July 2018 Newsletter

Graham is on holiday so Paul stood in and created this report.
The paper newsletter will be prepared and posted by Graham, as normal, when he returns reinvigorated.

Our turner for June was Greg Moreton who last turned for us in May 2016.
Greg is most renowned for his Monkey Puzzle bowls for which he did not disappoint us this month, starting the day with a 9 inch Monkey Puzzle blank from the top of the tree (the one that his daughter calls the “Sticky Pricky Tree” on account of the stick sap and the big spines.

Greg started the demo by pulling the bark off of the blank, highlighting the rather nasty spines that you need to be careful with as they invariably get infected if you get stuck by them! Once the bark was off and the blank mounted between centres it seemed to be well balanced despite the branch stumps due to their even spacing. Greg tries to orient tha blank so that the branch knots that the Monkey Puzzle is well noted for are in the top of the form that you are creating for visual impact. He also prefers the natural wood colour, so rarely colours or carves the wood he turns.
As the monkey puzzle branches grow upwards, it allows for a flared bowl when creating natural rims and this is what Greg was aiming for today. He roughly turned the outside to a general shape before turning his attention to hollowing out the form using just bowl gouges (He uses the heavy metal handles that you can interchange blades in due to their extra weight).
He was quick to caution careful positioning of the hands when turning out the inside of the natural edge bowl.

The monkey puzzle branches created a lovely wavy rim which would not interact well with fingers.

With the outside done,
Greg turned the outside down to match the inside, looking for an even wall thickness throughout to aid drying. As he exposed the core of the blank, it was easy to see the large pith that is common in Monkey Puzzle.
Greg removed this pith and replaced it with a plug made from Grass Tree root. This was hammered in without glue as the contraction of the monkey puzzle would retain it.
Final cuts then bought this flush with the bowl bottom.
The intention was to give the piece a small foot to increase the “wow” factor in the gallery.
Unfortunately, when turning the detail to transition into the foot, Greg managed to make the inside diameter larger than the outside.
The result became a lampshade of course to the delight of everyone watching!

Usually at that point, Greg would oil the piece and let it sit for 3-4 months before finishing. Luckily he had a Blue Peter special that he could use to show us how he removes the foot using a foam drive in the headstock and a ring centre in the tailstock to reduce the damage to the foot. Light controlled cuts then reduce the chuck grip and undercut the foot.

After lunch,
Greg turned his attention to 3 slightly smaller items.
The first was an old piece of Oak fence post that had obviously seen service for a good number of years before coming into his possession.
It was mounted as a rectangle into a set of Mega Jaws, with addition screws into the end of the blank for safety (these screw holes would later be removed with the bandsaw and the ends finished).
Once mounted on the lathe, a bowl was removed revealing the natural colouring of the oak, leaving the main surface weathered.
Greg then showed us how he uses a wire brush to remove the bulk of the grit and dirt from the blanks natural edges, followed by a nylon brush mounted in the Jacobs chuck to finish the cleaning process.
The whole blank is then waxed and buffed using a pine brush in the head stock.

The next piece was a branch mounted on the screw chuck with the hole drilled through the bark side of the blank (The second blank after first drilling the wrong one!).
The base was shaped with a gentle curve and a chuck grip created. Then careful sanding with a power sander, with the lathe running at a high speed due to the large empty spaces as the log rotated. The blank was then reversed, and the bowl removed.
Concentrating on keeping the wings even and working down to the supported section of the bowl. During this time, the speed was again up high to minimise the amount of empty space.
Once the bowl was completed, the piece was reversed onto the foam drive for the foot to be removed.

The final piece of the day was the blank that had been accidently drilled from the wrong side.
This was mounted on the screw chuck and the extra wood from the wings was removed to create flat wings either side of a small bowl with the chuck grip on.
This was then power sanded on the bowl area only with the lathe running, and the wings sanded with the lathe stationary.
The piece was then reversed, the bowl removed, and the front finished. Once more the foam pad was used to remove the chucking point and leave the bottom of the bowl rounded and smooth.

Greg left this piece with the club to be finished and offered as a prize at one of our raffles.

All in all an excellent day with some great knowledge imparted.

The demonstrator for July will be Andy Coates. Always informative.