Welcome

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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Important Notes:

Next Club meeting will be on 12th December 2019 and will be AGM & Christmas Social

AWGB – NEC Stand Creative Craft Show

Thursday 1st Nov –Sunday 4th November

In October 2019, the AWGB contacted a number of Midlands based woodturning clubs seeking a little assistance.

The AWGB Committee required help in manning the AWGB stand at the Creative Craft Show, National Exhibition Centre NEC, hall 20 between Thursday 1st and Sunday 4th November 2019.

The call went out to our Blackcountry members, which was met with a great response, 5 members agreed to help out during the event, Bob Mercer Thursday 1st, Ian Brown & Roger Cheshire Friday 2nd, Bill Hubbard Saturday 3rd & Kim Harris Sunday 4th.

Without exception everyone enjoyed their day, and agreed it was well worth their days’ time.

We all met and chatted to some very interesting people from all over the country and further afield, many interested in taking woodturning up as a hobby, and were pointed in the direction of their local home clubs, several were pointed in our direction and we may get lucky with a few new members in the future.

H ope the AWGB come to the show next year as we will volunteer again, below are some pictures from the event.

Les Thorne All Day Event

Saturday 19th October 2019

For the 2019 all-day club event, Blackcountry Woodturners were very fortunate to have secured the professional services of the renowned National and International Woodturner Les Thorne, who travelled to us from his Hampshire home. 

This was Les’s first visit to Blackcountry Wood Turners, but hopefully not his last.

Les Thorne has been on the Register for Professional Turners since 2001 after spending the majority of his working life involved with the family wood business.

From his workshop in Old Alresford in Hampshire, Les is primarily a production turner and works on a huge variety of jobs and with many different clients.

To entertain and educate us today Les was treating us to a number of projects with and without decoration, covering box making, bowl turning and a candle stick. 

Doors opened at 09.00; the audience began to drift in and engage in the wood and tool sale areas, viewing and discussing displayed members work, hot drinks and general banter. 

At 09:30 the audience took their seats, Les was formally welcomed to the club by Mell Adams, Club Secretary, and the day began to unfold. 

Les began by introducing himself and described his woodturning journey to this point in time; he then began his first project and one that would then take up the morning and early afternoon sessions.

Project 1: A long curved lidded box, textured and coloured, this style being one of Les’s signature boxes, the audience were completely embroiled for the whole of the morning in listening, laughing and watching Les work his magic, each stage being well described, and demonstrated in great detail, his open manner prompted many a good question from the audience. 

Les has an instinctive knack of using tools gained over thousands of hours and many years of work, he is always in complete control of what goes on at the cutting edge, and portrays this in a relaxed, confident style and light hearted banter.

Having had lunch the audience assembled for the afternoon treats, initially Les finished off the lidded box, describing each step of the texture and colour application.

Project 2: A decorated Ash bowl “au natural”…no colour on this one, to the delight of Elwyn in the audience!

Les demonstrated each step of the way from mounting the blank, consideration of design and tool usage. Les again described and demonstrated to great effect various types of cuts including pull & push cut, shear cut and scrape used to form the bowl profile detailing the pros and cons of each method and the best time and place for their usage. Once the back of the bowl was complete in profile, Les then demonstrated how to place several bead rows onto the piece without taking the tool off the wood, a feat none of the audience had seen before, earning Les an appreciative and enthusiastic round of applause. 

The bowl was turned round, Les began work on the front outer rim decoration and hollowing techniques, again he very effectively describing the tooling techniques used at each stage, going to great lengths to fully demonstrate and describe the inner lip undercut tooling sequence.  

Following afternoon tea Les treated us to the making of a candlestick; he did this in what he described as “working mode” we all being amazed at the detail speed and accuracy he was able to achieve this project from complete start to finish, all the way through describing why and what he was doing. 

His final half an hour is what he described as his “Play” time, demonstrating to us his bead forming skill with a skew chisel and a few other very unusual tools.

The day came to a close at around 16.30 with Les receiving a well-deserved and warm round of applause from all in attendance; we very much hope we can lure him back to the club in future.

