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Bryan Mawhinney – Emoji Toys

Club Meeting: 22 June 2022
Report: by Kevin De Freitas

Bryan started with a history lesson of when the club approached the council to take on the club rooms. When asked what the club would do for the community, Wig Stands and Toys were to be made and he encouraged members to get making.

The origins of this toy start with Bryan wondering what to do with the offcut corners from bowl blanks so size is not specific. (However, the piece used in the demo was approximately 55mm diameter and 90mm long.)

The intent is to make a teardrop shaped figurine featured with hair, eyes, nose, ears and feet. Bryan handed around a collection he had previously made. He recommends making these in batches to save time.

Bryan mounted a chuck with 25mm pin jaws.

The blank was already turned round with a spigot on each end.

The upper (head end) spigot is small to accommodate a single hole for the hair.

The lower (feet end) spigot is larger to accommodate two holes for the feet.

Drilling holes for Hair and Feet – Bryan mounted the blank in the chuck and drilled the holes for the two feet. This could be done in a drill press or free hand; however, Bryan showed the use of a jig he had made.

[The drilling jig consisted of a wooden housing holding a long drill chuck shaft that is free to rotate and move in and out. It is driven by a handheld drill. The housing is mounted on a shaft that fits the lathe banjo in place of the tool rest.]

The two 8mm holes for the feet are drilled with a Brad Point drill bit to avoid chip out. The position can be varied to allow for the feet to be pointing at the desired angle.

Flip the blank around and drill the single hole for the hair with a tailstock mounted drill chuck. The diameter of this hole should be sized according to the diameter of rope to be used. In this case a 7mm Brad Point drill bit was used.

Shaping the body – Remove the chuck and mount the blank between centres ensuring that a drive centre is used in the headstock (not a live centre as initially demonstrated by Bryan). The tailstock live centre will reference into the single hole at the top of the piece.

Turn a basic droplet shape that is larger towards the head stock and tapers towards the tailstock. Avoid sanding by using good turning technique and to save time. Bryan used a bowl gouge and a high lathe speed.

The upper spigot is effectively removed during shaping.

Marking the position for eyes and ears – with the piece still in the lathe, make a pencil line around the body at the point of greatest diameter.

Determine the positions of the eyes and ears on this line being careful to get a pleasing distance between eyes and symmetrical ear positions.

Locking off the lathe, drill out the holes for the eyes and ears with an 8mm Brad Point drill bit.

Don’t make the eyes too deep. The ear holes should be deep enough to receive the spigot of the ear which is later glues in.

Also drill a hole for the nose, again, with enough depth to have a spigot glued in.

Now cut off the bottom spigot and remove the body from the lathe – turning is complete on this part.

Eye detail – using a Dremel, add detail to the eyes. Bryan recessed above and below to give eyelid shapes and, on some examples handed around, eye lashes.

A mouth could be added here also but Bryan’s preference is to ensure the wood grain is positioned to mimic a mouth.

Making the ears and nose – mounting the chuck with 25mm pin jaws again, a blank is loaded to turn the two ears and a nose. This was approx. 30mm square and 150mm long but again, size is not critical. It was recommended to use a relatively straight grained wood for strength. Bryan turned it round with a spindle roughing gouge and a high lathe speed.

Using a small bowl gouge, the ears are shaped like a cupped funnel with a spigot sized to match the 8mm holes previously drilled. Turn the shape with an oversized spigot. Bryan then used a custom tool, made from a sharpened 8mm spanner, to size the spigot exactly.

Turn a nose in the desired shape (Bryan had previously made an oval shape) again with the 8mm spigot to fit the hole previously drilled.

Making the Legs – Bryan had some offcuts that were roughly 30mm x 20mm x 15mm. He mounted them between centres along the longest dimension and slightly off centre. He then turned the leg spigot round and only slightly rounded off the feet. The feet can later be refined by sanding.

Assembly – Medium CA Glue is used to attach the eyes. Using a piece of double-sided tape to pick up the eyes, ensure that you can see the orientation to ensure correct positioning. Add the glue into the eye hole then press in the eye.

[The eye inserts were purchased from Ali Express for <$20 for 100 varied colours and sizes]

Add glue to the holes for ears and legs and press them into place.

