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17th March – CoronaVirus Update

17 March, 2020
In the fight against the Corona Virus pandemic the Government is now advising against social gatherings and visiting pubs, restaurants, cinemas and theatres. HWA membership consists of a many who are particularly at risk by virtue of age and medical conditions.
With the greatest regret, your committee is therefore cancelling the AGM on 6th April and the following meeting on 4th May. 
We will advise you if further cancellations are necessary and a date when the AGM can be rescheduled, or an EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting) held in its place.
Meanwhile, in these unavoidable circumstances, the existing committee will remain in office and current membership extended.
Dave Gibbard

2nd March – Martin Saban-Smith – Finishing

15 March, 2020

Martin is a Registered Professional Woodturner whose workshop is based in Four Marks, Hampshire. He has a friendly and informal approach to teaching, and he also films his creative woodturning on Social Media. Martin specialises in colouring his wooden creations and he also makes the popular Hampshire Sheen range of wax and oil finishes; he also blends the atmospheric Intrinsic Collection of coloured dyes. His workshop is fully equipped with 5 lathes each with a full set of tools for each one together with a host of other ‘creative’ tools for students and workshop members to use.

Martin was going to demonstrate how he makes and colours a thin-turned two-part bowl. For the base he selected a 5×3 inch Ash blank and for the bowl he had chosen a 10×3 inch Sycamore bowl blank.

Martin started by cleaning off the end of the blank using a 3/8ths Spindle gouge. He had decided that the Tail-stock end would be the bottom of the pedestal, and that he was going to make a Tennon at the other end that would later fit into the underside of the bowl blank. Martin then offered up the Sycamore bowl blank to gauge how tall to make the pedestal and how thick to make its diameter. Martin stated that he was going to make the diameter 1/3rd the diameter of the bowl.

He then set his callipers at 55mm, which is the size of the tenon he was going to make on the top of the pedestal, by using his Les Thorn 10mm Round skew tool. With the base and the tenon completed Martin proceeded to remove wood from the blank and shape the body of the pedestal to his satisfaction. His aim was to make a ‘fairly thin’ but pleasing shape and to do this he used what he called “Butcher-like rapid and deep cuts” keeping the bevel close to the wood and removing material quickly.

Initially the bottom part of the foot looked like a goblet, and he then started on the top part of the foot to create a shape that would complement his envisaged shape of the bowl. Martin then used fine cuts to shape the flutes but was careful not to make it too thin or it would look out of proportion.

Martin is a left-handed turner, and there was a question from a member regarding problems that this can cause. Martin stated that he has had to adapt his wood turning method to suit his left handedness. He stated that he needs to take extra care when working at the tail-stock end of the lathe as his gouge handle can often ‘snag’ or ‘catch’ the lathe bed or the tail-stock support and cause problems. He also stated he has had massive problems trying to acquire a ‘left-handed hammer’. So, if anybody has one….

When Martin was happy with the shape and finish of the pedestal, he sanded at 180 grit, then 240 and 400, he stated that he always jumps two grits as he gets better results this way, and he prefers to use Abranet rather than standard sandpaper. When sanding the cove, he emphasised that you need to do each side separately to ensure that the peak stayed sharp, but not too sharp that it is uncomfortable to hold.

When using 400 grit Abranet he always folds it in half and keeps it moving on the work piece to prevent heat build-up. The finer the grit you use the friction tends to “burnish” the wood, which seals it up and prevents coloured wax’s and dies from sticking. Martin always stops the lathe when he has finished with a grit and has a close check for tool marks or

scratches from the sanding before switching to the next grit Abranet.

He also gave the very good tip of using tissue (Kitchen Towel) in front of the wood, to catch the debris and reduce the amount of fine dust that is removed by the sanding action of the Abranet.

Martin decided that he was going to stain the pedestal with his signature Black dye, and the bowl with a Blue and Purple wax.

He applied the water-based dye by tipping some onto a piece of kitchen towel and rubbing it into the grain (do not apply it directly onto the wood as it tends to ‘blotch’ and will not spread uniformly). Martin also emphasised that you should not “press” the tissue into the grain as it absorbs the dye better if applied slowly. Martin states that he prefers to use water-based dyes over spirit-based ones as they dry slower, therefore giving you more time to work on the piece. He also stated that he doesn’t worry about any “dry spots” that he missed with the dyed cloth, as these will be sorted later. For the sake of expediency Martin dried the freshly dyed pedestal with his hot-air gun. He then used a single coat of slightly diluted Sander Sealer to seal the dye. The sander sealer also moistens the dye which helps it to fill in those dry spots and seal the grain.

