Demo Report Oct 2022 – Wolfgang Schulze-Zachau

The subject for the evening was Christmas Decorations.

Projects will be a Christmas tree, a Snowman & a Star Shape German Ring Turning

Wolfgang started by going through the various items that he was to cover through the evening and gave advice on which project would be good for the beginner and the more experienced woodturner, also starting that any new members should take tuition from a more experienced turner so that they can develop their own individual skills to a safe level and then to keep practising.

Project 1 – Christmas tree

He started by turning an approx 50mm square spindle down to a round, during this process, he stated that you needed to listen to the sound of the wood as you can sometimes hear problems prior to something happening on the lathe.

When in a round state a dovetail tenon was cut by means of a parting tool which had been reshaped to form the dovetail shape for the chuck mount.  At this point, the blank was remounted in the chuck in a secure and safe manner so that the tenon was gripped all the way around.

The shape was then looked at and a taper was cut down to a point whilst the tailstock was in position when the point was achieved the waste nub of timber dropped off and the tailstock was now removed.  The shape was cut mainly by means of the spindle roughing gouge and then refined with a skew.  The layers of the tree were then cut and at this point, you could use either a skew or spindle gouge with a fingernail grind applied. 

Wolfgang also demonstrated how he sharpened the fingernail grind with a diamond card to establish an edge again.

The bevel must always be in contact with the blank as that is the direction of the cut that you will require.  During the process, Wolfgang demonstrated using the tools both right and left-handed which is good practice to get into but again this will take practice.  This exercise will help develop your skills for both skew and spindle gouge turning.  Pine is a good wood to use for practice sessions.

Project 2 – Snowman

The blank was again mounted between centres and turned to a round again the wood blank being 50mm square.  A tenon was again produced in the same manner as the tree, at this point, the blank was again remounted in the chuck.

The top of the blank was now cleaned off and made flat, the shape of the snowman was the next thing to be marked up so that the dimensions were clear, the largest section of the wood being at the headstock end and then gradually getting smaller as you get to his head.  Each section is turned as a bead but they need not be a total round, these being produced by rolling a spindle gouge.  For the head, only part of the head is showing as the rest is in his hat.

The item itself was then painted on the lathe so that any overlapping paint could be removed easier.

Project 3 – Star Shape German Ring Turning

The wood blank for this project was a large slice of a Leylandii tree with the grain running lengthways in line with the bed, Wolfgang explained that Leylandii was ok to turn but produced a poor quality finish with lots of tearout. But was the only blank he had available at such short notice and it would do to show the ring-turning technique. He mounted the blank in the spindle orientation, its size was approx. 9in x 3in.  Wolfgang used his sanding disc on the headstock as a drive plate with a pointed live centre in the tailstock pressed up against the blank, it was then cleaned flat and a tenon was produced for when the blank was turned. 

Wolfgang started by showing his template of half a star which would be used on a regular basis to keep checking the shape, this template needed to be accurate.  He found where on the blank the centre of the side wall would be and then proceeded to mark the areas for the other points of the star.

The removal of waste was by means of a spindle gouge, and always developing the straight lines to produce the crispness required and also to cut down on the sanding process.  When he was satisfied with the shape against the template he remounted the blank and carried out the same process on the opposite side.

With the thickness getting less and less a securing tape was added to the back of the blank so that it could be held on to the chuck as the last cuts are trying to get the hoop to come apart from the main core, again you need to listen to what the wood is telling you.

When the last cut had been produced the hooped star came away and it then needed to be cut into strips around the edge to form each individual star.

Wolfgang used a pull saw to cut through the hoop and took one star out which left plenty more, a better way would be to use your bandsaw as he stated.

This is a process which was developed in a region of eastern Germany in the Ore mountains of Erzgebirge.

You will need to be very patient with this process as the majority of waste is in the form of dust instead of shavings.

Using this technique you can achieve amazing results

Thanks go out to Wolfgang for stepping in at very short notice and the evening was well worth the change.

Also, thanks again to Steve for the raffle and also to Ian for stepping in this month, and setting up the video and audio equipment.

Additionally thanks to all who set up the room and also who put it back in a usable manner for the college.

Report by Barrie Fisher, edited by Steve Hackett

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