The club meeting on 18th of January was our first proper demo at the new venue at the Broadway in Dudley. It feature a short turning demonstration by Melvyn Adams, and a much more lengthy demonstration of pyrography by his wife.
In fact, several friends of hers had brought in their pyrography machines, and the whole thing developed almost into a hands-on evening. Advice was freely given and the usage of various different tips, templates, patterns and what not was shown (and tried by club members).
We even had a fan operating to extract any fumes into the outside air. Wouldn’t want to trigger the fire alarm on a club night, would we now?
As you can see from these two pictures, there was strong interest, and several club members made little keyring tabs or similar items.
On the evening we had the highest attendance figure ever for a club meeting, with 36 people being in the room, of which 31 were club members. We signed up a few new members and some others showed interest.
This is an ongoing positive trend: our membership has increased by about 50% over the last 2 years, which makes it easier for the committee (and therefore the entire club) to manage finances, provide new and improved tools and demos. This positive trend was also shown in the number of items on the display table.
Our meet in February was a hands-on day, with 2 lathes in operation and 2 grinding stations. On one lathe, Mick Littlehales demonstrated turning a chunky bowl/dish from a piece of ash, with a mortice (to hold the piece on the chuck in expansion mode) and a variety of decorations around the rim. The other lathe was used by our chairmain, Roger, to give some newcomers a first chance to try their hand with a roughing gouge, bowl gouge and spindle gouge.
One of the sharpening stations was operated by Wolfgang, helping a few members getting their tools back into shape. And, of course, we also had a display table with quite a nice array of turned items.
Bob gave a really interesting and entertaining series of short demonstrations.
The first demo was of a pewter turned pen, sorry no photo, which Bob turned using his own hand made pewter blanks mounted on a pen mandrel. Bob made the blanks by drilling a 12mm hole in a piece of dry wood 50mm deep and filling with molten pewter. He then drilled the blank and inserted a brass sleeve. Bob took time to explain the whole process to club members and answered numerous questions from those present. He also explained the need for a thorough sanding regime from 240 to 12000 grit and even using a metal polish to give the mirror finish he achieved. A really excellent demo.
Bob also demonstrated a slightly different way to finish off a 5” oak hand mirror.
During the evening he showed club members what can be done with what would be sometimes be classed as pieces of scrap wood. Bob made a standard bottle stopper then he turned a novelty off centre “ducks bottom” bottle stopper.
In a previous demo Bob was unable to finish a pendant due to a missing jig so he decided to finally complete that project in purple heart wood, and there was even time for an oak light pull.
Throughout the evening Bob gave members tips and advice on the use of tools and materials and the best sources for pen blanks etc.
Bob keep us all entertained with his story of building a coracle a few years back and the oak seat he had used for it, had been recycled, and part of that seat was now the 5” hand mirror he had turned earlier.
Bob delivered a packed programme and I can’t remember a demo with so many finished projects and so much sound advice.
And, of course, we also had a members work display table. Here are a few pictures from that:
The September meeting was a demo by Steve Heeley from Cannock.
He turned a small box with a winged lid and a finial. He showed us how to create a “lattice/lace” effect on the wings of the lid
using a Dremel type drill, and answered club member questions and gave tips and ideas on several
subjects including types of finish.
He had a recent health scare and strongly advised all present to have a really good dust extraction system and to always wear a mask. An entertaining and very informative evening was had by all.
It was a real shame we only had 15 members turn up for the demonstration.
Member’s work on display.
Sally came to see us on the 16th of June, for an evening demo. She hails from Stoke-on-Trent, and her website is well worth a visit.
Sally’s demo focused heavily on design and decoration. During the first half, she turned a shallow bowl or wide-rimmed dish from a maple blank, and in the process stopped many times to show the various samples she had brought along, with the aim of pointing out how small differences in shape can dramatically alter the overall balance and appearance of a dish.
She then proceeded in the second half to move on to decorations. This was a session where many of the club members did get involved in trying out the various techniques shown by her. It started out with stippling, where a thin stick (could be anything from a knitting needle to a tooth pick or skewer) is used to produce small dots of acrylic paint on a surface. Once dry, these provide colour, but more importantly they also provide texture. The opposite texture can be achieved with a small Dremel or Proxxon tool and a rotating bit, making small dimples. Both the dimples and the stipples can be varied in size between 1mm and 10mm, depending on tool used and how they are applied.
Obviously the same tools and techniques can also produce other shapes.
As Sally has a strong background in design, it is not surprising that she normally will use some piece of waste material to try out various ideas, usually in the form of small squares sat next to each other.
Sally then went on to pyrography. She explained the use of various different tips for shading and lines. All in all the variety was high, too much to describe in all detail here. All the more reason to attend the demos in person. Overall, the motto was “anything goes”. Nothing is sacred, any colour, any tool can be useful, and people should just experiment to find out what they liked best.
The April meeting was a demo by Paul Bellamy, and you can read more about that in the previous post in this blog. It was, however, also a meeting where quite a few club members brought some of their work, and we ended up with nice display. Have a look at the pictures below.