Forest of Bere Woodturners Newsletter Pages


Forest of Bere Woodturners Archive Pages

April 2018 Newsletter

I hope that everyone has had an enjoyable break over the bank holiday and waistlines are recovering from all the chocolate eggs!!

The first two weeks of April are going to be a pretty busy time for the club as we have the Open Day to celebrate our 25th anniversary on Saturday 14th. This will be an all day affair starting at 10.00 am and finishing at 4.00 pm. It promises to be a very interesting day with turning demonstrations on two lathes plus piercing, pyrography, wood carving, galleries, slideshow and much more. Teas and coffees will be available throughout the day, if you are staying over lunchtime remember to bring a sandwich. If you still need to drop off gallery pieces don’t forget to check the Home page message from midday on the 13th for updated details on where to take them.

This month’s issue features an account of our last club meeting, the demonstration by Les Thorne, project details of the Globe, made by Alan Aldridge, for the ‘Enigma 25’ competition and a report on the March Competition by Malcolm Bryant.

If anyone has a project idea, a story to tell or an idea for an article, please get in touch. We would be really interested in publishing articles from any member. We will be happy to work with you on it, assisting with photographs, wording and layout as needed. For more information please use the ‘More Info.’ button below or talk to either Rick Smith or Dave Hutchings at any club meeting.

We would very much like to have your opinions on not only the last meeting but also past and future ones. We can use this to help us tailor the meetings to meet with our current and changing needs. Please speak to or email any committee member or use the feedback button at the bottom of this page.

Our thanks go to Alan Aldridge and Malcolm Bryant for their excellent articles.

CLUB NIGHT March 21st 2018

March Competition and Gallery Pieces

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by Alan Aldridge

Corded Bowl

by Ken Briffett

Novice Competition Pieces

Bowl of Fruit

by Bill Thorne

More Info.

An Evening with Les Thorne

Pictures by Don Smith

‘Enigmatic 25’ Competition Project by Alan Aldridge

Taking one of the pieces, the outline of the land mass was traced onto tracing paper and the tracing stuck onto the sphere with double sided tape, a scalpel was then used to trim away the waste around the coastline.

After repeating this procedure with all eight pieces the whole thing was sprayed black and when the paint had dried the stickers were peeled off to reveal a globe with the land in natural wood and the oceans painted black.


To cut away the areas of ocean a cradle was used to hold a small router in a horizontal position and a platform to clamp to the lathe bed was made up so that the router would be cutting at centre height.


 The globe was supported at the headstock end by an 8mm bolt araldited into a scrap piece of wood turned to fit the chuck jaws and the live centre in the tailstock supported the other end.  A semi circular piece of MDF was fixed to the router platform and set


to give a 6mm depth of cut. Most of the areas of ocean were then cut away taking care to leave a small margin around the coastline which was finished off with hand carving tools and a dremel using

The next step was to make a container to hold the globe in such a way that the resin could be poured and then, when set, re-mounted on the lathe to turn away the outer container and turn the globe back back to a sphere.  The container was made out of some scrap pieces of cherry and the globe was held centre by using an 8mm dowel into a hole in the base and another in the cap.

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The mount for the globe was easy enough to make so I won’t go into that and since making the globe I’ve found another way of transferring the outline of the continents using paper templates that can be adapted to suit any size sphere so if anyone would like to have a go at this and needs any further help or advice then please feel free to contact me.

Globe project, article and photographs by Alan Aldridge


Making the globe was an interesting project and each phase came with a new challenge, the first consideration was how to transfer the outline of the continents onto a wooden sphere.

This was achieved by buying a cheap plastic globe and cutting it in half along the equator then turning a sphere to fit inside and while the sphere was on the lathe an 8mm axis hole was bored and the centre line (equator) marked with the point of a skew.  After taking it off the lathe, one of the plastic hemispheres was used to mark off reference points around the equator.

The plastic hemispheres were then cut into small pieces, most of the areas of ocean were cut away and some of the larger areas of land divided up to give a total of eight pieces.  Each piece (except for Antartica) had a straight edge where it met the equator so any piece could be placed on the sphere in the correct position using the reference points marked earlier.

side cutting drills.  A final clean up of the sea bed was required to complete this part of the operation.


Les explained that, as a production turner, he normally plans to reduce the need for re-chucking and moving the tool rest to a minimum in order to use his turning time more efficiently.  For us hobbyists, stopping to re-chuck or move the tool rest can provide another opportunity to admire the progress and to learn from or perhaps even to notice the areas not quite turned according to plan. He also discussed the use of the spindle roughing gouge explaining the importance of the presentation angle. If the gouge is too horizontal the tool chips the wood away and leaves a rough finish.


It also blunts the tool which then requires sharpening.

The main project that Les had chosen for our demonstration was a decorated box. This type of piece requires a certain precision during the turning process to ensure perfect alignment in the completed article.  

Making the Box   

Les used a spindle blank of Ash with the corners removed to leave an octagonal shape mounted against chuck jaws. Alternatively a pronged or steb drive-centre could have been used. In either case the blank would be held by a tail centre applying pressure. The blank was then rounded using a spindle roughing gouge.


A spigot was turned at each end and undercut to form a dovetail to suit the chuck jaws. The importance of the dovetail angle and the need for accuracy was discussed in some detail, including the caution required when tightening the jaws on cross grain blanks to avoid splitting the foot away. However, this is less critical when tightening onto end grain.

