The purpose of this website is to provide you with some basic information about the club – when and where we meet, what meetings are like details about membership and other club activities. It’s not meant to be a gallery of resources about woodturning, simply an introduction to the club.​

​​The Club has been running for over 20 years and has always been affiliated with the Association of Woodturners of Great Britain (AWGB).

Our Roots have always been set in the heart of the Midlands known as the “Black Country”. The Black Country is a defined area steeped in industrial history. For a flavour of its early days follow the link, you may find it interesting:- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Country

The club home is located at Dudley College, a super venue with easy disability access, and plenty of free parking, “Club Nights” are usually held on the third Thursday of the month. 6 pm to 9 pm. (see events page for full details).

Since the start of the 2020 pandemic the club has had to rethink and redefine how it pilots the future, we now embrace technology as best we can, mixed with good old hands-on learning. We were able to remain open throughout the Pandemic period by hosting across the Zoom platform, However, we are delighted to state that since October 2021 we are back open at Dudley College.

We host a variety of meeting types informal online monthly “Chinwags” via Zoom plus monthly club night events, made up of Hands-on, Club turner or professional demos.

All are welcome, from those thinking of taking up this fabulous hobby to those already giving it a go you will meet and enjoy the company of a friendly bunch of folk, sharing your venture to learn more about this historic craft.

If you are interested contact us via the website or simply come along and see what goes on. Details of the costs involved are shown on the  Mission Tag “Joining the Club”. as well as Organisation & Documents where you will find our policies on Safeguarding & Health & Safety matters

January 2024 – Chairman’s Challenge

This month’s submissions for the Chairman’s Challenge and other items that were made by our club members during the last month.

The challenge was “Any Style Bowl between 100 -150 mm in diameter” and any other items made by members this month

Next month’s Chinwag Zoom meeting is on the 1st of February 2024. The Chairman’s Challenge theme will be “Platter with decorated Rim 150 to 200 mm in diameter”.

December 23 – Mary Stevens Christmas Coffee Morning and Jigsaw Festival

Well, it’s that time of year again when we are taking part in Mary Stevens Charity Coffee Morning and Jigsaw Festival, there were tables with various Christmas-themed items and a few tombola tables all for the benefit of Mary Stevens Hospice. Again it was nice to be invited along for this annual event and take part in the fundraising for the benefit of the hospice and the people who rely on it.
The stalls attending the event were showing a varied amount of items and were displayed to the best and people were able to get round the hall easily. In addition to this, a hot drink and cake stand was being used to its fullest by everyone who attended.

The weather for the day was very cold with snow being advised at some point, thankfully we had a stand inside the hall and not outside unlike the jigsaw gazebos. We had to be at the event by 9:00 to set everything up and be ready to start at 10:00 and was open during the hours of 10:00 and 14:00. The event attracted a steady footfall throughout the opening hours, although the weather could have caused a few not to show up.

We had a few of the normal crew to set up the event which included Ian, Rob, Steve and Brian, along with this we had a few members arrive during the day and help and support the event, they were, Arthur Roger S, Roger C, Paul & Barrie
A lot of turnings were as per normal donated by the club members for the charity table and those members who were selling their own pieces, gave a donation at the end of the day, out of their profits.

The club had a three-foot wood block snowman donated for a raffle, Tickets were sold at our last club meeting (Nov) and the Coffee Morning and Jigsaw Festival throughout the day, this was donated by Paul Wiley and it was appreciated by the committee for his generosity with all proceeds going to the hospice.

The ticket for the raffle was drawn at the end of the day by James from Mary Stevens Hospice. The winner was our own Elwyn Jones. The snowman raffle raised £79 for the hospice, Throughout the year the cub has raised a total of £1644.75 for the hospice over the last year, which has been handed over to the hospice.

We can now all look forward to the club’s Christmas Bash on our normal club night at Dudley College as usual.

Report by Barrie Fisher, edited by Steve Hackett

Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker 2023

Congratulations to our very own club member Wolfgang Schulze-Zachau for competing in this year’s “Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker 2023” TV program. Wolfgang was the woodworker of the week in many of the episodes and got through to the final episode. Unfortunately, he did not win, but Wolfgang’s kitchen island, which he designed and constructed in the final was excellent.

Well done also to the winner Nathaniel Griffiths.

Demo Report – October 2023 – Stewart Furini

For our entertainment of the evening, we have Stewart Furini, who has now retired from being an English teacher to become a full-time professional woodturner and demonstrator who likes to play about with embellishments and texture in addition to colouring wood.

Stewart started by going through some health and safety information for the normal mask that he uses when he sprays paint or lacquer. He also showed how to attach the siphon glass bottles under the airbrush; he also stated that he had a different siphon bottle for each colour that he uses; in this way, he cuts down on the cleaning requirements. He tends to use chestnut spirit dyes, but he also stated that you would require a set of gloves as it was difficult to remove the stain from your skin. With a siphon/suction feed airbrush, you can use it without cleaning if you always go from light to dark.

