January 2008 Newsletter

Jimmy Clewes was our guest for the December meeting and as expected we had a very good turnout of club members and several visitors from other clubs including some that had come from Essex.

He made three items during the day and was very good at telling us what he was doing and the tools he was using as he went along. The first demonstration was the use of wet wood and for this he had a cherry log from which he was to make a hat. One of the benefits of wet turning is that you donít create any dust. You wonít die of lung infection but you might drown!!
Jimmy turned his log to a true cylinder between centres and turned a spigot at one end so that he could hold it in the chuck at a later stage. Then he turned the outside down to form the hat, leaving the rim thick at this stage, until it was about half the diameter of the rim and included a detail that represents the hat band.
As the wood appeared to dry out a little he used a spray gun to spray it to keep it wet. (Sorry you folks in the front row!!) Once satisfied with the outside he reversed it and gripped the spigot in the chuck and turned the rim down to only about 6 or 8 mm thick, supporting the opposite side to the tool with his fingers to stop it whipping.
The next step was to hollow it out. A reminder here. The hat is going to be quite thin so donít forget that it is slightly thicker where the hat band is when making your first cuts.
Forget this and you will end up with a fez and a Frisbee!!!
As with a bowl, take the cuts a step at a time, hollowing deeper until you have gone as far as required. Jimmyís gouge had swept back wings and he made a point here that he saw no virtue in trying to grind it by eye when there are such good jigs to be had today.
His final cuts were very fine using the gouge like a sheer scraper and watching the density of the light shining through, and wetting it when he felt it was getting too dry. He also kept his sand paper wet.
With the inside finished and sanded, he removed it from the chuck. He made a jam chuck from a piece of scrap wood that the hat would fit up to, not jammed on to it, and set the hat between this and a revolving centre in the tailstock, taking care to use only a light pressure or the top would cave in. Then he made just gentle cuts to remove the spigot as far as was safe, finish sanded it and then removed from it from the lathe. The pip was removed with an electric carving chisel.
Finally Jimmy fitted some elastic bands over the hat so that as it dries out the rim will curve upwards. Note how they go around the sap wood, being softer and easier to bend.

Somewhere around this point we stopped to judge the competition entries. Jimmy took time to look at all the items on the table and chose Tony Handfordís hollow form for the turning of the month certificate and Frank Haywardís candlesticks to receive the highly commended certificate. Brian Love won the commended certificate with his ear ring stand but unfortunately I didnít get a photo of the presentation.

Jimmyís second piece of the day was to make a constellation box. The idea for these came to him after meeting a group of astrologists. The body of the box was made from a beautiful piece of burr eucalyptus (from Oz) and the lid had an ebony insert into which Jimmy drilled some small holes and inserted short lengths of silver wire, kept in place with gap filling super glue. When faced off and polished the light catches them like stars, hence the name of the box.

The final item that Jimmy made was a long stemmed goblet from a piece of oak.
First the goblet was formed with a thin wall and was sanded and polished before moving on to the stem. It will be too flimsy to touch later. The stem was very thin and was turned in short steps at a time. Asked if he ever used a skew chisel for this he said no! The stem was finished when he ran out of wood leaving just enough to form the base.

Our next meeting is on January 12th and will open at 10 am. with the AGM.
I donít have to tell you how important this meeting is so please letís have a full house.
Donít forget that this is your club and if you want any changes made to the way it is run now is your chance. If you want to propose someone as a committee member you must first get their agreement. Perhaps a new secretary who can read a calendar would be a good start!!

After the AGM the rest of the day is an in house day with four members doing something to amuse us. Brian Pattison will give a short talk on love spoons and Mike Windsor will talk about his way of doing chequered bowls. Tony Handford will again be showing us how to turn the big stuff and at the other end of the scale I will be knocking out a few pens and a couple of other things that are turned on a mandrel on a small lathe.

Happy New Year to everybody. See you all on the 12th January.


Ps. There are more pictures of the Christmas dinner on our website thanks to Peter Branchett and Fred Taylor.


Donít forget to let Bert know at the next meeting at the latest if you want to go on the coach to Alexandra Palace on Sunday 10th February.

The trip to Yandles will take place on Friday 11th April providing we have enough people wanting to go.

For those of you who havenít paid your subscription for 2008 yet would you please let me have it and your completed form by the January meeting. Without this I cannot get the directory compiled and printed.

The silver wire that Jimmy used was supplied by Cookson Precious Metals who can be contacted on www.cooksongold.com