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6th January – Club turn in

21 January, 2020

January’s meeting was attended by a total of 51 members.

The first meeting of the New Year was also a ‘first’ for the club. It was decided to have a Turn-in with a difference. We had five lathes set up, each with a ‘Lathe Master’ who was responsible for their lathe and were each given a similar 8 inch diameter x 1 1/2inch thick Ash bowl blank, with a brief to make either a bowl or platter to the design of their randomly selected ‘team’. As members entered the hall and ‘signed in’, our Membership Secretary Keith Barnes gave them each a sticky label with a number between 1-5 written on it. The numbers corresponded to a lathe and allocated that member to a pre numbered lathe for the evening.

The idea being that the Lathe Master and his ‘team’ decided on what they wanted to produce from the Ash blank they had been given, and they collectively used the tools that were provided by the Lathe Master to create their bespoke masterpiece.

Lathe No 1 was overseen by Lathe Master Martin Rooney.

Lathe No 2 was overseen by Lathe Master Mike Haselden.

Lathe No 3 was overseen by Lathe Master John Holden.

Lathe No 4 was overseen by Lathe Master Alan Baker.

Lathe No 5 was overseen by Lathe Master Alan Sturgess.

The evening started off with our Chairman Dave Gibbard giving the normal obligatory Safety Brief, then explaining the plan for the evening and directing the members to start at their allocated lathe.

Lathe No 1. Martin Rooney and his team had elected to make a bowl rather than a platter. Martin had decided that he would start the bowl but he was not going to do all the ‘work’ on the lathe himself, and was going to make his team do the work, but that he would offer support, advice and technical help if required. Tony Mercer ‘faced off’ the bowl and created the spigot using a pull motion with a small Spindle gouge. With the spigot completed and the bottom of the bowl formed to the team’s satisfaction the bowl was reversed on the chuck. Whilst hollowing the bowl Mario Demontis was using fine ‘push-cuts’ from the outside of the bowl to the centre.

Martin had left the design of the bowl to his team and they decided on a ‘recess within a recess’ which in effect created a ‘small bowl within a bowl’, which was a very interesting and unusual concept. This was completed largely by using Martins favourite tool The Simon Hope ‘Carbide Tool’ which has a very small ‘glass cutter’ type blade that is carefully offered up to the work piece.

Lathe No 2 with Mike Haslelden. Mike had come equipped with his own ‘travelling workshop’, including his own Dust extraction system. Mike had also decided to create a bowl rather than a platter, but their Ash Blank had a defect. It had a knot with sizable hole visible on one side, it was unknown how deep the knot or hole was, but the discolouration was visible on the opposite face. After ‘truing’ the blank and forming the shape of the bottom of the bowl there was some discussion as to the best way to form the foot.

Alan Truslove suggested that a ring be formed outside of the foot as this results in less wastage of material and allows for a deeper bowl, as the ring will form the base of the bowl and therefore remove the necessity of flattening the base after the spigot is removed. Alan demonstrated his method to the team. With the bottom finished, and the bowl reversed on the chuck it soon became apparent that the knot was going to cause an issue. Mike decided to pour some superglue into the hole to stabilise it and then carefully proceed with the hollowing. The glue held and the bowl was sanded to satisfaction then sealed with spray sealer and a coat of Chestnut Cut ‘n’ Polish and finished with a coating of Wood Wax 22 to give it a nice sheen and complete a lovely bowl. Mike’s top tip was “next time you go to a nice restaurant, save the good quality serviette, as they have a high Linen content and are very useful to use as finishing cloths”.

Lathe No 3 was John Holden’s whose team also decided on making a bowl. There was some discussion as to the best way to make and shape their bowl. Brian Eyley was working on shaping the bowl, but the lathe kept slowing down when under load, so John had to do some impromptu engineering and adjusted the belt speed of the lathe.

John shaped the base with a deep foot then reversed the bowl in order to ‘face the inside’ and turn the hole for the bowl. After some discussion and nifty tool work the team produced a very attractive flat lipped bowl with a narrow-recessed lip. John used his De Walt power drill with a sander attachment for final smoothing of the top of the bowl. He then made a jam-chuck and reversed the bowl to finish the underside. They sealed the bowl with Chestnut Sander Sealer diluted 50/50 and sanded to a fine finish.

