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10 July, 2016

It has been noticed for some time that I am losing my marbles so just to confirm the fact, I am proposing to ‘Abseil’ 328 ft. down the Spinnaker Tower’ in Portsmouth UK. The date I have chosen is 30th. July 2016 at 5PM. Which means that I shall just make it before my 87th. Birthday. I am looking for sponsorship and donations can be made to Prostate Cancer UK being a subject close to my heart (well about 13 inches away) via, I suggest that if you are kind enough to donate you delay until I have completed the deed, just in case I ‘chicken out’ at the last moment, which is always on the cards! I will let you know via the same media that you read this.

Best Regards

Denis Hilditch.

PS, 10,000 men a year in the UK die from Prostate Cancer, so men get yourself checked out a bit earlier than I did!!

4th July – Gallery

8 July, 2016

6th June – Gary Rance

8 July, 2016

Another good attendance with 70 members and 1 new member attending

Welcome to John Carter, from North Baddesley. This turned out to be an evening of substitutions Chairman Lynda was unavailable so Bob Hope stood in as MC for the evening.


Bob also had to organise a replacement demonstrator for the evening with John Plater being unwell, we were treated to an evening with Gary Rance and his sidekick Les Thorne.


Gary is well known to most of us, having most recently visited us for our 25th anniversary meeting in 2014.


Gary Rance kicked off with a quick review of spindle turning, starting with turning a square into a round and then demonstrating cutting beads and coves all done with apparent ease by the turner with 41 years of experience.

Gary 1

Gary then moved onto his main demonstration of a humming spinning top, an item that he not only makes but also repairs some very expensive antique examples of.


Made in two parts, Gary started with a rectangular block turning the top part similar to a round box lid with an upright spindle to accommodate the handle finished off with a nicely turned ball on top.

Gary 2   Gary 3

This was then finished off by cutting three circular grooves which were then accentuated with a pencil line, and very effective too. This was then sanded using 180, 400 and 500 grit and always keep the abrasive moving to avoid scoring the wood. Gary explained how he always sands from the rear of the lathe as it saves time by not having to move the tool rest, time being very important for a busy production turner. The finished item was then removed from the block with a parting tool.

Gary 4     Gary 5

The rest of the block would then be used for the main body of the piece, again similar to turning a round box, but with a pointed base to allow it to spin. This was hollowed out with very accurately turned thin side walls, taking several attempts to match it to the previously turned lid, much to the amusement of the audience and Mr Thorne in particular. Again embellished with pencilled in grooves and sanded through the three previous grits. The two parts were then grain aligned into place and glued together using Titebond II, which he now prefers to super glue.


At this point we took our tea break, while our demonstrator was surrounded by members who either had question or wanted a closer look at the night’s progress or to view Gary’s range of examples, tools, accessories and DVDs. Following a short break Bob invited Gary to critique the member’s gallery. To which he proceeded to give a very firm but constructive review of the work on view.

Gary critique

The final third part is the handle approximately four inches long, a standard spindle design with hole near the end to accommodate the ball topped spindle of the main body, at this point Gary explained how he uses a “Scratcher” to mark the cuts to his spindle to achieve a consistent design, again important for a busy production turner. A scratcher is simply a piece of wood with nails driven though at the bead positions. Holding this against the revolving spindle marks the bead positions the same each time. He also uses a jig with adjustable “fingers” when producing large quantities of matching spindles. The fingers fall when the diameter at that position reaches the set size. No need for callipers. Again decorated and sanded in similar fashion to the rest of the top.

Gary's scratch jig

With this done it was back to cut the “humming hole” into the side of the main body, the hole is square cut with an approximate 45-degree angle through the wall to enable the sound to be achieved. When demonstrating the top in action no hum was evident Gary jokingly advised us that it was probably too high a frequency for us to hear, after several spins and occasional “Hums” and “Whistles” from the audience the main demonstration ended to a warm round of applause.

Gary willing top to whistle     Gary's whistling top

Always good value Gary then proceeded to demonstrate a new pendant that he has designed, one with a revolving centre turned from one disc of wood. Gary started out by turning a thin disc shape on the end of a round profile blank, he then parted it of off the blank, it was then placed into a circular jig that holds the disc in an internal recess, which is then secured in the jaws of a chuck so that the reverse side can be shaped to match the front, a matching circle is then marked on both sides,


Then comes the clever bit: the jig containing the pendant is returned to the chuck where an upward angled cut is made from the marked circle to a depth of half way into the disc. The whole thing is then reversed and the process repeated until the centre becomes detached from the outer ring without falling out due to the angle of the cut, another generous round of applause followed.

