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Cannock Chase Woodturners

Journal of Recent Meetings

11 Mar 2020
Emma with Illuminated Snow Man
Emma with Illuminated Snow Man

Emma Cook (the Tiny Turner)

Emma's project for this demonstration was a snow man with glass ball body full of LED lights.

Here are a few key points from the demo:-

  • Roughing a bowl blank between centres rather than on a screw chuck allows the selection of top and bottom (in this case of snowmans base) to be delayed until the true grain is exposed.
  • Emma sanded with 180 then 240 and followed that with a cut and polish wax. Saves a lot of dust. This was followed with microcrystaline stick wax. Advantage of the stick wax is that it can be buffed straight away.
  • For fixing glass to wood try Evostick Serious Glue or cheaper options include 151 Fantastic Elastic (pound shop) or the one used in the demo, Sudal Fixall. Adhesive must remain flexible to protect glass.
  • Applying metal leaf. Choose size according to drying time. Drying time must give sufficient time to complete apoplication of leaf. Emma used 15 minute size (Polyvine) and advised leaving 24 hrs after applying leaf before brushing off excess leaf.
  • Snowmans hat fixed with hot melt glue.
12 Feb 2020
Chris Pouncy
Chris Pouncy

Chris Pouncy (Robert Sorby Tools)

Chris did a great job not only of promoting the virtues of some of the Robert Sorby range of tools but of demonstrating in simple clear terms how to use some of the tools to the best effect.

Here are some of the key points:-

  • Pro Edge with its many accessories gives a consistent finish and compared with many grinding systems removes minimal metal from tool with each sharpening.
  • 120 belt on Pro Edge is good for most woodturning tools as any finer grit leaves cutting edge to weak.
  • When cutting tennon on bowl blank keep depth of tennon small. Deeper tennon is weaker as there is greater chance of tennon (or part of) shearing off.
  • Titanium Nitrate coating extende life of cutting edge. Although it is only a coating, after sharpening the TN is still intact at the cutting edge (in the flute).
  • After using texturing tool(s) use a point tool to give demarkation between different textures.
  • An oil finish on textured areas will pick up the texture.
  • Tear drop head on RS200 can be used to good effect on outside of bowl.
  • With flat side of RS200 on the rest the hollowing head can remove material from inside of bowl very efficiently.
  • Spiralling tool works to best effect on straight grained wood such as box wood. Need to work at low speed.
  • When rolling a bead make space to roll into before attempting to roll the bead.

Chris gave us too many tips to cover here, gave a good show with lots of laughs and sold us lots of Robert Sorby tools.

11 Dec 2019
Weed Pot by Steve Heeley
Weed Pot by Steve Heeley

Steve Heeley

Steve had prepared the blank by drilling on end and drilling three small holes in the side to receive the three buttons.

Steve says any wood will work for this design. The wood used here was sapele for the body and box wood for the buttons.

The excellence of Steve's turning and indeed the sharpness of his tools shows to good effect on the shoulders of this piece. It was also when sanding the shoulders that particular care was taken due to the hit and miss of working on round to square (rectangular) sections.

To get the effect on the rectangular body section Steve used a powerd cutting tool though clearly one could experiment wth different methods to etch the surface. This was followed with black acrylic which when dry was sanded back.

As you would expect from Mr Heeley the peice was then reverse chucked on a jam chuck to allow the base to be finished. 

13 Nov 2019

Mike Taylor

Mike gave us a great demonstration of hios pole lathe work.

The wood used in the demonstration was Alder cut from Mike's own woodland.

Only a few different tools were used. These were hook tools specially made for pole lathe work and not at all like the tools most woodturners are familiar with.

Cold presses linseed oil was one of the finishes recommended by Mike.

The chareter of pole lathe work is quite different to what many of us work towards, the nature of the wood and the effects of seesoning after turning being allowed to show through.

Also notable how muich physical hardwork there is in pole lathe work.

9 Oct 2019

Rick Dobney

The pictures below are a better description of the project than I can put in words. A stained pot with aluminium finial is the best I can do.

Please click here to see the text of the email Rick has kindly sent us detailing much of the information we would need to have a go. 

A few points noted during Ricks demonstration:-

  • You may want to use seperate tools for working aluminium.
  • Spindle gouge and parting tool work well for shaping finial but keep dipping cutting edge in cutting compound (details in Ricks email).
  • Cut tenon on finial to exact size of the drill to be used for creating the mortice.
  • Don't mix abraisive used on aluminium with that to be used on wood.
  • Disposable surgical gloves are ideal when "sanding" and polishing aluminium. As such gloves tear very easily they will not snag on moving parts.
  • Polish aluminium with chrome polish.
  • As aluminium has no grain one can cut "up hill" as well as "down hill".
  • As aluminium shavings gather around the work DON'T be tempted to pull them away with your fingers. They can by razor sharp.

10 Jul 2019
Some of Dawn's work
Some of Dawn's work

Dawn Hopley

Dawn began her demonstration with some explanation of what she had set out to try and achieve and perhaps the big lesson was how much can be achieved through imagination, research and experimentation. Dawn included us all in this journey showing some of what went well and some lessons from the experimentation.

In essence the techniques demonstrated all involved cutting wood up and sticking it back together.

