Meeting Reports (archive)

All as seen through the eyes of a novice unless otherwise noted.

Appologies for the quality of some of the photos in many reports.
Unfortunately various circles are caused by reflections from the camera flash on dust particles.

November 2007 Meeting

Demonstration by Graham Lovatt
(a professional woodturner)

Graham told us he does presentations not demonstrations. He was going to start with an old piece of fencepost which he would turn into a candlestick. He told us that these look good in sets of three of different sizes. To hold the candle in place he drilled a suitable hole in the top of the candlestick and inserted a pop rivet, applying only part pressure to fix it in position so that the pin was still intact. This he then cut down to a suitable length to hold the candle, ingenious!

Then he showed us how he makes an offset tuned spoon. He started with a spherical piece turned at the end to allow his chuck to grip easily even though the piece was offset. He also gave us a tip: Do not use a pen to mark wood when turning, only use a pencil, otherwise you can get a permanent staining. He also suggested that with this type of offset turning we should take extra care in positioning the toolrest to make sure it clears the vibrating work. When parting off he used a very sharp craft knife to make the final cut.

As we are approaching the festive season he showed us a split turned christmas tree using double sided tape to join the two pieces of wood together. He then carefully taped two pieces of scrap wood over both ends to take the lathe centre and a ring drive centre. He advised us to take only light cuts when working like this to avoid any accidents. And especially to avoid cutting into the two scrap endpieces otherwise it would all disintregate. The finished half trees could be stuck to windows or mirrors.

He also made an Angel and then made another Christmas decoration, an attractive piece like a lantern for which he used lilac wood, as this takes detail well. Holes were predrilled into the sides carefully spaced. The inside was hollowed out and a finial made to a tight fit. He used Chestnut melamine to finish the job and then inserted a piece of holographic coloured paper into the centre which would then show through all the holes. Then the finial was finally glued in position and a small hole drilled in the end so that it could be hung up. Lots of interesting ideas for our members to try out.

October 2007 Meeting

Demonstration by David Hanlon
(a professional woodturner)

David started his demonstration by showing us how he makes a "priest". This is a small weighted club used by anglers to kill fish. He showed us how he turned them, then showed us how he uses a piece of screwed steel threaded rod inserted with a quick setting glue into a hole at the end. The threads helping the glue to grip the metal rod which provided the extra weight needed to make it effective.The things you can make with a lathe is quite amazing.
The next item he made was a traditional listening rod used by water engineers to locate leaking pipes underground. These have mainly now be superceded by electronic devices, but some of the old school engineers do still like a real wooden device. The main stem was made with ash and the earpiece was made using beech. This combination of woods is most effective for this tool. When finally turning the earpiece David turned a jamb chuck to tightly fit the already turned hole for the long rod, final turning was done with support by his free hand and only taking very light cuts so the piece did not come flying off.
Then he used sapelle in a sycamore base for a kitchen roll holder. He also showed us a piece of scrap wood which he had predrilled with a range of his preferred sizes. This he used to check the final size of the vertical post to ensure that there would be a good fit.

Another really interesting evening, I am sure he will be invited to come again.  

September 2007 Meeting

Demonstration by Tracy Owen
(a professional woodturner)
Click here to visit Tracy's Website

Tracy Owen is a well known woodturner who
regularly appears in articles in the Woodturning magazine.

Tracy told us he was going to show us how he makes Tri-Bowls. The dovetail at the bottom was cut so that when removed in the final stages of turning the bowl would sit on the three feet. He pointed out that when cutting a dovetail it was important to match the true diameter of the chuck that is being used.  Otherwise the jaws will only contact on a few points and this can damage the wood apart from making the clamping of the wood less secure. Incidentally, Tracy was very impressed with our small Axminster Lathe, he had never used one before he commented on the lack of vibration and the quiet running motor. He used power sanding to finish the bowl. He suggested that there were different ways to finish the bowl after using a japanese saw to cut away the wood between the three feet. These edges could be sanded smooth and left like that. Alternatively they could be decorated with random notches cut with an Arbortech Power Carver, Tracy decided on the third option for this bowl, which was to create a fancy edge using pyrography. Tracy told us that he regularly uses Osmo oil for finishing, applying two coats. Now that was really interesting as this product is mainly used to treat wooden floors. However when dry the finish is very safe and can even be used on childrens toys.
A most interesting evening, Tracy will surely be invited to come again in the near future.

