Club Night – 2nd May 2018

There were lathes all over the place today, some heading to vehicles for eventual transport to Daventry Woodworks and three of them being set up for the Three Turners May Showdown.

While the demo lathes were being set up, this meeting’s competition pieces were laid out, chairs set up – and, of course, the tea urn switched on to complete preparations for the evening’s activities.

At the end of the evening, the Daventry-bound lathes and a goodly number of pieces for the club stand at Woodworks were loaded into their transports and we all went our respective ways.


1st Gerald’s small box has excellent detailing and just “works” at all levels. Very nice!

Boxwood box with threaded lid, Gerald

2nd A deceptively simple shape on this undercut burr oak bowl by Mick

Burr oak bowl, Mick

3rd As well as the flowers and the vase, Clive has managed to insert some segmented work into this nice display set.

Vase and flowers, Clive

….and a picture of the table with some other items

RyanAir or BA??

Demonstration by The Three Turners – Mick, Gerald and Roger

With Mick on the Poolewood, Gerald on the Coronet Herald and Roger on the Axminster, all very different lathes, the task was for each to produce a goblet from the supplied – and particularly nice – yew branchwood. All three turners have different styles and it was interesting to see them each go about it in their own ways. There was, of course, no element of competition whatsoever!

Gerald marking out
Gerald hollowing the goblet

Concentration levels were high both behind and in front of the lathes and the time flew by until it was teabreak and raffle time. Mick, unfortunately, went through the bottom of his goblet and had to start again, but he recovered well and his second attempt was commendably brave with a thin stem and a pleasing shape to the cup.

Mick shaping his first goblet

After refreshment the trio continued, with Roger the first to finish, but all three completed very nice goblets within the time available and were given a good round of applause for their efforts.

Roger mounting the blank
.. and nearly finished

As mentioned above, the level of concentration from the turners and the degree of attention from the audience was notable throughout the demo; it really was an excellent demo. Many thanks to Mick, Gerald and Roger for their efforts.

Club Night – 4th April 2018 – AGM

This was our AGM, so unfortunately more about business matters than woodturning, but there were some nice competition items to admire (first meeting of the month) which we’ll get to later.


Chairman Mick Denton opened the meeting and delivered the Chairman’s report, followed by reports from the various other club officers. The Treasurer’s statement was accepted, subject to audit at a later date and it was agreed that subscriptions and the meeting entry charges would remain unchanged at £10 and £4 respectively.

AGM in progress

All Committee Members were re-elected unchanged apart from the position of Webmaster which Ken Garratt agreed to take on from Duncan Anderson. The list of club officers on the website has been updated although the website is likely to be a joint effort for a while.

Turner Of The Year

After the main business was concluded, it was time to announce the results of the Turner Of The Year competition – awarded for the total competition points accummulated throughout the year. On this occasion, our very own Chairman, Mick Denton scooped 1st prize by a good margin:

1st Mick, 190 points

Turner Of The Year 2018

2nd Bob, 145 points

3rd Roger, 140 points

4th Gerald, 135 points

Congratulations to Mick, who has put in a lot of very nice pieces at the competitions and very well done to all who took part in the competitions – and we must all try harder next year to give him a run for his money!

After the raffle, it was time for tea and a general natter before the auction of member’s redundant equipment, some good bargains being taken away at the end of the evening.

Inspecting the auction table


Now that 2017-18 Turner Of The Year has been announced, it is time to start of the 2018-19 competitions and AGM or no AGM, the first meeting of the month is competition time with this month’s results being:

1st A beautifully turned yew goblet with blackwood(?) stem by Mick.

Yew goblet, Mick

2nd A holly vase by Roger; very nice, we don’t see holly very often.

Holly vase, Roger

3rd A nice piece of spalted beech put to good use in this bowl by Adrian.

Spalted beech bowl, Adrian

Club Night – 7th March 2018

What a busy meeting this was! We opened up the hall an hour earlier than usual so that Roger ( could get set up in the corner and crack on with PAT testing our electrical equipment, lathes, grinder, A/V gear etc. He was able to complete it all without missing too much of Mick’s demonstration and I’m very pleased to say that we are now now fully up to date.

While Roger did his bit, a few of us set up the tables and chairs, the lathe for Mick’s demo, and the cameras and screen, so that all was pretty well ready to go by the time everyone else turned up at 7 o’clock. This just left the tea urn to be switched on (crucial to a club evening), and the competition pieces laid out for judging before Mick started his demo.

At the end of the evening, so much gear had been taken out of the store for testing that it was a bigger job than usual to sweep up and put everything away, but it was all completed and the hall vacated in the allotted time to finish off a very productive meeting.


The pictures below show some of this meeting’s entries and also the proud makers. Well done gents!

Bob with Clock

Clock, Bob
1st  This clock by Bob had loads of small details and plenty of interest in the woods used.

