”. The topic for the night is burning (pyrography) and colouring. Now a confession from me – I rather wish someone else was doing the report tonight, because I know next to nothing about pyrography, and am completely unfamiliar with the tools and terms of the art. Nevertheless, at the end of the demo I approached Dave and said, “Man, I’m really impressed with the precision and detail of your work, I could never do anything like that.” His response was “I could sit down with you for 10 minutes and at the end I could have you doing work like this.” I guess he’s saying it’s not that hard, give it a go.

Before he started Dave unleashed a monster of a tool that was so long it would barely fit in some turners’ workshops. This was the new Rolly Munro hollowing tool. In case you didn’t know, Dave is an agent for the Rolly Munro line of tools (always an opportunity to get a plug in). Dave explained that there is a formula to define the depth capabilities of a hollowing tool. If you take the diameter of the shaft, multiply it by two, and put a zero on the end, that is the capability of the hollowing depth. For the tool he was showing, the hollowing depth was about 460mm, which coincidentally fairly well matches its price.

But back to the demo. The first thing to think about is what pattern you wish to create, and setting it out on the workpiece. It’s no use starting out without a design in mind, and just doing random burning. The two horizontal lines that Dave had burned around the sphere with wire served two purposes – they defined parts of the boundaries of the segments in which Dave would burn his patterns, and they also created an edge which would act like a barrier to stop burns “running” along the wood fibres and across into the next segment. Using the indexing on the lathe, Dave had already marked equal points on his sphere, and now he ran thin strips of masking tape diagonally from point to point, along which he burned lines, effectively dividing the sphere into a number of equal triangle-like segments.

With the basic outline for the pattern defined, each of the segments can now be filled in. Using different tips, and sometimes this way, sometimes that way, but always to an ordered pattern, the burning is continued until the whole piece is blackened.

Dave used a Robbie Graham machine which apparently is capable of very high heats and has a quick heat up time. It has air cooling to keep the pen temperature down. Having never seen this type of work done before, I was surprised at the apparent ferocity of it. The tip glowed red hot, and each time it was applied to the wood there was an instant burst of flame and smoke. Dave had a desk fan running to expel the smoke away from the audience. I heard the term “branding” used in relation to this work, and I can sort of see why, but I can’t say specifically whether that is a particular type of pyro work or just a general term.

It would be fair to say that the demo was accompanied by a high amount of banter from Dave and an equally high amount of stirring by the very receptive club members. A video recording of the demo was being made, and Dave confessed he was glad to be able to edit the video to his own satisfaction.

Next was a demonstration of how Dave creates the flame pattern which he uses on his pepper mills. He uses the pin stripe masking tape which he has cut to define the gentle curve of the flames outline. This sounds like a simple artistic manoeuvre but is actually an awkward contortion of knees and hands to hold and shape the tape into a sweeping curve. Using a blade tip, and starting at the narrow top, Dave begins to burn by rolling rather than plunging the blade in to the wood. He uses the tape like a fence, and rests the tip of the blade on the shoulder of the tape as he continues to burn the outline of the flame. A further purpose of the masking tape is that it also serves as a template and a barrier when it comes time to colour the design. Dave uses a pillow slip filled with rice as a working surface to rest his workpiece on.

With pyrography, of course safety is paramount. If Dave needs a break and a cuppa, he turns his equipment off, unplugs it, does a visual inspection of his work piece and his work area for charred embers etc, and then waits ten minutes before leaving the room.

Dave showed us some examples of how to do repair work so that the repairs are least visible in the finished work. In making pepper mills and other items, there are frequently nail holes or other faults in the wood. It is preferable to repair the hole while the wood is still not fully turned, and use sanding sealer before applying glue. Sanding sealer and/or CA glue can create impervious finishes which appear as blemishes under the final finish. The three repair options Dave described were drilling out a nail hole and using a dowel plug, superglue and wood dust, and a wood filler. The dowel plug option was frequently the superior option.

Once burned, the work can be coloured. Dave uses airbrush paint to which he adds just the right amount of mica powder. Too much, and you lose the lovely pearlescent effect created by the powders. Brush the wood with a toothbrush or similar brush, or give it a burst with an air gun to remove any ash dust left over from the burning. When painting Dave described a motion in which he sweeps his paint brush from one edge of the burn mark down and upwards, always working in the one direction, so the shimmer of the metal powders is not erased. It is hard to describe in words, but those of you who have looked at his delicate painted art will know what I mean. Dave told us that colour combinations of three work best, and we should always use complementary colours from the colour wheel.

For further paint effects, Dave showed us how to use an embossed paper towel to daub on paint in a way which was random but also structured because of the reappearing sameness of the embossed pattern. Different household items can be used to create paint effects, and it is worth experimenting with as many as possible to achieve different results. For example, a mandarin bag stretched tight over the wood and then painted over will give a diamond-like effect. Give it a go.

