December 23 – Mary Stevens Christmas Coffee Morning and Jigsaw Festival

Well, it’s that time of year again when we are taking part in Mary Stevens Charity Coffee Morning and Jigsaw Festival, there were tables with various Christmas-themed items and a few tombola tables all for the benefit of Mary Stevens Hospice. Again it was nice to be invited along for this annual event and take part in the fundraising for the benefit of the hospice and the people who rely on it.
The stalls attending the event were showing a varied amount of items and were displayed to the best and people were able to get round the hall easily. In addition to this, a hot drink and cake stand was being used to its fullest by everyone who attended.

The weather for the day was very cold with snow being advised at some point, thankfully we had a stand inside the hall and not outside unlike the jigsaw gazebos. We had to be at the event by 9:00 to set everything up and be ready to start at 10:00 and was open during the hours of 10:00 and 14:00. The event attracted a steady footfall throughout the opening hours, although the weather could have caused a few not to show up.

We had a few of the normal crew to set up the event which included Ian, Rob, Steve and Brian, along with this we had a few members arrive during the day and help and support the event, they were, Arthur Roger S, Roger C, Paul & Barrie
A lot of turnings were as per normal donated by the club members for the charity table and those members who were selling their own pieces, gave a donation at the end of the day, out of their profits.

The club had a three-foot wood block snowman donated for a raffle, Tickets were sold at our last club meeting (Nov) and the Coffee Morning and Jigsaw Festival throughout the day, this was donated by Paul Wiley and it was appreciated by the committee for his generosity with all proceeds going to the hospice.

The ticket for the raffle was drawn at the end of the day by James from Mary Stevens Hospice. The winner was our own Elwyn Jones. The snowman raffle raised £79 for the hospice, Throughout the year the cub has raised a total of £1644.75 for the hospice over the last year, which has been handed over to the hospice.

We can now all look forward to the club’s Christmas Bash on our normal club night at Dudley College as usual.

Report by Barrie Fisher, edited by Steve Hackett

Demo Report – September 2023 – Keith Fenton All-day Event

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

September 2023 – Mary Stevens Hospice Summer Fayre

Once again, we attended this very fun and enjoyable event that was held at the Mary Stevens Hospice grounds in Stourbridge. This is the second of three events we will be attending for Mary Stevens Hospice this year. The day started with us erecting the gazebos and setting up the tables within our allotted area. Unfortunately, we had no mains electrical supply, as we have had in previous years. But we were still able to use the lathe using a generator kindly loaned to us by Ian. We set up our usual charity table, with the member’s donated items in prime position and other items for sale by members who were taking part in the event with the club.

We were also joined by Ian’s wife Kim and Steve’s wife Georgina, who were selling their own homemade crafts.

The festival itself is a fundraiser to raise funds for patient care within the hospice. The theme for this year’s event was ‘Around the World, with the hospice grounds being transformed into an immersive experience for all visitors.

The event started with a parade, which featured motorcycles, classic cars, movie-themed cars, and a Cinderella pantomime float. The parade route was around Swinford Road, Love Lane, and Oakleigh Road to make a grand entrance into the hospice grounds at 11 a.m. to officially open the event.

Once open, visitors were invited to travel around the various stalls and take part in the tasty cuisine along with the live stage entertainment. There was a Nerf gun area, Stalls and food from around the world, a Jigsaw festival, a Toybarn Hoedown party, a BBQ, cakes, refreshments, and an Ice cream parlour. Also included were a football shooter game, a children’s entertainment area and the very popular Dog Show

We also set up the prize raffle for the skittle set, Which we turned as a group at our Saturday all-day workshop event back in April. It was front and centre on the stand, we have been selling the tickets during our last two events. The tickets were on sale throughout the day, and the raffle was drawn towards the end of the event by a Hospice staff member.

The winning number drawn was 15, it was won by Leanne from Wednesfield, Wolverhampton. Leanne was contacted by Greg to let her know the good news. The Skittles will be kindly delivered to Leanne by our club member, Roger Sherwood Howles.

Our stall was very busy throughout the day, with both the charity and member’s sale tables having many purchases. Steve kept the visitors and their children entertained with a live turning demonstration of spinning tops, which were given to the children for free. he turned over thirty tops during the event.

We were also visited on the stall by the Mayor of Dudley, Mayor Andrea Goddard. Who was very taken with Robert’s wand’s. Meanwhile, Arthur was entertaining her husband with his trick snapper game.

