Welcome to the website of the Black Country Wood Turners ( BCW ).
We are a friendly bunch of people , who have nothing better to do with their time than to reduce otherwise perfectly fine pieces of timber to piles of shavings and sawdust on our workshop floors. Oh, yes, and every now and then this also results in something mostly round and brown.
If this is your idea of having fun, then please joins us on one of our meetings or as a permanent member. If by now you are thinking “this is weird”, then you are missing out on the rituals of a tradition that is several thousand years old and you are definitely in the wrong place. We are having fun. Are you? Do you live in the UK near Dudley, West Bromwich, Oldbury, Halesowen, Stourbridge, Kidderminster? We meet usually every 3rd Thursday of the Month at 6pm at Dudley College, The Broadway DY1 4AS room F1, and we would be more than happy to welcome you to our next meeting.
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The next club meeting of 2019 is a demonstration by professional turner Robert Till, on 20th June, start at 6 pm.
For many years Blackcountry Woodturners have supported and raised funds for the Mary Stevens Hospice foundation.
For the past few months, in the background Melvin, club secretary, has been working hard with the hospice event organisers to secure the clubs attendance in support of several forthcoming charity events, the first being the “Easter Egg Hunt” This was the first time that the club had displayed and demonstrated within the grounds of the hospice in support of one of their own events.
On a really sunny Saturday morning we arrived at the Hospice in Stourbridge at around 8:45am to be met by Louise, event organiser, who showed us to our allotted area on the main events field.
Within a few minutes Melvin, Roger C and Ian were joined by Rob, Steve, Roger S and Arthur, our set up was to include a charity table, lathe demonstration area and member’s sales table.
We all got to work and by just after 10am we had everything set up and ready to go…having consumed several cups of tea along the way.
The event opened at 10:30 with a mass influx of very excited children and adults, the Easter egg hunt began in earnest and we all enjoyed the fun watching the children and adults making their way around the field seeking out all the clues for those elusive Easter eggs
Throughout the morning and early afternoon we had a steady stream of visitors to the stall with many visitors interested in what the club did, where we were located and how products on display were made.
Visitors enjoyed watching Rob and Roger C giving demonstrations on the lathe.
Steve, Roger S and Arthur did a sterling job on the charity table selling many items made and donated by club members for the event, a number of sales were also made from the members display table, combined sales all helping to raise much needed funds for the Hospice.
The Easter event came to an end just after 1:30pm, a good time having been had by all.
Having eventually packed everything away, we were all proud to have raised £50.40 for the Hospice which was handed over to the event organiser Louise on leaving.
Blackcountry Woodturners look forward to raising more funds for the Hospice at the summer and winter events later in the year.
has demonstrated at the club on several occasions and we look forward
to each of his visits, this occasion was no different.
objective of the evening’s demonstration was to show the audience a
number of different colouring techniques to enhance a turned project
and profile a texturing technique used by him on many occasions using
an arbour cutting wheel.
processes would be demonstrated via use of an air brush and several
ways of using / applying Jo Sonja iridescent paints to produce
various pattern structures and effects.
brought with him a good array of his own finished work highlighting
the various finishes that could be achieved by these methods.
started off by mounting a part finished Olive Ash bowl onto the
lathe, a few final cuts were made to the outside to true the piece up
and complete the dimensional shape.
then used the Arbourtech texturing wheel to score groves randomly
around the outside and round the top Rim of the bowl, highlighting
that he believed the best effects using this technique were random
patterns as opposed to formal or repetitive patterns.
outside was then sanded back to 320 grit in preparation for the first
Black colour coat, the part turned inner bowl was then waxed to stop
any pain residue on the inside; Keith stating that this was merely a
protective coat and would later be turned away.
satin paint spray was then applied all over the outside of the piece
ensuring that the paint entered all cut channels. Having demonstrated
the process, he produced a like piece that he had made earlier which
had fully dried and was ready to process further.