Steve Heeley Demonstration Evening.

Thursday 17th October 2019

Steve is a good old friend of Blackcountry woodturners we last had the pleasure of his company in September 2016.

Steve has not been too well of late but fulfilled his promise to the club to come and entertain us once again, for this we are very grateful, and very happy to have you back.

Steve’s project for the evening was a dried flower vase, starting with a flat piece of pine approx. 6 inches wide by 12 inches long, the intention was to keep the lower portion of the vase rectangular, this section of the piece would later be textured, sprayed black and then rubbed back, to again expose the natural wood, this then contrasting with the turned foot and vase neck.

Steve identified that this was one of his own creations unique to him, that he had been making for some time; he identified how the piece would usually be made with square stock but the rectangular style added another dimension to the overall finished product.

Steve initially mounted the stock into the lathe and proceeded to turn the opening of the vase then beginning to shape the neck area.

Steve very carefully described and demonstrated the” Pommel cut” that adjoins the main body to the neck area, he demonstrated how to approach the cut with both a bowl gouge and skew chisel, stating that without doubt this was the hardest cut on the project to get correct but if done well helps to set the piece off, Steve then went on to complete the final shaping of the neck to the main body area.

Having completed the top half of the vase and rough shaping of the foot, he turned the piece round to complete the foot detail as this gave better tool access. 

Steve then progressed to texturing the main body of the piece using an electronic hand held grinder with Arbourtech cutting wheel attachment, texturing all four of the flat sides, once complete, the texturing and corners were sanded smoother to remove the raised and torn out grain, this was then covered with a light spray of sanding sealer and over sprayed with chestnut ebonising lacquer, then when dry rubbed back the high points exposing the natural wood.

The piece was then finished off with the addition of three box wood buttons, fitted into three pre drilled holes in the main body.

The evening drew to a close with the audience giving Steve a wholehearted round of applause for a fine evening of entertainment.

Mary Stevens Hospice -Summer Fayre.

Saturday 31st August 2019

The Summer fayre is the second of three events this year that Blackcountry Woodturners will be attending raising funds to help support the children’s hospice, this has been Blackcountry Woodturners selected charity for some years now.

We turned up on site at the Hospice grounds at 09:00 and were allocated our spot on the main field, it then took just over an hour and several cups of tea, to get things all set up ready for the grand opening at 11am, we were just one of many stalls supporting this great cause.

The event opened at 11am and things got underway, the crowds soon built up and were entertained by not only the stall holders but also the great entertainers and events that were staged throughout the day. The weather held until around lunchtime but then the heavens opened for a short while but quickly blew over and thing soon got back into swing.

From the clubs prospective again the stall looked great, with plenty of members work on sale, plus many items on the charity table. The public gave many complementary remarks and the lathe demonstrations were as always a great success, enjoyed by both adults and children alike.

Many thanks go to Steve & Rob Hacket, Roger Cheshire, Roger Sherwood Howells, Arthur Mills, Mell Adams, Ron Lunn and Ian Brown for turning out giving their time and talents to support the social event.

Special thanks go to Roger Cheshire who organised and oversaw the raffle of the skittles game made by him earlier in the year; lots of tickets were sold with the eventual lucky winner being a family from the Stourbridge area.

At the end of the day we managed to raise the sum of £157.80p which Mell handed over to the event organisers who were very supportive and grateful for the clubs attendance.

Thanks again to those that turned out and/or donated items for the charity table, a great day was had with a good pot of money going to Mary Stevens fund.

Our next Mary Stevens event will be the Christmas Fayre on Saturday 7th December 10am to 3pm please visit us and help in supporting a great cause.

Max Carey Woodturning Institute.

Thursday 12th September 2019

The Max Carey woodturning institute is a very well established and respected woodturning teaching venue based in Portishead, Bristol and is a fully equipped, multi lathed, and tooled workshop, delivering a selection of woodturning courses from beginner through to advanced woodturners.

This venue is also used by the AWGB for hosting training days and weekends.

Blackcountry Woodturners were very fortunate to be offered the opportunity to hold a professional Tuition day at the venue, hosted by Stuart Bradfield, institute manager and renowned Professional Woodturner Jay Heryet.

