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April 19th – AGM and club discussion

26 April, 2010

The first item on the AGM agenda was the report from the Chairman, Jon Gibbs followed by the report and accounts from the Treasurer, Alan Sturgess. Jon’s report and summary from Alan are presented separately.

Jon then went on to make the annual awards.

The Les Revell novice trophy is shared this year between Keith Barnes and Gerald Nicholson.

The trophy for HWA member of the year for his contributions over a number of years went to Brian Matcham. Unfortunately Brian was in hospital so could not receive his trophy.

Congratulations to you all and best wishes for a speedy recovery to Brian.

Awards of bottles of wine were given to the helpers:

Audio visual, Steve Page and Pete Buckles

Outreach programme, Chris West

Meeting and greeting, Lynda Clark

Novice programme, Harry Woollhead and Bill Willits

Raffle, Brian Matcham, Ralph Stone, David Bird

Shop, Helen

Tea club, Roy Nailor, Phil Hill, Chris Davey.

The committee was prepared to stand again apart from Gerry Dixon. There was a new nominee, Lynda Clark. There being no competing nominations, the vote was taken en bloc and passed unanimously.

David Bird proposed a vote of thanks to the committee for their hard work on behalf of the Club.

According to the constitution, this will be Jon’s last sequential year as Chairman, so you can start to give the succession some thought for next year. There being no other business, the AGM was closed at about 8.00.

Open discussion

There followed a discussion about the running of the Club.

It went too fast for me to get it verbatim, but here’s a flavour. Please write to me with your views or if you disagree with my summary.


We used to have regular competitions with categories for seniors, intermediates and novices. These were abandoned some time ago for lack of entries and replaced by a non-competitive gallery. Reasons given for dwindling support were:

Shyness; objection to judge’s criticism; lack of incentive when same people win regularly; too time consuming to keep entering and producing things for competition rather than for sale.

However, as Ian Woodford pointed out, many clubs have successful competitions which are the focal point of club activity. A show of hands revealed about a third of those attending might be prepared to participate in some form of competition.

The committee will discuss the matter again, and consider whether incorporation with an annual show would be better, maybe with the public choosing to avoid the issue of judges opinions and criteria.


Another thing that many feel we ought to be doing more of is whole or part day workshops. However, when it comes to selling tickets, there has often been difficulty making the numbers. We are persisting, however, with a workshop at Stuart Mortimer’s in November and a hands-on day at Ropley, aimed at less experienced turners in May.

It is important that people make the effort to support these events, otherwise it will not be possible to keep trying to run them.


The present programme format was thought to be about right but there were suggestions for changes of content or emphasis.

Roy suggested equipment reviews with advice on what to buy or avoid.

Members liked non-turning presenters as well as turning demonstrations.

Some liked the idea of outings, like coach trips to Yandles, though the idea that these might be interesting to wives too was greeted with some scepticism.

Working Groups or sub committees could be set up to manage specific events, like participation in the Zion Hill wood fair.

Plenty for the new committee to think about.

Turners’ Question time

Brian Hannam, Ian Woodford and Alan Sturgess formed the panel of experts to field questions from the floor.

Again, it went too fast for me to get it verbatim, but here’s a flavour.

What wood would the panel suggest for making a garden seat?

Apart from “why bother, you can’t compete with B&Q”, ash was favoured. Brian lived up to expectations by repeating his dislike of oak for this (or anything else really).

Recommend a lathe up to £1000.

The Hegner is very good but would break the budget. Wiva also good and cheaper but still over £1000. Second hand might be the answer. Alan said it rather depended what sort of turning you want to do. A long bed is useful but not for a bowl turner. Adjustable bearings are a good idea as slack bearings can cause vibration. On the subject of vibration, the lathe should be securely fixed but via some damping material like rubber. Plenty of weight low down on the stand or bench helps. Anyone who has used variable speed would not want to be without it, but it should incorporate selectable pulleys for optimum torque over the speed range being used.

What type of grinding wheel should I use?

Generally a course grey wheel (say, 40 grit) is useful for aggressive and general use plus a coloured wheel for finishing the process and touching up. The colour is the material which binds the grit and needs to be soft to rub away. White seems as good as any.

Any tips about re-mounting after rough turning?

Alan uses external and internal spigots and leaves the centre dimple to allow them to be trued up as they distort on drying. Brian uses a router to trim the spigot before re-mounting.

Comment on wood drying and use of moisture meters.

The target % moisture content varies with the wood. Once fairly dry it also varies with ambient humidity. 16% is a generally acceptable figure. Brian recommended repeated weighing until the weight stabilised. Microwaves can be used to accelerate the process but with care. Repeated bursts on defrost are likely to be least destructive so it’s still time consuming. Brian recommended relaxing and allowing the process to take its time.

Mike Haselden has tried boiling wood to replace sap and accelerate the process. Most people can’t do this with large pieces and it risks altering the appearance.

After rough turning the drying process should be slowed down to reduce the risk of splitting. Coating, particularly the end grain is recommended. Acrylic varnish is useful for this as it sticks to the wet wood.

What is the most important safety advice?

Lots of suggestions from the panel and the floor.

Don’t touch revolving wood.

Don’t move tool rest with lathe revolving.

Check speed before starting lathe.

Extract dust but be careful about explosive risk of airborne dust stream in ducts. Electrical earthing is recommended. (there’s been subsequent discussion on this, I’ll try to get a summary – Ed).

Keep wire wool away from the grinder as it can be ignited by a spark.

This could have gone on but Jon wound it up in time for a gallery critique

My feeling is that this discussion was informative and entertaining and could usefully be repeated from time to time.

Dave Gibbard

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