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