The first technique shown involved blanks for pens or other small items. These were sliced with a wavey line down the length and then joined back together with a variety of materials sandwiched in the joint. This provides a coloured slice down the blank. Repeating the process with the blank rotated on it's axis gives additional interest. Materials used in the sandwich included craft paper, linnen, magazine pages, sections of drinks cans etc. Glue used was either superglue or cascamite. Selection of glue dependant largely on absorbency of materials but both somewhat challenging on intricate work. If trying this technique, have a clamping system ready before starting.

A second technique shown was to create a segmental blank. This was achieved by fixing a light coloured and dark coloured bowl blank together one on top of the other (temporary fix) and then cutting the two blanks together into what might be described as a jigsaw pattern. The pieces from the light and dark wood are then numbered so that there are two of each number the same shape but one dark and one light. The light and dark pieces are then jumbled up and assembled into mixed light and dark to reform the blank. Dawn had used cascamite for the reassembly of the blank and did say that this was challenging as there was much to be glued together before the glue went off. Gloves recommended. Dawn did point out that such a blank should be mounted in compression jaws not expansion jaws as a matter of safety.

Many thanks Dawn for an excellent demonstration with lots of explanation.

12 Jun 2019
Paul Hannaby
Paul Hannaby

Paul Hannaby

Paul demonstrated techniques for working with pewter used in conjunction with wood.

The main part of the demonstration was the production of a bowl with pewter rim.

Some of the key points:-

Wear eye protection and gauntlets when handling molten pewter

An electric metal melting pot with a bottom tap is ideal as this allows clean molten metal to flow into the mould leaving the detritus floating on the surface of the metal in the pot

The pot Paul made use of was (same or similar) Lee Production Pot IV which can be found on Amazon for £88.95 (13th June 2019)

Form a tenon on the rim of the bowl to act as a key. A matching mortice is formed in the pewter rings once cast

To cast ring, using a fine grained material (Paul used MDF) cut a recess of width and depth to suite

When releasing ring from mould remember metal will have shrunk and will threrfore tend to grip inner edge of mould

Once pewter ring is fixed to rim of bowl it can be turned much like turning wood (same tools). Sanding and finishing is also much the same though on light coloured wood care is required not to discolour or scratch wood after abraisives and clothes have been in contact with pewter.

A second part of the demonstration focussed on cutting threads on pewter for use in lidded pots.

Key Points:-

Lathe speed circa 400 rpm

Form 45 degree angle on outer end of male thread

Form a recess at inner end of thread to allow thread cutter to have open space to travel into before lifting away.

10 Apr 2019

Ray Jones

Ray gave us an entertaining and very informative evening.
His demonstration project was the chair shown in the photograph. Through the stages in this project Ray pointed out a number of key points.

  • In regards to size and proportion of turned items ask your self "does it look right"
  • If making a number of identical or even similar components such as the legs or backrest spindles on a chair get into a "production turning" habit. Prepare the blanks; rough out all the blanks; turn all the components
  • For the seat spend time preparing a template to aid marking out
  • Roll the tool to turn a bead
  • A set of open ended spanners are great for checking spindle diameters when turning
  • When rolling a bead put a pencil line where the top of the bead should be. When complete the pencil line should still be there (Just)
  • Work out/plan the angles at which holes need to be drilled

13 Mar 2019

Rob Till

Rob gave us a great demonstration on the production and decoration of a "discus bowl".

At the outset of his demonstration, Rob passed round sheets listing the key steps for the two finishes he later demonstrated. This also had a useful list of the finishing products he was using.

During the evening, Rob turned a discus bowl from some fairly dry and dusty oak. Oak was chosen for its open grain.

The upper face of the bowl Rob had turned was treated with Ebonising Lacquer, gold gilt cream and finishing oil (all products from a popular manufacturer). This is the piece pictured.

Rob then did the Blue Peter trick and pulled out a similar bowl and again decorated the upper surface, but this time with spirit stains. A great effect was achieved and, during the process, there were plenty of tips and instructions.

13 Feb 2019

Richard Findley

Richard gave us a first-rate demonstration, turning a short table leg with barley twist.

It was notable how few tools Richard used. This was a lesson in itself.

Richard shared tips and tricks as he worked. At the end of the evening, he passed round the piece of work he had produced with the comment that it needed a bit more work doing to it to be of a standard to come out of his workshop. Members who examined the work with the typical critical eye of a turner looking at another turner's work, were well impressed and struggled to find anything that could be improved.

9 Jan 2019


This meeting was in two parts.

Firstly the AGM. The meeting was well managed by our Chairman.

The second part of the meeting was a sharpening session. A couple of members brought in their preferred sharpening equipment allowing members to see sharpening techniques, get their tools sharpened, have a go and compare the relative merits of different systems.

12 Dec 2018

Steve Cassidy

Our Chairman Steve Cassidy stood in at short notice and gave us a good demonstration of two projects and what to do when you spill a jar of sanding sealer.

Steve's first project was "penguins". Difficult to judge size from the picture, but these were about 30mm tall. Ideal Christmas decorations.

Steve then went on to make a bowl with an inlay ring. The inlay ring was pre-made from a hard baked putty type material. The challenge Steve then gave himself was to cut a recess in the rim of the bowl such that the pre-made ring was an exact fit to the recess.

Something we all learned from Steve's demo is not to be frightened to have a go at something different or even at standing up front and sharing your ideas.