The Hair – hemp rope or similar type with the ability to unravel the strands is used. Add CA glue to the end of the rope to bind the fibres together then cut the rope to the desired hair length. [Beware, thin CA glue will wick up the rope quite a long way.] Glue in the rope into the top 7mm hole. Now the strands can be unravelled, and any embellishment can be done on the hair. Bryan suggested sparingly adding dye with a small brush.

Bryan suggested a price of $30 would be acceptable if this item was to be sold at market.

Project Sheet – https://sawg.org.nz/sawg/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Water-Person.pdf

Bruce Wood – Gone Batty

Club Meeting 15 June 2022
Report by Rocky Ralifo

A great demonstration by Bruce on a cold dreary winter night.

Starting with a Matai blank 50mmx60mmx440mm.

  1. Marking the centre first on both ends of the blank using a centre making a indent for steb centres. Choosing the handle end and the top end of the bat
  2. At the top end of the bat mark and punch 2 x 20mm centres offset on either side of the centre hole.
  3. On the same end also mark out 2 x 9mm offset centre holes on either side of the centre hole on the same plane.
  4. Face shield down and running at 2000rpm
  5. Take off the corners of the blank using a spindle roughing gouge. Identify & Mark the dimensions of the ball using a pencil & ruler.
  6. Bruce then centred the blank to the 20mm centre mark. This off centre on the bank at the same time accentuating the ball portion of the bat.
  7. Shaping the handle and head ends of the bat.
  8. Switching to the spindle gouge.
  9. Bruce then moved to the 9mm centre on the head end of the bat. Sneaking up on the back of the ball portion of the bat creating access for the spindle gouge to turn the ball referencing a centre line on the ball portion.
  1. The skilled Bruce then using a spindle gouge started to round the ball portion of the bat into a sphere.
  2. Spraying with ondina oil to reduce dust Bruce at 750rpm sanded the ball portion to desired grit.
  3. Returning the blank to the 20mm centre point on both ends of the piece. Bruce finished turning the bat on either side of the ball portion. Cleaning up these sections using a skew.
  1. Parting the handle portion down to the thickness 30mm followed by tapering the handle portion towards the 30mm thickness.
  2. Finally shaping the handle bead and then rounding off the top end.
  3. Using ondina oil Bruce then sanded the bat portions to the desired grit. 120G>180G>240G>320G. stopping the lathe to sand along the grain of the piece if there are deep scratch marks from the previous grit.
  4. Parting the ends of the piece to thin nibs, taking the piece off the lathe and sawing off the nibs followed by sanding.

This completed the demo.

Janet McDonald – Colour and Embellishment

Club Meeting: 8 June 2022
Report by: Bob Yandell

Janet began with a background on her experience and knowledge of craft, specifically needlework and quilting which gave us an understanding of where the understanding of colour and multi media we see in work originates. Her journey to wood turning via second hand shops buying wood bowls and the like upon which she applied her pyrography skills and understanding of colour and texture to create saleable items.

The demonstration that followed was thinking of the square, rather than outside the square which is generally what we wood turners do making bowls, and Janet showed us examples of 3 blocks, original 40 x 150/200/250 approximately, had been turned by fellow turners Colin Mitchell and Denise Donovan, into a profile of a hip flask/Gordons Gin bottle with a longer neck. These items, whilst nice in profile, were plain and unappealing, become the canvas for Janet’s creative mind. Don’t sand beyond 320 – 400grit as if the surface is too smooth the colours will not adhere properly.

Janet then tabled many examples of what can be achieved through the use of carving, pyrography and the addition of colour and other mediums, such as felt.

The following are some of the key points Janet showed and whilst not in the order presented will be of assistance and guidance for us in turning a plain piece of wood into a colourful item.

