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3rd June – Paul Hannaby

28 June, 2019

H.W.A meeting on June 3rd 2019 was attended by 50 members, one new member Richard Nichols and two visitors, giving a total of 53.

The theme of the evening was a demonstration by Forest of Dene based professional woodturner Paul Hannaby. Paul has been woodturning for over 17 years and is a member of The Cotswold Craftsmen and regularly exhibits at a number of events, and gives demonstrations, tutorials and teaches woodturning classes to novices and other turners wishing to improve their techniques.

After setting up for the evening’s demonstration Paul realised that he had forgotten to bring his safety goggles so was (understandably) reluctant to start turning wood on a fast spinning lathe without that vital piece of personal safety equipment.

After a quick zip around several committee members to ask if they knew if a pair of safety goggles were stashed away in the outside lock-up, it was decided to send two willing volunteers to the nearby Screwfix (which was closing in 20 minutes) to purchase a pair of goggles. While the ‘goggle hunting party’ was away I asked Paul to fill the time by doing his critique of the members items on the display table. As is the norm nowadays there was a staggering amount of very good ‘produce’ for Paul to critique.

Pauls timing was perfect, just as he was finishing his critique the ‘goggle hunting party’ returned with their treasure, so now the show could go on. Many thanks to Alan Truslove and Ron Caddy for their successful Goggle Hunt and to our new treasurer Mike Dutton who instantly reimbursed them the cost of the goggles.

Pauls demo was “Making a Goblet” and for this he had chosen a 12 inch piece of branch-wood Yew, the piece had a few ‘shakes’ on one end and a small split and a branch knot on the other, he chose the end with the ‘shakes’ to be the base of the goblet, any splits or shakes on the ‘cup’ end of the goblet would have weakened it.

Paul pointed out that branch-wood generally has the pith (the heartwood) running off centre and you must ensure that you don’t put the pith between centres as it will weaken the goblet.

With the wood safely and securely supported between centres (damaged end supported by the live centre and not in the chuck). Paul started the lathe at a slow speed as the wood was not concentric and would cause the lathe to vibrate at higher speed. He started to shape the spigot on the tailstock end, when the spigot was the correct diameter for the chuck, removed it and reversed the piece and gripped firmly by the spigot in the chuck. Paul then switched to his ‘weapon of choice’ his ½ inch finger nail gouge and ‘turned-off’ the damaged pieces of wood (the piece with the crack and a troublesome branch knot) this was done by cutting from the outside of the piece towards the centre….. the vibrations from the off-balance piece caused the lathe to wobble so an extra beer mat was used to prop up one of the lathe legs. Wonderful things Beer mats.

With the cup-end squared off Paul then used his finger-nail gouge to start the hollowing out by making a hole in the centre and gradually enlarging it, at this point he demonstrated how to use the Round edged scraper and a ring-tool.

The Ring-tool needs to have the tool rest dropped ‘below centre’ for safety and start the cut from about the 6 o’clock position adjusting the bevel to control the depth of cut. When you are happy with the inside shape of the cup you can round off the lip and sand to your satisfaction (remember that when the stem is completed the goblet will be too fragile to sand on the lathe).

After the tea break Paul selected his trusty finger-nail gouge and started to remove wood for the base and stem. The stem can be any length you want but for a ‘functional goblet’ Paul suggests that a length equal to about four fingers between the bottom of the cup and the base is about right, any longer and the goblet will be unstable. Paul’s goblet is for display purposes only as it is made of Yew, and Yew is a poisonous plant so should not be used for foodstuffs or drinking vessels.

Before turning too much wood from the stem Paul placed a tennis ball sized polystyrene ball inside the cup and held it in place with the tailstock to support the fragile cup whilst he removed wood with the gouge by pulling towards the chuck end to prevent tearing the fibres.

Paul used a ‘glue stick’ as a guide to check if the outside profile of the cup was correct by bending the ‘glue stick’ over the cup… if you can see light between the cup and the stick you know where to do more shaping..

The stem was blended into the cup and the base by turning coves and ogee shapes and groves to create a pleasing overall shape with the diameter of the foot equal to the outside diameter of the cup. With the goblet sanded, sealed and finished to your preference it can be removed with the parting tool.

With time now running out fast Paul did a quick demo of how to make a Barley Twist on a goblet stem, he placed a similar piece of Yew on the lathe and turned a rough Goblet shape, reduced the stem thickness to about ½ to ¾ inch using a skew and his trusty finger gouge, he then switched the lathe off and selected some small 6 inch long tapered and rounded files (chainsaw sharpening files are perfect).

Starting with a course file placed at 45 degrees to the base he started to file a groove freehand, then by turning the chuck and goblet by hand he continued to create a groove in a spiral shape towards the cup, cutting fairly deeply and consistently. Paul then started a second grove in the gap left by the first twist and repeated the process, the width of the spirals can be adjusted by judicious use of the files and the twists can be left ‘flat’ or ‘tapered’ depending on your choice.

The twists can be cleaned-up by using less coarse files and finally by wrapping sandpaper around a piece of dowel and smoothing out the grain, then sealing and finishing.

Paul’s demo was a very useful reminder of how to make a goblet and especially how to create a very pleasing Barley Twist.

Many thanks to Paul.

The evening was finished off with the Raffle with a very good selection of prizes. So many thanks to Steve Jones.

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