Overall, the Skittles raffle raised a total of £189. Along with money raised throughout this year:- The Charity table from the Summer fayre £447; The Sedgley flower show £97.00; plus some wood sales of £39.00. So we will be handing over to Mary Steven Hospice the total amount of £772.

The committee would like to thank all the members who came along to help out during the day. It does help us take some of the load off organizing and attending these event visits.

Report by Barrie Fisher, edited by Steve Hackett

August 2023 – Sedgley Garden Club Flower Show

This is the second year that we have been invited to take part in the Sedgley & District Community Association Garden Club, 28th Annual Flower & Vegetable Show.

Held at the Sedgley Community Hall. Thanks go to club member Richard for arranging for the club to attend again this year.

This event is held inside, so there is no need for the gazebos this time, and there is also no need to think about the weather. The door opened at 9 o’clock for us to get in and set up the area allocated to the turners. The room display was set up with the help of Steve, Rob, Roger C, Roger S, Arthur, Ian, Mike, and Barrie. We were the only ones within this room that had tables situated all around the room, in which we were able to put on a good selling display that covered five tables and included various turned items that were different for each seller.

In addition, there was the usual table space for the donations from club members that were made to raise money for Mary Stevens Hospice. Also, thanks go to Ian and Mike, who looked after this throughout the event.

The skittle set was set up on a separate table after Roger had to slip back home and pick them up; the raffle ticket sales went down well throughout the day, with the club being able to approach the £100.00 mark in ticket sales prior to the last selling day at Mary Stevens, Summer Fayre on the 2nd of September, where it will be drawn for the winner.

There was a craft competition in one of the other rooms, in which Steve, Rob, and Ian entered an item each. All of the judging of the events was done prior to the event opening; this craft event had a good many items entered. Congratulations must go to Ian for having his competition piece come in first with his rendering of Peaky Blinders Ducks.

In the main hall, where the flower competition was taking place, there were also plants and vegetables. These were judged during the morning and all awards were given prior to the general public being allowed in.

The event opened at 12:30 for the general public to have a good look around, to start taking part in the event, and to start buying items.

Arthur was in good flow again with selling his trick toys, which he sold out of all he had turned for the event. Thanks for that, Arthur.

After the opening of the flower show, we had a steady flow of people coming through, both looking and buying. We also had additional members turn up for the event to show their support.
The flower show put on a very good raffle, with over twenty good prizes on offer for those taking part.
Outside under two gazebos, the event put on a folk-type band with an area for people to sit and listen, The band put on three good sets and kept everyone interested.
We also had a couple of people who showed interest in the possibility of joining the club, so we will see if they turn up.
Overall, the event went very well and was enjoyable to take part in.

Report by Barrie Fisher, edited by Steve Hackett

April 2023 – Mary Stevens Easter Fayre & Coffee Morning

The event started at 10.00 and went on till 14.30, although we had to be on-site earlier to set up the tables in the center.

The turned items that had been given to the club as donations from members took up the charity table, it was very full of different types of projects.  Alongside this, we had two further tables which took up the work of six other member turners, in addition to this we had Ian’s wife Kim with her craft cards going under the name of ‘Kimskraft`s’ displaying and selling cards for various occasions. 

We had a steady footfall of people during the day coming and going, but not that many buying even on the charity table, signs of the economic climate at present I think.

Thanks go to all members who turned up on the day to add support and encouragement to the crew who were there for the duration of the event.  Thanks also go to the members who helped set up the equipment and all those that took it down.

At the end of the day with the charity table sales and donations from members present we were able to hand £105 to James from Mary Stevens Hospice.

Report by Barrie Fisher, edited by Steve Hackett

December 2022 – Mary Stevens Christmas Fair & Coffee Morning

Mary Stevens Hospice is the Black Country Wood Turners nominated charity that we raise money for throughout the year not the least at the two Mary Stevens main events per year being the Christmas & Summer fairs.

Prior to the event opening to the public, we set out four main tables to take the items for sale:

  • One charity table 
  • Two tables for the club members to sell their items.
  • One table for Kim’s Kraft (Ian’s wife) selling Christmas cards, boxes and decorative bags along with Ian’s turnings.

Opening times for the event were from 10.00 until 14.00.

The club members gave donations from part of their takings to go towards the charity pot.

In total, we had ten members turn up for the event to set everything up ready for the opening, With additional members joining us throughout the day to take in the event and have a chat, along with our newest member Bill.

