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.

GDPR: If you are concerned over or interested in knowing how we protect our members data, follow this link.

 

Important Notes:

Next Club meeting will be a Hands-on evening with at least three lathes running on Thursday 19th July, starting at 6 pm.

All-Day event, 10:00 am -16:30, on Saturday 3rd November 2018 our demonstrator for the day will be Paul Hannaby.  £10 fee for the day. Please book your place as soon as possible, so we can make plans to cater for everyone who wants to attend. ( Club members see forum for more details)

Saturday 14th July 2018 Ashwood Nurseries – Open Garden Day.

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.

Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust Summer Fayre Saturday 30th June 2018.

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.

Cradley Arts Festival –Saturday 9th June 2018.

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.

19th May 2018 Evening Demo -John Aitken

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

April Meeting 2018

Club member Wolfgang Schulze-Zachau was our demonstrator for the April meeting. His demonstration was based around deep hollow forms. Wolfgang started the evening talking about the pros and cons of working with dry or green wood. He had brought a number of blanks with him and asked his audience which blank he should use for his demonstration.

He gave incisive and thoughtful advise on how to deal with green wood turning, which he said was his preferred type of wood to work with. He answered several questions from club members relating to green wood turning. Wolfgang passed around a number of his very large deep hollowing tools and answered questions on how and when to use the different tools. He said that during his demonstration the method he would be showing us was the way he did things, and not specifically the way someone else might approach the same task.

Wolfgang chucked up the blank and set about shaping the outside of the form. He kept up a continuous commentary of everything he was doing, from the height of the tool rest to the different types of cuts he was using and which part of the tool he was using as well as the best angle of approach. This was ideal for some of the novice members in the audience but it was also helpful and thought provoking for the more experienced turners as well.                                      Wolfgang then discussed the merits of different drill bits to make a start with hollowing. As it turned out he decided to start with a spindle gouge. He had a couple of issues with the club lathe and chuck both of which needed additional tightening up. But then he very quickly got on with the main event of hollowing out the form. This was when the necessity for the extra long handle became apparent. With the handle tucked under his arm Wolfgang showed club members the safe way to approach the opening and how to hollow out the bowl, slow and steady. He said you needed to develop a feel for the tool as it cut inside the form and the only way to do that was lots and lots of practice. He said that having a good light source was also essential to enable you to see inside the hole you were hollowing and recommended using a headset incorporating magnification and a light source.

Wolfgang gave a running commentary throughout the whole demonstration and answered a number of questions on the use of specific hollowing tools as well as the negative-rake scraper he used to clean up the inside of the bowl. He gave tips and advise on the thickness of the base of the bowl, thick enough to support the piece when it was re-mounted  on the lathe but not so thick as to impede the drying process and risk cracks forming.                                           All in all a thoroughly entertaining and informative evening was had by all.                                                                              Thank you Wolfgang.

 

Club members brought in some fine pieces for the display table. (sorry about poor quality photos)

 

February meeting

Our February meeting was a demonstration by Paul Hannaby, who was recently appointed chairman of the AWGB. He has demonstrated at the club before, a goblet with a barley twist stem, if memory serves. This time around his focus was on bowl turning.

We held the demo meeting in the room adjoining our normal meeting room, for a number of reasons. For one, it offers a big overhead screen which we could connect to our camera, and thus provide a much improved view for the audience. And I am pleased to report that we had a very full turnout of members. Another reason is that the layout of our normal meeting room is much better suited for hands-on days than demonstrations, since it has a massive staircase right in the middle of the room.

For his first bowl, Paul chose a piece of mahogany of about 8″ diameter. This was mounted onto a screw chuck. This mounting method, which works fine for bowls up to about 10″ diameter, has the advantage of giving unfettered access to the bottom of the bowl, so that a nice foot can be formed with push cuts, which leave a much better surface than pull cuts. Paul talked extensively about his choice of bowl gouges, which are in essence all standard grind, i.e. very little wing. For the finishing cuts he used a particularly heavy bowl gouge, showing us that the weight reduced any bouncing dramatically and the long inside curve creates such a nice slicing action that the finish turned bowl hardly needed any sanding at all. He also demonstrated how to use a stick of hot-melt glue to check the surface for any bumps.

His second bowl was to be a natural edge piece. The approach is pretty much the same: start on the screw chuck, finish turn the outside (and sand and decorate if desired/required), then turn around and form the inside of the bowl. Obviously the challenge with a natural edge bowl is always to get the first one or two inches of the cut done without losing the bark or any other accidents. A steady hand and a good eye for the ghosted edge of the workpiece is required for this.

