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8th May – Tony Halcrow, Multi-Centre Turning

19 May, 2013

Tony has made multi centre turning something of a speciality with subjects ranging from female figures to canoes. He started his demonstration with a female figure with a hat. The blank was mounted between centres; the headstock drive remaining in the centre but the tailstock was moved to several offset positions to turn different parts of the figure. You need a particular type of mind to foresee the final shape as the turning proceeds.

Tony & offset lady   Tony with row of ladies   Tony's balerina

Tony’s method is to draw the item and work out a pattern of centres which are marked on the end, then follow a sequence of turning on each centre. No doubt practice helps but I’m sure a lot of the designs happen by accident at first.

Who’d have thought of making a wooden boat on a lathe? Well, taking his cue from Terry Scott’s “Wakas” (Maiori canoes) Tony showed us how to make them with almost all operations on the lathe. He demonstrated just a part of the lengthy process and described the remainder. This time the off-centres are replicated at head and tailstock ends so that the boat remains parallel when offset. The top of the boat has to be sawn off and Tony likes to use a curved shape which is more interesting and accurate than a flat top. The canoe is then clamped in a jig to allow a number of positions along the length of the top to be presented to the gouge for scooping out. It’s easier to see what I mean from the picture.

Tony's Waka  Tony's Waka marking out

He finished by making a simple vase with both head and tailstock centres being repositioned according to his drawing. In this case he also included a spigot for holding in a chuck to drill the centre hole. Tony’s method is to shape as much of the inside of the neck as possible with a skew and with tailstock support before drilling the hole. Any discontinuity caused by movement will then occur well inside where it will not be noticeable.

Tony's vase    Tony's vase diagram

Much food for thought. We’ll look forward to some interesting examples of the technique in future galleries.

Tony's stuff

Speaking of which, the gallery tonight included a section for members to submit items for selection for the Forest of Bere Club competition. Pictures of our entries and the other gallery items can be seen on the website. There will be a separate report on the Forest of Bere event.

Dave Gibbard

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