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7 January 2013 – Steven Daysh

13 January, 2013

I saw Steve’s work at a venue in last year’s Hampshire Open Studios event and was pleased when he accepted Bob’s invitation to come to demonstrate to us. The chosen subject was one of his lattice bowls like the one in the picture.

Steve's lattice bowl

The appearance is that of strips of wood fixed together in a lattice structure forming a bowl shape. This is achieved by turning a bowl of very uniform wall thickness and making orthogonal cuts, one set as rings around the inside and the other set lengthwise on the outside. The depth of the cuts is half the wall thickness of the bowl. If the thickness is sufficiently uniform, they break through where they cross.

Steve turned an “end grain” bowl (i.e. grain parallel to the axis), but the method works equally well with the grain at right angles to the axis as is more usual for bowls. The outside is turned in the usual way with a spigot on the base to reverse for hollowing.

Steve used bowl gouges for hollowing, leaving the wall quite thick at this stage for support. He reduced the thickness to an accurate 8 mm for the first couple of inches nearest the rim and started cutting the square internal grooves. He had made a tip to fit the end of a Sorby scraper at an angle which can be set to suit the inside of the bowl. It consisted of a square shape to cut the groove with a second part spaced so as to mark the adjacent groove. Once the first groove had been cut, the tool was advanced to cut the second and so on for the first few grooves. A further section of bowl was then carefully reduced in thickness and more rings cut. This procedure was repeated until all the internal grooves had been completed. Normally the inside would be sanded at this stage though Steve doesn’t sand the grooves themselves as they need to be kept accurate and crisp.

Steve hollowing bowl       Steve's groove cutter

The outside set of grooves is cut with a router. A flat table is fitted to the bed bars and the router mounted in a jig box with the cutter at the lathe centre height. The jig can be slid around the table at this height. An adjustable roller defines the depth of cut. It is usually desirable to reverse the bowl again, holding it at the rim on a scrap blank to allow the router to swing round to the base. Otherwise the router could clash with the chuck.

Steve's router jig

An indexing mechanism is necessary and care must be taken to ensure that it is held at one extreme of any play it may have.

A groove is cut at each index position. If depths of cut and wall thicknesses have been worked out correctly, square holes will appear where the grooves cross. These can be cleaned up with a square file.

The end result is a most attractive lattice bowl. How about having a go and bringing your efforts along to the gallery?

Dave Gibbard

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