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6th June – HWA Challenge Round 3 and “What’s in my Shed”

15 June, 2011

The HWA Challenge was to make something representing a song title. The choices were

A- “Ring of Fire”

B- “Little Green Apples”

C- “Lemon Tree”

D- “Ring a Ring o’ Roses”

The entry was a disappointing 14 from just 10 members, over half opting for A. The number of entries has been dropping since round 1 when we had 27 and 23 in round 2. Please tell us why. A lot of effort goes into organising events like this and it is not encouraging when we get this sort of response.

The idea of the new format was to try to avoid the impression of elitism and arguments about judging criteria by giving the members the choice. In some respects this seems to have succeeded. There have been 3 different winners and relative novices have done particularly well. Another aim was to encourage creativity by asking for interpretations of phrases rather than stipulating a type of turning. Again, this seems to have succeeded judging by the imaginative and often amusing entries.

There has certainly been a lot of interest and discussion from members gathering round the tables before casting their votes but few have been sufficiently stimulated to enter themselves.

Anyway, congratulations to Phil Bristow for his first choice Ring o’ Roses, Derek Luke for his second choice “Ring of Fire” and me, Dave Gibbard, for third, also “Ring of Fire”. Phil and Derek are relative newcomers to our craft so very well done. In fact Phil would have got 2 prizes were it not for the rule that you can only get 1!


“What’s in my shed”

During the vote counting Keith Barnes presented an item called “what’s in my shed”. This was similar to an item run some years ago by Gerry Dixon. Keith had taken a peek with his camera inside the workshops of several members who were on hand to talk about their set-ups.

First up was Mike Haselden. Mike’s work involves precision and comes from an extremely well organised person. It shows in the neat layout of his workshop. He has a Wivamac 800 lathe in a partitioned off area
along with a rack of tools and grinder. In an adjoining area he has a drill, band saw and belt sander. Also separated are a dust extractor and, unusually, a compressor. He is continually finding new uses for the compressor including blowing the shavings off his clothes before going back indoors!

A few doubts were expressed about the safety aspects of use of the compressor with air directed at the skin.

Harry Woollhead, being a builder, has not surprisingly constructed a well laid out workshop with a separated room for the woodstore which houses 2 dust extractors. He seemed a bit apologetic about his
Wivamac 800 lathe but he says it does everything he needs and does it well. The lathe is by a window but this is protected by a sheet of polycarbonate (conservatory roofing Harry?) Harry likes his comforts to the extent of a carpet on the floor! He argues that it is easier to suck up shavings than from concrete and
it keeps his feet warm. An interesting aspect is the use of shower curtains on rails to prevent flying shavings going everywhere.

Phil Bristow has rapidly got himself organised. He has a fairly small wooden shed but has set it up with all the essentials, lathe, bandsaw, pillar drill, grinder and dust extractor. His lathe is a Record Nova DVR-XP. There were comments from the floor about safety of siting the lathe near a window but, like Harry, Phil had thought about that. The window had a sheet of Perspex in front which would not shatter. I imagine Phil will be looking for somewhere else to store his wood as his stock grows.

Ralph Stone is a compulsive collector of tools and materials including hundreds of boxes of screws all beautifully organised and stored methodically. I won’t try to catalogue all the kit except to say his lathe is a Record Maxi 2. The Workshop centre piece is a “combo” machine for sawing, planing, moulding…. Every tool has its allocated place and woe betide it if it strays. In spite of the large size, the workshop still needs a door to be opened to allow long items to be planed or sawn! To keep the dust off the carpet (!) Ralph not only has dust extractor but also a recirculating air filter. So that he doesn’t miss anything, the whole shop is topped off with a very bright level of lighting. Of course Ralph uses all this kit for general woodworking rather than just turning. He has no shortage of projects requested by his son. Well, what are Dads for?

Finally new Chairman John Holden described how he had to demolish his old shed and erect a new wooden building as his workshop. His main lathe is a Fox with mechanical variable speed based on conical pulleys. He also has a small Axminster for small stuff and for shows. He has 2 grinders, one which revolves the other way for use on wood carving tools. There was interest in the silencer for his Camvac, made from tin cans and wadding. Let me have the details John and we’ll feature it as a project in Your Turn.

In between the presentations Ian Woodford gave a cautionary tale of American Turner, Joan Kelly who was found dead on her workshop floor with a slither of wood in her skull. This was a turner of relatively small delicate items one of which had shattered with the lathe running at high speed. The moral is to use a face-mask and not rely on goggles. Jean Turner pointed out that the mask should incorporate a “bump cap” to protect the forehead.

It was interesting that all the workshops featured variable speed lathes and all had dust extraction. Sign of the times. I was also impressed by how many of the comments and questions related to safety issues.

With that I’ll just go and redesign my workshop and order the carpet…

By Dave Gibbard

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