October 2007 Newsletter

Frank Hayward won the certificate for turning of the month and Tony Handford won the highly commended certificate.
The newly introduced commended certificates went to Fred Taylor and Mike Fisher.

Melvyn Firmager was with us for the day and his demonstration was to show us his method of turning hollow forms in both side grain and end grain timbers. He prefers to work with wet wood but his pieces today had started to dry out. Melvyn is left handed and his tools are specially shaped to suit both his work and his position at the lathe. For quite a lot of his operations he runs the lathe in reverse and works off the back of the vessel.
He rarely uses a chuck, having most of his work mounted on a face plate using substantial screws for the job.

He had tools and screws for sale plus a couple of videos. He was out of catalogues but these would be posted to anyone who wanted one.

He also talked about grinding tools and how he prefers the graduated McDonnel jig to others. At this point he gave us a couple of tips.

1– Use a felt tip marker to blue the tip of the tool. This highlights the area untouched by the wheel and therefore needs another pass over the grinder.
2– Make up some collars for each tool to fit under the tool rest so that the height of the tool rest is always right.

His first piece was a lump of tree wood (his answer when asked what it was) planned on one side to take the face plate and it had a crotch on the opposite side where a branch had been ripped off in its early life. This was to become a feature of the neck on the finished vessel.
One of his gouges was ground to the shape of a pen nib and is called, yep, a nib gouge. He used this to take some really heavy cuts to rough down the diameter of the log, 3/4” at one attempt but the lathe rebelled and kicked out the overload. (Talk amongst yourselves while Bill shoves his hand up it’s gearbox and presses it’s button). Lesson learnt and lighter cuts followed. To cut behind the neck and the body he used an Irish grind on a bowl gouge. This is a grind that is long on the sides of the gouge. I tried photographing the tips of his tools but none of them came out good enough to print. Melvyn drew several diagrams to illustrate what was happening inside the vessel as he was making cuts and had he gone further with the first item he would have broken through on one side. This would create another feature and also show the inside and the finish that can be achieved with these tools. However, this would have lessened the time left for his next project which was to turn a smaller vessel and bore through an even smaller hole using tools shaped by seriously grinding a 1/4” bowl gouge to a swan neck with only a small tip left.

On the same log Melvyn turned the beginnings of a sea flower vase. This comprises a series of very thin fins turned at intervals along the length with the spindle becoming very slim below the bowl of the vase. When it is finished and the wood dries out it distorts and leaves wavy petals. Eucalyptus is very good for this type of work.

The day was finished off with roughly turning the face of a roll top bowl using a nib gouge to rough the outside and a square across grind on the bowl gouge to turn the inside.

The next meeting is on Saturday 13th October and Dave Reeks will be our demonstrator for the day. We all know how versatile Dave is and I am sure he will have something interesting for us, well, you lot really because I will be in far off lands, too far to come back for the day.

I won’t be back in time to do a newsletter for November either so pay attention, I will only say this once!!

The meeting in November will be on Saturday 10th and it will be a day of demonstrations by club members. Pat Hughes, Norman Smithers and Syd Weatherly have all been “volunteered” into showing off their particular skills. These days don’t happen very often but when they do every one seems to enjoy them very much. It is also a chance to wander around talking to people without someone shouting at you to be quiet!! I will be back in time but I promise to keep it zipped.

Have fun. I will see you all in November.


Back Page notices

Surrey Association of Woodturners

The S A W are having their annual bash at Mytchett on Sunday 28th October where there will be trade stands ready to take your money from you and demo’s by Dave Reeks and Les Thorne. The club will have a display table and also an inter club challenge table. We need 10 pieces for this and Bert will be ringing round asking for entrants. Also individuals can enter a competition for best turning for the princely sum of £1. Items must be less than 12 months old and entry forms must be submitted by October 13th. Bert will have a few available at the fish ’n’ chip lunch or you can go on line to js.starbuck.me.uk or www.sawoodturners.org to download one.

The Christmas Dinner

We have booked the carvery at the Tudor Rose at Borden again for Friday 30th November and at the suggestion of several of you we have moved the sit down time to 7.30 pm. The menu is included in this newsletter. The price has gone up a little. This year it will be £24 per person

The following letter was received by Bert from Melvyn Firmanger

Hi Bert,

Many thanks for having me at your illustrious club, or is it ‘den of iniquity’. And indeed accommodating me. It was very much appreciated.

I enjoyed my time with you and everyone – great attitude and great fun! I regret failing to bring two items with me – for measuring and hooking shavings out. I am about to re-create a list of what I need for demos. Specially need it with having Lyme’s, which is making my normal bad memory 10 times worse!

On looking back I probably spent too much time entertaining in relation to the length of demo time and the other commitments. On the other hand everyone seemed to be into that - camaraderie , banter, just plain silliness etc. Did I spend too long with the critique? I hope not. I was conscious of not being able to make up my mind with the second one!! In the end I just had to go for it. Very close. Maybe I was too long.

I would have very much liked to have done more hollowing, but pursuing that under the circumstances would have been counter productive. Folk seemed to feel that was ok. I certainly hope so. I think on reflection it would have been better if I had left out the roll top bowl to give me more time to focus on the vessel work. To do everything some justice, really is a 9 to 5 day at least.

What was a little frustrating from my point of view was the lack of close camera work. I would normally show close-ups of my cuts especially the Nib Gouge. I work the camera man really hard getting the audience to see every little detail – camera over my shoulder, under my armpit, between my legs - er!, first one side of me then the other and back again, directly over the top of the tool....... This I couldn’t do for one reason only – the cables to the camera were too short. This limited what I could do to enable good understanding. I would strongly recommend getting longer cables, which will dramatically help members understand what is going on. If you have my videos they will show you very well what I mean.

There would be an added problem in doing this in that as the lathe and demonstrator is on a dais, there wouldn’t be too much room for the camera man to get on there too. That might create a safety hazard. I guess you would need to experiment to see what works.

I should have brought a form with me from the Professional Register of Turners for assessment of demonstration, but couldn’t as I am unable to print at this time. Some computer, software and printer issues! If you wish to complete the form, (your choice entirely) perhaps you wouldn’t mind downloading the form, or I will post you one as soon as I am able to print again. The address for the form is http://www.rpturners.co.uk/demofeedbackform.pdf

Several guys have asked for catalogues, regret some issues are holding me back from printing them. Will get there!

If any members wish to ask my advice I will be only too pleased to hear from them.

Even being told I was a liar, didn’t dull the day for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Once again many thanks, and please pass on my good wishes to everyone.

With kind regards,