Dave stressed to us that it is important to be comfy when doing this type of work, and a tool that he finds invaluable is the Woodcut Pro-mount which can hold the workpiece in any variety of positions to achieve a comfortable working position.

Thanks a heap Dave for an illuminating demo which will inspire us to extend our skills into this fine branch of art. I can’t wait to view the finished video and see how much of the stirring you leave in.

Denise Donovan – Live Edge Boxes

Club Meeting: 31 August 2022
Report by: Kieran FitzGerald

Denise was keen to demo something that members may not have seen before, and it occurred to her that in her time at the club she had not seen a live edge lidded box. In keeping with the term theme of “natural”, Denise applied her creativity to turning a box with a live edge rim and a matching live edge lid.

Although lidded boxes may be turned cross grain (the butterfly boxes club members turn for the Beads of Courage Programme are often cross grain turnings), frequently lidded boxes are end grain, especially if they are of a smaller size. In this demo, the turning is cross grain. Denise took a small length of branch, approx. 130 x 90, and with a hole drilled in the side for the screw chuck, mounted it longways on the lathe. She turned a tapered curve to form the outside edge of her box. Next, at the tailstock end, she formed a spigot. The bark was cut off the bottom in this process. Turning it around, it was remounted in the chuck.

With a bowl gouge, Denise commenced to hollow out the box. Initially she formed a 6 – 8mm recess for the lid to sit in, and then she used a square edge scraper to hollow the remainder of the box.

The key element to a successful live edge box is having the lid match the box. This means carefully choosing your box blank and your lid blank from the same branch in such a way that the curve and appearance of the lid will be symmetrical with the top profile of the box. Denise took a longways slice of the branch she had selected for the lid, and as she had with the box, attached it to the lathe with a screw chuck. Measuring the depth and diameter from the box, she turned a lid to these dimensions. Removing the piece from the lathe and fitting a handle or finial in the hole made for the screw chuck will complete the piece.

During her practice for the demo, a split formed in a lid Denise turned from a wet branch. She shared a tip – if you wet the piece and clamp it, the split will close. Not perfect perhaps, but nevertheless useful in some circumstances.

Denise also demonstrated an alternative lid for the same box, but in this case the lid was turned with an end grain aspect, and incorporated a one piece finial.

Thanks to Denise for an innovative and entertaining demo. It will be interesting to see how many live edge lidded boxes are on the show and tell table next week.

Dick Veitch – Rough As

Club Meeting: 17 August 2022
Report by: Kieran FitzGerald

Dick’s mission tonight was to show us the many variations of form and shape that can be turned to meet the definition of “natural”. As per the NAW Art of Wood page, this is “Any single piece of wood, which may be turned on the lathe or shaped with other tools and retains a part of the natural surface of the wood as it was found, or after the bark has fallen off.”

Dick had brought in a large number of natural edge pieces he has turned from wood in varying stages of dryness and from any number of different wood species. These included pohutukawa, olive, apple, pepper, robinia and puriri, the latter being a delight to turn. Shapes included bowls small and large, hollow forms, a lidded box, a winged piece. When questioned, Dick advised that there is no way of pre-determining which types of wood are better at holding their bark during turning, although generally wet wood will retain its bark better. The only issue that can arise from this is that as the wood dries the bark may shrink if it dries at a different rate, causing it to turn over at the edge and present difficulties for final sanding.

Dick has drafted two pages for the SAWG website showing the multitude of natural edge options. These are titled “Natural Edge Options” and “Natural Edge Bowl”. I’m not sure if the webmaster has posted them yet but they’ll go in the Projects section of the web pages.

Using a piece of fig (ficus) to demonstrate, Dick spoke to us about the challenge of deciding what you want to make from your wood. He covered the many options available to the turner for mounting the wood to the lathe. At the end of this Dick put the fig piece on the floor with the pile of turned and semi-turned pieces and a whole lot of logs suitable for natural edge turning, and offered them for free. These were gratefully received by members at the conclusion of the demo, especially some of the newer turners.

For the practical part of his demo, Dick selected a half log of wet olive. With a forstner bit, he had pre-drilled a 40mm wide hole to a depth of 50mm. Dick mounted this on the lathe using a home made pin chuck, and brought up the tailstock. The pin chuck generated a lot of interest from the audience and was passed around for everyone to have a closer look. The project page for the pin chuck will also be posted on the SAWG website.

Having ascertained who was doing the cleanup, Dick then proceeded to spray shavings far and wide as he shaped the underside of his bowl. He put on a spigot, made the base about 1/3rd of the bowl diameter, and shaped a curve which would give the bowl lift off the table. Care needs to be taken not to dislodge any bark during this process, so cuts made from the bottom should not extend all the way to the top. Using a very sharp chisel, and with delicate cuts because the fibres are unsupported, make the finishing cuts from the top down and blend them in to the existing cuts. Next Dick turned the piece on the lathe, mounting the spigot in the chuck. He partially hollowed the inside, leaving a central core for stability. He stopped hollowing at the point where the 35 degree chisel began to chatter as it came off the bevel.

