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4th July – Mike Haseldon – Mikes Mystery 2

9 July, 2016

A much more pleasant Monday evening than in recent months weather wise, saw a good turnout of 59 members and 2 new signed up members Carl and Arthur, also two visitors who we hope that will join us very soon.


Our demonstrator for the evening was club stalwart Mike Haselden a very experienced woodworker who has been turning for ten years. The last time Mike demonstrated he kept us waiting until the very last moment to work out what he was turning for us, this time, he told us from the outset that it was to be some off-centre turning and those who had seen his very impressive gallery entry on the night had a very good idea of what it was to be.

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Mike started with a large Ash blank which he secured to the lathe between a sanding disk/faceplate and a revolving centre on the tailstock. He then cleaned the edge with a gouge and continued to do the same to the face.


He turned a shallow dovetail recess for the chuck and reversed the blank onto this. Mike Doesn’t like to rely on the narrow area at the top of the dovetail jaws for seating which would have been the case with such a shallow recess so he mounted the blank via a plywood spacing ring to provide a flat facing surface outside the dovetail.


With the added security of support from the tailstock and centre, Mike then cut a bevel of around a quarter of an inch into the outer edge.


The next step was to remove the blank from the chuck and replace it with a specially made 12” plywood jig, which will be used to hold the blank in three different off-centre positions. The jig is very cleverly designed to hold the blank in place by clamping it along the bevel that was cut on the outer edge of the bowl with 4 plywood blocks. The jig also included an additional device to counterbalance the effect of the blank spinning off centre. This was a movable plywood cup that contains removable lead weights that enable Mike to adjust the weight.

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So with the mystery now out, we are going to get a three centred bowl. Mike proceeded to mark out three new equally spaced centres, using basic geometry and a pair of compasses. With this done he secured the blank into the jig and proceeded to hollow out the three equally spaced bowl inserts.


Due to the predicted length of the demonstration two hours ten minutes, there was a shorter than normal tea break, while Mike hollowed out the last two bowls. Bob Hope then did a quick critique of the gallery which as usual exhibited what a talented bunch Hampshire Woodturners are, or at least some of us. And then back to the main event.


Mike ensured that the three bowls were as equal as possible by using a 42mm circular template to gauge depth and shape

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Due to the fact that the three bowl indents will overlap, the second and third become increasingly more difficult to turn as you are cutting from wood to thin air in the overlapping areas, this said he achieved this with consummate ease.


The bowl was then reversed onto the recess in the base and the outside shape was turned from the headstock side, something not recommended for a novice turner. The final finishing of the base including removal of the chucking recess would be done by a further reversing process which could not be covered in the time available.

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Mike finished off his main demo by explaining how he does the contrasting inlays around the edges of the bowl. He introduced us to his homemade manual hand router that is made with an Allen key ground to a point as the cutting bit. He first makes the three (in this case) inlays from a contrasting timber, then the bowl is prepared by painting the surface with “Typex” this forms a good surface for marking out the shape of the inlay to cut out by hand with the “Allen Key” router to a depth of approximately 3mm. once this is done the inlays are secured in place before returning the bowl to the lathe to finish off the top surface to a perfectly smooth finish.


With time fast running out Mike turned his attention to turning spheres on a lathe, ideal for displaying in the three off-centre bowls of his main piece of the evening, something that would equally look good with pieces of turned apples or pears.


Again we were shown another homemade jig that was made with an adjustable plywood stand and a semi-circular metal template. Briefly Mike turned a short piece of wood down to a few mm thicker than the required diameter of the sphere, he then reduced the ends that would be wasted to under 20mm, then using the template as a guide gradually turned down the sides of the sphere, fine tuning by moving the template closer as the cuts allowed, a process similar to using “fingers” when production turning. The bulk of the ball is then sanded on the lathe before removing the ends and the sphere finished by hand.


Following an appreciative round of applause for Mike, we moved very quickly onto the raffle as we had overstepped our 10pm curfew, before all setting off for our usual Ovaltine and bed

Andi Saunders

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