Wight Woodturners Club Meeting – 12th February 2013

“Spindle” Competition and Stool Making Demonstration

On a well attended evening for a cold and bitter February, our chairman, Mike, was again able to welcome visitors and potential members to the Club.  Mike told the assembled gathering about the committee’s deliberations on a possible future venue for the Club meetings.  With questions still rife about the future of the Riverside Centre and the fact that the club is growing, Mike explained that the committee saw this as an opportunity for the Club to move forward.  Alternative venues were discussed and the general membership wholeheartedly agreed that when the time was right the Club should move on to pastures new.

The competition this month was for a pair of matching spindles. This was intended to develop the skills of classical spindle turning and introduce an element of “copy turning”.  It must be said that the number of entries, especially in the Intermediate and Experienced sections were a little disappointing.  Maybe it was snowbound workshops or winter holidays in the sun but, never-the-less, those who entered were pleased with their efforts. We were grateful to Malcolm James to be able to judge our first competition of the year, not an easy task. The results for the competition with pictures of the winner’s entries may be found here .

The evening got off to a start with a very brief “show-and-tell” followed by short video.  This was introduced by David Woodward and featured the work and turning techniques of Japanese master craftsman Yasuhiro Satake.  On a recent visit to Japan David met Yasuhiro and he explained, with the help of the video, how the ceremonial and utilitarian ware was produced.  These Japanese techniques have virtually no parallels with western turning methods.  David was able to show us some of work from Yasuhiro’s workshop.  A truly fascinating video.

And now that several members had turned spindles in the form of legs for stools Mike demonstrated how to make the finished stool. First you need to turn a top to sit on. Then you have to drill the underside of this at the correct angle to equally splay the legs.  Mike introduced us to an ingenious but simple adjustable jig to make this easy.  The evening was finished off by Mike taking us through the basic steps to turn a small lidded box.

A few pictures below give a flavour of the evening.  To see a larger image just double click on any of the pictures.

In the Show-and-Tell Bernie told us about his turned woggles

Woggles-Bernie style – one complete with a pyrographic embellishment featuring the Scouts emblem
These are Mike’s collet chucks designed to hold the lid of a finial pot so the lid inside can be finished. A hole in the base of the chuck allows the long finial to pass through
David tells us about his visit to the Japanese turner Yasuhiro Satake and illustrates his talk with a short video.
David shows us some examples of Yasuhiro’s work
A couple of clips from the video. Here, rough turned bowls are stacked high in a drying chamber for many months
This shows Yasuhiro using a purpose made hook tool with moveable tool rest and a reversible lathe
An example of the Japanese ware with decoration of fine beading and chatter-tool work

After the video Mike demonstrated how to make an elegant little stool using the previously turned spindles.

To drill the top at the right angle for the legs Mike used his ingenious but simple jig to set the top at the correct angle in the
Here’s the jig in action.
It just needs the drill to work properly!
Here’s a finished stool in traditional style and in true Blue Peter fashion
“One I prepared earlier”!
To finish off, Mike took us through some of the steps to produce a small lidded box using a piece of West African hardwood - Idigbo
The Beginners entries for the Spindle Competition, more than the other two sections. Are spindles beneath the dignity of our experienced turners?

Many thanks to David for a most interesting video, Mike for sharing his skills and experience with us and to Malcolm for taking on the role of Competition Judge.


Additional Resources

  • The video David showed may be loaned via the Club website or contacting Peter.
  • A YouTube video showing Yasuhiro Satake demonstrating at the 2009 AWGB seminar can be seen here.
  • An interesting article on Japanese bowl techniques can be seen here
  • Here are some “hook” tools here and here
  • Hook tools are quite difficult to buy so here’s some instructions from Alan Lacer to make your own here
  • For a Windsor Style stool, some written instructions are here  (The instructions may also be printed from the webpage)


  • A short video on how to make a Shaker Style stool is here but I’m afraid the presenter talks “inches”.
    (I think Mike’s stool was more traditional and quintessentially English too!)
  • The Idigbo hardwood Mike used for the little box should turn nicely, but do be careful of the dust.
    Some info on Idigbo is here and here .  A nice example of finished bowl is here
  • So that’s all for this month – enjoy!



Next Club Meeting  12th March

The theme for the evening will be “Back to Basics”


Peter Smart - 17th February 2013