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November the 2nd – Les Thorne

4 November, 2009

Offered the choice of a box or a bowl by Les, the members asked for a box. In fact Les did both, starting with a box in ash. I’m not going to describe the demo in detail; anyone interested can get a DVD from Les. What you don’t get on the DVD is the famous banter and interplay with the audience. There were useful tips along the way with pros and cons of, for example, push and pull strokes in hollowing. The use of a lacquer to seal the ends of the fibres inside the box before making a final cut may also be new to some. Sanding sealer can be used as an alternative but Les prefers spray lacquer as less messy and more uniform. Les’s view on the perennial debate about the fit of the lid is that it should be neither too tight nor too loose. Ideally picking up by the lid should leave the box on the table but if inverted, when picking up by the base, the lid should stay attached. A fine balance! The fit should be tight initially to allow the lid to be jammed on for turning and then the relieved slightly when the lid is finished before reversing the base.

The box was attractively shaped like a bottle kiln with a bead at the top to provide a finger grip to remove the lid. The open grain of ash lends itself to being picked out by a coloured filler. Les first sprayed with an ebonising lacquer to give a shiny black base and, when dry, rubbed in Liberon gold coloured filler. The excess was wiped away using wax which was buffed up to give a nice finish.

Les demo

Les went on to turn a natural edge bowl from a half log with grain at right angles to the axis of turning. No time to finish it, but Les left that to a volunteer from the audience. Hopefully we’ll see it on the gallery table next time.

Les demo 2

The evening was rounded off by a critique on the gallery which was impressive in terms of both quality and quantity. It would be nice to see this effort maintained.

Les crit

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