A very good turnout of 69 members attended the first meeting of 2016
Our guest woodturner this month was Kevin Hutson who hails from Brighton, although his studio is in Haywards Heath.
He specialises in aesthetic shapes in ash and sycamore, often with oriental inspiration and sells his work through over 30 galleries, mostly made to order.
His woods of preference are Sycamore, Ash and Maple. Examples can be found on his website khutson.co.uk
Kevin served a five year apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery, a career he followed for 16 years before progressing into architecturally designed joinery, where he developed his self-taught creativity. He started woodturning some 25 years ago using a small drill attachment lathe and has since progressed to a Myford lathe using a MultiStar Collet chuck.
Becoming bored with conventional shapes he advanced towards more aesthetic shapes and now blends subtle tones of colour to emphasise the variety of grain found in wood. Each piece is finished by a three day process of spraying with an air brush.
This evening he treated us to a demonstration of turning a square edged box and for this purpose he used a simple square of pine.
Kevin started the first half of his demonstration with the base of the box using a faceplate ring inserted in the collet chuck, very similar to turning a bowl but taking care when shaping the square edges or wings. This was then reversed onto the chuck for hollowing out.
During the demonstration we were treated to a number of tips such as flattening the sides of the tool handles to denote orientation and to stop them from rolling when laid down, and also colour coding them for easy recognition. Kevin also explained how he adjusts the angle of the cutting edge of his tools to suit the type of wood he is working with; a skill that only comes with experience. With the base finished tea was taken.
Before returning to the lathe to make the lid, Kevin delivered a critique of members’ work on the gallery able. He was very complementary about all of the work on display paying particular praise to the standard of finishing and taking time to discuss each item with its maker.
Following some banter with Harry Woolhead including a joke about a £5 bribe. Kevin then proceeded to draw the prize which embarrassingly went to Harry and his twisted stem goblet!
Pictures of all the gallery items can be seen via the website.
Kevin then turned his attention to producing the square edged lid, again securing the piece of pine to the chuck with his faceplate ring. With the basic form produced he then proceeded to match the lid and base, preferring a not too tight fit, but explaining that a tight fit can be useful to hold both parts together for any final adjustments to the shape.
Kevin finished his presentation by discussing his sanding and finishing techniques, which he was not able to demonstrate in the time available. He uses a 50/50 dilution of cellulose sanding sealer, applying multiple coats with an air brush rubbing down in between.
The demonstration ended to a very generous round of applause.
47 members came along to join in the fun, bringing 8 guests with them. Continuing the membership upsurge, 2 of the members were new. Welcome. It’s not always like this you know.
Before the main event, Lynda presented Les Thorne with a certificate proclaiming him an honorary member. HWA was Les’s first Club which he joined before he became infamous. Les said he was touched by the gesture.
For the quiz, 6 teams were established with, as usual, imaginative (?) names.
Quizmaster Lynda posed questions on General Knowledge, Birds, Nursery Rhymes and Naming Turners before the break.
At the break we had not just one but two delights. Firstly the magnificent spread of savoury snacks, cakes and biscuits put on by Lynda. Thank you, Lynda.
Then there was the Great British Diablo Jerk-off (hotly tipped to follow the bake off and pottery throw down onto our TV screens).
Only 6 members were brave enough to have entered a diablo, (pictures on website) 5 of whom were persuaded to demonstrate their proficiency. Les was pressed into acting as MC for the event and put it to the audience to raise a cheer to indicate their decision. John Holden and Bob McFarland had a fine jerking technique and were able to keep it up the longest. It required a 2 way jerk-off to separate them, the decision going to Bob by a few dB after he attempted a brave tricky manoeuver which didn’t quite come off. There was also a prize for the best looking diablo and Les judged this should go to Adrian Smith for his colourful effort. Then it was back to the quiz…
In the second half there were questions on Science and Technology, Sport, Local Knowledge and Musical Instruments.
It was much closer than usual with only 13.5 points between first and last. The final positions were in doubt until the last round when “Barking”, playing their Joker, almost snatched it from “the Monkey Puzzlers”, but finished just half a point behind. “Screw the Skew” were only one point behind them and “the Committee” a further 2 points adrift. That left “Odds and Sods” and “Is it Tea or Coffee?” snapping at their heels.
Finally the evening was rounded off by the raffle with Keith and his wife Susan standing in and then Lynda wished everyone a merry Christmas and a new year of good turning.
Traffic chaos outside delayed the start and we went ahead without the video system as Steve hadn’t arrived. This was set up as Les carried on. If anyone can cope with such setbacks surely Les can? Eventually a record audience of 73 turned up.
Acknowledging the large number of new and generally inexperienced members, Les went back to basics and demonstrated making a candlestick. This involved both spindle and “faceplate” turning, the latter referring to wood mounted on the lathe with grain at right angles to the axis. It also, involves a joint. It’s a good idea to draw the shape before starting or get one from a book.
Starting with the base, there are many ways of holding the blank but since the hole would not be visible, a screw chuck was the obvious choice. The blank had been cut into an octagonal shape rather than circular to avoid creating a bias on the bandsaw blade. The time required to go from octagon to circle on the lathe is negligible. For this, Les used a bowl gouge, not a roughing gouge which is not designed for faceplate work. His bowl gouge was ground with a long grind which is more versatile than traditional grinds allowing both pull and push cuts.
Turning speed should be as fast as vibration and your nerve will allow. Not only is it quicker but a smoother cut can be obtained.
The underside was turned with a very slight concave shape for stability and a dovetail recess cut in the centre. This should be of a diameter to suit the chuck jaws which will only be circular at a particular diameter. Reversing onto this dovetail enabled the top surface to be turned and a hole made in the centre to take the spigot on the stem of the candlestick.
Les had pre-drilled the hole in the end of the spindle for the metal cup which holds the candle. The tailstock revolving centre was inserted into this to ensure the hole is central when finished. If your centre does not fit, turn a simple plug. The spindle had been cut to an octagonal section. It is quicker to remove wood on the bandsaw and fewer shavings are produced. This time a roughing gouge is the tool for the job of turning a cylinder. A few strategic pencil marks were made to give a rough guide to the shape. Curved sections are separated by “punctuation marks” like beads and the transition between the base and stem is also disguised by a bead. The shaping was done by a spindle gouge and skew chisel before sanding. Les regards grits of 180 or courser as shaping grits and finer ones for smoothing.
Not content with having made a nice candlestick, Les went on to age it by burning with a blow torch. The purpose of this is to add some texture by removing the softer parts of the grain. After rubbing the burnt particles off with a liming brush he then sprayed with black lacquer and finished with liming wax. Les claims that this is a more interesting appearance which is reflected in the perceived value.
As usual, my memory and the space available hardly do justice to the wealth of detail presented. Still, a large number of you were there to see it for yourselves and if you want some more then get the DVD or sign up for some hands-on tuition. Googling Les Thorne will point you in the right direction.
Not only was attendance high, but after last month’s poor showing the gallery table this time had an impressive 18 items. Les did a helpful critique at tea time and commented on number and quality of the work of members. You can see all the pictures on the website.