Slimbridge Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust Egg Lockdown Project

In Early May 2020, Phoebe Vaughan from Slimbridge Wetlands & Wildlife Trust contacted Blackcountry Woodturners via the contact page on the web site enquiring if the club would be interested in supplying the trust with a quantity of around 50 wooden Goose eggs in two different sizes and what the cost would be.

The eggs were required as dummy eggs, to be painted by staff and then used to swap the real eggs from various nests around the complex, this serves two functions helps reduce damage and breakage by other birds and preserve boost numbers of new chicks.

The real eggs would then be incubated within facilities at the trust and replaced on the nest just prior to hatching. This would ensure the maximum return and best chances for the young bird’s survival going forward.

Wolfgang drew the request to the committee members and it was agreed that this would make an excellent lock down club member challenge for all levels of ability, It was agreed the club would pick up costs and ask all members to make and donate the eggs. With this an email was circulated to everyone proposing the idea, this came back as a resounding yes and so the challenge was born.. Game on…

Wolfgang emailed Phoebe informing her that the club would make all the eggs and would do this at no charge to the trust to which they were stunned and very appreciative.

Within two weeks club members had made 106 wooden eggs, the eggs were then either collected from member’s porches and front door steps or dropped off the same way at the two agreed collection points Mell and Wolfgang’s homes.

A small sample of the eggs before sending off…..

Six boxes of wooden eggs were boxed and sent to the trust, 5 by Mell and Wolfgang and 1 by Nigel and Teresa Goodricke who sent their own egg contribution as due to distance was simply a more practical solution during the Covid19 lockdown.

Within no time at all Phoebe had made contact stating the Trust had received all six boxes to which they were thrilled with the result and were staggered by the amount of eggs made for them by our members.

A section of the reply…

To let you know that I have now received 6 incredible boxes of eggs.

Thank you so much! 

Today I managed a lesser snow goose nest, and put together a few photos to show you all.  You can see one old wood, with chipped gloss paint after a herring gull tried to eat it. There is then some real goose eggs mixed in with a few of your wooden ones.. The real goose eggs range from 105g to 140g, and so you see how different sizes can work in our favour 🙂  

Both new and older club members beginners to advanced were more than happy to help the trust in this very worthwhile cause, this being a different type of challenge not one that comes around every day, the egg making being a welcome distraction to the mad Covid19 world we currently live in.

Here is a link to their website https://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/slimbridge/

CLUB CLOSURE

DUE TO CORONA VIRUS FEARS THE CLUB WILL NOT BE MEETING OR TAKING PART IN OUTDOOR EVENTS FOR THE NEXT THREE MONTHS FROM 16TH MARCH -1ST JUNE 2020. WE WILL ADVISE IF WE ARE ABLE TO MEET ON THE 18TH JUNE IN DUE COURSE.

PLEASE CHECK HERE FOR UPDATES.

MEL ADAMS

SECRETARY

07533 219152

AWGB – NEC Stand Creative Craft Show

Thursday 1st Nov –Sunday 4th November

In October 2019, the AWGB contacted a number of Midlands based woodturning clubs seeking a little assistance.

The AWGB Committee required help in manning the AWGB stand at the Creative Craft Show, National Exhibition Centre NEC, hall 20 between Thursday 1st and Sunday 4th November 2019.

The call went out to our Blackcountry members, which was met with a great response, 5 members agreed to help out during the event, Bob Mercer Thursday 1st, Ian Brown & Roger Cheshire Friday 2nd, Bill Hubbard Saturday 3rd & Kim Harris Sunday 4th.

Without exception everyone enjoyed their day, and agreed it was well worth their days’ time.

We all met and chatted to some very interesting people from all over the country and further afield, many interested in taking woodturning up as a hobby, and were pointed in the direction of their local home clubs, several were pointed in our direction and we may get lucky with a few new members in the future.

H ope the AWGB come to the show next year as we will volunteer again, below are some pictures from the event.