The charity table is made up of club members turned items that they have donated to the cause of the charity, this table is used as a means of getting the general public to donate the amount that they think is appropriate for the item, nearly all the time with them giving more.

During the event, we had a steady stream of visitors into the event and from the look at some of the other charity tables being almost empty, it was a good successful event for them and gives them some much-needed funds.

At the close of the event, we were in a position to hand over a further £219.70 to be added to their overall funds.

AWGB International Woodturning Seminar 2022 – Report By Barrie Fisher

This was held in Yarnfield, Stone in Staffordshire, and is the 17th International Seminar.

The event began on Friday the 7th Oct. There was to be a selection of 10 woodturners who have 90 minutes to start and finish a project during the demonstrations over the weekend. The event itself started at 13.00 after the event was officially opened by the chairman.

It has taken a while now for this event to come around, I had paid for this three years ago prior to the start of Covid.

During the weekend you have the pick of attending 40 different demonstrations, of which you have the option of picking 9 from the 40. The event was staged so that on Friday afternoon you could attend two of the demonstrations, on Saturday you would be able to choose four, and finally on Sunday an additional three demonstrations.

The following woodturners took part and turned their own relevant projects, all of the demonstrators explained everything as they went through the projects and also answered questions as they worked through the relevant processes.

Bob Rotche

Bob is a Virginian from the USA and has worked with wood most of his life. Although he still uses a lathe, he is more recognised for his work with carving, colour and texture.

Sculptures and Spheres

Making the ordinary extraordinary

Carving, Colour and Creativity

Alain Mailland

Born on the Ivory Coast and moved to France when he was five. He started his woodturning journey at the age of twenty-eight. Alain developed his own style and technique particularly in hollowing, in addition to developing his own tools to turn flowers.

Wood flowers and carved trees

Carnivore plant

Neil Turner

Neil has a deep respect for the material and natural forces of nature and the natural world, this aspect is then transferred into his work. He looks at how water and wind form patterns in the environment.

Coral embellishment on an open form pretty wood

Jack De Vas Seedpod nature

Sea Urchin box

Vase with fire form

Joey Richardson

She is known for her delicate pierce and richly hued wood forms. Joey demonstrates internationally and her sculptures are held in numerous permanent and private collections worldwide.

Thin-walled turning and piercing

Airbrushing and colouring

Carving texture pyrography and inspiration

Joe Laird

Joe brings his talent and love of wood both in Ireland and overseas. Joe uses the wood to determine the final shape, Joe has been demonstrating for the last 20 years and became a full-time professional 16 years ago. He is the first woodturner outside of the UK to be accepted into the RPT.

Square Bowl

Shamrock Bowl

Celtic bowl

Nathalie Groenewey

She has been working with wood for almost 20 years and was trained in violin making in Newark. She started woodturning in 2009.

Small standing trembleurs

Tubes and ball joints

Colwin Way

Colwin lives in Lyme Regis on the Jurassic Coast. He has over 35 years in woodturning and is heavily influenced by the craftsmanship of the Erzgebirge region of Germany, he loves making his projects that are heavily influenced by Christmas.

Taming the Skew

German smoking figure

Christmas pyramid and nativity

Nikos Siragas

Nikos specializes in combining turning and carving to create sculptural artistic forms using mainly local woods from Crete. Nikos has 20 years of experience demonstrating and teaching.

Three stand vase

Tagliatelle Goblet

Vase with four feet

Lady with a hat

Gary Lowe

Originally from Glasgow and now lives in Moray, Northern Scotland. Gary started woodturning in the 90s and uses texture and colour in his work and has opened up a lot more avenues for him.

Decorated rice bowl

Flower pod

Texture and leafed box

Stepped open box

Wobble box

Eugene Grimley

Eugene started his woodturning career in 2000. His first demonstrations started in 2006. Eugene likes to use his demonstrations to teach and inspire the audience to try something new and different.

Oil lamp tri-corner turned from a cube

Easy hollow forms a potpourri bowl

Multi-axis turning bowls with handles

In addition to the above you could also join in with a masterclass event with the various turners and also:

Chestnut Products demonstration

Hope threading jig and other tools

Woodart’s intro to airbrushing techniques

The conference centre is split over two large floor areas and the accommodation areas moving out to other areas all of which are undercover.

