Tony has made multi centre turning something of a speciality with subjects ranging from female figures to canoes. He started his demonstration with a female figure with a hat. The blank was mounted between centres; the headstock drive remaining in the centre but the tailstock was moved to several offset positions to turn different parts of the figure. You need a particular type of mind to foresee the final shape as the turning proceeds.
Tony’s method is to draw the item and work out a pattern of centres which are marked on the end, then follow a sequence of turning on each centre. No doubt practice helps but I’m sure a lot of the designs happen by accident at first.
Who’d have thought of making a wooden boat on a lathe? Well, taking his cue from Terry Scott’s “Wakas” (Maiori canoes) Tony showed us how to make them with almost all operations on the lathe. He demonstrated just a part of the lengthy process and described the remainder. This time the off-centres are replicated at head and tailstock ends so that the boat remains parallel when offset. The top of the boat has to be sawn off and Tony likes to use a curved shape which is more interesting and accurate than a flat top. The canoe is then clamped in a jig to allow a number of positions along the length of the top to be presented to the gouge for scooping out. It’s easier to see what I mean from the picture.
He finished by making a simple vase with both head and tailstock centres being repositioned according to his drawing. In this case he also included a spigot for holding in a chuck to drill the centre hole. Tony’s method is to shape as much of the inside of the neck as possible with a skew and with tailstock support before drilling the hole. Any discontinuity caused by movement will then occur well inside where it will not be noticeable.
Much food for thought. We’ll look forward to some interesting examples of the technique in future galleries.
Speaking of which, the gallery tonight included a section for members to submit items for selection for the Forest of Bere Club competition. Pictures of our entries and the other gallery items can be seen on the website. There will be a separate report on the Forest of Bere event.
AGM and HWA Challenge
The start of the AGM was delayed to allow members to vote for their choices of the entries for the Challenge. 13 members had entered 20 items and there was some impressive work on the table. More later.
Once the AGM got under way and last year’s minutes had been accepted, Chairman John Holden presented his penultimate report since he is obliged by the constitution to stand down next year. John’s report was quite upbeat and is printed in the summer issue of Your Turn. Alan Sturgess gave a brief update on the Minstead Project followed by the Treasurer’s report. It reflected a stable financial position (they should make him Chancellor) with no increase in subscriptions necessary this year. The Treasurer’s summary and Minstead update are also in Your Turn.
Two of the proposed changes to the constitution were accepted as simply tidying up; changing “Emergency” General Meeting to the more usual “Extraordinary” General Meeting and changing references to the “Club” to the “Association”. However the third, to allow just one signature on Association cheques, provoked a heated debate (how refreshing!).
The proposal was intended to bring the constitution in line with current practice. Cheques are rarely used now and the bank does not require 2 signatures. It has become normal practice to issue cheques with a single signature of either the treasurer or chairman.
The argument against the proposal was put by ex-chairman and a founder member of the Association Brian Hannam. He stated that the 2 signature rule is common amongst small clubs and is designed to protect the clubs against fraud by a single officer and to protect the officers against such accusations. After a lively debate the proposal was soundly defeated by show of hands. The implication for the committee is that the bank should be approached and if they cannot or will not accept the 2 signature rule an alternative will have to be found. Brian suggested the Unity Trust Bank as a possibility.
With that, the committee stood down and Chris Davey took over for what has become the formality of election of a new committee. All the committee were prepared to stand and there were no new nominations except Pierre Baumann had been co-opted onto the old committee. So you’ve got us lot for another year. You had your chance.
Duly re-elected, John awarded member of the year trophy to Phil Bristow for his work on the website, taking on the visual equipment from Steve and his progress in his turning work. The Les Revell cup for novice of the year went to Alan Baker who was evidently so surprised he didn’t make it in to receive it. Awards of bottles of wine went to all the non-committee helpers.
During tea the votes for the Challenge had been counted and Lynda had written the certificates.
The categories were:-
A- A toy (7 entries)
B- An item featuring colouring (6 entries)
C- An item featuring piercing (5 entries)
D- A project for Minstead Training Project (2 entries)
49 members voted and it was very close. First choice was Harry Woollhead’s pierced plaque, second was Pierre Baumann’s train and third Jean Turner’s pierced, coloured vase, decorated with beads.
There was time for all the entrants, prodded by John, to say a few words about their entries.
The standard of the entries was most impressive and pictures of all of them can be seen on the website.