Stewart started by applying a stain directly to the blank using a homemade template. He just followed the edge of the template and kept moving it around the blank to develop a pattern. He demonstrated how to alter the degree of shade by moving the airbrush at different distances from the blank. The template needs to be kept dry for this and needs to be wiped every couple of uses so that the residue does not mark the blank.

Various templates can be obtained from both Amazon and eBay; these come as singles and also as bundles of different effects; they are relatively cheap.

Next, Stewart showed how to use masking tape on a blank after using a lighter colour first and going along the edge of the tape to form a shadow effect. The centre of the blank is now removed to give an overall effect. At this point, you could also frame the colouring of the effect with an outer ring effect, which will also add framing to the blank. The blanks that are used are then all sanded down to 240 grit to give the colour a base for the dye to adhere to.

A second blank was then mounted on the screw chuck of the lathe, and while all of this was going on, Stewart answered all questions that were asked The rim was also trued up, and an angle was produced in the rim. A spigot was also produced on the base of the blank for later use. The foot was established first by using a pull cut, and then an ogee shape was formed.
With the blank in reverse, a Proxon Long Neck Grinder/texturing tool was used (alternatives include the King Arthur Merlin2 Long Neck Grinder and the Abortech Mini Carver) to go across the face while the blank was turning. Without excessive pressure being applied at this point, the speed is around the 550 rpm mark. Stewart then used the airbrush and cloth with spirit stains to demonstrate colouring the texture.

Stewart then used the same textured blank to show a different technique; he used acrylic paint by Jo Sonia, but first, the blank was covered in black ebonizing colour and allowed to dry. Next, white and blue colours were applied, with the lathe turning slowly. Stewart used a wood frame cover to go around the blank, which was held in place with magnets. This was used to stop the overspray from the blank The lathe was then sped up to produce a flying-out effect with the paint.

Stewart tends to use the following types of cutters on his Proxon: Arbortech and Manpa, with the size being 51 mm x 8 mm.

The above Manpa cutter was used on the first part of the demonstration`s bowl blank while it was being turned by hand, and a series of indents were produced around the blank. This was then sanded down to remove the feather edges. Stewart then used his airbrush again to colour the texturing.

Stewart covered a lot of different techniques throughout the evening, which everyone seemed to enjoy. He stated that you can use the blanks to practice prior to turning a blank down, as the wood would get turned away anyhow, so you do not need a finished bowl to practice with the techniques.

Rob, as usual, took control and looked after the video and sound, while Steve looked after the raffle.
Thanks go to all who helped with the refreshments, setting up the room, and cleaning up at the end of the event.

Report by Barrie Fisher, edited by Steve Hackett

September 2023 – Members Workshop Evening

The theme for the night was a follow-on from the demonstration by Keith Fenton on our all-day demo, which was a Tee Light with a glass bottle cover.

Thanks go out to Steve for taking his bottle cutter along for the evening and demonstrating how to undertake the marking and separating of the two parts of the bottles. The bottle cutters can be purchased from Amazon.

It must be remembered to keep the boiling water on the mark within the glass bottle for about 20 seconds prior to pouring cold water over the same mark; this process may need to be repeated to cause a separation. This causes a process known as thermal shock.

Thanks also go to Roger Sherwood, who took over the bottle cutter while Steve moved on to a lathe.

At the same time, Roger Cheshire provided some blanks for the 2 lathes that we had out for the evening; the blanks were turned by members with assistance from the lathe masters for the evening, Steve and Roger, into a couple of different designs for the Tee light bases. They get the air to flow through the wood to aid the candle flame.
Thanks go out to Rob for looking after the raffle sales for the evening before taking over the bottle-cutting table from Roger S.

Thanks must also go out to all those responsible for the setup process and packing everything away at the end of the evening.

We must also congratulate Arthur, who will be celebrating his 90th birthday on Saturday. He kindly provided the club with two excellent cakes for the evening and a bottle of Famous Grouse whiskey for the raffle.  

Many thanks, Arthur, for these, and enjoy your day.

Report by Barrie Fisher, edited by Steve Hackett

Demo Report – September 2023 – Keith Fenton All-day Event

It was that time of year again when we had our all-day Saturday event featuring professional woodturner Keith Fenton.

But first, we must thank all those who turned up early at 7:30 to sort out the room and prepare it for the event by means of covers and setting up the video and sound system.

Keith also used his own lathe for this event, which was to cover the following projects:

  • Laced Vase with Jo Sonja paints
  • Wine bottle Tee Light: demonstrating how to cut the bottle safely
  • Selection of fruit turning

The total number of people who attended the event was 25, who were made welcome to the event. It was also nice to see two members of Burcot Woodturners turn up for the event, and at the end, they stated that they had enjoyed the complete experience of our open-day turning. We did feel that this was a poor turnout for our club due to the fact that they had voted for it to go ahead.