Les Thorne All Day Event

Saturday 19th October 2019

For the 2019 all-day club event, Blackcountry Woodturners were very fortunate to have secured the professional services of the renowned National and International Woodturner Les Thorne, who travelled to us from his Hampshire home. 

This was Les’s first visit to Blackcountry Wood Turners, but hopefully not his last.

Les Thorne has been on the Register for Professional Turners since 2001 after spending the majority of his working life involved with the family wood business.

From his workshop in Old Alresford in Hampshire, Les is primarily a production turner and works on a huge variety of jobs and with many different clients.

To entertain and educate us today Les was treating us to a number of projects with and without decoration, covering box making, bowl turning and a candle stick. 

Doors opened at 09.00; the audience began to drift in and engage in the wood and tool sale areas, viewing and discussing displayed members work, hot drinks and general banter. 

At 09:30 the audience took their seats, Les was formally welcomed to the club by Mell Adams, Club Secretary, and the day began to unfold. 

Les began by introducing himself and described his woodturning journey to this point in time; he then began his first project and one that would then take up the morning and early afternoon sessions.

Project 1: A long curved lidded box, textured and coloured, this style being one of Les’s signature boxes, the audience were completely embroiled for the whole of the morning in listening, laughing and watching Les work his magic, each stage being well described, and demonstrated in great detail, his open manner prompted many a good question from the audience. 

Les has an instinctive knack of using tools gained over thousands of hours and many years of work, he is always in complete control of what goes on at the cutting edge, and portrays this in a relaxed, confident style and light hearted banter.

Having had lunch the audience assembled for the afternoon treats, initially Les finished off the lidded box, describing each step of the texture and colour application.

Project 2: A decorated Ash bowl “au natural”…no colour on this one, to the delight of Elwyn in the audience!

Les demonstrated each step of the way from mounting the blank, consideration of design and tool usage. Les again described and demonstrated to great effect various types of cuts including pull & push cut, shear cut and scrape used to form the bowl profile detailing the pros and cons of each method and the best time and place for their usage. Once the back of the bowl was complete in profile, Les then demonstrated how to place several bead rows onto the piece without taking the tool off the wood, a feat none of the audience had seen before, earning Les an appreciative and enthusiastic round of applause. 

The bowl was turned round, Les began work on the front outer rim decoration and hollowing techniques, again he very effectively describing the tooling techniques used at each stage, going to great lengths to fully demonstrate and describe the inner lip undercut tooling sequence.  

Following afternoon tea Les treated us to the making of a candlestick; he did this in what he described as “working mode” we all being amazed at the detail speed and accuracy he was able to achieve this project from complete start to finish, all the way through describing why and what he was doing. 

His final half an hour is what he described as his “Play” time, demonstrating to us his bead forming skill with a skew chisel and a few other very unusual tools.

The day came to a close at around 16.30 with Les receiving a well-deserved and warm round of applause from all in attendance; we very much hope we can lure him back to the club in future.

Mary Stevens Hospice -Summer Fayre.

Saturday 31st August 2019

The Summer fayre is the second of three events this year that Blackcountry Woodturners will be attending raising funds to help support the children’s hospice, this has been Blackcountry Woodturners selected charity for some years now.

We turned up on site at the Hospice grounds at 09:00 and were allocated our spot on the main field, it then took just over an hour and several cups of tea, to get things all set up ready for the grand opening at 11am, we were just one of many stalls supporting this great cause.

The event opened at 11am and things got underway, the crowds soon built up and were entertained by not only the stall holders but also the great entertainers and events that were staged throughout the day. The weather held until around lunchtime but then the heavens opened for a short while but quickly blew over and thing soon got back into swing.

From the clubs prospective again the stall looked great, with plenty of members work on sale, plus many items on the charity table. The public gave many complementary remarks and the lathe demonstrations were as always a great success, enjoyed by both adults and children alike.

