At Berkshire Woodturners we invite professional woodturners to our club nights to show us the techniques, tools and processes they use to turn their work in the hope that some of their expertise will appeal to our members.
As well as the monthly demonstrations providing inspiration to our members, we encourage all our members of whatever turning standard to develop their turning skills through a regular monthly competition and bi-monthly turning workshops.
Berkshire Woodturners are very active in the local community delivering demonstrations at Craft Fairs and similar local events, We also hold free Taster Sessions so local non-turners can give woodturning a try without having to go to the expense of buying all of the necessary equipment.
Our demonstrator for the April Club Night will be Les Thorne. Another BWA favourite, Les is a production woodturner who also offers woodturning tuition at his 'No Turning Back' workshop at Old Arlesford in Hampshire.
Les has been on the Register of Professional Turners for a number of years and is noted for turning some very large architectural pieces.
The competition theme is "A Table Lamp".
For this, the last of the planned Drop-In Sessions we will definitely run the Hints and Tips Session. We will begin with a sort session covering Personal Protection Equipment and show some examples of the type of equipment you should be considering in your own workshops. We will look at tool choices and then get down to some turning.
The turning will be spindle turning using a (Spindle) Roughing Gouge, a Spindle Gouge and a Skew Chisel. So bring along your tools and have a go. We will have a sharpening system available to get the tools really sharp. There is an element of fear about using a Skew, but when used properly it is an incredibly versatile tool and will produce the best finish of any tool.
We will have the Sphere Jig on the main club lathe for people to have a try. So bring a suitable hardwood blank (ideally at least 100mm longer than it is wide) and a couple of tools to turn away the 'nubs'. If you want to do something other than a 100mm sphere you may need to brings a second blank to make a cup to hold the sphere while you turn away the 'nubs' and sand.
Yandles itself is well worth a visit - probably the biggest stock of different types of wood, including woodturning blanks, you will find in the South of England. But at the time of the two Woodworking Shows (the second is in October) it should definitely be on any woodturners itinerary.
The show covers all aspects of woodworking but woodturning and wood carving in particular are well represented. Most of the major tool manufcaturers will be represented and will show off their equipment and tools. In particular, Yandles are a major Record Power stockist and Record offer significant savings during the show.
Many of the local woodturning and wood carving clubs will be demonstrating and several professional woodturners will also be demonstrating. As well as wood working element there is also a fairly comprehensive craft fair.
Given that Yandles is quite a distance away, lift sharing would be a sensible option. If you are willing to offer a lift or would take advantage of one let keith Mosley know. If there is sufficient interest we might consider hiring a minibus (cost to be fully covered by those taking advantage).
The demonstrator for the May Club Night will be a club turner
At the current time it is not clear who that might be or what they will be demonstrating. We will update the website once we have confirmation of who will be doing what.
The competition theme will be "A Lidded Urn". This might be a traditional Greek urn or Amphora, or perhaps a Russian Samovar, or a modern Cremation Urn.
A slight change in the way we went about this. A couple of talks to be followed by a couple of short demos on the main club lathe. And a number of static stands around the room for the break.
The format seemed to work quite well, but next time we will probably only have three chats/demos and do them straight off to allow more time to look at the static stands.
Many thanks to those who presented; Richard Maynard showed us how to finish our work so there can be no excuses for a poor finish in future competitions. This was followed by Malcolm Cleaver describing how he and Les Alexander developed the Tuesday Turning Group at the Axminster store in High Wycombe.
And also thanks are due to those who brought their bits along to show on the static stands; Matt Petch (Pyrography); Colin Burge (Pen Making) and Rob Legge for showing the Robert Sorby Pro-Edge sharpening system.
So, once again the Hints and Tips session failed to get off the ground
We did try out some of the BWA hollowing tools on a piece of wet Oak. The initial shape had been done previously as it was the hollowing element we wanted to try. It was explained that the inital shape was left a little fat especially at the bottom since we need as much support as possible while hollowing.
We actually turned a vase shape rather than a closed form so it was easier to see what was going on inside the hollow form. In this way most people were able to see the tool cutting rather than turning blind. We used a drill to open a hole up to the depth required then used a variety of tools to open up the vase further.
The initial cuts were made with the Simon Hope 6mm carbide cutter. This is extremely efficient at removing wood quickly and is relatively easy to use. It is used at a slight downward angle either on or slightly above centre. By inclining the cutter at approx. forty-five degrees a reasonably comfortable cut is achieved with little twisting motion. As the angle is increased towards ninety degrees the cut becomes much more agressive and the twisting motion becomes more difficult to control.
We then tried some of the BWA tools. These are essentially home-made versions of the Texas Toothpick tools developed initially by David Ellsworth. There are two basic types; a straight cutter and an angled cutter. BWA has a range of these tools at different sizes which can be used for small or large hollow forms. These are extremely effective and being home made are far cheaper than the more modern tools.
Finally we tried some more modern tools. Keith Mosley had brought along a Crown Revolution Hollowing Tool and a Woodcut Pro-Forme Hollowing Tool. Harvey Grimwood brought along a Kelton Hollowing Tool. Unfortunately the initial hole drilled in the blank was too small which made it impossible to use the Kelton tool effectively. The Crown and Pro-Forme tools are essentially shielded ring tools developed from the original open ring tools. The shield allows the cut being made to be controlled and helps prevent catches.
A number of people were able to have a try at some of the tools