Woodbury Woodturners Club
Encouraging, developing and promoting the art and science of woodturningLearn More
Keith Woolacott‘s Extremely Natural Edge Tuesday 21st May 2019
Keith is an AWGB approved instructor, a member of Axminster Woodturners Club and a highly accomplished turner.
The man hisself
His demonstration at the club night on 16th May involved creating a natural edged 'winged goblet' from a newly felled English Oak (Quercus robur) crotch-piece. At one point, one wag from the audience of 50+ suggested turning it into a catapult.
A Rapt Audience
This was quickly forgotten as Keith mounted the 'Y' branch, about 300m long x 150mm across the arms, between centres and began to rough down the stem to a cylinder. His drive was of a big 'steb' type and the 'groin' area of the branch was centred on a pre-drilled depression using the extended tailstock quill. Having turned a hefty spigot in the base, he chucked the branch in strong jaws and brought up the tailstock temporarily to aid centring. Cleaning up the outside of the arms ensued, together with truing up their top surfaces.
The Roughed Stem and Trued Arms
There followed an engrossing session in which the 'arms' were gradually and very carefully hollowed to produce the goblet's cup, the final depth being achieved with a 'fingernail gouge' having an ultra long point to get into the narrow recess.
The outside of the arms, stem and base were then refined before the goblet was parted off.
How to produce shavings from thin air! (Photo: Suzanne Parsons)
The Parting of the Waste
Nearly all stages involved turning air and risked blood on the lathe so Keith concentrated hard. As a result, he spoke rarely to the audience, much of the time relying on John Bainbridge's nifty camera work to show the processes and tools. He did, however, talk quite a lot to himself!
Sanding using a power drill and abrasive head, was done in stages on a stationary lathe as the work progressed, using grits down to 400.
The Goblet awaiting drying out and treating
No finish was applied at this stage, the wood being still wet. The biggest risk to the goblet would be splitting as the wood dried out so it would be placed in a cool, dark, draught-free place for three weeks before being treated overall with Cellulose Sanding Sealer. A further precaution against cracking could be the drilling of a hole from the base up into the stem.
The whole, apart from the bark edges, would then be waxed to a satin finish.
An absorbing evening with even the old (as in experienced!) hands picking up tips.
Thank you Keith. You were friendly, skilled and informative and we hope to welcome you back in the not too distant future.
Here's a smaller version in Laburnum (Laburnum anagyroides) that Keith brought with him.
Photos by Graham Drury, except where noted.
Annual Show Competition Judges Announced Wednesday 15th May 2019
Understanding how keen many members are to know details of ASC judges beforehand, I've taken the bold step of publishing names well in advance:
Sandra Adams, RPT, from Brayford in North Devon, whose website may be found at Beechtree Designs, is especially keen on colour, texture and form.
Roger Gubbin, RPT, is from Launceston and his website is here. Most of his turnings are one-offs, available through craft shows and galleries.
Aziz Khan, from Harbertonford, purveyor of exotic woods, is a frequent and popular visitor to the club and is a very welcome non-turning-but-painting addition to the panel.
Remember, the four categories for entries are:
'A Bowl or Platter of no more than 305mm diameter'
'A Pestle & Mortar'.
(From the Competitions Orifice)
Club Night 16th May Wednesday 15th May 2019
It may be worth remembering that this Thursday is the first day of the Devon County Show.
Traffic may cause problems depending on time, and direction of approach to Woodbury.
Hope in Woodbury Village Friday 10th May 2019
The setting there is really lovely, with views out over the surrounding countryside which looked in prime condition on a beautifully sunny Spring day.
Simon started with a 'Sea Shell Salt Cellar' which involved a number of unusual techniques. For example, he advocated sanding at much higher speeds, up to 2000 rpm, than are usually recommended, his method involving short, sharp attacks with a Rotary Sander progressing through the grades from 180 to 600.
In addition, the close fit between the top and base of the cellar was achieved using waxed hemp thread wound tightly in a groove in the base.
