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16th January – In turn demonstrations

19 January, 2012

Wet Turning

Dave Gibbard was demonstrating wet turning with emphasis on retaining a bark or “natural” edge. He had brought a number of examples of different styles which can be seen on the members’ gallery pictures.

He first turned an end grain bowl in yew, i.e. with the core of the wood in the direction of the lathe axis. This is a nice way to present the whole cross section of the branch and the often interesting shape of the edge. However the core is retained and some star cracking is almost inevitable. The outside was partly turned first but leaving a large amount of wood around a spigot at the foot at this stage to give support for turning the rim. Reversing onto the spigot allowed hollowing to start but the important thing is to concentrate on the rim. This will start to move as it dries and there’s no going back with a cutting tool. It’s a good idea to run some thin superglue along the bark/sapwood interface at this stage.

Keeping the bowl mounted on the spigot the outside and inside were alternately worked towards the foot. Normally Dave would have proceeded directly to sand whilst wet but in this case the bowl was put in a plastic bag with wet shavings to be finished later.

The next item was a tulip shaped bowl with the core at right angles to the lathe axis. The method employed was similar but the bowl was initially mounted on an expanding pin chuck. With this orientation the grain is across the spigot and usually in the weaker sap wood. Care must be taken when hollowing as a dig in could tear it off sending the bowl across the room. Dave likes to use a large spigot which is much larger than the eventual foot. The hollowing is quite deep and there is a good case for using a hollowing tool. However, Dave was using a bowl gouge supported by a rest thin enough to insert into the hole as a cheaper alternative.


Off Centre Turning

John started by turning an off-centre female figure in beech which came out somewhat well endowed! The next project was a candlestick. Both these project were turned between centres, shifting the live centre by about 6mm in opposite directions. The candlestick was going very nicely until a lapse of concentration led to a dig in and the wood broke in two. But at least John demonstrated what not to do! Finally John turned a small finial successfully. This was held in a chuck and just tilted in the jaws. John can supply instructions for turning the figure if anyone is interested.



Bob Hope demonstrated the making of twists on spindles to decorate things like chair or table legs and parts of table or floor lamps. The process can also be used to decorate vases as well.

First the spindle is turned to size and the ends left square to start with to aid holding whilst carving the twist. The twist is then marked out. The first piece was marked out for a double or barley twist. First the pitch lines are drawn at intervals of the same distance as the diameter of the piece. These are then subdivided into four sections and lines are drawn around the diameter. Then four equally spaced lines are drawn along the length along the quarter points of the diameter. This gives a grid and lines are drawn around the circumference joining the crossing points of the pitch and longitudinal lines. For a double twist this line crosses two of the divisions before meeting the next longitudinal line. Two lines are drawn from opposite sides of the piece. For a single twist the line will cross every corner.

A saw cut is made along this circumference line about 5mm deep and the hollow is made with a file or microplane to a depth of one third of the diameter. The high points or bines ore rounded over with a file and the hollows and bines and blended in and sanded. He then demonstrated a hollow twist where a hole is drilled before turning the piece and involves deepening the hollow to break through into the centre hole and carving and shaping the bines.



Many thanks to Dave, John and Bob for dem0nstrating.

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