Tracy in action

Two tri-bowls with different edge finishes

Applying a pyrographic edge finish

An impressive bowl made from a piece of burr yew which Tracy reckons is around a 1000 years old

August 2007 Meeting

Demonstration by Mick Hanbury
(a professional woodturner)
Click to visit Mick's Website

Mick said that he was going to show us how he made decorated boxes. He was going to use sycamore which is good for making boxes and would be demonstrating  turning, piercing and carving to get the final result. Mick said that he prefers to use a Steb centre for initial roughing out and cutting the first tenon for safety reasons.
When decorating the separate decorated disc top, Mick used a Dremmel with a flexible shaft to cut a random pierced design in the wood which would remain in a natural colour. This was then going to be fitted into a recess which would be coloured black to set off the design.
The inside of the box was fully bored out to make sure that all the stresses were relieved before cutting the final recess to fit the lid. Mick used acrylic colour which was applied with a sponge brush. Mick used a crank scraper and set the tool rest well back to make sure it was properly supported, otherwise it would have twisted as it was cutting. Kitchen roll was used to apply the light coloured finish and it was finally sealed with a cellulose laquer. After parting off a tenon was cut on the waste still in the chuck to fit into the top of the box to finish turn the bottom of the box. As friction was holding it in position Mick said that one should only use very light cuts.
While still on the lathe Mick then used a power chisel to carve the required design. A final spray of laquer was then given to seal it.
Mick certainly gave us lots of ideas.

applying the acrylic colour

here he is using his power chisel

The finished box

July 2007 Meeting

Demonstration by Alan Truman
(a professional woodturner)

Alan told us that he was going to use two virtually identical blanks of sycamore and show us how he would produce two very different bowls. He likes to use a fingernail point on gouges when facing as he finds them more versatile. When facing he cuts above centre as he has more control but then lowers the tool down towards the centre by bringing the handle up to keep it all flat. When sanding he advised that one should always keep the paper moving and when sanding a recess do not sand the edges as they will go oval due to the changes in the grain which would then mean that the chuck would not seat properly. When Alan is turning he keeps his hands in a fixed position and controls the movement of the tool by using his body.

Before applying polish, he was using a cellulose finish, he puts a paper towel on the lathe bed to protect it from spatter. A quick finish would be two coats of sanding sealer then Briwax applied very lightly with wire wool which then does two jobs at once. Finally a polish with a soft cloth.

Alan does not use any gimmicks when sharpening his tools. He does keep his grinding wheel at the same height as his lathe and keeping the same hold on his tools as when turning he can quickly resharped them and they will be at the correct angle.

Yet another most interesting evening.

power sanding the underside of the bowl

here are the two finished bowls

June 2007 Meeting

Demonstration by Isobel Edge
(a professional craftsperson)