sanded back the black paint to the outer wood leaving the black
groves clearly visible; this effect on its own could be a striking
finish, the next objective was to apply a series of chestnut spirit
then invited the colour application to be completed by a member of
the audience, Ian volunteered then over the next ten minutes under
Keith’s guidance, Purple, Red and yellow stain was randomly sprayed
across the whole of the outer surface.
then went on to take a few cuts from the inside of the bowl to
highlight the colour contrast against the grain in full, this really
made the outer pattern stand out and cleaned up a small amount of
audience discussion it was agreed that this project had achieved its
objective and no need to apply a finish to the piece, this created
time to demonstrate his other finishing methods.
moved onto the Jo Sonja Paint products which created a good audience
participation discussion with a good flow of questions, answers and
amusing stories floating across the room.
the first application demonstration a part finished tea light,
mounted on the lathe, was again pre sprayed in satin black paint,
providing the ideal sub base for application of the Jo Sonja colours.
donned his trusty rubber glove Keith, by using his fingers rubbed a
thin covering of the Gold iridescent paint over the whole outer
surface, he then chose blue and green and in the same manner put on
top of the gold layer randomly placed colour patches onto the
his own innovative way, he assured that the next bit of the
demonstration he had practiced to a fine art and had taken many years
to perfect, he was laughing whilst he said it. He then ripped off
sheet of cling film and slapped it across the surface applied
pressure onto the film and twisted his hand back and forth on
completion removing the Clingfilm to reveal an amazingly good blended
pattern, he went on to state that when fully dried he would apply of
gloss lacquer which would make the colours pop even more.
provided a great stopping point for tea and the opportunity for
members to have a look at the first two items.
the second part of his demo Keith continued with the Jo Sonja paint
began by mounting a pre formed 12” platter, centre hollowed with a
3-4” border all round and the piece sprayed black stating that for
this piece again dabs of iridescent paint would be placed on the
surface but the paint would be spread by blowing compressed air from
the air gun, merging the colours together forming a “cloud like”
pattern. Again he invited members of the audience to come and have
ago at making the final product, when all the paint had been applied
a layer of Clingfilm was dabbed over the surface giving the final
cloud style impression.
then moved on to demonstrate the application of paint by spinning
colours onto the surface of two projects. Both methods would be
applied to part finished black sprayed tea lights mounted onto the
the first style he applied a rim of gold paint around the inner cut
out part where the candle would sit, to stop paint flying over the
audience and walls a plastic cake lid was placed over the tea light
and chuck area then started the lathe up at quite a fast speed. He
let this run for a few seconds then revealed the radiating striped
pattern around the outer edge of piece, this gave a striking thin
lined pattern that could be repeated in as many colours that you
wished but Keith advised that two or three were usually sufficient.
repeated the process on anther tea light but on this occasion, having
applied a slightly thicker coat of paint, spun the lathe at a much
slower rate, again after a few seconds stopped the lathe to reveal
pattern with much more build up around the inner edge and thicker
lines shooting off around the surface.
had a packed evening of information and fun we just ran out of time,
the evenings events coming to a close with a warm thank to Keith for
giving us a wonderful last few hours.
This was the first all-day event that Blackcountry Woodturners have hosted for the past several years.
The aims of the day were to provide some well-earned entertainment for our current members, provide an opportunity to invite woodturners from other West Midlands Clubs, and with the aid of local media publicise Blackcountry Woodturners to the general public. This gave likeminded people the opportunity to visit and view the day’s events, talk to current members, and see what we as a club are all about.
There was also the opportunity for club members to buy and sell their unwanted / unused second hand tools, purchase project wood, and bring in some of their own work to display, and refreshments were provided to all who attended during the day.
The club had secured the services of professional Woodturner Paul Hannaby from Gloucestershire, Paul agreed to complete three different types of projects throughout the day, ranging from basic through to advanced woodturning techniques.
