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.