Demo Report Oct 2020 – John Aitken

This month the club had a Zoom demonstration put together by John Boyne-Aitkin, better known as the Bowler Hatted Turner who is primarily a jobbing turner.

We want to say a big thank you to The Shropshire Turners who joined the event in collaboration with us. This made the event a lot better with respect to the cost of the demonstration.

The Zoom session opened at 6.45 pm for a 7.00 pm start time, the demonstration went on until 9.30 pm with a refreshment break in the middle, and John was answering questions throughout the evening.

Project 1 for this evening is a Sea Urchin Ornament for hanging.

The project was made out of Maple for the top and bottom areas of the project.

The bottom part was 1.5” sq x 8” long – Top part was 1.25” sq x 6” long

The Sea Urchin shells can be found on Amazon or eBay but a good link would be

John has a good method of explaining everything as he goes along and uses close-up camera work for this also, we did have a problem with one camera at the start when it stopped working, but John was able to sort it out with the help of his technology expert.

John mentioned the use of Health & Safety throughout the demonstration.

  1. First, start by making the hole at the top of the shell round by using a Dremel with a 10mm grinding cone.
  2. To make the shells stronger when using them, paint the insides with PVA glue and let it set.
  3. Turn the bottom section down to round with the speed set at 1330rpm.
  4. On the end of the spindle turn a 12mm tenon about 19mm long, this needs to be the full depth of the sea urchin and the shoulder needs to be undercut to take into account the shape.
  5. At this point, drill an 8mm hole down the centre of the tenon to a depth of 20mm
  6. Turn the spindle around in the chuck and start to shape, this can be any shape that you require, as John said it is your work and your idea as to the finished shape. John used his Skew chisel for this.
  7. At this point, John sanded the project and then used Friction Polish, and Carnauba Wax to give it a shine, the overall finished length for this being just over 6 inches.
  8. The second part of the Top of the project.
  9. Turn to round again and take the tenon down to 8mm, John showed a couple of methods of carrying this out.
  10. The shoulder again needs to be undercut for the shape, and then the top shaped as required.
  11. At this point, John sanded the project and then used Friction Polish, and Carnauba Wax to give it a shine, the overall finished length for this being just over 6 inches.
  12. The two parts now need to be put together carefully with the shell being able to rotate freely, this is required due to the possible movement in the wood as it may still be drying.
  13. At the very top end, a hole must be drilled through so that a ribbon can pass through and the ornament can then be hung up.

Project 2 for this evening was a mirror/picture frame.

Wood was 8.5“in diameter, and Mirror was 4” in diameter.

  1. Turn a hole larger than the 4” diameter mirror due to the possibility of the wood moving, which could put pressure on the glass.
  2. He turned the project around to cut the hole so that the mirror would not fall out of the front.
  3. To cut a hanging point on the back of the frame, drill a hole large enough for the screw head to go through then drill a smaller hole above for the shaft of the screw, this is then run into the larger hole.
  4. Take a screw and grind the head down so that you have a cutting edge, at this point insert this into the drill and you will be able to cut the slot at the back of the wood so that it will remain on the wall.
  5. A piece of hardboard was used to protect the glass at the back and keep it in place,
  6. Glazing sprigs were used at this point to secure the mirror into the frame.

John answered various questions throughout the demonstration whilst carrying out the demonstration, he showed some very useful techniques of how to achieve different effects for patterning also.

At the end of the evening, John showed us around his workshop area with all of the various machines in place.

The club would like to thank John for the demonstration.

This may be the first of additional collaborations with SAW when we can share a demonstrator.

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