Adrian withYewTube

YewTube, Adrian
2nd  A slightly tongue-in-cheek version of Gregory Moreton’s Yew Tube by Adrian

Clive with platter and bowls

Platter and bowls, Clive
3rd  A very nice set by Clive, with good choice of woods and no gaps between the segments.
Offset bowl
Protruding Bowl



Here I’ve added pictures of three very different bowls from the competition.




The reason?




Spalted bowl



Because I like them all!





Demonstration by Mick Denton, club Chairman

Mick demonstrated the making of a tazza, a wide, shallow dish on a stem. This was the first time our new Coronet Herald lathe had been used in anger so the demo was of particular interest on this occasion.

For the tazza he used a well seasoned piece of elm – with a rather alarming crack in the circumference. The end with the crack was chosen to be the base in the hope that it would be removed as the diameter was reduced, which fortunately did turn out to be the case.

The blank was initially mounted on a small screw chuck and the lathe run at slow speed while the face was trued up and an internal tenon formed. It was then reversed onto the chuck and an internal tenon formed on the other side.

Starting the tenon

With the workholding now sorted out, Mick trued up the circumference and started shaping the underside using a bowl gouge. He increased the revs gradually as the blank came into balance and as the cracked portion was reduced in size and eventually picked off; final speed was about 1300 rpm, used for most operations after this point, including sanding.

He completed the shaping, recessed the base and added detailing with a tri-point tool.

Detailing the foot

The underside was finished off with sanding with 240 and 500 grit abrasives, then coated with a 50/50 mix of cellulose sanding sealer and thinners before wiping it all down with a paper towel.

The tazza was now reverse chucked ready for hollowing out the bowl.

Hollowing was started using a bowl gouge working from the rim towards the centre, but a substantial piece of wood was left in the centre at this stage to aid stability whilst turning the edges of the bowl.

Once the edges were down to the final thickness of about 5mm Mick used the bowl gouge to remove the centre portion, working from the centre outwards.

To finish off and refine the shape, he used scrapers very carefully in view of the bowl sides flexing and vibrating.

Finally, the inside of the bowl was sanded as for the outside, 50/50 sanding sealer applied with a brush and wiped with a paper towel before being allowed to dry. With the lathe stopped it was then rubbed down with 800 grit abrasive.

Sanding inside the bowl

To get a nice, light bowl of even wall thickness, the outside was given a light cut with a 3/8” bowl gouge before being once again sanded.

Mick shaped the stem for a pleasing transition between base and bowl, and gave it some detail with a modified bedan tool before sanding it down and applying 50/50 sanding sealer.

To decorate the tazza Mick next rubbed gilt cream onto the inside of the bowl. Only a little gilt cream was used, rubbed in thoroughly with a paper towel. To remove the surplus it was buffed with a paper towel at 140 rpm, then buffed at 500 rpm, and finally at 750 rpm to give it a shine.

With the inside complete, Mick gave the outside a rubdown with 800 grit abrasive (lathe stationary) before applying sanding sealer, rubbing it down and then applying Wood Wax22.

A final polish with a paper towel and the tazza was complete.

Completed tazza, side view

Completed tazza, gilded bowl

Mick often uses Black Bison wax on elm as it works particularly really well with the wood colour and grain. He also said that he usually puts a clear spray lacquer over the gilt cream,  £4.99 from an automotive shop.

…and he was very happy with the new lathe – smooth, quiet and did everything asked of it.

Club Night – 7th February 2018

There was a good turnout for the meeting today, despite the cold weather, and a good selection of pieces for the competition. The pictures below show just the “winners” but special mention must go to Bob for his “Paul Jones replica goblet” – very nice. The equipment and chairs were set up, the video equipment fine tuned and everyone settled down for the demo by Marcus.

After the demo, it was a quick scramble to put everything away, sweep up, and conclude another enjoyable evening.


The joint third place, by the way, doesn’t indicate indecision on the part of judges; the places are awarded purely on how much money the club members put into the Air Ambulance collection pots associated with each piece.

Hollow form with lid and finial, Mick

1st Another hollow form by Mick, with his trademark black finial.Hollow Form with lid and finial Mick D

Goblets and platter with coloured pyro, Clive

2nd Goblets on a platter by Clive, with a nice extra touch in the form of some pyrography and colouring.

Mammod stationary steam engine, Adrian

3rd Who else but Adrian? Mammod stationary steam engine, nicely executed, but doesn’t run as well as the real one that he used to own!

Clown clock, Duncan

3rd This clown clock by Duncan was a satisfying way of using up some scraps of sycamore, bog oak and yew.

Demonstration by Marcus Buck, club member

Marcus said he had been wondering for some time what to demonstrate but then decided to make a yew vase with what turned out to be an unusual base. Certainly not something that I, and most of his audience, had seen before.

