Club member Wolfgang Schulze-Zachau was our demonstrator for the April meeting. His demonstration was based around deep hollow forms. Wolfgang started the evening talking about the pros and cons of working with dry or green wood. He had brought a number of blanks with him and asked his audience which blank he should use for his demonstration.
He gave incisive and thoughtful advise on how to deal with green wood turning, which he said was his preferred type of wood to work with. He answered several questions from club members relating to green wood turning. Wolfgang passed around a number of his very large deep hollowing tools and answered questions on how and when to use the different tools. He said that during his demonstration the method he would be showing us was the way he did things, and not specifically the way someone else might approach the same task.
Wolfgang chucked up the blank and set about shaping the outside of the form. He kept up a continuous commentary of everything he was doing, from the height of the tool rest to the different types of cuts he was using and which part of the tool he was using as well as the best angle of approach. This was ideal for some of the novice members in the audience but it was also helpful and thought provoking for the more experienced turners as well. Wolfgang then discussed the merits of different drill bits to make a start with hollowing. As it turned out he decided to start with a spindle gouge. He had a couple of issues with the club lathe and chuck both of which needed additional tightening up. But then he very quickly got on with the main event of hollowing out the form. This was when the necessity for the extra long handle became apparent. With the handle tucked under his arm Wolfgang showed club members the safe way to approach the opening and how to hollow out the bowl, slow and steady. He said you needed to develop a feel for the tool as it cut inside the form and the only way to do that was lots and lots of practice. He said that having a good light source was also essential to enable you to see inside the hole you were hollowing and recommended using a headset incorporating magnification and a light source.
Wolfgang gave a running commentary throughout the whole demonstration and answered a number of questions on the use of specific hollowing tools as well as the negative-rake scraper he used to clean up the inside of the bowl. He gave tips and advise on the thickness of the base of the bowl, thick enough to support the piece when it was re-mounted on the lathe but not so thick as to impede the drying process and risk cracks forming. All in all a thoroughly entertaining and informative evening was had by all. Thank you Wolfgang.
Club members brought in some fine pieces for the display table. (sorry about poor quality photos)
Our February meeting was a demonstration by Paul Hannaby, who was recently appointed chairman of the AWGB. He has demonstrated at the club before, a goblet with a barley twist stem, if memory serves. This time around his focus was on bowl turning.
We held the demo meeting in the room adjoining our normal meeting room, for a number of reasons. For one, it offers a big overhead screen which we could connect to our camera, and thus provide a much improved view for the audience. And I am pleased to report that we had a very full turnout of members. Another reason is that the layout of our normal meeting room is much better suited for hands-on days than demonstrations, since it has a massive staircase right in the middle of the room.
For his first bowl, Paul chose a piece of mahogany of about 8″ diameter. This was mounted onto a screw chuck. This mounting method, which works fine for bowls up to about 10″ diameter, has the advantage of giving unfettered access to the bottom of the bowl, so that a nice foot can be formed with push cuts, which leave a much better surface than pull cuts. Paul talked extensively about his choice of bowl gouges, which are in essence all standard grind, i.e. very little wing. For the finishing cuts he used a particularly heavy bowl gouge, showing us that the weight reduced any bouncing dramatically and the long inside curve creates such a nice slicing action that the finish turned bowl hardly needed any sanding at all. He also demonstrated how to use a stick of hot-melt glue to check the surface for any bumps.
His second bowl was to be a natural edge piece. The approach is pretty much the same: start on the screw chuck, finish turn the outside (and sand and decorate if desired/required), then turn around and form the inside of the bowl. Obviously the challenge with a natural edge bowl is always to get the first one or two inches of the cut done without losing the bark or any other accidents. A steady hand and a good eye for the ghosted edge of the workpiece is required for this.
A very pleasant surprise of the evening was the table showing the work members had brought in. A wide variety of items and, it must be said, all of good standard. Clearly our members are feeling fired up to get into their workshops and make things. Excellent all around. Here are some images.
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.