Consideration was then given to the grain, faults, splits or knots in the wood and to which end to use for the top and base of the box. In this instance looking for 2/3 lid to 3/5 box proportion and a joining spigot approximately 5/8” deep included inside the box.  The piece was then remounted  with the lid spigot in the chuck and checks made to ensure the blank runs true. At this point the base spigot can be re-cut if required.
The joining spigot can now be cut to size, finishing at about 5mm deep and about 15mm wide. A decision was then made, will the spigot be part of the base or part of the lid. In this case it is to form part of the lid.


Remember to take in to account the spigot width when setting out.  Cut a recess about 5/8 wide and 10 mm deep for the spigot.

 setting out.  Cut a recess about 5/8 wide and 10 mm deep for the spigot.Cut a shallow curve from the top and from the bottom to the spigot recess to help visualize the finished shape.


With the spigot on the base it can be filled, perhaps with pills or snuff, and the lid put on. If the spigot was on the lid it would have to push its way into the already full box.

with pills or snuff and the lid put on. If the spigot was on the lid it would have to push its way into the already full box.

The base was now parted from the blank leaving the lid section in the chuck. Pull back or remove the tail stock and centres to protect elbows and commence hollowing.  Les used a small spindle gouge to hollow out the centre.

As the tool sweeps out from the centre its flute must rotate from 11 o’clock through 10 to 9 o’clock closing the flute as it leaves the rim, to prevent dig-in. 12 o’clock being with the flute pointing straight up. To demonstrate this Les used his FPI, Flute Pointing Indicator, an ingenious use of a blue pencil, tape and a magnet. With the main portion of the lid hollowed out, a negative rake scraper was used to make finishing cuts and to fine tune the internal diameter until the witness mark was wafer thin and breaking away. A straight cut was used to remove the final veneer. Carefully sand inside, avoiding the fitting surface and remove from the chuck.


Part off the base leaving a little of the spigot as a  

witness mark to aid hollowing.
A small magnetic led light improves the view when hollowing.


The use of a negative rake scraper is far safer than one with just the bottom bevel as it gives a greater margin for error. When sanding the internal surfaces of hollowed objects consider the injuries that may happen if fingers and sandpaper bind to the rotating piece. Use a sanding stick made with scrap wood and abrasive.

The box base was then chucked and hollowed in the same manner, making sure that the mating spigot was thick enough not to break when the box is used. With hollowing the base completed the lid was then pressed into position on the based so that it was firmly held. The final shaping and finishing of the outside could then be completed with the tail stock used for additional support. The top of the lid was cut to be slightly concave with a small button shape and bead feature added to the centre.


The next stage was to use an Arbortech mini grinder with an industrial disc cutter having two cutting teeth to cut a texture into the outer surface. The top and bottom arrisses were than removed to neaten up the corners and to highlight the texture. At the same time a ‘punctuation point’ was cut between the box base and the lid to help disguise and texture or grain mismatch. With the texturing completed the surface was finished using a brass brush, NOT a cheap brass plated steel one from the market!

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With the surface now complete Les demonstrated his techniques for colouring and staining. An airbrush was used to apply light coats of Chestnut spirit based stain to the box. The airbrush is essential as other means of application will apply too much and the stain will soak into the grain and run. Additionally the end grain of the box will be particularly absorbent  and stain will ‘wick’ right through and spoil the inside.

Les used an ‘Ebay’ airbrush kit with additional spray brushes and interchangeable stain pots to layer different colours onto the surface.

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With staining complete the lid was removed and the mating spigot lightly sanded using 240 grit and burnished to give a no slack sliding fit to the lid. The base was then reverse chucked onto a piece of scrap turned flat and hollowed to accept the outside diameter of the mating spigot. The bottom was turned to a slight concave  with a matching button and bead then finished.


To finish colouring the top and bottom arrisses were picked out in black while turning the lathe by hand.


Pressing the reversed base onto an internal

 jam chuck could cause it to split. Pressing into an external one reduces this risk.

If you throw a sickie tomorrow I’ll have done my job

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The lid should drop gently into place while displacing the air from within. There should be no side movement.

Fun Fifteen - Pommels

Les gave us a talk and a short demonstration on the use of pommels, which are features that allow spindle shape to transition from square to round. They take the form of a straight cut or taper (Regency) a rounded cut (Victorian) or an ogee (Georgian)

Article by Dave Hutchings and Rick Smith.

Photographs by Nigel Wilkinson


Feedback on the Club Competition for March 21st 2018 – 2 Standard EGGS

Easter came early to the judging table this month with a fine selection of matching wooden eggs.

It was good to see examples of well-turned eggs without any evidence of tooling marks. The competent use of jam-chucks allowed for both ends of the eggs to be completed successfully. Sometimes inventing a method to hold your piece of work can take as much ingenuity as creating the object itself. I believe that finding solutions to such problems in woodturning are some of the most satisfying aspects of the hobby.

We were looking for well-proportioned eggs, with a continual curved profile without flat spots, and a good finish. There was some discussion afterwards about whether the eggs are better polished, or left with a matt finish to look more natural. It is a matter of personal choice, but I had no preference.

Credit must be given to those who submitted some method of stopping your items rolling around on the judging table. A suitable shallow dish (or similar) was most helpful in looking after clutch of eggs. We had similar problems when judging rolling pins earlier this year.

Next month’s brief is to make an egg stand. This is an opportunity to make something original to present your eggs to their best advantage. Bring the eggs along as well. Good luck.

I will not be able to attend April’s meeting, so will leave you in the capable hands of the other judges.

I wish you happy and safe turning

Malcolm Bryant

Competition Judge


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