  • Plan what you are going to do 
    -Create a drawing either by tracing onto lunch wrap or free hand onto lunch wrap. You keep this image for future use. Indicate the colour you want on the original and use this as a reference. 
  • Put another layer of lunch wrap which you have put pencil rubbings on so you have a “carbon paper “ between your drawing and the wood. Inked Carbon paper is not recommended as the ink can stain the wood and will not be able to be removed.
  • Burn the outline of the image with a pyrography pen using 20 gauge wire. The width and depth of the burn dictated by the image you are looking for. Burning prevents colour bleed whereas a black sharpie will not.
  • Application of colour is by using U-Beaut Concentrated Non Toxic Water Dyes. You require very little and Janet showed a board with concentrate on one side and beside it the colour at 50% and it clearly demonstrated how little you need. Wear gloves. Remember to put the lid on as it stains. You can premix and store. Carefully shake before use and then use the product on the lid first as it will probably be sufficient.
  • Take your time and use a clean brush with a fine point. Use a tooth pick for fine detail. Cotton buds are also an option. Clean water for each colour. Multiple applications when dry will intensify the colour 
  • Alcohol based stains can be made using “Sharpies” purchased from Whicoulls as original rather than copy sharpies have a more concentrated pigment.
    = dismantle the sharpie and take out the sleeve of ink and put it in a plastic container 60 – 100ml and then add Isopropyl Alcohol, 90%, and shake and leave it to defuse the concentrate. The resulting product is more translucent than water based products. 

Bruce Wood then demonstrated the process of turning the bottle shape that Janet has been using for her decorating.

Kieran Fitzgerald -Making Tools

Club Meeting 1 June 2022
Report by Denise Donovan

On Wednesday 1st of June Kieran Fitzgerald gave an enlightening and thoroughly entertaining talk on Making Tools for your workshop. here were no less than 51 tools in Kieran’s collection, all of which had a practical and sometimes ingenious use.

We started off with handles: Handles are a great spindle turning project for new turners and can save them a few dollars by buying unhandled scrapers and gouges etc and making their own. The rules for a tool handle are as follows … for every inch of overhang on gouges there should be 5 inches of handle, and for scrapers and skews 3 inches of handle to 1 inch of overhang.

But handles are not just limited to gouges, you can make them for, Allen keys, collet keys, knock out bars, sawblades, the limits are endless, and Kieran’s collection will attest to this. I don’t think he had anything without a handle.

Next up an amazing range of tools fashioned from other tools:

  • A knockout bar from a wheel brace, with handle of course (I’m not sure what he’s going to use when he needs a wheel brace … although I’m sure he’ll improvise)
  • An Awl from a screwdriver blade (new handle of course)
  • Large screwdriver fashioned into a point tool
  • Guitar string for a burning wire (again with handles)
  • A thin parting tool from a hacksaw blade (handled? … yes indeed)
  • A thin parting tool from an old bone handle dinner knife (guess what … a new handle … you get where this is going don’t you …. A handle for everything, and everything with a handle 😊)
  • A small skew purpose built for turning away tenons on bowls, made from an old screwdriver
  • Drill with a handle for a depth marker when turning
  • Handmade chatter tool from a reciprocating blade (for end grain only)
  • Open ended spanners sharpened for turning consistent diameters
  • Sanding mandrels from screwdriver bits of engine valves

Amongst the remaining assortment we had the following gems:

  • Off centre turned mallet head and handles
  • Dead blow hammer made with lead shot in the head
  • Bowl depth gauges – screw type and figure 8 type
  • Home made compass from wood, nail, and pencil
  • Sanding plate with a spigot mount – for those without a sander
  • Vacuum coupling assembly
  • Various pen turning tools such as a reamer from a file, barrel holder, and a pen press
  • Morse taper with tenon and ball bearing race for hold a piece e against the tailstock
  • Metal tapered spindle on a shaft to hold a polishing wheel
  • Spindle turned paper towel holder
  • Sanding sealer jar lid with paintbrush insert
  • Drum sander

These tools are just some of the ideas you yourself can make and use – some of the projects are also on our website – so let’s take inspiration from Kieran’s Kiwi Ingenuity and start creating

Thank you, Kieran, for a great talk, and the giveaways to help some newbies start their own handy tool collections.

Daniel Strekier – Amazing Grace

Club Meeting: 16 March 2022
Report by Denise Donovan

On Wednesday we had a visit from Daniel Strekier of Masterpiece Woodworks, a passionate woodworker, with an eye for a challenge.

