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 February Club Night will be Gary Rance. Gary has been a long time favourite with the BWA making regular visits to demonstrate here.
Gary has been turning wood since 1975 when he was just sixteen. Gary is a production wood turner of great experience and is one of the fastest production woodturners around, but he also produces some spectacular bespoke items which can be seen on his website.
Gary has also developed a number of specialist tools for the woodturner, in particular his 'round' skew chisel, beading tool and box scraper
These Drop-In sessions will operate as a form of mini Workshop compressed into an evening session.
The plan for the first of these is to have three separate activities going on at the same time
1. On the main lathe we plan to show how to use the recently purchased Sphere Jig. The jig was demonstrated by Paul Howard when he visited BWA in November. We have a set of instructions that Paul has produced and there is a video on YouTube. We have developed our own set of guides for setting up and using the Sphere Jig. While actually setting up and turning the sphere is relatively easy, the methods of holding the blank is the key to getting a good result, so we will demonstrate a couple of methods of turning a sphere.
2. We will also run a 'Hints and Tips' session on some of the club mini lathes. While these are essentially for beginners and less experienced turners everyone is welcome to come and join us. We will focus on spindle turning at the February Drop-In. For the March Drop-in we be looking at turning a bowl and at the April Drop-In we will focus on turning a lidded box
3. We will also have lathes available for those who have a problem piece or are having a struggle using a particular tool. We will have a couple of experienced turners on hand to provide some guidance.
And of course you can simply 'drop-in' for a cup of coffee and a chat.
We currently have three Drop-In Session planned. As well as the February Session we will also hold sessions on Wednesday 7th March and Wednesday 4th April.
These Drop-In Sessions will be on trial for 3 months. If successful they will probably become a permanent part of the programme
Our first demonstrator for 2018 was Martin Saban Smith. Martin chose to demonstrate the methods he uses to turn and colour a multi-axis platter using the Intrinsic Colour Dyes he has developed and now sells. Martin explained that he developed the dye as he was not satisfied with the colours available from the existing suppliers.
The demonstration concentrated on the colouring side of creating a small platter, only a limited amount of turning was done to ensure the platter was finished. Martin recommended using the 'Golden Ratio' to determine the diameter of the various platter levels.Martin brought along a number of the large platters he turns and sells through his website.
One of the key elements was not to sand beyond 400 grit as to do so might close up the pores in the wood with the heat generated by sanding which might result in the dye not penetrating the wood. Martin started by applying a dark colour, but then almost sanded it back off again only leaving a small amount of shading in areas where the grain had absorbed more of the dye.
A set of colours were chosen to further dye the wood. Martin suggested using only a limited number of colours and said that the best results seem to be when using an odd number of colours
Despite at one time being a advocate of airbrushing all the colour was applied using paper towel taking care to blend the colours well and not to have sharp demarcation lines between the colours.
Once Martin was satisfied with the colours, though until some finish is applied the colours look dull and uninteresting, the centre boss was textured using the Robert Sorby texturing tool. The centre boss was then coloured black and gold gilt creme used to highlight the texturing. A couple of coats of sanding sealer were applied and the whole piece burninshed with a micro-crystaline wax stick. Normally Martin would use a couple of coats of Danish Oil to make the colours 'stand out' before applying the sanding sealer and wax finishes, but the Danish Oil needs at least twenty-four hours to go off before applying any wax finish.
As can be seen in the picture to the left the result was a very attractive platter.
Picture by Malcolm Cleaver
Brian Attewell, David Blundell, Colin Burge and Keith Mosley harvested some Oak Blanks from the garden of Mr Richard Turner in the Embrook area of Wokingham. The tree was of a good size and had already been cut down by some tree surgeons. Unfortunately the trunk pieces had already been snapped up by a friend but the remaining branch wood was of a good size.
The wood will be taken to Rob Legge's house in Eversley where it will be stored until it can be processed into blanks.
The blanks will be sold at the BWA Auction in June