Lathe No 4 with Alan Baker, Alan had come fully prepared and produced a plan drawing of the bowl that he intended to produce with his team. There was some in-depth discussion between them as to ‘how best’ to make the bowl and equally as important ‘which tools’ to use to get the best effect. As the bowl progressed there was some debate as to which grade of sandpaper to use for best effect as there were ‘toolmarks’ that needed to be removed.

Alan explained that changes in colour of the turned piece indicate where the tool ’stopped’ or ‘lingered’ on the piece causing a different effect on the wood grain. Alan soon realised that he had not brought enough sandpaper of different grits, so he visited the ever-useful HWA Shop and immediately got a better selection and smoothed the piece to his satisfaction. Alan used neat Sander Sealer in order to raise the grain, prior to sanding the inside. They turned the bowl so that the foot could be completed but had to have several attempts at making a suitable jam-chuck that would hold the bowl securely and squarely on the lathe. With the foot completed to their satisfaction they chose to use Australian Orange oil to raise the grain and then finished off with Chestnut Micro-crystalline wax.

Lathe 5 With Alan Sturgess, Alan started by showing how to ‘face-off’ the blank in order to stop the vibrations caused by the unsymmetrical wood blank and then commenced the shaping of the bowl they were to create. When he had partially completed the bowl base, he applied Exon MARCOL 82 oil to seal the wood and to prevent dust when sanding. Alan pointed out that the best and safest place to sand the bowl was on its ‘bottom-front quadrant’. In this area your hand is unlikely to be dragged down or around by the spinning wood and is unlikely to be ‘thrown’ off, as you have much more control over the sandpaper.

At this point Alan made, and hot-glued, a ‘waste block’ onto the base to give better access to the chucking point, but it slid slightly ‘off centre’ and had to be quickly removed before the hot- glue set. With the ‘waste block’ accurately re seated he reversed the bowl to hollow the inside. Alan continued to hollow out by using a ‘push-cut’ from the outside to the inside but leaving a very nice lip on the outer rim. He left a ‘stud’ in the bottom centre which was the same size as the hot-glued waste block for safety reasons until the bulk of the inside was removed. He then cautiously removed the stud to leave a flat bottom and sanded it to satisfaction. Alan then reversed the bowl by securing it in a set of Button jaws and carefully removed the hot-glued waste block. When sanded to his satisfaction he applied some more of his Exon MARCOL 82 oil (which he had acquired in his previous life) and revealed a lovely and very useful bowl.

While the teams started to clean up the incredibly messy hall and stow away their equipment our Chairman Dave Gibbard carried out the critique of items that members had displayed on the table, followed by a critique of the newly made selection of bowls. Each bowl was very different in appearance, and made with differing techniques, were of differing designs and thicknesses, but they were all attractive and functional.

The general consensus of opinion was that the evening went very well, and everyone appeared to have enjoyed themselves. I believe most people had an input in the production of their respective team’s bowls and would have learned something useful.

Four of the bowls were taken to be offered up for sale to raise funds for Minstead, so your combined efforts will go to a good cause.

Many thanks to Bob Hope who had the initial idea for tonight’s Turn-in and was instrumental in much of the preparation.

Many thanks as always to our ace Photographer Pete Broadbent for his time and effort in photographing not only the usual gallery pictures but also the many club demos.

Due to time constraints Steve Jones and an ‘independent adjudicator’ had pre-drawn the raffle tickets, so the raffle was quickly and efficiently completed. Many thanks to Steve.

Thanks also to the Shop crew and the crucially important Tea and Coffee crew.

My role throughout the evening was to ‘walk around’ from lathe to lathe and take notes of the snapshot visits I made of what was happening, and who was ‘doing what’ on each lathe. I was equipped with the officious-looking clip board, paper and pencil. Contrary to popular belief I wasn’t ‘marking’ the team members or Lathe Masters as several of you thought. But as I was only ‘visiting’ each lathe there were potentially lots of topical discussion points and technical points that I missed.

One obvious thing that was missing throughout the evening was the lack of HWA name badges that were being carried and therefore it was difficult for members to identify who was who. It is surprising just how few names we can put to faces. Please can we remember to bring our HWA name badges.

Many thanks to all the Lathe Masters and their helpers.

Stay Safe everyone.                                

Dave Simpson. (Editor)

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