Meeting October 2011

11th October 2011 Club Meeting

This month the club welcomed Gary Renouf of GPR Woodturning who gave us an interesting demonstration of turning lidded boxes.

Gary started turning in 1994 and has been working full time as a professional turner for the last eighteen months. He takes commissions, produces items for craft shops and galleries, gives demonstrations and provides turning tuition. He also provides a wood working tool sharpening service. His website may be found here .

In his introduction Gary stressed how essential it is that the tools are very sharp for turning boxes, including the scrapers. Many of the tools he used were short enabling easy movement in close quarters. For box making it is also essential that the wood is dry, preferably very dry, as even as minute amount of shrinkage will affect the fit of the lid. Gary recommended that box making blanks be brought into the house for a week or two to acclimatize before turning begins.

Gary’s finishing was kept simple. With a good finish from sharp tools, sanding should be kept to a minimum to preserve the crispness of cut.  A coat of cellulose sanding sealer, with excess wiped off, followed with wood wax applied with a Nyweb type pad was all that was needed.  A final buffing would bring up the sheen. Steel wool was a definite no-no for Gary.

After his short introduction he quickly got down to work. Here are a few photos of the evening.
Just “double-click” on any photo to see a larger image.

A few additional resources related to the demonstration are included at the bottom of the page.


Gary gets going truing up an ash blank which already has a dovetail spigot on each end

A square recess is made where the lid separates then the lid is carefully parted off using a very thin parting tool but leaving a small vestige of the recess diameter on the base

Here, Gary has started to shape the outside body of the base and is now adding a shallow recess for the lid using the spigot left from parting off the lid as a guide

Gary demonstrates the correct angle to use the spindle gouge with the bevel rubbing

Next, the lid is mounted in the chuck using the dovetail spigot and the inside turned out to reduce the weight with a fingernail spindle gouge 

The rim of the lid is trued up using a square skew

Gary encouraged us to have very sharp tools so we can use the finish straight from the tool. Here Les checks out the finish on the inside of the lid  

And Mike confirms that the spindle gouge certainly is sharp!

Now the lid is mounted in the shallow recess of the base, with grain aligned,  and held in place with the tailstock

The base and lid are trued up together with a fine finishing cut from the wing of the roughing gouge

That done, the lid is roughly brought to shape with a spindle gouge

Here Gary is adding two fine decorative “V” grooves either side of the base/lid join with a skew

Now the lid is removed and the rest of the base hollowed out with a spindle gouge

To speed up the waste removal Gary uses a hollowing tool with a scraper tip. (Sorby RS200)

Once the shape is defined this is cleaned up with a sharp round nosed scraper using a Box Scraper Platform (RS768) to give support inside the base.

The outside is sanded followed by sealer and wax

Garry then carefully parts off the base

The remaining blank in the chuck is now turned into a jam chuck for the lid

The lid is mounted and held in position with the tailstock. If the lid is a little loose a layer of paper makes sure it stays jammed!

Garry now completes the shaping of the lid

A disk is now mounted in the chuck and a jam chuck made for the base

With the base on the jam chuck the profile of the bottom of the base is completed

Using a 50 mm sanding disk in the headstock the bottom of the base is sanded off

A ready made finial is added to the lid and we have a perfect fit!

The finished lidded box with finial of ebonised sycamore

With some 25 minutes of the evening left Garry knocked-up another little box using beech

Small lidded box in beech

An appreciative audience!

Some more of Gary’s boxes on display

And some platters

Attractive little box in yew

A shallow box with finial in spalted sycamore

Many thanks to Gary for his inspiration to help us with our November competition of a Lidded Box.

Let’s see what gems our members create.

Here are a few resources:

Information on the set of very short cork handled tools that Gary used may be found here.
Data on the Multi Tip Hollowing Tool, RS200, can be found here (scroll down to bottom of page).
And on the Box Scraper Platform (RS768) here.

Here’s an article, with very good photos, on box making using slightly different methods here.
And two good books, amongst many, one by Richard Raffan here and another by Chris Stott here.