A very pleasant surprise of the evening was the table showing the work members had brought in. A wide variety of items and, it must be said, all of good standard. Clearly our members are feeling fired up to get into their workshops and make things. Excellent all around. Here are some images.

BCWT –Demonstrator Training Day

BCWT –Demonstrator Training Day

 

On Saturday 27th January 2018, Black Country Woodturners completed its first AWGB Demonstrator training event held at the home and workshop of club member Wolfgang…..,

Four club members in total on the day being Wolfgang…….Roger Cheshire, Bob Mercer & Ian Brown

The event is all part of the facilities provided by the Association of Woodturners of Great Britain (A.W.G.B) and is open to all associated clubs and members around the country

We were honoured with our hosts Peter Bradwick, AWGB Development and Training officer, and Paul Hannaby professional turner and AWGB Web Master & Data manager. Together they provided a very full, information packed, and fun day.

The morning consisted of the educational training inputs detailing the methodology, planning, thought processes and preparation surrounding the delivery of a demonstrator presentation based at club level.

One of the morning exercises was for all the students to give a five minute talk on any subject of their choosing, topics ranged from Mad cows disease, Retirement, Workshops  & Wolfgang’s adventures around the world.

After lunch the afternoon session was taken up with Roger, Bob, Ian & Wolfgang presenting their 20 minute woodturning demonstration, carefully watched over by Peter & Paul.

Bob made a Honey Dipper, Ian showed the process of “Woggle” making, Roger made “The Magic Gene Bottle” and Wolfgang made a “Garden Dibber” using a “Skew” chisel.  All went down well with good constructive feedback and encouraging comments from our mentors Peter & Paul.

The whole day was rounded off with a good debrief and social chat before all setting off for home,  a good day was had by all with plenty of learning, fun, and tea drinking.

Black Country Woodturners would like to express our thanks to Peter and Paul for putting on a very enjoyable and informative day, and to Wolfgang allowing us into his home and workshop for the event to take place.

St Pauls Brownie & Guide Demo Evening -Thursday 1st February 2018.

On Thursday 1st February 2018, Black Country Woodturners, in conjunction with 3rd Blackheath St Pauls Brownie & Guide leaders put on a “Woggle” making evening for the girls aged between 7 – 16yrs.

Several weeks of planning and preparation went into event working with the Brownie & Guide leaders in advance to provide a creative evening for the girls to enjoy.

The idea being for each member of the Brownie & Guide pack, including leaders to choose a woggle from a number of  pre made styles then decorate and finish the item, leaving the event with their creative work.

The evening entailed a quick introductory talk to the Brownie’s and Guide’s about woodturning, followed by a live demonstration of a woggle being turned.

 

All the girls chose their woggle styles then went off to colour and decorate; having finished the decoration, the woggles were then finished off with sanding sealer and wax top coat.

 

All the Girls had a great time throughout the evening with many unique designs being achieved by all age groups…..heres just a few of the colourful designs below…

Feedback from leaders and the parents of the girls has been very positive with everyone enjoying the evening.

January meeting

The club meeting on 18th of January was our first proper demo at the new venue at the Broadway in Dudley. It feature a short turning demonstration by Melvyn Adams, and a much more lengthy demonstration of pyrography by his wife.

In fact, several friends of hers had brought in their pyrography machines, and the whole thing developed almost into a hands-on evening. Advice was freely given and the usage of various different tips, templates, patterns and what not was shown (and tried by club members).

We even had a fan operating to extract any fumes into the outside air. Wouldn’t want to trigger the fire alarm on a club night, would we now?

As you can see from these two pictures, there was strong interest, and several club members made little keyring tabs or similar items.

 

On the evening we had the highest attendance figure ever for a club meeting, with 36 people being in the room, of which 31 were club members. We signed up a few new members and some others showed interest.

This is an ongoing positive trend: our membership has increased by about 50% over the last 2 years, which makes it easier for the committee (and therefore the entire club) to manage finances, provide new and improved tools and demos. This positive trend was also shown in the number of items on the display table.

Hands-on Thursday night

I would like to thank all the members at Thursday evenings hands-on, it was our first try at using the new room . I think it was great success and thanks to all who participated, the cleaning went very well and the room was left as clean as we found it. If this continues I think in my opinion we shall be well settled. Also I would like to thank all those members who brought in there own work, it was an excellent show. { and it did not need lighting up this time } Thanks to you all.

The committee advised the meeting of the fire safety arrangements at the college and we carried out a fire drill including an evacuation of the meeting room into the car park ensuring we had the meeting register of attendance with us and explained to everyone were the assembly point was in Gervase Drive.