Gary's pendants    Gary's pendant

Checking the time with Bob, Gary then gave a very brief lesson of how to sharpen tools on a grinding wheel attached to the lathe, without switching the lathe on Gary explained what angles and movements are required to sharpen each of the various turning tools without the need of a sharpening jig.

The meeting ended with the usual raffle.


6th June – Gallery

7 June, 2016

4th May – Turn in

6 May, 2016

There was a very good attendance for the May Turn-In and the three turners were kept busy the whole evening, all three lathes attracted large audiences throughout the evening including the tea break


Roy Holder

Was demonstrating hollowing and  giving much practical advice on this very difficult skill that many of us try to avoid, perhaps many of his audience will now have a renewed desire to try out 

Roy Holder 

Ian Woodford

Started with a nice little puzzle  turning a small domed base with a six inch nail standing proud in the centre, there were then six equally placed, but removable nails around the perimeter. He then challenged his audience to remove the six loose nails and balance then on top of the central nail, if you weren’t there you may never know the solution.

Ian Woodford  Ian's nails  Ian's nails balancing

Ian then dedicated the rest of his time to turn some beautiful finials that were to become the centre piece of a turned needle case.


Alan Baker

Brought his novice corner to the lathe and took his “Hands on” audience through a wide range of  turning techniques and skills, which encouraged several members to have a go in front of their peers

Alan Baker

 As ever the secretary is always looking for members who are willing to have a go and share their skills with others so why not volunteer?

4th May – Gallery

5 May, 2016

4th April 2016 – AGM and Brains Trust

12 April, 2016

Following this years AGM and Tea Break, we were treated to a Brains Trust aka Q&A session


Club Secretary Bob Hope was the question master and providing the Brains were three of our most respected members Jean Turner, Mike Hasleden and Harry Woolhead. With Chris Davey and Dave Gibbard chipping in with their expertise.


John Holden asked “How to hold a thin shallow dish without using a vacuum chuck?”

H/W recommended gluing the dish to a sacrificial holding piece that could be inserted in the chuck   and supported by the tailstock, other suggestions included using masking tape, double sided tape or even Camping Mattress Foam?


The next question asked “How to Make Two identical Eggs and Egg Cups?

Jean suggested using a combination of a half, a third, a quarter and an eighth templates, Mike recommends leaving the spigots on so that adjustments can be made, and suggested coming to a “Hands on Day” at Alresford and be shown how to do it.


Brian Hannam asked “When combining different species of wood how do you deal with differential shrinkage?”

Mike stated the obvious to use compatible timbers,

Harry said use Oak, knowing Brian’s dislike of the wood.

Jean suggested that you could plasticise the wood, but this can prove expensive.



Dave Simpson asked “At what point does a crack become a split?”

Jean volunteered when a crack right through the timber, it becomes dangerous to put on a lathe, don’t use it.



The next Question was of a legal nature regarding PAT testing of items such as Table Lamps

Mike recommended that to be safe only make for family and friends.

Harry suggested using cable clips to restrain cables from moving and connection becoming loose and to get them PAT tested.

Jean added to look at Product Liability cover, and CE Certification


Editors note.

Take a look at

Membership includes £5m Public and Products Liability (PPL) insurance and access to specialist insurance packages for artists for just £36 for individual membership


Alan Baker then asked “How to season a wet turned vase?”

Mike’s advice was to hollow it out and leave it exposed

Harry agreed and suggested it would also colour better that way.


Bob Hope asked the panel for their favourite wood for small turned boxes with the following responses

Harry – Sycamore for it’s beautiful colour and Yew

Mike – Any of the Acers, or Yew

Jean – Boxwood or African Blackwood


The final question came from Novice Corner “What is the best wood to start turning with?”

Harry answered “anything you can get hold of” which was echoed by the rest of the panel. Jean added that you should never allow a piece of wood to become too precious and leave on the shelf to age and eventually become too dry to work.  “Don’t be afraid, You cant improve without making mistakes”.


The Brains Trust was followed by a critique of the gallery by Bob Hope. Special mention was made to freshly voted “Novice of the Year” Dave Simpson for his excellent Spalted Beech bowl.


The draw was won by Martin Rooney who had dominated the table with three very nice bowls.

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