May 2006 Newsletter

John Berkeley

Didnít he make it look easy!

John Berkeleyís demonstration last month was producing boxes with threaded lids including one of his puzzle boxes. John introduced himself and then gave a brief insight into how he got into wood turning and making puzzle boxes.

The first item he made for us today was a Chinese Hat box in pink ivory.
This was a straight forward box with a screwed lid, no tricks involved to open it. While cutting the thread he explained that the wood should ideally be hard with a fine grain. If you have a softish piece if helps to soak it with superglue to harden it but wax the chaser to prevent it from clogging up with glue. Repeat applying glue frequently. The ideal speed for thread cutting is around 450 rpm.

His second item of the day was a puzzle box called a Zulu box.
This basically consists of three parts. The box, the lid and a threaded ring although the lid was decorated with a further two parts. A flower turned from bone (obtained from a pet shop) and carved with a fine rotary cutter fashioned from a masonry nail held in a dremel or similar drill and an ebony pin to fix it to the lid.
First the box part was turned and hollowed and the threaded top cut extra long. Half of this was then hollowed out a little more so that it would just pass over the base of the box. If was then polished and parted off giving us a threaded ring The box was taken out of the lathe and the blank for the lid mounted. This was hollowed and the female thread cut (sounds easy doesnít it) and then sanded and polished. The box was then remounted in the lathe and the lid screwed on which was finished turned and polished and the flower fitted. The box was then parted off. John then turned another thread on a piece of scrap wood, mounted the box, minus its lid, on it and finished turned the bottom. And that was it, the puzzle box finished.

The photo in the gallery shows the one John turned today.

We took a break at mid morning and John judged the entries for this month and much to my surprise yours truly was awarded the certificate for best entry with my Seattle Tower box, a design copied from a book by Chris Stott.
Tony Handford won the runner up certificate with one of the two hollow forms he had entered for display.
It was once again difficult to choose two pieces because all the entries were worthy of winning as you will see in the gallery,

Johnís last piece for the day was to turn a ring and drill a hole through the side. Next he turned a pin that was shaped like a nail and coloured a steel grey to make it look like one. He then drilled in to the end and tapped it with a 1/8Ē Whitworth thread. He then turned a small head with a spindle onto which he chased a 26tpi thread to fit into the nail. The nail was then passed through the hole in the side and the head screwed on to make it look like it had been driven through from the inside!

Our next meeting is on Saturday 13th May and Cohn Simpson will be with us demonstrating mostly face plate work using finger nail profile bowl gouges. Cohn is the editor of Woodturning magazine, has been turning for several years and is well known on the demonstration circuit.

Thatís about all I have for you this month except for a couple of notices on the notice board. I look forward to seeing you all on the 13th May


Notice Board
Bill Burden went to a craft fair over the Easter weekend and met a tree surgeon who asked him if we would like some logs etc. Bill said yes so the guy is coming to the next meeting with a trailer load which he will sell at a good rate. Anything he makes he will donate half to Demelza House. Thanks Bill for that one.

We have a new member who joined us at the last meeting. Welcome to Franco Marinelli