Various other demonstrations followed: Threading, using a jig and by hand; Decoration using a turned and polished brass ring; Use of autobody standard two part resin mixed with filler, in this case Pearl Ex, to decorate the flat rim of a bowl or platter;
Resin Inlaid Bowl Rim
Pewter, cast, textured using a Proxxon Grinder and inlaid into the lid of a beaded, cauldron-shaped box that also sported a blackwood finial; Finally, and somewhat disastrously, an off-centre candle stick.
Simon attacks the off-centre candlestick.
Most of these were taking place in parallel as various bits had to harden, go off, cool down etc. so there was never a chance of a nap for an impressively large audience that contained several visitors from clubs far and wide. The only disappointment? Only 2 WWTC members attended.
Simon, as he usually does, carried on brisk business in his trademark carbide cutters, handles, abrasive disks, scrapers and many other items.
Axminster Woodturners put on an excellent day and special mention must be made of the cooks and kitchen helpers who supplied a piping hot two course lunch for all.
Well done to everyone involved in the day! An altogether very pleasant experience.
Additional photos may be seen in the Simon Hope at Axminster Woodturners Gallery.
All photos by Suzanne Parsons.
Gradon Off-Centre Figure Sunday 28th April 2019
Peter Gradon's sheet of instructions does not show up well in the News below. There are also some errors introduced during transcription. Here is a clearer version which hopefully will enable interested parties to create their own figure. For working purposes:
1 " = 25.4 mm, 1/8" = 3.2 mm, 1.5" = 38 mm, 1/2" = 13 mm, 5/16" = 8 mm, 9" = 230 mm
OFF-CENTRE FIGURE by Peter Gradon
- Select a piece of close-grained wood 9 inch x 1.5 inch
- Turn to 1.5 inch with a half-ball end
- Fit Ball into parallel jaws
- Flatten off end face at tailstock end
- Turn Head, starting 1/8 inch from end, to 1/2 inch diameter
- Turn Neck to 5/16 inch diameter
- Move wood 1/8 inch away from first centre (Position 2)
- Turn Chest up to Neck
- Move wood to the other side of first centre (Position 3)
- Turn Lower Chest down to Waist
- Move wood a further 1/8 inch in the same direction (Position 4)
- Turn Back, Waist & Bottom down to Knee
- Move centre to 1/8 inch the other side of Position 2 (Position 5)
- Turn Stomach & Legs down to Base
- Return to position 4 and turn Legs to Base
- Move centre back to position 1 and finish Head & Base
- Sand figure to 400 grit and part off
- Complete Base and polish
April Activity Friday 26th April 2019
A Very Busy Month!
Saturday 6th April:
First off was an all day demonstration by Alan Thomas, The well known production turner is originally from Middlesborough but living in Cornwall since 1995. He started turning in 1988.
His demo was split into two parts: A small, coloured-rimmed plate and a box with an offset, domed lid which held a stone composite cabochon inserted at its highest point.
His choice of wood for the plate was rippled Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus). This gave rise to the WWTC Word-of-the-Month - chatoyance (the correct spelling, unlike that used by Bill McDermott in his notes!) A term borrowed from gemmology, it refers to a shimmering light effect caused by 'cross' grain in the wood. This 'extra' grain direction is produced in response to wind induced stress (I'm sure many of us can relate closely to this concept! Ed.). The effect gives a sense of depth in the wood as light reflects differently from the two grain directions.
He was at pains to point out the importance of using a diluted finish that soaks into the wood and maximises this chatoyant effect. The word itself derives from the French verb, chatoyer meaning, amazingly, 'to shimmer'.
The finished blue rippled plate
The ultra-smooth finish needed to show up the ripple effect to the full, especially if the item is for gallery display, requires the use of very fine grits when 'sanding'.
Starting with 320 to remove tool marks, Alan progressed to 400 before applying Chestnut spirit stains to bring out the ripple. It is vital to use a tack cloth between sandings to remove dust and stray grains from the previous grit. Stains are applied in the order Dark to Light.