Martin then gave the pedestal a coat of Purple wax over the Black, this gave it a deeper colour and covered any remaining dry spots. With the lathe on a medium speed he then buffed off the wax, as he only wanted it thinly on the grain, and brought it to a lovely sheen. Then using his Fluted Parting tool, he ‘undercut’ the tenon and parted it off, he then passed the completed pedestal around.

Martin then picked up the 10×3 inch Sycamore bowl blank and chose the “interesting” side to be the top (there was a slight grain discolouration on one side). He then attached a faceplate to the underside and placed it in the chuck.

We then stopped for a break during which Martin carried out the critique of the large number of members work that was on the display table. We then had tea and biscuits.

After tea break Martin started to shape the bowl to ‘round’ by using his ½ inch gouge, with the lathe at slow speed, and trying to keep the ‘interesting’ knotted aspect of the wood that was close to the rim. He then trued-up the front by using pull cuts and put in a 55mm recess (the same size as the tenon on the pedestal). He then ‘check fitted’ the joints to ensure they fitted snugly and put the dove tail in the recess.

Martin then started to ‘turn-away’ the underside of the bowl, ensuring that he left enough height to allow for the drop of the bowls rim for this he used pull cuts. As he was turning, we could all hear a ‘knocking’, this was the gouge bouncing on the knotted grain, Martin slowed the lathe to give better control of the cut and reduce the effect of the knocking. He carefully formed an undercut at the lip as a feature for the finished bowl. Martin stated that “finishing is key”, and he prefers sanding with his rotary sanding tool. He then explained his technique, which is to ‘offer the disc to the wood and tilt the pad to start the disc rotating against the piece’. Again, he started with 120 grit to remove any tool marks, and stopped to look for imperfections, then 180 and up through the grits.

When he was happy with both the shape of the bowl and with smooth finish, he removed the bowl from the lathe, took off the faceplate and reinserted the bowl onto the lathe via the recess. Martin determined how thick the wall of the bowl was and using his ½ inch gouge started to remove wood from the top lip to ‘mirror’ the shape of the undercut.

Martin used his fingers to test the thickness of the walls and marked any ‘high spots’ with a pencil so that he could see where they were and accurately remove them.

When he was “almost happy” Martin stopped removing thickness from the top-lip and started removing stock from the inside of the bowl to hollow the shape. He swapped to his 3/8-inch gouge for hollowing and used harsh cuts. At this point Martin’s gouge handle clipped the lathe bed causing a dig-in to the inside profile of the bowl which needed rectifying. To finish the shaping, Martin changed to a newer sharper gouge as the bowl had ‘hard spots’ causing the tool to bounce, again he remedied this by slowing the lathe down and by using shallower smoother cuts for more control.

When completely satisfied with the shape Martin used his power drill with a 120-grit pad, he also used his facemask as personal protection. His method for sanding was to start at the outside edge of the rim and ‘power sand’ up to the apex of the curved lip (again using paper towel to reduce the spread of the dust) then from the centre of the bowl and back to the apex, he then again stopped the lathe to check for flaws and scratch marks, when happy he used 180, 240, 400 grits. With the bowl now completed and finished to his satisfaction, Martin spoke about his colouring technique. He stated that he does NOT seal the bowl until his coloured dyes have penetrated, and that he starts with the darker colours first as this prevents ‘over darkening’ and changing the colours of the lighter dyes if they were applied first.

For this bowl Martin decided to start by putting Midnight Blue dye on to his paper towel and rubbing it in to the bowl by using pressure from the ‘tips of his fingers’ to apply the colour. Martin eased off the pressure and left part of the bowl void. He was not worried about any dry spots; he then gave this a ‘gentle warming’ with his hot air gun to help dry the dye. His next colour was Sky Blue, and with this he started in the void area and went partially on to the Midnight Blue, again he gave a quick drying with the hot air gun before applying his last colour. For this he chose Plum and rubbed that in. He used ONE COAT of each colour to initially colour the bowl to his satisfaction, and he ensured that each coat was dry before applying the next.

Martin then lightly sanded the ‘grain feature’ in order to highlight it. He chose Sky Blue dye to go over this area of interest. When he was happy with the colouring and in order to ‘encourage’ the colours to dry, and de-nib any raised grain, he turned on the lathe to medium speed and burnished the bowl with a cloth. Martin then used a solvent based Sander sealer to “pull off” some of the colour the wood and to accentuate the grain pattern, he then friction burnished the sealer.


Martin then applied Gloss sealing wax (a mixture of Microcrystalline and Carnauba wax). Carnauba wax reaches full hardness within 2-3 days, and the more coats you put on the deeper the sheen)

When he was happy with the finish Martin carefully used his hot air gun to melt the wax into the surface by using ‘glancing ‘but quick brush-like strokes to smooth the wax into the surface.