Many thanks go to Steve & Rob Hacket, Roger Cheshire, Roger Sherwood Howells, Arthur Mills, Mell Adams, Ron Lunn and Ian Brown for turning out giving their time and talents to support the social event.

Special thanks go to Roger Cheshire who organised and oversaw the raffle of the skittles game made by him earlier in the year; lots of tickets were sold with the eventual lucky winner being a family from the Stourbridge area.

At the end of the day we managed to raise the sum of £157.80p which Mell handed over to the event organisers who were very supportive and grateful for the clubs attendance.

Thanks again to those that turned out and/or donated items for the charity table, a great day was had with a good pot of money going to Mary Stevens fund.

Our next Mary Stevens event will be the Christmas Fayre on Saturday 7th December 10am to 3pm please visit us and help in supporting a great cause.

Max Carey Woodturning Institute.

Thursday 12th September 2019

The Max Carey woodturning institute is a very well established and respected woodturning teaching venue based in Portishead, Bristol and is a fully equipped, multi lathed, and tooled workshop, delivering a selection of woodturning courses from beginner through to advanced woodturners.

This venue is also used by the AWGB for hosting training days and weekends.

Blackcountry Woodturners were very fortunate to be offered the opportunity to hold a professional Tuition day at the venue, hosted by Stuart Bradfield, institute manager and renowned Professional Woodturner Jay Heryet.

The aim of the day was the preparation, making, and individual decoration /texturing of a 250mm x 50mm Sycamore platter.

At 07:15hrs the crew of 11 Blackcountry members all met for breakfast at a local hotel in Portishead, some having travelled the night before and the remainder travelling that morning, after a good chat, several bacon butties and cups of tea we made for the Max Carey Centre arriving at 08:30am.

We were al welcomed by Stuart and Jay, when having had the day’s induction and safety briefing we were all ready to go, chosen sycamore blanks in hand and lathe stations chosen.

Jay started the day with an introduction of the days aims, emphasising that enjoyment and learning were the key elements, she then gave a demonstration on ways to mount the blanks, design features, general shaping and tooling processes, implanting ideas and suggestions for us all to try as the day progressed.

We all then retired to our chosen lathes and set to work making our own individual platters, using and practising techniques illustrated by Jay.

As we all worked on our individual projects, both Jay and Stuart moved around the workshop, talking to each of us and putting us right by demonstration on identified areas in need of individual attention, plus encouraging us to look at form, shape and consideration and development of the finer detail touches to enhance the piece.

Everyone was so engrossed time just flew by and before we knew it, it was lunchtime, more tea, sandwiches and banter in the rest room, what could be better.

The afternoon started with Jay again demonstrating how to improve a number of tooling areas she had recognised as she had visited and chatted to us all during the morning session.

Jay then moved on to decoration techniques and ideas, showing a number of nice pieces made and adorned by herself, highlighting numerous ways where shape, colour and texture work together to bring the piece to its final conclusion, her point simply being do not be afraid to give anything a go, if you do not try you will not learn and explore the endless possibilities.

With this in our heads we all set off back to our lathes to develop and try our own ideas on decorating the platter, watched over and encouraged by both Jay and Stuart. At the end of the session it was amazing to see the differing texturing and colouring ideas we had all chosen.

At around 4:30pm Stuart and Jay brought the day to a close with a final chat and Q&A session. I am sure both Jay and Stuart enjoyed the day as much as we did.

As a group we showed our appreciation of being invited to the venue and being privileged to have had such good company and instruction, a most memorable and satisfying day.

Some pictures of our Day…..

Evening Demonstration – John Aitken.

Thursday 15th August 2019

This month Blackcountry Woodturners were graced with the return of professional wood turner John Aitken, otherwise known as “The bowler hatted turner”, who last visited us in June 2018.

John is renowned for wearing a bowler hat when woodturning at craft shows, his theory being that “people cannot remember names but they never forget a hat!”