Weighing in at 60kg, with a top speed of 47.2 km, let me introduce Grace, the result of a year of hard work (6 months if you don’t count breaks, which I’m sure were much needed). Grace has over 500km of trail riding tucked under her tidy seat, with many more to come.

This bike is a woodworker’s dream, featuring amazing laminations of Walnut, Ash and American White Oak, a hollow wooden frame, 22 speed derailer system, hydraulic brakes, and the fattest tubeless tyres you ever saw on a bike.

Each wooden piece on this bike has been lovingly handcrafted by Daniel himself, through trial and error, a wealth of woodworking knowledge, and an “anything is possible” attitude.

Daniel originally started the bike by accident, basing its’ design around 2 tyres he purchased for a remote-control gate that never quite happened, instead deciding he needed a challenge, and a project that displayed his talents to current and future customers.

The 17.5 kg tyres and rims were started with a plywood wheelbase, and white oak rims with finger joins. The mudguards were a 2-way lamination using three 2mm sheets which provided quite a challenge, using a stave process popular in barrel design and hot water to shape the brackets. They were then strengthened with an epoxy fiberglass underlayer. The solid forks were each assembled from 9 pieces of wood, with a steamer utilised to bend each individual layer.

The frame design of the bike took 4 hours alone. Assembly of the 8kg framed consists of a basic MDF frame designed around a mountain bike. The original design also used a normal gear system but was later changed to a Shimano 11 x 2 gear hub. As “straight lines are too easy”, the unique lamination was done by cutting and gluing 2mm strips, creating curved lines by cutting several strips together on a band saw, and then mixing them up.

Not everything could be wood, so improvisations were made where strength was a factor … the handlebars and chain guard encompasses carbon fibre, the wheel axels are steel, and the pedals are aluminium wrapped in wood

As if the bike wasn’t enough, Daniel has also made his own matching helmet using resin and wood cut with a plug cutter, and a stunning wooden chain and functional wooden lock

All this was completed over a 12-month time frame, with many hours just standing and staring while thinking over the technicalities, many sleepless nights, while also building a business.

In the words of Daniel … “You can do anything you want if you want it enough”

Grace of God was so named as it translates to “Thank you God for the possibility and Capacity”

Keep a lookout for Daniel’s next project – a wooden e-bike


Dick Veitch – Stepping up on a pencil pot

Club Meeting: 25 May 2022
Report by: Graeme Mackay

A new take on Barbara Dill style pencil pot with a demonstrators variation. Dick Veitch presented a clear, easy to follow view of the multi-axis pencil pot from the SAWG project list.

The demonstration highlighted the progression through the stages of the Barber Dill style project that provides an excellent exercise of shaping curves, multiple axis, and sharpness of form. Dick raised the issue of deciding on grain, wood features and wood types. In this project, the choice highlights the clean curves of this project.

There was a simple focus on the basics: accurate measuring, working to the plan, sharp tools, and quiet cuts.

Technical points:

  • Ensuring that the centres are on an equilateral triangle.
  • The spigot fixes the cutting line is the same in each hand.
  • Following simple marking lines fixes the alignment of the individual axis points.
  • Axis numbers need to be clearly marked. Use a felt tip for the beginning
  • As curves need to be replicated, variations and incorrect cutting clearly show up.
  • Small cuts and check
  • Ensuring that the centres are on an equilateral triangle.
  • The spigot fixes the cutting line is the same in each hand.
  • Following simple marking lines fixes the alignment of the individual axis points.
  • Axis numbers need to be clearly marked. Use a felt tip for the beginning
  • As curves need to be replicated, variations and incorrect cutting clearly show up.
  • Small cuts and check

Dick Veitch variation: beads across the individual phases. In this case two beads formed in a standard manner. Initial lines with skew chisel, once formed cleaning with spindle gouge, and the bead lines finished off with a sharp skew.

The inevitable question from the floor arose over running the beads, joined around the three faces. A technical complicated discussion was followed the main point of “no easy answer.”

Dick Veitch final reminder: planning, measuring, and Sharp tools and that the SAWG project sheet gives excellent guidelines. An excellent demonstration.