A completely different topic for this meeting, specifically Cane and Rush Seating. As many of our members make stools and chairs it was going to be very interesting to see how to put the finishing touches by creating seating in a traditionional way. During the evening we found out that Isobel is a really competant person in all sorts of traditional crafts many of which are very similar.
She told us that a lot of her work is repairing worn seating and with cane seating this means that she will have to work with existing holes and she tries to reproduce a very near copy of the original seating, but she does make subtle changes in some cases to make the seating stronger or more attractive.
She started with a cane seating job, and told us that the cane comes cut in different widths and there is skill in deciding which width to use for a particular job. This is dictated to some extent by the existing hole spacing and the hole diameters as well as the span of the seat
Fresh cane should be unwound and left for some time to hang to get it straight. We were told not to stand on cane as it would crack or be damaged and this would bring an immediate weakness into the seating which should be avoided at all costs. Damaged cane should be discarded. Cane should be soaked for about 5 minutes only before being used to make it more supple. As she was weaving the strands into position, Isobel said she prefers to use pipette tips, which she purchased from some scientific supplies source, as these are her favourite pegs for keeping the cane taught as she progresses. Many people use golf tees for the same purpose.
The tension initially was slightly slack but this then gets tighter as further canes are woven into them.
The first chair was woven with canes running in both directions at 90 degrees to each other, then Isobel demonstrated the final stages in just one corner, as time was limited, to give us a visual impression of how the finished seat would look. She would scrap this part of the job the next day and then finish it off properly.


Left hand corner shows a temporary illustration of how whole chair seat will look when finished. The remains of the old seat is shown at the back of the chair.


Various samples of finished seating Isobel brought to show us and
a little basket containing her complete set of tools.


A finished rush seat.

An ordinary woven piece of seating made from willow.

  Various pieces of basketry that Isobel has made.

We were then shown how to create the traditional style of rush seating which is often used on stools. She made it all look so easy to do. The rushes she was using had been already soaked and she brought them to the meeting warapped in damp blankets. It was interesting to note that the voids within the seating were packed out with oddments of rushes to prevent movement of the finished seating which would then give a strong finished job. The ends of rushes that were added were tucked into the centre where they would be hidden from view.
This was a really interesting evening and it was a pleaseure to watch someone so skilled producing the work with ease.

May 2007 Meeting

Demonstration by Steve Heeley
(a professional turner)

Steve told us he was going to start by turning a single leg for a small circular table. This was going to be produced from three separate pieces of wood to save waste. He turned dovetails to connect them together and then assembled them without glue and just used the pressure from the tailstock to hold them quite safely and turn them between centres. Steve said that he did not glue them so that he could arrange the relative positions after turning to get the best match for the woodgrain, as this was difficult to see in rough sawn timber. He found that his tool rest was a little sticky so used emery cloth then wax to improve the slideability of his tools.

Checking the size of a dovetail

Steve is left handed and said that occasionally he has to work right handed for some operations, this is something he has had to learn to do.
He demo
nstrated the use of a texturing tool on two areas of the acorn shape in the centre of the leg.
When he had decided where the different parts were going to be, he marked them with pencil on the wood as it was turning. He applied a pice of masking tape to the tool rest and some of the marks were transferred there to remember where they were when they got turned off and sometimes they were put back on again to help with latter stages  of turning.

 A member admiring one of Steve's pieces which were on display

All the above items are samples of Steve's work

The second example was attached with a screw chuck and Steve had a selection of scrap wood spacers of different thicknesses already in his toolbox, one of which he used. This time he started by turning a base for a plant stand. He then turned a beautiful contoured column. Unfortunately time ran out and he assembled the base and column and put a wood blank on the top to give us a visual impression of what the final job wopuld look like.

It was a pleasure to watch an expert at work he made it look so easy.
Steve had brought many examples of his work which were displayed for members to see. The finish on many of them was like glass. When asked how he obtained this high finish he said that he used about 9 coats of Liberon Finishing Oil, cutting back lightly with steel wool between coats.

April 2007 Meeting

Demonstration by Ken Allen
(a professional turner)

Ken discussing techniques with two of our members
Ken informed us that he was going to demonstrate turning with green wood. He told us that the turning qualities of green wood vary depending on when the tree was cut down. He said that wood cut around Christmastime would have little sap in it and various chemicals which are normally present in the sap would have gone back down to the roots. This wood is easier to turn and does not usually dull the cutting edges of tools quite so quickly.