Steve Giles – Metal spinning and Resin work
Soft metals like pewter and copper can be moulded around wooden formers when spun on a lathe. The technique is within the capability of most woodturners, though some new tools are needed to form and burnish the metal. Well we all like an excuse to buy tools, don’t we?
Spun metal items can either stand alone or act as decorative or functional inserts for turned wooden things.
Steve started his demo with a pewter disc clamped between a bowl-shaped former at the head of the lathe and a block at the tail end. A curved forming tool was levered against the disc as it spun using a steel peg in a bar in the tool rest as a fulcrum. This stretched the metal to force it into the shape of the former. An additional “tool” is a wooden wedge held between the metal and the former. This is withdrawn as the gap closes and is necessary to avoid what would otherwise be the unsupported edge going wavy.
Steve demonstrated what happens without the wedge. Some of us thought the resulting wavy edge was quite attractive!
The stretching is unlikely to be uniform so the edge needs trimming. Turning tools will cut pewter quite easily so trimming can be done with the point of a skew chisel at right angles to the surface of the formed metal whilst the wooden former is still supporting it.
Copper can also be spun though it requires rather more pressure and tends to heat up. This would cause it to harden so regular dunking in water is required to anneal it to keep it ductile.
The second part of Steve’s presentation was a talk about using coloured resins. He had drawn a pattern of lines on paper which he stuck on a bowl blank and cut it into pieces along the lines. The exposed surfaces had been sealed with clear resin to prevent the subsequent coloured resins bleeding into the wood. The pieces are then stuck back together with coloured resin, often with (tile) spacers to define the thickness. The re-assembled blank can then be turned as a normal bowl.
The resins Steve was using are epoxy, coloured by the addition of a little artist’s oil paint. Mixing of resins with hardener can introduce air bubbles. Steve doesn’t usually see this as a problem. The removal of bubbles is possible with vacuum systems to suck the air out. This is a tricky operation as the resin tends to erupt as the bubbles expand under vacuum. Some claim vibration can be used to release bubbles but Steve doubts the efficacy of that method. Polyester resins can also be used. These are more brittle but are less prone to the retaining bubbles.
The subjects covered were clearly novel to many of us and a high proportion of members had turned out to see what it was all about.
After Steve’s presentation, John Davis kindly gave a critique of the members’ gallery. There was a good display on the gallery table and pictures can be seen on the website.
Mike had the unusual idea of keeping what he was demonstrating a secret and inviting the audience to guess what he was making as the evening progressed by writing it on a card. The first correct guess would win a prize of some laburnum. There was a condition, though. The wood would have to be used to make something for the members’ gallery.
He started by turning a cylinder between centres with a spigot on each end and parting it off at about 2/3 along. “Ah, a box”, went the murmurings and a few cards came forward.
But then he turned a slightly thinner cylinder, mounted it in a chuck and stepped it with a 40 mm diameter at the chuck end and a 9 mm spindle at the other. The 40 mm part was undercut where it joined the spindle. Mike dropped a clue at this point referring to this part as a piston. A flurry of cards and the suggestions became wilder.
The larger part of the divided cylinder was re-mounted and a 40 mm hole bored with a Forstner bit and sanded to accept the piston with a sliding fit. . Mike uses a holder for the sanding. “Never put your fingers inside if you can’t get your fist in” he advised.
The smaller part of the divided cylinder was then mounted and a 40 mm spigot turned on the end. A 9mm hole was drilled in this. A reference to this part as the handle was another clue.
The bored cylinder was re-mounted and the “handle” jammed on to it, supported by the tailstock. The joined cylinders were turned to a tapered shape and a handle turned at the end after covering the join with masking tape and removing the tailstock.
Time was pressing and Mike had to resort to that tried and tested trick of revealing one he had finished earlier. Just before that, however, that wily gambler, Denis Hilditch had been biding his time before handing in his suggestion.
Mike demonstrated the function of his creation by standing it upright and lifting the handle. An array of cocktail sticks splayed from the opening join where they could be picked out individually. Scrutiny of the suggestion cards revealed only 1 correct guess, that last entry from Denis. Denis called it a toothpick dispenser. Mike intended it for cocktail sticks but we thought he was being picky and the prize went to Denis.
I rather lost track of the function of a small plug and a piece of string (presumably to prevent enthusiastic pickers from pulling the top right off, spilling the sticks?).
How about writing it up as a project for the “turn yourself” page on the website, Mike?
Jean Turner kindly said a few words about the things on the members’ gallery. Pictures of all of them can be seen on the website. The gallery always creates a lot of interest; thanks to everyone who brings their work in.