Richard Johnstone – Wonky Wood

Club Meeting: 18 May 2022
Write-up: Holm Miehlbradt

Richard stayed with the term theme and incorporated an off-center element on his turned platter.

The project started as a traditional platter: blank mounted on a faceplate, turn the bottom of the platter including a spigot, mount on the spigot and turn the top of the platter. The only difference at this point was the slightly longer spigot than for a simple platter so that an offset can be achieved later.

Then the fun begun. The platter was mounted in the spigot at a slight angle. This way crescent like grooves can be cut on the rim of the platter. Richard cut the grooves with a 55° bowl gouge. There was a good discussion, with sometimes contradicting opinions (!), about which tool would cut a better groove and how to adjust the spigot offset to achieve a desired groove pattern.

To enhance the rim embellishment, Richard colored the grooves (he used a wood dye). Then he sanded the rim surface to remove the excess color and thus only left the coloring in the grooves.

Thanks Richard for the entertaining demo. A lot of ideas to explore using the spigot offset.

Terry Scott – Off Centre Turning and Balancing

Report by: Bill Alden
Club Meeting: 4 May 2022

Terry opened by showing some, mainly burl, pieces he had turned with multiple adjoining bowls highlighting the fact that the intersecting edges must be crisp. He also showed some pieces that visiting turners from overseas had demonstrated, from his collection.

He then showed us his large faceplate he uses for large pieces. He has a lathe with a much bigger swing than the DVR’s. We were then shown on a smaller scale how he balanced a piece on the lathe using large lead weights screwed to the face plate to which the slide (carrier) disk was attached.

Tip: If using an MDF faceplate the screw holes may raise the surface which must be sanded smooth before moving the piece and re-screwing.

To centre the burl on the lathe with the face vertical he used a faceplate attached to a reverse adapter in the tailstock to hold the burl while gluing it with wedges to the slide.

The lead weights are screwed on with initially 1 screw as the weight can be adjusted for balance by turning it. Add or take off more weight until the face plate remains stationery. When turning bring up the tailstock for safety and with the handle right down on the hip flatten the face. Final flattening can be done using a large skew or a heavy negative rake scraper. After it is flat sand, so the edges of the bowls remain crisp.

We can then mark out the multiple bowls with a compass, an odd number tend to look best overlapping as you see fit. The slide can be recentred on the bowl to be turned and rebalanced. When turning overlapping bowls keep the flute well closed as there is a lot of hit and miss and the edges could be damaged. Sand and finish, with Danish or hard burnishing oil, each bowl before moving on to the next.

Important Tip: Discard all rags and paper towels that have been used to apply oil into a metal bucket of water or preferably outside as they can spontaneously combust and are a fire hazard.

Thank you, Terry, for another well put together demo with much information to absorb.

John Whitmore – Introduction to Ornamental Turning

Club Meeting: 13 April 2022
Report by: Kevin De Freitas

John is a long-time member of a small group of club members interested in Ornamental Turning but is the sole remaining one due to people passing on or moving away.

John started by defining Ornamental turning as the merging of creative woodturning and precision engineering. It is a process of sophisticated decoration of one’s work.

Ornamental turning traditionally uses wood, bone, ivory or metal and, in more recent times modern plastics like Perspex and Acrylic.

This endeavor is not for everyone. It tends to appeal to engineers or those interested in the technical side of turning. Typically, equipment is hard to find and more often than not, Ornamental Turners will make their own. It is expensive to buy or have made.

This craft has its origins with mechanically minded royalty and aristocracy (due to high cost) since the 15th century. It saw a decline in the 1920s due to a greater attraction for engineers – Cars.
A classic name is HOLTZAPFFEL, who made lathes and Rose Engines. There are known to be several in NZ.

Today there is a big following in USA and Europe.

John referenced the geometric nature of the author’s recent demonstration of the construction of Singapore Balls in reference to the fact that Ornamental turning has its roots in geometry and the interplay and interaction of various geometric patterns.

John talked of the interest in ornamental turning in the past. The group met monthly and had support from NAW and various experts from around the country – for example the late Bob Lin and his Ashburton Wood Turning Museum and book. John expressed interest in forming a new group and asked for those interested to meet up afterwards. 4-5 people gathered around the Rose Engine in the corner of the club afterward and all seemed to have some interest.