Sanding with 600 grit after application of the first colour of stain, 800 after the second and 1000 after the third resulted in an ultra smooth surface, ready for the final stage.
In fine, a de-waxed shellac finish (diluted 30% shellac flake/70% meths by volume) is used.
Alan applied several thin layers of shellac, de-nibbing between coats with meths and 0000 steel wool. A final coat or two of microcrystalline wax is advisable if the object is to be handled - shellac shows finger marks badly.
Alan's second project was the box shown below
Off centre and stoned: The box!
He pointed out that a number of things could be used as a decorative insert - coins, contrasting wood, brass sheet and so on - but this time he chose to use a filled resin.
The filling was ground stone, black and turquoise, in a medium thickness cyanoacrylate (CA) glue, moulded in a disc-shaped hollow drilled in the end of a piece of gash timber (MDF could have been used). Alan used a CA accelerator and allowed time to ensure that the disc had set fully before being inserted and turned as part of the lid.
The offset dome of the lid was created using a home-made off-centre chuck attached to a wooden screw chuck. Once the final turning and sanding had been done, melamine sanding sealer was applied, followed by microcrystalline wax - boxes are handled frequently.
It was a full day's instruction, enjoyed by more than thirty members.
On Sunday 14th April:
George Webb won the Chairman's competition at the AGM of the Association of Woodturners of Great Britain. His entry was a wide rim textured and coloured bowl. Well done George, that's a major achievement that reflects well on you and on both our local Woodbury and Axminster Clubs.
Thursday 18th April: Club Night
Two demonstrations took place, Stephen Long turned and hollowed a piece of Yew (Taxus baccata) into a semblance of a ginger jar (Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery).
Here's one he turned earlier in spalted Beech (Fagus sylvatica)
He used one of the two new Record lathes recently purchased by the club.
Meanwhile, Peter Gradon, famed for his love of eccentric women, turned a couple of mean examples on the Woodfast.
Here's one he brought with him - made from African Blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon)
He has kindly supplied instructions and here they are (all looks pretty straightforward :-)
The April Competition was for a 'Bangle or Bracelet' and it attracted an encouraging total of 26 entries across the 3 Classes.
The 'Intermediate' Table
Spot the difference! (That's right - there are more 'Beginners' entries than 'Advanced")
As Competitions Orifice, I was very disappointed to learn recently that some members who had brought entries along simply put them back in their pockets/bags when they saw the high quality of the 'opposition'.
I should make it very clear that no-one in the room, apart from the CompOff or his stand-in, actually knows which entries are produced by which member. Said CompOff is far too busy to notice or care whose is which so your entries are effectively anonymous UNLESS you gain a certificate. In that case, I don't suppose you'd mind the publicity!
So next time, stick in your entry and watch for the result. Given that it's the assembled members who vote, you might be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.
Bob Merrifield (Competitions Officer)
Saturday April 20th:
Training Session: Boxes and Hollowing
The trainees from L to R:
The day went well with the two new Record Coronet Herald Lathes being put through their paces. Both behaved well, a bit like the students, very quiet and smooth running.
Boxes were made by the 6 trainees under the able instruction of the tutors, Peter Gradon, John Haxell, Roger Hutton, Peter Johnson, Richard Pegler and John Rockey, who gave up their valuable time and brought their considerable knowledge and experience to bear.
Very many thanks go to them.
Thursday April 25th saw the monthly Committee Meeting take place at Peter Banks' abode. Amongst the Affairs of State discussed on the night were proposed reviews of Competition Classes, and issues arising from the numbers of emails being produced from the Club Website.
These will be discussed further in May.
In the meantime, if you have any strong thoughts on either, let Bob Merrifield know.
Simon Hope at Axminster Woodturners Club Tuesday 16th April 2019
A two course lunch is included in the charge of £15.
Any members wishing to attend are asked to contact Liz Kent (email@example.com) for timings and to book a place.
