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1st July – Gallery

13 July, 2019

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.

3rd June Gallery

27 June, 2019

8th May – Gallery

1 June, 2019

1st April – Gallery

20 April, 2019

4th March – Something Magical

22 March, 2019

63 members plus 3 guests attended this month’s meeting at the Railway Institute.


Our guest demonstrator this month was the irrepressible Stuart King, a well-known artist craftsman, demonstrator, international lecturer and photo-journalist. He was born in the Buckinghamshire village of Holmer Green in 1942 and played as a child in the local Beech woods. The countryside and the trades and traditions of those that shaped it over centuries have always fascinated him and influenced his work.

Stuart has spent a lifetime researching, recording and collecting anything about the rural past and today is still actively recording traditional crafts, local landscape and history via photography and video and still appears occasionally on TV.


Starting his demonstration cryptically named “something magical” he placed an Ash blank in the lathe and rounded it off with his trusty 14 year old roughing gouge somewhat shorter than the day he acquired it. At this point he took time to explain that although he had brought a case full of tools with him like the rest of us who have our workshop walls lined with vast amounts of woodturning tools, he only uses around half a dozen of these on a regular basis.

Turning then to his preferred round skew he cut a series of nine coves which he then lightly dusted explaining that he would sand more at home. Stuart then applied shellac friction polish and buffed it to a quick finish. He would later finish this off with an acrylic lacquer which he buys from Halfords (other motor accessory outlets are available locally)


At this point Stuart asked if the lathe would go any faster, which required quick action from Dave and Bob to adjust the drive belts, this took a little longer than at first anticipated so Stuart broke away and held a very early critique of the gallery. Generally he was very complimentary but did treat us to a few examples of his unique wit, and at one point managed to create a bit of controversy with Alan Baker over the history of Grecian vases.

With the lathe now running at the required faster speed, Stuart proceeded to reduce the rest of the blank down to a slight taper still working with the skew. He then explained the connection to “Something Magical” linking the freshly turned “wand” with Harry Potter. He then asked for a “young” lady to assist him, jokingly settling for Lynda, who graciously accepted the request and joined him at the front. He asked her to hold the end of the wand and pull it away from him, at which point the end came away followed by a long length of bunting, which he had created from a silk scarf, and on the end was a miniature wooden goblet, to which he then made a second Harry Potter reference “The Goblet of Fire” and with that he asked Lynda to cup her hands and then as if by magic poured glitter out of the open end into her hands.

Moving on Stuart introduced a piece of Australian Walnut with which he was going to make a stopper for the open-ended wand. Taking a Parting knife he had made from a mortice chisel he cut the blank down to half-length and then turned a stopper to fit the open end of the wand, demonstrating some very delicate work with the skew.


Tea Break minus critique


Returning to the lathe Stuart referred back to the Miniature Goblet of Fire that he had magically produced from the wand and proceeded to produce one from a piece of Box wood, which he reduced down to fit a small glass tube that will be inserted into wand to hold the glitter. Adding some more humour to the demonstration he resorted to one of his stock stories of how he always leaves a small pimple in the bottom of bowls and boxes as a bit of a trademark, although many people have tried to copy this over the years. You could say this is one of his “trademark” jokes.

He then finished off the stopper with a nice curved design, fitting nicely into one end of the glass tube and sealing the other end gluing a small cork stopper into it.


With time running a little short Stuart showed us a pendant he made from an Elm bell hanger rescued from St Pauls Cathedral when the bells had been refurbished, he had planned to demonstrate making one of these but didn’t have time so briefly explained how it was made.


Moving on at some speed he produced some Alternative Ivory, and quickly produced a circular flower design using a Bill Jones cutting tool, similar to a splitting saw which he cut down into a small disk size which could then be used as an insert in a box, lid.


On a similar ilk he then produced an Ebony blank, which he rounded off and then produced a pattern of the end using a Decorating Elf tool made by Henry Taylor, a clever tool that uses three different rotating bits with different cutting heads, which produce an array of patterns, which due to the angle and pressure of how it is applied to the wood is very difficult to replicate. Due to the darkness of the Ebony he then applied some gold coloured wax paste, which immediately highlighted the effect.


With time fast passing Stuart quickly gave us a five-minute skew masterclass, using a bit of B&Q’s finest 2”x2” pine turned a chess piece with his round skew including the requisite captive ring, ending to a warm round of applause. Sadly, this is probably the last time we will see this master woodturning demonstrator as he intends to retire at the end of the year, while he is still physically able to perform with the looming probability of a hip replacement on the cards.


Andi Saunders 

4th March – Gallery

22 March, 2019