This was followed by a very light buffing (not a burnish), then another Gloss finishing wax over the entire bowl, and a final very cautious warming with the hot air gun.

Martin finished off the bowl by removing it from the lathe and CA gluing the pedestal into the tenon of the bowl to create a lovely coloured bowl.

                                                                       Dave Simpson (Editor).

2nd March – Gallery

6 March, 2020

3rd February – Gallery

14 February, 2020

6th January – Club turn in

21 January, 2020

January’s meeting was attended by a total of 51 members.

The first meeting of the New Year was also a ‘first’ for the club. It was decided to have a Turn-in with a difference. We had five lathes set up, each with a ‘Lathe Master’ who was responsible for their lathe and were each given a similar 8 inch diameter x 1 1/2inch thick Ash bowl blank, with a brief to make either a bowl or platter to the design of their randomly selected ‘team’. As members entered the hall and ‘signed in’, our Membership Secretary Keith Barnes gave them each a sticky label with a number between 1-5 written on it. The numbers corresponded to a lathe and allocated that member to a pre numbered lathe for the evening.

The idea being that the Lathe Master and his ‘team’ decided on what they wanted to produce from the Ash blank they had been given, and they collectively used the tools that were provided by the Lathe Master to create their bespoke masterpiece.

Lathe No 1 was overseen by Lathe Master Martin Rooney.

Lathe No 2 was overseen by Lathe Master Mike Haselden.

Lathe No 3 was overseen by Lathe Master John Holden.

Lathe No 4 was overseen by Lathe Master Alan Baker.

Lathe No 5 was overseen by Lathe Master Alan Sturgess.

The evening started off with our Chairman Dave Gibbard giving the normal obligatory Safety Brief, then explaining the plan for the evening and directing the members to start at their allocated lathe.

Lathe No 1. Martin Rooney and his team had elected to make a bowl rather than a platter. Martin had decided that he would start the bowl but he was not going to do all the ‘work’ on the lathe himself, and was going to make his team do the work, but that he would offer support, advice and technical help if required. Tony Mercer ‘faced off’ the bowl and created the spigot using a pull motion with a small Spindle gouge. With the spigot completed and the bottom of the bowl formed to the team’s satisfaction the bowl was reversed on the chuck. Whilst hollowing the bowl Mario Demontis was using fine ‘push-cuts’ from the outside of the bowl to the centre.

Martin had left the design of the bowl to his team and they decided on a ‘recess within a recess’ which in effect created a ‘small bowl within a bowl’, which was a very interesting and unusual concept. This was completed largely by using Martins favourite tool The Simon Hope ‘Carbide Tool’ which has a very small ‘glass cutter’ type blade that is carefully offered up to the work piece.

Lathe No 2 with Mike Haslelden. Mike had come equipped with his own ‘travelling workshop’, including his own Dust extraction system. Mike had also decided to create a bowl rather than a platter, but their Ash Blank had a defect. It had a knot with sizable hole visible on one side, it was unknown how deep the knot or hole was, but the discolouration was visible on the opposite face. After ‘truing’ the blank and forming the shape of the bottom of the bowl there was some discussion as to the best way to form the foot.

Alan Truslove suggested that a ring be formed outside of the foot as this results in less wastage of material and allows for a deeper bowl, as the ring will form the base of the bowl and therefore remove the necessity of flattening the base after the spigot is removed. Alan demonstrated his method to the team. With the bottom finished, and the bowl reversed on the chuck it soon became apparent that the knot was going to cause an issue. Mike decided to pour some superglue into the hole to stabilise it and then carefully proceed with the hollowing. The glue held and the bowl was sanded to satisfaction then sealed with spray sealer and a coat of Chestnut Cut ‘n’ Polish and finished with a coating of Wood Wax 22 to give it a nice sheen and complete a lovely bowl. Mike’s top tip was “next time you go to a nice restaurant, save the good quality serviette, as they have a high Linen content and are very useful to use as finishing cloths”.

Lathe No 3 was John Holden’s whose team also decided on making a bowl. There was some discussion as to the best way to make and shape their bowl. Brian Eyley was working on shaping the bowl, but the lathe kept slowing down when under load, so John had to do some impromptu engineering and adjusted the belt speed of the lathe.