Ken showed us this homemade collet chuck which he often uses when making thin lids. It is just like the top of a goblet with a suitable tennon at the base to clamp in a conventional chuck. The sides have equi-spaced saw slots cut down them. There is a groove near the top rim which is used to wrap a longish strong rubber band around it t
o clamp the workpiece.

Kens final piece was another goblet, he turned the walls so thin that we could see light through the turning, which just shows up in the photo above. Ken reckoned the wall was about 1m/m thick! A most interesting evening. I am sure that everyone whether experienced or not would have gained lots of ideas from Ken.

March 2007 Meeting

Demonstration by Gerry Marlow
(a professional turner)

Here we see Gerry with an impressive Goblet which he turned at the meeting

Gerry informed us that he was going to demonstrate making three different items during the meeting.

He started with a Goblet. First he explained that the wood he used was prepared by slicing the corners off the piece of timber which was long enough to make the central spindles to make an octagonal wood section. The triangular filets which had been removed were then trimmed to produce a square section which would then be turned to make the central spindles. The Goblet bowl and base were to be turned from the octagonal section. So four goblets could be made from the original block of wood and the amount of waste wood was thereby reduced.

Gerry used a four jaw Axminster chuck which would allow the square spindle stock to pass right through it. To start with he had only about an inch of wood protruding from the chuck and first of all turned a tennon ( to fit into the base of the Goblet cup. ) He then advanced the wood to give about 2" to work on and turned this to the finished sizeand finish sanded. He then progressively advanced additionional approx 2" lengths and finished turning and sanding progressively along the lenth. At the latter stages the open tailstock morse taper was used to make sure the outboard end of the spindle did not whip too much by giving it some constraint. Finally turning another tennon on the other end. During the turning and finishing stages he was supporting the wood with his fingers to stop it whipping. As the wood passed through the hollow headstock and morse tapers this had all been pre-cleaned to make sure that the wood did not get marked by any residual grease or dirt.

The goblet was cleverly formed by carefully cutting a cone out of the inside of the cup which would later form the base. Holes were bored in the cup and base at the latter stages and used to mount the spindle, which was glued in. 

Gerry did also show us an ingenious gadget he had specially made for him, which he sometimes used in the tailstock morse taper. This consisted of a sort of minute chuck ( a socket with four equally spaced grub screws ) which was free to rotate, connected to a morse taper bit which could be constrained in the tailstock by an attached long screw thread. The mini chuck could then be attached to the free end of the spindle being turned and then adjustment of the tailstock handwheel could then provide slight tension of the workpiece to stop it whipping. Yet another illustration of the inventiveness of woodturners.

The second item that Gerry produced was an off-centre Candlestick. It was a pleasure to watch him producing this excellent piece of work. I am sure many members would be inspired to try to produce something similar.

The candlestick being admired by a member

The final example was something that could be turned especially for the ladies. He produced two pendants, initially turned on a screw chuck. Then by carefully fitting only two jaws of his four jaw chuck, no1 and no4 only opposite to each other he produced an off centre chuck. This lightly gripped the workpiece to turn an off-centre recess and hole which removed the wood used for the original screw chuck. Holes were drilled near the edges to take a 1mm waxed cotton cord.

One of the Pendants

A most amazing evening. It was agreed that we would ask him to come and see us again next year.   

