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4th October – HWA Challenge & Chris West on Salt & Pepper mills.

7 October, 2011

We were pleased we were so busy booking in the entries for the latest round of the Challenge – 23 from 15 members. Whilst not a spectacular number from almost 90 members, it reversed the downward trend and encourages us to continue with the challenge. The general quality was very good with imaginative and clever interpretations of the challenge categories. I must confess I was surprised what some of you thought of doing with a block of wood.


The categories were:

A – Make an item or items from a single piece of wood 3” x 3” x 8” (which attracted 9 entries)

B – Interpret the phrase “Run of the Mill” (8 entries)

C – Interpret the phrase “Autumn Leaves” (6 entries)


The clear first choice of the 51 members voting was Brian Matcham’s jug (category A) with Dave Gibbard’s art deco vase second (also A) and Adrian Smith’s box with coloured leaf patterns third (category C).


Time had been allowed for all those entering to say a few words about their entries and take questions. Everyone joined in the banter and the session proved informative and amusing.

Thanks to Bob for booking in and vote counting and Lynda for hand writing the certificates for the 3 top choices.


Remember the next challenge is to make a Christmas decoration and bring it to the December meeting.


In the middle part of the evening, Chris West put on a very accomplished presentation of making salt and pepper mills and shakers, based on his recent book. This is the sort of job where detailed drawing is essential to ensure the result looks right and fits together. Even then Chris likes to have a rough go at the shape first because it often looks different in 3-D compared with a drawing.

There were plenty of design suggestions and tips- different types of mechanism, the advisability of drilling from both ends not straight through and my favourite – knobs. Well finials strictly. There are numerous alternatives to the metal knob that comes with the mechanism. I particularly liked the threaded inserts that allow you to make your own to suit your design to give an individual appearance.


I’m not going to try to write all this up; Chris has already done that in his book to which I happily refer you.

Dave Gibbard

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