Thanks must also go to Kim Brown for preparing the food, which was available for free to all attendees at the event.

There was also tea and coffee on the go throughout the day on a self-service system for everyone.

The college was open from 7.30 so that we could set everything up in preparation for the 9.30 start. Greg got the event started and introduced Keith.

Keith started off by giving some information on himself and the health and safety issues associated with woodturning.

`1. Laced Vase with Jo Sonja paints

The wood used for this was Holly, but also Ash, Lime, or Sycamore could also be used.
The size was around 175 x 100mm
Keith started off with a piece of timber that had already been turned to the round and had a tenon positioned on one end. When mounted on a chuck with the tail stock brought up. The basic shape of a barrel was turned, and then the end was faced off square. The outer shape was then sanded down to 240 grit so that the ebonizing spray could adhere to the smoothed wood. At this point, the vase was hollowed out. Keith showed various methods of hollowing it out using different tools and methods. The first was a Simon Hope 6mm hollowing tool for the first three inches; this was then swapped out for a Rolle Monrow hollowing tool, quickly moving on to a Crown hollowing tool; this was then changed for a Woodcut tool, so it depends on what you require from your own turning, with the Woodcut being Keith’s preferred tool. The speed used, depending on the hollowing tool being used, was between 650 and 1200 rpm.
Keith also showed the various types of sanding tools used for smoothing the inside of the vase, one of which we can get in this country and can be purchased from Chainsawbar, and the tool itself is made by Manpa.

With the ebonizing dry to the touch, it was time to apply the Jo Sonja paints. The colors used were gold, red, and green, all of which had a flow medium applied in addition to a pearl effect being added to each color. This was applied to the vase with a plastic glove; it was applied by using his fingers in a haphazard way all around the vase. When this was complete, a layer of clingfilm was used over the paint, and it was manipulated to form a pattern.
TIP When using this system, it would be good if you had another vase to color, as there is enough paint left
on the clingfilm to be used again. The clingfilm needs to be removed by lifting it off and not dragging it off, as this would change the pattern that you have produced.

We had a Blue Peter moment at this point, when Keith brought out a vase that was dry, to demonstrate cutting the slot down the side. Keith started by applying three strips of masking tape, marking a strip around 12mm down the length, and then another line on either side, which would be the line for the eyelets down each side of the slot.
Dividers were set at 15mm, with each row marked along the two outer lines; these were then drilled out by using a 5mm brad point bit first and then 6mm after. A 12mm hole was cut towards the base of the vase; this would be the endpoint for the slot that is cut using a hand-pull saw. A cut was made down both lines until the wood strip was removed. The edges were then smoothed along the length, and the corners were rounded off. If the thickness of the vase is out at this point, filing the inner edge of the slot to an even thickness is one way of fooling anyone looking at the item. The eyelets were now fitted into place by using super glue to stick them into place. Keith then used some 2mm leather lacing to lace up the slot; this can be in any pattern that you choose, and then a type of toggle can be used to hold the ends of the lace. These toggles can be purchased with leather or glass beads.

Prior to fitting the lace, the tenon base needs to be removed; this was achieved by having a pressure pad mounted on the chuck, and then the tail stock was brought up to hold it in place. This needs to be done carefully because of the slot being removed, which makes the item a bit weaker than if it had been a complete round.
To finish off the vase, a blast of lacquer would be used as a finish.

2. Wine bottle Tee Light – Demonstrating how to cut the bottle safely

The wood Keith used was Sycamore – Size 100 x 100mm

A line was marked along the base going through the center, and a 16mm bit was used to drill towards the center of the block from both directions, with the bit cut partly out of the block. When both of these were cut, a 32mm Forstner bit was used to hollow out the middle of the block about halfway along the block. The base is again turned down so that you only have half of the 16mm hole showing.

When mounted, this was turned into a round, with the required diameter being set by means of a parting tool and a set of callipers. Also, at this point, a tenon was put on one end. Then it was mounted in the chuck and trued up. We now need to drill three holes, which are breather holes for the candle.

It is now time to cut the bottle.
A bottle cutter was used for this, which is available from Amazon.
The bottle was mounted on the cutter at the required depth, and steady pressure was kept on the bottle as it was turned around and scoured with the glass cutter. At this point, some boiling water was poured over the marked bottle and then cold water, each for about 20 seconds, and the bottle should make a pop sound as it separates. This is known as a thermal shock on the glass.

The base of the bottle now needs to be smoothed down using a flat diamond disc that is mounted between two pieces of wood and mounted on the lathe. As the lathe spins, the bottle is kept square on the disc and polished both along the bottom and on the outer edge, with the inner edge being smoothed by using a diamond file. The Diamond disc and diamond files can again be found on Amazon.