March Happenings Tuesday 9th April 2019
Thursday 21st March:
The club was well represented amongst the many people who congregated to pay their respects at Bill Baxter's funeral. The whole event passed off peacefully: There were no riots, no demonstrations, no insurrections, no wild behaviour and no-one ran amok. This may in part have been down to the presence of large numbers of Royal Marines but was definitely aided by a very pleasant and gentle eulogy delivered by Chas Deacon. All in all, the East Devon Crematorium was a delightful setting for Bill's final farewell. And the weather played fair too. We wish Jacquie and family all the best in the weeks and months to come.
That same evening, an excellent turnout (71 members) watched pro Kevin Hutson demonstrate his turning skills, which are certainly impressive. One of his great strengths lies in producing square boxes so on his only previous visit to the club, he turned a square box, with a thin square lid, from a piece of joinery quality pine. A remarkable feat, as anyone who has tried to turn pine into something attractive will soon tell you.
Kevin Hutson in full flow
Kevin thought long and hard about changing the subject for his demonstration this time and eventually settled on a round box with a thin square lid turned from a chunk of Sycamore! 'I thought I'd show that I really could turn something round', he said. The finish he manages to get straight off the tool is amazing, especially in such relatively soft and unforgiving woods as these. Our Chairman, Stephen Long, was at one point moved to tears of admiration. 'Well it shows what you can achieve', he said, 'when you use sharp tools!'.
Kevin also showed what can be done by way of decoration, in this case of the lid, using a Dremel with a ball burr, and black and burgundy acrylics applied with a brush. He can certainly not be accused of short-changing our members! At 9.40 p.m. having done his box thing, he set to by popular demand to turn a bowl. Altogether an enjoyable and very informative evening for both tyro and expert alike.
Saturday 23rd March:
Bowls: You will have seen the photo of most of the members who attended the training session together with their bowels. There were 6 lathes (two hired from Exmouth Men's Shed) on the go and 6 Trainers: Peter Gradon, John Haxell, Stephen Long, Richard Pegler, John Rockey and George Webb, who very kindly stepped in to replace a poorly Tony Bennett.
It is hoped to have 8 trainers/ees at the April session on 20th when they will be attacking boxes and hollowing techniques.
And finally: Everyone should be bangling like mad ready for April's Club Night competition on 18th of the month. Good luck.
If you don't take part, you'll never know how good you are!
Bowl Training Tuesday 26th March 2019
Bill Baxter Thursday 14th March 2019
It is with great sadness that we must record the death last week of our long standing President, Bill Baxter. He died peacefully at the RD&E Hospital on Thursday 7th March following a battle with cancer.
Bill was one of the seven original founding members of the club back in 1997 and has worked tirelessly on our behalf over the years, right up to the time of his death.
Many of the current members were taught the basics of turning by Bill out at John Bradford's ranch near Ottery St Mary and it was his knowledgeable and friendly approach that encouraged those members to stay with the club and to contribute to its activities.
In his time he saw the membership rise from the original 20 at the first full meeting to over 130 in 2019.
He was originally drawn to the hobby of turning by its 'portability', which allowed him to move around the country serving in the Royal Marines and to take his lathe with him. Ironically, he was never moved again but remained in the Exeter area, close to the club he founded.
Bill served the club first as Chairman from 2002 until 2009, at which point he was elected as the club's first President, remaining in post until his death.
He will be sorely missed by all who knew, loved and respected him.
His funeral will be on Thursday 21st March 1:00 PM at the East Devon Crematorium.
Address: London Road, Strete Raleigh, Whimple EX5 2PT.
February Club Night and Competition Friday 1st March 2019
Well, what a night! An excellent turnout of members and a record breaking 43 entries in the ‘Open‘ competition across all three Classes.
You can find full details of the competition results here and current rankings here, plus many other photos from the night in the gallery. Don't forget that you can track your own results and ranking on your own profile page. Don't forget to look at forthcoming Events.