The aim of the day was the preparation, making, and individual decoration /texturing of a 250mm x 50mm Sycamore platter.

At 07:15hrs the crew of 11 Blackcountry members all met for breakfast at a local hotel in Portishead, some having travelled the night before and the remainder travelling that morning, after a good chat, several bacon butties and cups of tea we made for the Max Carey Centre arriving at 08:30am.

We were al welcomed by Stuart and Jay, when having had the day’s induction and safety briefing we were all ready to go, chosen sycamore blanks in hand and lathe stations chosen.

Jay started the day with an introduction of the days aims, emphasising that enjoyment and learning were the key elements, she then gave a demonstration on ways to mount the blanks, design features, general shaping and tooling processes, implanting ideas and suggestions for us all to try as the day progressed.

We all then retired to our chosen lathes and set to work making our own individual platters, using and practising techniques illustrated by Jay.

As we all worked on our individual projects, both Jay and Stuart moved around the workshop, talking to each of us and putting us right by demonstration on identified areas in need of individual attention, plus encouraging us to look at form, shape and consideration and development of the finer detail touches to enhance the piece.

Everyone was so engrossed time just flew by and before we knew it, it was lunchtime, more tea, sandwiches and banter in the rest room, what could be better.

The afternoon started with Jay again demonstrating how to improve a number of tooling areas she had recognised as she had visited and chatted to us all during the morning session.

Jay then moved on to decoration techniques and ideas, showing a number of nice pieces made and adorned by herself, highlighting numerous ways where shape, colour and texture work together to bring the piece to its final conclusion, her point simply being do not be afraid to give anything a go, if you do not try you will not learn and explore the endless possibilities.

With this in our heads we all set off back to our lathes to develop and try our own ideas on decorating the platter, watched over and encouraged by both Jay and Stuart. At the end of the session it was amazing to see the differing texturing and colouring ideas we had all chosen.

At around 4:30pm Stuart and Jay brought the day to a close with a final chat and Q&A session. I am sure both Jay and Stuart enjoyed the day as much as we did.

As a group we showed our appreciation of being invited to the venue and being privileged to have had such good company and instruction, a most memorable and satisfying day.

Some pictures of our Day…..

Evening Demonstration – John Aitken.

Thursday 15th August 2019

This month Blackcountry Woodturners were graced with the return of professional wood turner John Aitken, otherwise known as “The bowler hatted turner”, who last visited us in June 2018.

John is 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!”

The first part of John’s evening consisted of detailing and demonstrating how he designed a three tier cake stand for his daughter’s wedding, and the production method he used as 50 were necessary to make for the day.

Having educated us on the whys and wherefores necessary, he went on to demonstrate the making of each of the items required to complete the project, this required both platter (Cross Grain) and spindle turning techniques. John as always detailed, demonstrated and discussed tool control, and finishing methods for each piece.

For the second part of his demonstration John educated us in the arts of colouring and paint texturing for use on platters or any other surface for that matter.

Showing various methodologies, he used and demonstrated several iridescent paint colours over the top of a black background, he detailed an interesting method stating that he had developed and used to good effect over a number of years, which consisted of a length of string approx. 18 inches long completely immersed into a tub of gold iridescent paint, when removed the laden string was laid in a random pattern across a section of the platter rim face.

 John then laid a sheet of magazine paper(shiny smooth paper) over the top of the string, placing his hand gently on top compressing the string slightly, John proceeded to pull  one end of the string and kept pulling until it came free, the resulting pattern was impressive, the process if required could then be repeated over additional areas of the rim.

John’s character, humour and sheer enjoyment of demonstrating his skills was again evident to all in attendance making a truly enjoyable evening for all. We hope we can persuade him to return next year to educate us more in the arts and joys of woodturning.

Les Thorne All Day Demo

This lively professional turner will be appearing at BlackCountry Woodturners base at Dudley College’s Broadway venue on 19th October 2019 between 9.30-5pm and anyone who wants to see a top turner is welcome to come along.