Now comes the interesting part. Dick wants to thin turn this bowl, so starting at the rim he will cut down step by step. Placing the work light close to the outside of the bowl, Dick began turning down until the light showed brightly on the inside. He was at a wall thickness of approx 4mm to achieve this transparency. Working his way down towards the bottom of the bowl, he gauged his thickness by maintaining an even brightness of the light as it shone through the bowl wall. Dick double checked his thickness (or thinness) using digital calipers for a more precise measurement. Dick switched to a 55 degree bowl gouge to finish with a nice curve on the bottom.

To complete the bowl Dick needed to remove the tenon and cut the feet. He used a reverse adaptor to turn it around and bring it up on a vacuum chuck. Inside the vacuum chuck he taped an LED light so he could see the thickness as he finished the base. The issue that potentially arises at this point in the process is that the thin turned wet wood can be porous and therefore the vacuum suction may not be sufficient to hold the piece strongly. Dick brought up the tailstock again, with a small live spur drive, just to play it safe. He cut away the tenon, and shaped the bottom so that it formed a continuous curve with the sides. The lift created earlier needs to be enough to ensure only the feet touch the table, and not the bottom part of the curve of the bowl. Dick checked his curve with a profile gauge.

The position for the three feet were marked out at intervals of 8 notches on the indexing plate and cut using an arbortec carver fitted with a hedgehog ball gouge. Dick noted that the lathe should be locked and the tool held in two hands for safety reasons. With the feet shaped out, withdraw the tailstock and gently nibble away the remaining nub from the tenon.

Wrap the bowl in one or two sheets of newspaper and store it for drying. It will lose weight as it dries, and it is dry once the weight is stable. Now it can be sanded. This can be tedious, but Dick uses a power sander. To do the inside he holds a block of wood in the vice, pads it with a folded towel, and places the bowl over the top of it. The outside is sanded against a folded towel laid on the benchtop.

Thanks Dick, for a comprehensive and most interesting demo on the limitless options for natural edge turnings. I don’t know why he titled the demo “Rough As”, because it was anything but. How was that cleanup Denise?

Garry Jones – Bottles

Club Meeting: 10 August 2022
Report by: Kieran FitzGerald

In keeping with the theme for the term of “natural”, Garry chose to demonstrate a simple but aesthetically pleasing subject of bottles, which he advised look cool in a set, and which are great as a gift, or a good seller at the markets etc. The thing about Garry’s bottles is that they are made from old posts – totara, puriri, whatever, or from a tree branch, and then turned to retain most of their original shape and patina.

Making bottles is a good way to use cracked or damaged wood for purposes other than firewood. With a hole drilled through the top they can be used for dry flower arrangements, or with a glass tube inserted, as a conventional vase. Timberly, or a florist, can supply the glass tubes.

With the post shortened to an appropriate length, find an approximate centre at each end. Dead centre is not important because the look is natural and the shape of the post is irregular anyway. Mount between centres and turn a spigot at one end. At the other end commence to shape the neck and top of your bottle. Decide what form you want the neck to be – short or long, fat or thin etc. Bottles look best in a set, and even better in groups of odd numbers, with each bottle having different characteristics – height, shape, neck etc. Garry likened this to having rocks in a garden – two rocks looks like two rocks, three rocks looks like landscaping.

Complete turning the neck to the design of your choosing. Remember to leave enough wood for the hole you will drill. Give it a quick sand if needed. You can get ideas from old bottles for different shapes. Next give a little bit of shape to the bottom of the bottle. Garry prefers to create a slight concave so the bottle sits nicely. Make sure to leave a shoulder for the chuck jaws to sit against.

To complete the turned piece, grab the spigot in the chuck. Line it up on centre using the live centre in the tailstock. Tighten the jaws. Turn the lathe speed down to around 500, and with a 20mm drill in the Jacobs chuck, drill your centre hole. If necessary, tidy up the entry point of the drill with your chisel or with sandpaper.

To remove the tenon, Garry used a home made mandrel which mounted in the chuck and fitted neatly into the newly drilled hole in the neck of his bottle. With the tailstock up, he nibbled away the tenon until just the nub was left around the point of the live centre, and once off the lathe this was removed with a chisel. A final sand to the bottom, and a bit of wax or oil to finish, and hey presto you’re done.

One trick that I hadn’t heard before – if your wood chips (which totara is very prone to do), and the chipped area looks new against the weathered look of the rest of the wood, give it some fast aging by soaking it in yoghurt or stale milk.

Thanks for the demo Garry, and for showing us that wood art doesn’t need to be technically complex to be highly effective.