The day’s summary…
It started at 8am with early bird members arriving to set the rooms out for the day’s events, the main body of people began to arrive just after 9am, first job of the day was a hot drink, biscuit and general chat. The tool sales started in earnest along with the wood project sales. The first project , bowl turning techniques commenced at 9.45am. Paul explaining how not only to approach such projects but also design considerations, lathe mounting techniques, tool and cutting techniques plus ways to finish the project dependant on use to which it was to be put.
On completion we all took a 15 minute well-earned refreshment break then at 11.30am Paul began project 2, Box making with texturing and colouring instruction. Paul began by demonstrating a number of market available texturing tools, how to use them and varying types of effect that each are capable of achieving, he also demonstrated various ways of colour embellishing the patterns to bring out best effect. Paul then went on to produce a small decorative oriental lidded box.
At 1pm we had a 40 minute break for lunch, socialising, raffle draw and more purchasing of tools and wood.
The remainder of the afternoon was taken up with the “Off Centre” platter with decorative and air brushed coloured rim. This was a detailed advanced project well received by all present, with many questions being asked as the project unfolded. Paul explained and showed in detail the techniques, both turning and decorative, to complete the project from start to finish. The challenge now for us all to go away and give it a go…
The event concluded at around 4.30pm with everyone going home having enjoyed their day, learned a little or lot as the case maybe and hopefully inspired to have a go at new projects.
A big thank you must go to all the club members who brought in their own pieces of work to make up a fantastic display for all to see, providing project inspiration for us all.
On Thursday last week we had Robert Till as our demonstrator. He has done a demo before, at our old venue, where he showed us how to make a turned bird’s house. This time he demonstrated his rocking bowls. They are mostly made from ash or oak, as the open grain in these timbers allows for the kind of surface decoration he is aiming for.
It all starts out with a blank about 8″ in diameter and 3″ thick. A drill provides a hole for the screw chuck and, once mounted, the out side is squared off, both on the flat underside and the rim. A centre mark is made on the rim to ensure the final bowl has equal curves on top and bottom (although I suspect this could easily be altered for variations of the form), and then the underside is turned into a gentle curve towards that mark. This curve must always allow for a small, but precise tenon.
Robert demonstrated using pull cuts for the shaping, and then putting the handle right down and closing the flute on his bowl gouge to perform a very gentle shear scrape. In this manner he gets a surface that needs very little sanding.
The bowl is then reversed into the chuck, and a similar curve is applied to the top. For the sanding he uses Rhinogrip, and he always makes sure to only ever use any particular spot on the sanding paper once, folding away used pieces as he goes along. His surfaces are sanded to 600 or 1000 grit. He then showed two different methods of finishing the top.
For the first method, he applied a thin film of Chestnut ebonizing lacquer to provide a simple black surface. On top of this is then applied some gilt cream, also from Chestnut, which is rubbed well into the surface and in particular into the grooves left by the annual growth rings. Once the entire surface has been covered, a paper cloth and some finishing oil are used to remove any excess, leaving behind only the cream in the recesses, and thereby dramatically enhancing the figure of the wood. This is left to dry, and the final finish are up to a dozen layers of finishing oil, applied one coat per day (or slower). Once the wood has been saturated with oil, it starts to build up a nice coat on top, which does not need buffing.
The second method of decoration was done with the coloured spirit stains from Chestnut. He first rubbed the entire surface with a purple colour, and then carefully sanded that back until most of the high points were left in natural again, and only the grain recesses showed colour. He then used paper cloth to apply dabs of colour in a pattern to enhance any natural features of the wood, and finally blended them all together with finishing oil.
A very instructive demo aimed at mid-level turners, and well delivered. Our display table was well stocked, and we had 26 members and one visitor in attendance.
Augusts meeting was another hands on event, we had the welcome return of Keith Drew to the club who had been persuaded to come and demonstrate the technique of making a shell pattern form.
