Gerald Hubbard was our demonstrator for the evening and his first project was to use a Banksia Nut to create an innovative light using LED string lights. The nut was turned to shape and cored out so that the wire could be threaded through and that some light would shine out through the seed holes. Banksia Nuts are quite fibrous and they produce a serious amount of dust so full ppe was necessary. Once turned and sanding sealer applied a stiff brush was used to remove stray fibres.
To ensure the globe sat correctly in the top of the nut Gerald had to turn a corresponding dish. The project was not completed because Gerald only wanted to demonstrate the principles of turning the nut and assembling the light system which he did to the trial fit stage. This proved to be an interesting and informative demonstration which may have inspired some to take on a Banksia and others among us to look for another challenge.
Gerald also then went on to demonstrate turning a mushroom using the offcut end of the Banksia Nut and a piece of decking offcut for the stem. The nut made a very interesting mushroom top with the seed holes showing well on both surfaces. To fill in the reaminder of the time Gerald showed us a 20mm diameter knitting needle that he creates and sells at craft fairs. He used a commercial dowel, turning it to a long tapering point and then making a button for the blunt end.
Overall the evening provided insights into turning an unusual material and we all learned something.