Stephen Long showed how to sharpen tools with or without jigs. He gave away some sheets of tool angles and settings and for further help advised us to go to YouTube, 'How to Sharpen Wood Turning Tools' on the 'Robbie the Woodturner' site.
A lot of people showed interest and about 10 people brought tools in for sharpening to the correct angle. Once he had shown them, they were able to continue the work themselves.
Peter Johnson took his audience through finishing, step by step, starting with choosing a desired finish for their project, then making a suitable wood choice, e.g. steering away from open grain timbers if a high gloss is desired.
He then went on to stress the importance of sharpening before taking finishing cuts.
There followed good sanding practices, both hand and power, buffing and final finishing, with extensive discussions on what finishes could be used together, the merits of sanding sealer etc.
Many turned examples were displayed showing various finishes and combinations used.
Overall it went well with Peter fielding masses of questions and consequently not getting through all that he had planned to do.
George Webb ruined several perfectly acceptable chunks of wood by colouring them (Apologies from our deputy editor, Raunden Braun).
He actually showed how colour could be used to add interest to woodturning. The approach was low tech and aimed towards new members of the club and those new to woodturning.
The approach was to spray wood stain through a diffuser to blend colours in warm and cold colour schemes. George demonstrated how the wide range of Chestnut wood stains can be used in sequence and blended to flow through the external curve of a bowl.
As well as the demonstration pieces there was a very wide range of other colour applications for discussion and explanation ranging from airbrushing to marbling.
Tony Bennett's task on his 'hands-on' lathe over by the kitchen was to turn a bowl and to get as many members as possible, old and new, to participate. The number who had a go at turning was unbelievable. The evening seemed to go too quickly as there were a few more members who would have liked to try using a turning gouge but didn't get the chance.
Michael Merrett ran the Raffle as efficiently as ever and made £78 towards Club funds. He did, however, express disappointment at the small number of prizes contributed by members, particularly given the good turnout for the evening.
Thanks go to all those who helped out on the night.
Thanks as always to those who came early to set up the lathes and to those who stayed late to dismantle them again and clean up.
Tea/Coffee and biscuits were provided by John Guilfoyle and his team, with their usual good-humoured efficiency.
A good evening was enjoyed by all who attended - Well Done!
Pepper Mills at Dawn Sunday 17th February 2019
Members from yesterday morning's spindle training show off the fruits of their labour.
New Website Launched Saturday 16th February 2019
I am pleased to announce that the long awaited new website is live!
So what's changed...
It has been re-written completely, to produce a system that can be updated far more easily (and quickly) by non-technical staff, and even members can upload their own photos to create galleries of their work for public display.
At first glance, it may not look like the new site provides much more functionality than its predecessor, but don't be fooled; there is a great deal going on behind the scenes. I won't bore you with the details, but everything is integrated which makes the data much easier to manipulate. This means pages like the events list are dynamic and won't ever display events from the past, and a panel on the home page listing dates for the next Xyz... event will always be up to date. This also means members can be emailed timely reminders for upcoming events including a detailed, auto generated, diary with the reminder.
The Sales page has been renamed to Adverts and members can include photos with their advert description. In addition, members are notified by email when a new advert appears. The Forum menu no longer links to an external website; the new site includes its own. As per the Adverts, members get email notifications when new forum posts are made, so it is likely that a member asking a question will receive responses more rapidly.
Any members starting to get concerned about the number of emails they think they might get need not worry though. Members can specify on their preferences settings which types of emails they want to receive.
As mentioned above, members can create their own galleries. A dedicated contact page for each gallery owner allows external communication from anyone interested in a member's work. If desired, prices can be displayed against items too. For example, Graham Drury has added a new gallery already which should illustrate what's capable, including a profile page.
There are still a number of features yet to complete and, of course, the remote possibility that you might find bugs - especially if you are an Internet Explorer user! Please bear with me, as even with the extensive testing that has been done by myself and my mini-team of of helpers, it is likely that issues will arise.