Project set up on the lathe
Keith picked this technique up from a demonstration he attended some time ago, and over time has developed his own way of completing the project, the very simple explanation being that the blank is set up inside a pre made and marked up template, this is then used on centre to make the central decoration then off set against the pre-determined marks to form the final shell like fin decoration. The final product looks great when all finished, and can be utilised as an ornament on it’s own, or incorperated into another project, it is quite a complex piece and provides a challenge to the more advanced turner.
Keith set up his demo, showed us the way it should be done then under Keith’s Guidance several members had a go, definitely more tricky than Keith made it look, this was a very interesting first half to the evening, something unusual and much enjoyed by those in attendance. We would all like to thank Keith for giving up his time to educate us all.
The evening then provided additional inputs from Wolfgang on the lathe Goblet Turning, and by Bob Mercer showing us all the correct way to strip and clean a chuck…….
The July monthly meeting was another hands on event, there were 4 lathes for use by members in attendance.
The main theme of this evening was “Off Centre Turning Methods”
A different approach to “Off Centre” Turning, came about from the Coventry UKIws show, to which some of our members attended, watching a demonstration by David Lowe who detailed the technique of putting a bead in place of the traditional square tenon on the bottom of the bowl, the bead then allowed the piece to be re positioned within the jaws of the chuck and off set within reason, without the need to have all the fancy off set jigs, once the piece was off set in the jaws the face was then trued up, decorated with colour, then the bowl section formed, finally the bowl was completed with the addition of a small column pedestal foot being made and fitted over the original “Bead Tenon”
The technique was demonstrated on lathe 2 by Steve Hacket creating some good interaction by the watching members.
Roger Cheshire and Bob Mercer on Lathes 3 & 4 then had a go at the same method, in discussion with members going through the process step by step. Roger using the same style as demonstrated by Steve , with Bob re visiting the technique and experimented with a slightly different approach to the bead method in discussion with members during the process.
Wolfgang demonstrated on lathe 1, off centre spindle turning, on how to make a club foot leg, using another style of off centre method to create the project. Due to time constraints he could not quite finish the whole project before the end of the evening but he clearly demonstrated to watching members the technique, for them to have a go at in their own workshops.
Again another very full evening that just flashed by fully enjoyed by all present…..
The table of members work was very impressive this month with some great pieces of work on display……
Once again Blackcountry woodturners were kindly invited to join John Massey at his summer “Open Garden” day at Ashwood Nurseries, an event for which the club has proudly supported for many years.
For those that do not know this is the main event of several that “John” and his superb team at the nursery put on in support of the nurseries chosen charity, opening his magnificent award winning 3 acre private gardens to the public, this year’s chosen charity being “WINGS” Wombourne Special Needs Support Group.
The day started off at 08:30hrs, with the gathering of members at the Nursery to help set up our event tents, main craft stall, charity table and lathe demonstration area.
They say many hands make light work and this was so the case, the fantastic early turn out soon had our trusty pitch on the meadow lawn ready for business. Once again the display of member’s crafts was a splendid sight to see, with so many varied pieces on display, truly wonderful…
At 10:00 the event opened and by 10:15 the crowds were filtering thick and fast into the gardens, this remained the case right up to the end at 4pm.
As the day wore on countless, visitors came to see us on the lawn, striking up many a good conversation and laughter throughout, several of these visitors over the years now becoming regular customers of our clubs crafts a testament to the consistent quality on show, sales both on the charity table and craft tables were brisk all day.
Throughout the day the public were entertained with various lathe demonstrations, one visitor asking Rob Hacket if he could make him a new handle for his garden trowel, which Rob duly did, he left the stall a very happy chappy …not Rob the visitor.
There were also demos by Steve Hackett, Roger Cheshire, Paul Brown & Roger Sherwood -Howells.