John shaped the base with a deep foot then reversed the bowl in order to ‘face the inside’ and turn the hole for the bowl. After some discussion and nifty tool work the team produced a very attractive flat lipped bowl with a narrow-recessed lip. John used his De Walt power drill with a sander attachment for final smoothing of the top of the bowl. He then made a jam-chuck and reversed the bowl to finish the underside. They sealed the bowl with Chestnut Sander Sealer diluted 50/50 and sanded to a fine finish.

Lathe No 4 with Alan Baker, Alan had come fully prepared and produced a plan drawing of the bowl that he intended to produce with his team. There was some in-depth discussion between them as to ‘how best’ to make the bowl and equally as important ‘which tools’ to use to get the best effect. As the bowl progressed there was some debate as to which grade of sandpaper to use for best effect as there were ‘toolmarks’ that needed to be removed.

Alan explained that changes in colour of the turned piece indicate where the tool ’stopped’ or ‘lingered’ on the piece causing a different effect on the wood grain. Alan soon realised that he had not brought enough sandpaper of different grits, so he visited the ever-useful HWA Shop and immediately got a better selection and smoothed the piece to his satisfaction. Alan used neat Sander Sealer in order to raise the grain, prior to sanding the inside. They turned the bowl so that the foot could be completed but had to have several attempts at making a suitable jam-chuck that would hold the bowl securely and squarely on the lathe. With the foot completed to their satisfaction they chose to use Australian Orange oil to raise the grain and then finished off with Chestnut Micro-crystalline wax.

Lathe 5 With Alan Sturgess, Alan started by showing how to ‘face-off’ the blank in order to stop the vibrations caused by the unsymmetrical wood blank and then commenced the shaping of the bowl they were to create. When he had partially completed the bowl base, he applied Exon MARCOL 82 oil to seal the wood and to prevent dust when sanding. Alan pointed out that the best and safest place to sand the bowl was on its ‘bottom-front quadrant’. In this area your hand is unlikely to be dragged down or around by the spinning wood and is unlikely to be ‘thrown’ off, as you have much more control over the sandpaper.

At this point Alan made, and hot-glued, a ‘waste block’ onto the base to give better access to the chucking point, but it slid slightly ‘off centre’ and had to be quickly removed before the hot- glue set. With the ‘waste block’ accurately re seated he reversed the bowl to hollow the inside. Alan continued to hollow out by using a ‘push-cut’ from the outside to the inside but leaving a very nice lip on the outer rim. He left a ‘stud’ in the bottom centre which was the same size as the hot-glued waste block for safety reasons until the bulk of the inside was removed. He then cautiously removed the stud to leave a flat bottom and sanded it to satisfaction. Alan then reversed the bowl by securing it in a set of Button jaws and carefully removed the hot-glued waste block. When sanded to his satisfaction he applied some more of his Exon MARCOL 82 oil (which he had acquired in his previous life) and revealed a lovely and very useful bowl.

While the teams started to clean up the incredibly messy hall and stow away their equipment our Chairman Dave Gibbard carried out the critique of items that members had displayed on the table, followed by a critique of the newly made selection of bowls. Each bowl was very different in appearance, and made with differing techniques, were of differing designs and thicknesses, but they were all attractive and functional.

The general consensus of opinion was that the evening went very well, and everyone appeared to have enjoyed themselves. I believe most people had an input in the production of their respective team’s bowls and would have learned something useful.

Four of the bowls were taken to be offered up for sale to raise funds for Minstead, so your combined efforts will go to a good cause.

Many thanks to Bob Hope who had the initial idea for tonight’s Turn-in and was instrumental in much of the preparation.

Many thanks as always to our ace Photographer Pete Broadbent for his time and effort in photographing not only the usual gallery pictures but also the many club demos.

Due to time constraints Steve Jones and an ‘independent adjudicator’ had pre-drawn the raffle tickets, so the raffle was quickly and efficiently completed. Many thanks to Steve.

Thanks also to the Shop crew and the crucially important Tea and Coffee crew.

My role throughout the evening was to ‘walk around’ from lathe to lathe and take notes of the snapshot visits I made of what was happening, and who was ‘doing what’ on each lathe. I was equipped with the officious-looking clip board, paper and pencil. Contrary to popular belief I wasn’t ‘marking’ the team members or Lathe Masters as several of you thought. But as I was only ‘visiting’ each lathe there were potentially lots of topical discussion points and technical points that I missed.

One obvious thing that was missing throughout the evening was the lack of HWA name badges that were being carried and therefore it was difficult for members to identify who was who. It is surprising just how few names we can put to faces. Please can we remember to bring our HWA name badges.

Many thanks to all the Lathe Masters and their helpers.

Stay Safe everyone.                                

Dave Simpson. (Editor)

6th January – Gallery

19 January, 2020

2nd December – Gallery

14 December, 2019