Within the confines of the reception area is where the traders were set up and they seemed to be selling well throughout the event. Traders that were present at the seminar were as follows:

Ashley Iles

Axminster Power Tools

Jo Sonja

Hope Woodturning

Metal Clay / House of Resin

Henry Taylor Tools

Martin Pidgen wood

Shenton Woodcraft

Turners Retreat

Woodart Products

On Saturday evening the AWGB put on an auction of over 20 turned items by named woodturners, who had donated their projects, in total all of these were sold and raised an overall amount of £4150.00, all of which went toward the AWGB charity.

The final part of Sunday afternoon ended with a raffle which had some very good and expensive prizes.

Next to the restaurant, was the room set up for the gallery ( See the previous report for gallery photos), this is where woodturners from all over could put their own work in and have the possibility of having their item chosen by professional turners to go forward into the travelling exhibition for the next two years. In total there were 50 pieces chosen for this. Woodturners could also put their own work into the gallery so that they could be sold at the cost shown within the gallery. In addition to these items down the side was a collection of the late Ray Keys items.

During the four days (starting on Thursday to set up) the AWGB committee and area reps worked very hard, not only to get the area ready for the guests but also during the three days of the event to make sure that the event was run smoothly.

The committee also thanked all of the additional volunteers who came to the event and helped out on a daily basis, giving up their own time. It was good to see that all of the volunteers present on all of the days were from our very own Blackcountry Woodturners.

Report By Barrie Fisher

BCWT at the AWGB International Woodturning Seminar 2022 Gallery Photo’s

The Black Country Wood Turners were pleased to assist the AWGB at this year’s seminar.

Our members Ian & Roger, Nigel & Teresa, Steve & Rob and Greg & Andy worked hard in shifts over the weekend to help in running the Seminar’s Instant Gallery (see photos below) and being airport taxi service to some of the international delegates.

The AWGB expressed their thanks for all the assistance given by our club over the seminar weekend.

Report & Photos by Barrie Fisher & Steve Hackett

September 2022 – The Mary Stevens Summer Fayre

The Black Country Wood Turners were pleased to be invited once again to put on a display at Mary Stevens Summer Fayre. The Fayre was held on Sept 3rd at the Mary Stevens Hospice Centre in Stourbridge

The day started out with the threat of thunderstorms which would put a dampener on the day (forgive the pun), this would have a big impact on the proceedings and the number of visitors and some exhibitors.

We started off by erecting four gazebos to protect against the weather, the tables and lathe were then put in place, at this point we need to thank Ian, Steve, Rob, Greg, Mike, Barrie and Roger, also to help set out the selling tables and charity table ready for the start of the open day.

After we had set up there were six tables of items up for sale, of which two were for charity. The lathe was set up in the middle of the other four tables with Steve again turning his spinning tops for the kids who came along with their parents. We also welcomed Steve’s wife Georgie with her Magical Makes of sewing and needle felting crafts.

The smell of the BBQ food stand was terrific, we were also entertained and serenaded all day by the excellent singing and music from the main stage. Lucky the weather stayed dry most of the day.

Arthur was in fine form with small toy tricks which went down well with both youngsters and adults alike, he also helped look after the charity table along with Roger, Mike & Greg.

During the day we had a steady stream of people wandering through the turning area with people also asking various questions and with the possibility of gaining a couple of new members.

At 15.15 the day came to a complete finish when the clouds opened up and we had a complete down-pore which caused us to start packing up very quickly with the turned items before we started on the units themselves.
Our thanks go out to all who helped out by pulling the gazebos down and storing them away safely we were all a bit damp by the time we got in our cars to go home.

Thanks go to all members who have contributed to the charity table, helped out on the day and visited the event to say hello and show the event support.

Special thanks go to Ian for supplying everyone with tea and coffee throughout the day, which went well.

We have already had a good start to the charity donations from the event held at the Sedgley Flower Show with a good starting point of £115. The total we have raised over these 2 events for Mary Stevens Hospice is £431

Report by Barrie Fisher, edited by Steve Hackett

Sedgley Garden Club Flower Show August 2022

The Blackcountry Wood Turners were pleased to be invited to put on a display by the Sedgley Garden Club at their Annual Flower Show held at the Sedgley Community Centre. We had a good day with a lot of interest in our display and the live turning demo of turning spinning tops for the kids. There were many sales. and at the end of the day, we had made £115 for our charity Mary Stevens Hospice.

Thanks to all members who have contributed to the charity table, helped out on the day and visited the event to say hello and show us some support.

The Sedgley Garden Club members put on an excellent display of fruit and vegetables, many of which were given to us for free at the end of the show.

We would like to thank the Sedgley Garden Club for the invitation and we hope to see you again next year.

Report by Steve Hackett