Plenty of samples were passed around the room. The wood suggested was dense and tight grained, for example Camellia, Rata, Black Maire and Matai and Camelia was shown.

As samples of work were passed around, John began to explain how various patterns are made.
Even with rudimentary geometric patterns as a base, one can build up additional patterns by hand to get a good effect.

Fly cutter in head stock – a high speed fly cutter that is safely mounted in the headstock can be rotated at high speed. By holding the work in a stationary position, patterns can be cut on different axes and by rotating/repositioning the work, an interplay of circular patterns can be easily produced.

Router in tool post – This method allows the cutter to be placed on even more planes and by using the indexing built into the headstock, patterns can be cut in regular intervals. John gave the example of symmetrical slices that could be cut into a bowl.

Ornamental Wood Burner – John demonstrated a homemade wood burner set up. The burner itself was adapted from a computer power supply. The burner was mounted on a strengthened articulating computer monitor arm, allowing it to be positioned and any point and angle in space. The work is then held in a rotating carving mount with an indexing wheel. With the heat adjusted to suit the wood, ornamental pyrography is possible.

Teknatool Ornamental Turner Jig – 500 of these machines were made. They consist of a 2-axis vice and a chuck on a spindle. The vice is high precision with very little backlash to allow accurate adjustment. The work is held in the vice and a cutter is mounted in the head stock. The work can be easily advanced or rotated by the spindle, again allowing interlacing circular patterns.

Rose Engine – a rose engine has a spring loaded, moveable head stock that is guided by Rosettes. These are geometric shapes (curves and bumps) that are traced by a follower that moves the headstock in 2 axes. A fly cutter can then be used to cut patterns in the material. The head can be adjusted on an indexing plate to interlace the patterns. There are endless permutations.

Please contact John if you are interested in joining the group.

Bruce Wood – Danish Birds

Club Meeting: 30 March 2022
Report by: John Young

After a break due to Covid and eye surgery, Bruce was back with his long awaited demo. This time it was Danish Birds, based on Danish designer Kristian Vedel 1959 design.

After showing us some interesting wooden birds that he wasn’t going to make (perhaps another demo?), Bruce got started with the Danish bird.

The first part was creating the unique eyes, composed of a dark wood for the iris and a lighter wood for the white of the eye.

A small length of Purple heart was used for the dark iris. Bruce had taken it upon himself to cook the Purple heart in the oven to give it a dark, intense shade of purple. Mounting it between centers, he quickly turned it down to a 12 mm dowel.

A lighter block of wood for the white of the eye was then mounted in a small chuck. With a drill mounted in the tail stock in a Jacobs chuck, Bruce drilled all the way through the block with a 12 mm drill.

The Purple heart dowel was then glued inside block. Once set, the block was mounted between centers. Here, the key is to remount the block slightly off-centre, so the dark iris is off to one side. This was then turned down to a 12mm dowel and with that, the eye was now complete.

To make the head, Bruce took another small block, drilling 12mm holes on either side. Small lengths of the eye dowels can be glued into these holes, creating eyes on either side of the head.

When gluing, take care to orient the eyeballs the right way (towards the beak!).

Once these have been glued in and set, the block is mounted between centres. Mark the head in the middle and start rounding. On one side of the head, the long beak is shaped, and on the other a small chuck bite is cut. For the final shaping of the beak, the head is remounted in a small chuck. Once the head and beak have been cut to their final shape and sanded, the head can now be parted off.
To get a nice rounded head, Bruce used a piece of steel pipe with the inside edges sharpened to hone it perfectly round.

For the base, another small block was mounted between centres. A 35mm chuck bite was cut into one end. Once remounted in a chuck, the body can be shaped to your preference, but the upper end must be kept to a 25mm diameter. A hollow is cut at the top, to sit the round head comfortably.

To remove the chuck bite, Bruce had an ingenious way to mount it between centres. A live centre with a cup end was used in the tail stock, with a golf ball used in place of the head.

With a multitude of onerous golf puns rapidly cascading from the audience, Bruce finished another ingenious, live wire demo. Thanks Bruce!

Check out the Project Sheet