A very special thanks must go to Arthur Mills and the other guys who helped him throughout the day run the charity table their truly sterling efforts raising a fantastic £240.00, an amazing feat…well done everyone.
At the end of the day Mick Murphy club Secretary proudly handed £120.00 to the event organisers to add to the days grand total in support of the very worthy “WINGS” charity,
The remaining £120.00 will be given to Blackcountry Woodturners nominated charity Mary Stevens Hospice in due course.
On the event closure all the gear was packed away and all club members left the nursery hot and tired but having contributed to a really good day.
This was the first time the canal trust had held a summer fayre from this particular venue, and what a lovely place it is too, The Blackcountry Woodturning club were very happy to accept the invite to put on a stall and demonstrate the art of woodturning throughout the day for the attending public.
The day started off by arriving at the venue for 8.30am, we were greeted by Sarah the organiser who showed us our pitch in the main hall for the day.
We had a great turnout of members early morning, with lots of good natured banter and laughter as we all got stuck in to unload the van , and set up our stall and lathe presentation area.
When complete the stall looked great with all our members work proudly displayed on show to the attending public, a great credit to the club which brought some very favourable comments from neighbouring craft presenters dotted around the hall.
The public attendance started a little slow but picked up as the day went by, many interesting conversations were struck up with visitors who were genuinely interested in how we made such a variety of items.
Thanks go to Mell Adams, Bob Mercer, Andrew DORE , Roger Cheshire and Paul Brown who all took turns on the lathe during the day to entertain the public, with Bob very kindly giving away his demonstration bowl to a visitor who watched him make the whole thing from start to finish.
I’m sure the club made a few friends along the way, the event came to a close about 4.30pm, with us all having had a very enjoyable day.
The Blackcountry woodturners club took part in the Cradley Heath Arts festival programme on Saturday 9th June 2018, this was the first visit by the club to the event, we along with Cradley Heath Model Railway club were located at the Cradley Heath Community Centre Reddal Hill Road.
The club was well supported by members who put on an impressive craft and lathe display, including the clubs charity table displaying for sale items donated by members in support of the clubs charity
Visitors were few but those that came were very impressed with the craft work, purchased a few items and enjoyed watching members working on the lathe.
The highlight of the day was the visit to the club by local conservative member of parliament Rt Hon James Morris who stayed for quite some time chatting to all involved and seemed genuinely interested in the history of the club wishing us well for the future…, he even had ago on the lathe skillfully instructed by club chairman Roger Cheshire.
This month Blackcountry Woodturners were graced with the presence of professional wood turner John Aitkin, otherwise known as “The bowler hatted turner”, renowned for wearing a bowler hat when woodturning at craft shows, his theory being that “people cannot remember names but they never forget a hat!”
John’s evening consisted of detailed examination, super explanation, fine tool control and tuition surrounding project enhancement, by inclusion of thread chasing, and forming various “finishing finials” made in, wood, Pewter, Deer Antler and Imitation Ivory to enrich the final project.
John explained that these techniques and materials could be considered for any type of project, but to give early thought to the design and how the inclusions would be used to enhance the piece and not just doing for doings sake…..good advice..
John based his whole demonstration around the making on one of his signature projects a decorative three piece needle box, utilising all the stated techniques.
John went to great lengths to demonstrate and educate us about the art of thread chasing and showed his skill of thread chasing in both wood and pewter.
For the final part of his demonstration john spoke about “Sharp Cutting edges” and showed to the audience his method of taking a sharp edge to a razor sharp edge by using a simple grind wheel modified to run in backwards by reversing the guard plates, then replacing the stone grind wheels with a sisal and brushed cotton wheels turning the equipment into a highly efficient edge polishing machine.
John’s character, humour and sheer enjoyment of demonstrating his skills was evident to all in attendance making a truly enjoyable experience for all. We hope we can persuade him to return next year to educate us more in the arts of woodturning.
Members also contributed to the evening by bringing in and presenting a good selection of crafts