He started off with a piece of well seasoned yew branch about 375mm long and 75mm diameter, initially set up on the chuck with gripper jaws, and a live centre in the tailstock.

The main body of the vase was shaped using a spindle roughing gouge and a spindle gouge, leaving some bark and hollows in the vase to add interest.

Drilling out the centre

The next operation was to drill into the interior of the vase with a Forstner bit, taking care to keep the lathe speed down, and feed rate slow, to avoid overheating the wood, as yew is particularly liable to checks forming when overheated.

Hollowing in progress

Once the hole was drilled to approx final depth, Marcus hollowed out the vase using a tipped tool – I think it was a Hope 6mm Pro carbide tool.

As the hollowing progressed, a crack appeared along the length of the vase, which was prevented from spreading further by filling with thin superglue. He waited until the glue had set before resuming hollowing – highly advisable if airborne superglue is not wanted!

As planned, the tool broke through the hollow areas as the wall thickness decreased, adding further interest.

Once down to about 5mm wall thickness, he finished off the outside with a small spindle gouge and sanding through the grits, with the lathe on a fairly slow speed to avoid overheating and checking.

Finishing was with sanding sealer, rubbed down with a paper towel before applying microcrystalline wax. After a few minutes the wax was buffed with a paper towel, making several slow passes over the vase whilst applying moderate pressure.

After the tea break and raffle, Marcus turned his attention to the base, giving it a roughly oval shape before taking the vase off the lathe.

Most of the base was cut away with a saw, to leave just a fairly thin piece projecting downwards from the bottom of the vase.

Carving the extended base

He marked out the remaining part and used a Proxxon carving tool and Dremel to shape it into a more natural form. A suitable finish will be applied later, in Marcus’s workshop.

The vase can now be sat on a small block of wood or legs, or over the side of a flat surface to give the impression of it floating above the surface or flowing over the edge. There are many other presentation options, depending upon one’s imagination!

Completed vase

The hole in the side of the vase and the extended base really made it quite different from the usual, and generated a good deal of interest as well as a hearty round of applause from the audience.

Club Night – 3rd January 2018

This was the first meeting of the month so we had both a competition and a demonstration, details below.


The winners are shown here, with some other pictures in the 2018 Gallery.

Yew bowl with lid and finial, Mick

1st  Signs of Mick trying to muscle in on Gerald’s territory here, with a lovely little lidded yew bowl with a finial.

Natural edged yew bowl, Roger

2nd  This natural edged yew bowl by Roger is simple but attractive.

Table with Star Trek, Adrian

3rd  Star Trek by Adrian,  guarding the table with the other entries. Complete with multi-coloured lights.

Demonstration by Lee Stoffer of Covert Craft (

This was a very different sort of demonstration as it was nothing to do with woodturning! Lee is a wood carver, and a previous demonstration by him was very popular, so he was invited back again. Although not woodturning, there are similarities, including a need to “read” the wood and work with it not against it, and to cut downhill where possible.

On this occasion he made an oval bowl out of green wood from a willow tree, with the work carried out on a carving horse of his own design.

He first split log through the pith using a froe. The flat side of the log was to become the bottom of the bowl, the curved side the top.

Splitting the log

Using an asymmetrically bevelled axe for easier control, he straightened up the edges, and flattened the bottom of the bowl to provide a reference face, working both along and across the grain. He also squared up the ends.

Mounted on the horse,  the flat faces were cleaned up with a scrub plane, a drawknife and a No.4 smoothing plane.

With the round side up, he marked the centre then put screws in the wood on  the longitudinal axis about 140mm either side of centre (280mm apart). Lee then made up a loop of string about 305mm long when pulled tight, placed it round the screws and pulled the string out with a pencil to describe an ellipse – the inside of the bowl rim.

He started hollowing out with a hollowing adze by making an initial hollow across the minor axis and then worked along the major axis towards this hollow, thus reducing the likelihood of a slip damaging the rim of the bowl. A roughing gouge could have been used – more accurate but slower.

Hollowing with a roughing gouge

Finishing to the line of the rim was carried out with a roughing gouge and mallet. The inside of the bowl is shaped before the outside as there is less likelihood of splitting.

To clean up, a hand pushed gouge with a sharp curved edge was used. A spoon gouge could also have been used – in fact any sharp curved edge would do.

The rim outer edge and the handles were next marked out; the rim is about 20mm thick.

Lee used the axe to trim the ends around the handles, and remove surplus wood at the sides and underside.

At this point, the shape was now roughed out – but still faceted as the flat facets made it easier to control the axe.

Shaping continued with an adze, including finger grooves on the underside of the handles.

Refining the shape with a drawknife

He then rounded off the edges with a drawknife, working downhill to avoid lifting the grain.

The bottom was made flat, with just a slight hollow in the middle – but it is expected that the wood will move as it dries out and some finishing will be required.