February 2007 Meeting

( this report as seen through the eyes of an expert)

Demonstration by Ivan Pedley

(a local turner)

Ivan, taking a breather during the Interval

Ivan began with spindle turning, using a Steb centre. He was turning a piece of laburnum and invited people there to guess what he was making! Even after he’d made it and passed it around no-one knew what it was even after enlightening us!
"It is a Victorian Glove darning egg" he replied. Still no-one had ever seen one before. This is what they call Treen*, which is woodwork of a domestic nature smaller than furniture. Anyway he said put it in the raffle.
He went on to tell us that he had fell off a ladder and it had affected his hearing. Ivan was a bit of a comic, and was very entertaining. He told us about his father who was a patternmaker at Dormans who left him his first set of chisels, three little-uns and three big-uns.
He preferred to use his scrapers, which if they do the job then why not? Failing this there is always 60 grit he retorted. Then someone told him the one tool was a roughing gauge, which he now uses very well. He showed us how to put black lines in the wood using copper wire, but don’t touch it afterwards as it is still hot! Ivan said, it’s very easy to make a fortune from woodturning; you just need a large fortune to start with.
Next he made a maple handle for a tiller used on a narrow boat. It had an ingenious method of fixing to the tiller, this comprised of a slot in one end, with a tapered wedge in. When belted in the tube with a hammer, he assured us it would never come out! After turning this handle he put a fancy texture on it, using an arbatech texturing device. This gave the handle a good grip, as well as looking attractive.
The grip being much needed on a slippy narrow boat, when making a turn, so this was a safety device also.
After the teabreak, he said he was going to make a travelling candlestick holder with a hand chased thread. He began by using a glue gun and fixed two pieces of wood together. The golden rule being: - Let the glue go-off before machining! Then he turned a register on one end, then broke off the sacrificial piece of wood, and then turned a register on the opposite end.
He then parted the wood into two pieces, bored out one end and then put a hand thread chaser into this and cut a female thread. Next he put a thread on the other piece of wood and screwed the two together. Screwcutting is not an easy thing to do by hand especially when doing a demonstration. So Ivan was to be applauded for even attempting this while under pressure.
All in all it was a very entertaining evening and I hope we see Ivan again, this was the third time he has demonstrated at the Chase Turners and you’re very welcome Ivan.

*What is Treen?

With thanks to one of our more experienced members for the write up and picture.

January 2007 Meeting

Demonstration by Bob Saunders

(a local turner)

We had a demonstration of how Bob makes Lidded Containers which could be used to hold a ball of string amongst other things.

It really was very interesting, particularly the fact that he stated that there is no right way to turn and no particular tool to perform any task. The right tool is very often the one that you feel most comfortable with. Interestingly he did show us a tool that he used for hollowing out the sample for todays meeting, he had made it from a cheap crosshead screwdriver, which had a hardened steel tip, which he had carefully ground down so as not to overheat it. He had ground away the end of the shaft to give D shaped rod, then ground a bevel at the end to give a straight cutting edge at a slight angle. 

Masking tape was used to wrap around turning tool to mark the required depth for hollowing out, so that he did not go too deep.

At a later stage while finishing the inside of the box, he stated his preference for a scraper tool with a small head rather than a larger head, as he said that he found that the one with a smaller head was much easier to control because there was less vibration and therefore produced a good finished result much quicker than the larger tool might have done.

When finishing he would start by using a 100 grit sheet as he reckoned that the tools left the equivalent of an 80 grit finish on the turned wood, which was produced by his tools because they had been sharpened on his grinding wheel, which had a grit equivalent to approx 80.

Bob recommended that steel wool should not be used at all, first because of the danger of fire risk with various finishing solution solvents and also wood dust and shavings, but also because small bits always get embedded in the workpiece and should they ever get slightly damp rust spots will completely spoil the finished work.


In the final stage of turning and finishing Bob supported with his hand the box which was held loosly in the chuck protected by a piece of paper. As in the latter stages the job was not supported between centres this procedure was used to save the turned box from flying off the lathe.

In the last few minutes of the meeting we were shown the initial stages of producing one of many clock designs.

I am sure all members found the demonstrations very interesting, there is no doubt that Bob is a very experienced turner.

You may notice in many of the pictures that the same lathe is used for different meetings. This is the groups own lathe, many demonstrators like to save themselves the trouble of bringing their own lathe!

Look out for more Reports in the near future

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Updated 17/8/08