The cost is just £10 and includes tea,coffee and biscuits. Sandwiches or cobs will be on sale for lunchtime.

For further details email blackcountrywoodturners@gmail.com or call Secretary Mel Adams on 07533 219152.

Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust

Saturday 29th & Sunday 30th June 2019

“Made in the Blackcountry” 

This was Blackcountry Woodturners third event at the lovely Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust building.

This time we were at the “Made in the Blackcountry” weekend craft event, along with other local people displaying and chatting about their particular type of crafts on display, and what lovely people we met too.

The weekend started with several members turning out of their beds and arriving on site at about 08:30am, for the grand set up to begin, by 10:00am we were ready to go, with lathe demo area and splendid craft display all ready for the visiting public to enjoy.

The morning foot traffic was a little slow but picked up as the day progressed, during the day it was great to see a fair number of our club members turn out in support of club and we all enjoyed a good old chinwag between ourselves.

The lathe was kept busy all day, entertaining the public, who as usual were very interested in watching what was being made, and asking loads of questions, the children especially enjoyed the demonstrations and went away with a free spinning top.

The first day concluded at 4pm and we all went home for a well-earned rest….

On Sunday we arrived at around 9am and prepared the tables for the 10am opening.

Thanks go to Steve & Rob Hackett plus Roger Cheshire , Kim Harris, Mel Adams and Roger Sherwood-Howells  for making and giving away children’s spinning tops and other projects throughout the weekend, and also to all the club members that turned out to support us over the weekend….….well done all of you.

Again the public footfall was quiet to begin with but picked up throughout the day, again the lathe was in full swing keeping the adults and children entertained. 

Below some more photos from the event :- 

Evening Demonstration by Robert Till – 20/6/2019

Blackcountry Woodturners welcomed back professional Woodturner Robert Till for the evening. Robert last demonstrated at the club in October 2018.

For our evening’s entertainment Robert identified that he would be demonstrating how to make a “spindle Turned” finely shaped candle stick by using the “Reverse Turn” or “Inside Out” method, and during the process he would be showing in detail how the piece would be constructed highlighting how best to proportion / balance the project out to the eye as it went along.

He identified that the project was a “spindle turned piece using all the standard basic cuts that Woodturners of all levels would be able to have a go at, and that the project if made at home could be made as simple or as detailed that the maker wished by adopting his demonstrated methodology.

To start off with Robert detailed how he constructed two pieces of identical square stock and glued them together but introducing a paper seal between the two mating glued wooden edges, this technique later allows the joint to be broken without damage to the timber.

Blank after spliting

The blank was mounted onto the lathe and Robert detailed how to mark up the blank for initial turning which in this instance would be the inside shape of the candlestick, as when the shape was formed the blank would be split open and turned round 180 degrees then glued back together again to form the internal shape.

For the next 40 minutes or so Robert turned the initial shape where throughout he demonstrated the cutting stages, tool techniques, and logical step by step process needed to achieve the first stage shaping process. Robert then identified how to split the wood in preparation for the re gluing process.

Robert then re mounted a pre prepared blank that had been stage 2 glued up giving the internal shaped detail, the blank now ready for the external shape to be applied.

For the main part of the remainder of the evening Robert demonstrated the step by step process in achieving the outer refined shape, going into great detail around the eye line balance and shape proportion, illustrating this clearly by “tweaking” the shape as he went along.

His detailed explanation of the process was clearly enjoyed by those present and created some very lively and probing conversation around techniques, methodology and finishing processes.

For the final part of the demonstration Robert made the base to complement the candlestick, we were all amazed that he managed to squeeze it all into two and a half hours and had a cup of tea and biscuits in the process.

Another wonderful evening’s entertainment provided by Robert, well enjoyed by all and we look forward to his next visit with us in 2020.

Raffle Prizes

If any member wishes they can bring in a raffle prize at any time and donate it to the club, also if you see a tool which may be useful for turning which you can buy for around £5 or so (a receipt will be needed) then Ian can reimburse you on the night, our aim is to make the raffle as interesting and varied as possible.

Thanks

Mel

Secretary