The wood is now turned round and mounted on pin jaws; at this point, the main body can be shaped to your desired shape. The tenon spigot was also turned off at this point.

Again, a line was marked across the center of the top, this being the markings for the breathing holes to be cut down into the body. The center was marked out for the size of the tee light holder first before drilling down the sides internally, with 12mm on either side of the center. A Forstner bit was again used to cut through to the other hole, so we now have a hole all through the block. At this point, the hole for the tee light glass base is cut which leaves about 2mm sitting proud of the top.

The inner part of the bottle is now measured prior to the wood being marked and the wood being cut to a depth of about 20mm. This is deep enough that when people go to pick them up, the wood will catch on the glass base of the bottle. This can be done by using a taper until the bottle fits correctly.

The unit is then sanded to a final finish, and a sanding sealer is used prior to finishing with a hard polish that was made of a Carnauba wax and Bees wax mix; this was applied in a thin layer and then polished to a high shine. Keith makes his own by using a 50/50 mix of both.

You must consider warnings when selling these items due to the use of candles.

3. Turning Fruit

The blocks of wood were about 75mm in diameter when turned round. Keith stated that the required shape for both the pear and the apple is down to the turner, as there are numerous shapes of the fruits around. A small hole of about 4mm was drilled into the base, and a clove was glued into the base to form a more natural-looking item. Again, the hard wax was applied to the items of fruit and polished up.
At the top of the fruit, a 5mm hole was drilled at an angle to simulate a real fruit and a leaf stem was inserted and glued. The stem is found around the bottom of chestnut trees when they lose their leaves and the leaf has died off. The remains are a stem, which, when left to dry, becomes hard and is a more natural stem than turning one.

A big thank you to Keith for his input and effort throughout the day, and everyone should have learned something new and hopefully be able to apply it to their own projects.

Also, we must thank all those who cleaned up the room at the end of the event.

Report by Barrie Fisher, edited by Steve Hackett

September 2023 – Mary Stevens Hospice Summer Fayre

Once again, we attended this very fun and enjoyable event that was held at the Mary Stevens Hospice grounds in Stourbridge. This is the second of three events we will be attending for Mary Stevens Hospice this year. The day started with us erecting the gazebos and setting up the tables within our allotted area. Unfortunately, we had no mains electrical supply, as we have had in previous years. But we were still able to use the lathe using a generator kindly loaned to us by Ian. We set up our usual charity table, with the member’s donated items in prime position and other items for sale by members who were taking part in the event with the club.

We were also joined by Ian’s wife Kim and Steve’s wife Georgina, who were selling their own homemade crafts.

The festival itself is a fundraiser to raise funds for patient care within the hospice. The theme for this year’s event was ‘Around the World, with the hospice grounds being transformed into an immersive experience for all visitors.

The event started with a parade, which featured motorcycles, classic cars, movie-themed cars, and a Cinderella pantomime float. The parade route was around Swinford Road, Love Lane, and Oakleigh Road to make a grand entrance into the hospice grounds at 11 a.m. to officially open the event.

Once open, visitors were invited to travel around the various stalls and take part in the tasty cuisine along with the live stage entertainment. There was a Nerf gun area, Stalls and food from around the world, a Jigsaw festival, a Toybarn Hoedown party, a BBQ, cakes, refreshments, and an Ice cream parlour. Also included were a football shooter game, a children’s entertainment area and the very popular Dog Show

We also set up the prize raffle for the skittle set, Which we turned as a group at our Saturday all-day workshop event back in April. It was front and centre on the stand, we have been selling the tickets during our last two events. The tickets were on sale throughout the day, and the raffle was drawn towards the end of the event by a Hospice staff member.

The winning number drawn was 15, it was won by Leanne from Wednesfield, Wolverhampton. Leanne was contacted by Greg to let her know the good news. The Skittles will be kindly delivered to Leanne by our club member, Roger Sherwood Howles.

Our stall was very busy throughout the day, with both the charity and member’s sale tables having many purchases. Steve kept the visitors and their children entertained with a live turning demonstration of spinning tops, which were given to the children for free. he turned over thirty tops during the event.

We were also visited on the stall by the Mayor of Dudley, Mayor Andrea Goddard. Who was very taken with Robert’s wand’s. Meanwhile, Arthur was entertaining her husband with his trick snapper game.

Overall, the Skittles raffle raised a total of £189. Along with money raised throughout this year:- The Charity table from the Summer fayre £447; The Sedgley flower show £97.00; plus some wood sales of £39.00. So we will be handing over to Mary Steven Hospice the total amount of £772.

The committee would like to thank all the members who came along to help out during the day. It does help us take some of the load off organizing and attending these event visits.

Report by Barrie Fisher, edited by Steve Hackett