The last stage tonight involved more shaping, now with a spokeshave – pushing not pulling. Another technique involves using a gouge to apply a scalloped finish.

Finished – now wait to dry

The bowl will now be allowed to dry then finished off with gouges.

Club Night – 6th December 2017

This was the first meeting of the month so we had both a competition and a demonstration, details below.


Competition Table
Yew Lidded Pots

1st Three delightful lidded yew pots by Mick. Well deserved.

Hollow Turned Christmas Trees

2nd A zipper vase and some ring turned hollow Christmas trees by Geoff Warr helped him to 2nd place, the latter items based upon Richard Wright’s demo at the last meeting.  See the picture of the competition table, above, for the zipper vase.

Bird Box, Tony

3rd A nice little bird box by Tony – his first entry into the charts I believe. Congratulations!

Demonstration by Gregory Moreton

A NE bowl made out of robinia pseudoacacia burr (false acacia) was demonstrated by Greg for the first part of the evening. He commenced by removing as much bark as possible to prevent it flying off whilst turning.

The blank was mounted between centres, oriented to provide a fairly even top rim and therefore a reasonably even top rim thickness – something to look out for when turning NE bowls.

A  bowl gouge was used to shape the outside and a chucking tenon was cut with a spindle gouge (less tearout than a skew chisel). In the restricted space available, Greg took care to keep the gouge steady.

Once satisfied with the shape, he power sanded it through the grits, finishing with 320 grit before reverse mounting it onto the chuck and hollowing out.

Throughout the demo, there were plenty of little asides and comments as to why Greg did things in a particular manner – useful tips, e.g. when hollowing, if the form is deeper than it is wide, a 45° bevel won’t go round the bottom; use a 55-65° bevel, with a relief bevel to avoid too much rubbing.

Leaving a step in the centre of the bowl makes the final cut easier to engage cleanly when starting with the 65° gouge. Sharpen before the final cut, to get the best possible finish off the tools.

Even wall thickness is important as the edge is heavily indented meaning that the rim is visible well down the sides of the bowl and it will look odd if noticeably thicker or thinner than other parts of the edge.

Notwithstanding the above, as this bowl will be made without a foot, it was  left thicker at the base to add weight and stop it rolling over.

Following this, Greg power sanded most of the inside of the bowl with the lathe stationary (lots of sharp edges!) and then finished off the bottom by power sanding with the lathe rotating.

The last scraps of bark were removed from the natural edge with a wire brush and then finally cleaned up with a nylon brush in a drill.

The bowl was reversed again, this time onto a foam jam chuck, held in place by a live centre with a washer placed on the point to avoid splitting the spigot – a home-made ring centre in effect. The tenon was removed initially with a bowl gouge, changing to a spindle gouge for the final cuts. The final cut left a scored line to enable breaking off the remainder cleanly.

Although not done for the demo, he usually finishes off with around three coats of finishing oil, allowing 24 hours between coats, rubbing back lightly with Webrax between the coats.

After the raffle draw and a welcome tea break, Greg demonstrated making one of his signature yew forms.

Yew Tube. A piece of yew branch cut diagonally across the ends was mounted eccentrically between a 19mm augur in the headstock and a live ring centre in the tailstock. The eccentricity is to make the most of the yew figuring.

With the lathe turning slowly, the tailstock was used to press the wood onto the augur thereby boring a hole throughout it’s full length, stopping just short of contact between the augur tip and the live centre.

Next, a ready-made wooden arbour was mounted in the chuck and the tube mounted upon it with the tailstock brought up as support while the outside of the tube was shaped and brought down to about 1.5mm wall thickness in the centre.

The ends were faced off and the tailstock end hollowed out, leaving a tenon.

He removed the tailstock and parted through to the arbor at the headstock end before reversing the workpiece onto the chuck and tidying up the end with a spindle gouge so that both ends matched.

The spigot was removed by cutting towards the centre drilling.

Duct tape for additional security

Greg reversed the tube once more, onto a jam chuck. He brought up the tailstock and then used duct tape around the chuck and workpiece for additional security.

Finally, he tidied up the end and used the tailstock for support whilst cutting through to the drilled hole to release the completed item.

The final stage would be to sand and finish the Yew Tube but we had run out of time and so Greg finished the demonstration at that point.

Completed YewTube next to demo item

Club Night – 4th October 2017


This was a hands-on session with a number of people beavering away at various projects, but no pictures I’m afraid as I was busy being shown how to get a good finish on a large lump of awful, nameless, Welsh pine. Thanks Mick!


This month’s competition had an unusual diversity of styles with, amongst other things, a lovely little table complete with mouse and candlesticks, a beautiful lignum vitae vase and a very nice inlaid platter.

Mouse Table


Lignum Vitae Vase


Inlay Platter