The first part of John’s evening consisted of detailing and demonstrating how he designed a three tier cake stand for his daughter’s wedding, and the production method he used as 50 were necessary to make for the day.

Having educated us on the whys and wherefores necessary, he went on to demonstrate the making of each of the items required to complete the project, this required both platter (Cross Grain) and spindle turning techniques. John as always detailed, demonstrated and discussed tool control, and finishing methods for each piece.

For the second part of his demonstration John educated us in the arts of colouring and paint texturing for use on platters or any other surface for that matter.

Showing various methodologies, he used and demonstrated several iridescent paint colours over the top of a black background, he detailed an interesting method stating that he had developed and used to good effect over a number of years, which consisted of a length of string approx. 18 inches long completely immersed into a tub of gold iridescent paint, when removed the laden string was laid in a random pattern across a section of the platter rim face.

 John then laid a sheet of magazine paper(shiny smooth paper) over the top of the string, placing his hand gently on top compressing the string slightly, John proceeded to pull  one end of the string and kept pulling until it came free, the resulting pattern was impressive, the process if required could then be repeated over additional areas of the rim.

John’s character, humour and sheer enjoyment of demonstrating his skills was again evident to all in attendance making a truly enjoyable evening for all. We hope we can persuade him to return next year to educate us more in the arts and joys of woodturning.

Raffle Prizes

If any member wishes they can bring in a raffle prize at any time and donate it to the club, also if you see a tool which may be useful for turning which you can buy for around £5 or so (a receipt will be needed) then Ian can reimburse you on the night, our aim is to make the raffle as interesting and varied as possible.

Thanks

Mel

Secretary

Blackcountry Woodturners all-day event. 3/11/2018

Blackcountry Woodturners all-day event.

This was the first all-day event that Blackcountry Woodturners have hosted for the past several years.

The Aims…

The aims of the day were to provide some well-earned entertainment for our current members, provide an opportunity to invite woodturners from other West Midlands Clubs, and with the aid of local media publicise Blackcountry Woodturners to the general public. This gave likeminded people the opportunity to visit and view the day’s events, talk to current members, and see what we as a club are all about.

There was also the opportunity for club members to buy and sell their unwanted / unused second hand tools, purchase project wood, and bring in some of their own work to display, and refreshments were provided  to all who attended during the day.

The club had secured the services of professional Woodturner Paul Hannaby from Gloucestershire, Paul agreed to complete three different types of projects throughout the day, ranging from basic through to advanced woodturning techniques.

The day’s summary…

It started at 8am with early bird members arriving to set the rooms out for the day’s events, the main body of people began to arrive just after 9am, first job of the day was a hot drink, biscuit and general chat. The tool sales started in earnest along with the wood project sales. The first project , bowl turning techniques commenced at  9.45am. Paul explaining  how not only to approach such projects but also design considerations, lathe mounting techniques, tool and cutting techniques plus  ways to finish the project dependant on use to which it was to be put.

On completion we all took a 15 minute well-earned refreshment break then at 11.30am Paul began project 2, Box making with texturing and colouring instruction. Paul began by demonstrating a number of market available texturing tools, how to use them and varying types of effect that each are capable of achieving, he also demonstrated various ways of colour embellishing the patterns to bring out best effect. Paul then went on to produce a small decorative oriental lidded box.

At 1pm we had a 40 minute break for lunch, socialising, raffle draw and more purchasing of tools and wood.

The remainder of the afternoon was taken up with the “Off Centre” platter with decorative and air brushed coloured rim.  This was a detailed advanced project well received by all present, with many questions being asked as the project unfolded. Paul explained and showed in detail the techniques, both turning and decorative, to complete the project from start to finish. The challenge now for us all to go away and give it a go…

The event concluded at around 4.30pm with everyone going home having enjoyed their day, learned a little or lot as the case maybe and hopefully inspired to have a go at new projects.

A big thank you must go to all the club members who brought in their own pieces of work to make up a fantastic display for all to see, providing project inspiration for us all.