Wight Woodturners


Club Meeting - Thursday 22nd January 2014

Turning Un-seasoned Wood  with  Andy Fortune

Wight Woodturners got off to flying start with their first meeting of 2015. We had well a supported and very interesting Show-and-Tell followed by an enlightening demo on Turning Un-seasoned Wood from Andy Fortune.

The new Club lathe made a faultless debut at the meeting. This is a trade quality midi-lathe and will be suitable for our two Professional Demonstrators in March and October. The Club's thanks go to Bernie who kindly made a mounting board and a transport trolley for the lathe. The Committee hope to add a second small lathe during the course of the year.

Andy gave a well-planned talk and practical demonstration on bowl turning using un-seasoned wood. He brought along many examples of his work and used these to illustrate the points of his talk. Andy showed us the techniques to make a shallow bowl and an even shallower little dish. For these two pieces Andy used local beech with some degree of spalting. A simple oiled finish enhanced the beauty of the bowls.

For our Members, don’t forget our Open Competition at our February meeting. This is for any piece made over the last year so do bring along up to two pieces and make this a bumper competition. We will be using our new Members judging scheme and you will be able to keep track of your score over the year on our website. Let’s make 2015 a year of the big competitions – we know you can all do it!

Some of our events of the January evening are captured in the pictures and stories below.  Just click on any of the small images to bring up the bigger picture.




We’re off to a flying start in 2015 with a well-attended and busy January meeting. Here are members “networking” before the meeting gets underway. Perhaps some of us would say “gossiping”!

Here’s our new professional Club lathe bought with Club funds for use by members and demonstrators on club occasions. We also have a new superb Axminster chuck with O’Donnell jaws plus new centres. 

So it’s straight into the Show-and-Tell with a very pleased looking Mike showing off his two-part yew vase. This houses a small specimen bottle with liquid perfume and wicking sticks. The vase comes apart hiding the bottle inside. Lovely yew.

Now, Len shows off part of a commission to hold a ceramic poppy from the Tower of London Commemoration display. Each poppy has a thin steel stem which fits loosely in a hole in the turned stand. Drilling a very long 6mm hole proved quite a challenge but naturally Len solved it.

Next, Paul tells us about his carbide tipped tools he recently made. Only the tip was specially bought all other parts were made in his shop.
The inset shows some other tools he and Len had developed together.

Here’s Ron with a natural edged vessel he recently made. Ron was very reluctant to tell us what wood he used for this piece.
Ron also showed off a pleasing shallow bowl.

Roy’s turning is quite unusual and Mike’s intrigued. It’s a bowl where the largest outside diameter is made up of 4 lobes produced with an eccentric chuck (see inset). As the outside diameter reduces to the base it gracefully merges from lobed to circular. Delightfully pleasing.

Here’s Bernie with a composite turning embodying cross sections of pencils set in black resin. Very unusual. Wonder how he got the pencil ends so evenly placed?
Bernie also showed a tall fluted lampstand made on his router lathe. The base of the lamp was decorated.

Clive shows off his new pen mandrel. This is the Axminster Compression Mandrel where the shaft on which the blanks are mounted slides inside the hollow revolving tailstock centre. When the tailstock is tightened the pressure is on the blanks and not the thin shaft and so the shaft doesn’t bend and always runs true.

Here are some of the Show-and-Tell items. The rule placed on Ron’s bowl is Andy’s centre finding rule with a Zero marked in the middle and punched through with a series of holes along its length.

Now Andy gets under way with his evening Demo on Turning Green Wood. He explains that freshly cut wood can be 50% moisture with fully air dried timber about 18%. Andy’s wood for his bowls is often around 24 to 28%. Drying wood successfully is a big subject.

As the moisture in the wood is not at equilibrium the bowls will “move” as the drying continues after the bowl is turned. Andy explains these effects, how they can be minimized and the “enhancement” features that can be added when they do crack asunder.
Ingenuity’s the name of the game!

If the bowls can be turned quite thin the bulk of the wood left to dry is reduced and cracking may be almost eliminated. Spalting can seriously reduce the strength of the wood so it’s a compromise. If the blank is from a branch it can contain reaction wood which will also cause movement as stresses are released during turning.

Andy is going to demonstrate two projects. The first is a shallow bowl, so he starts with a blank cut from near the centre of the beech log but excluding the pith. A faceplate ring is screwed to the face that will become the top of the bowl with short screws that won’t mark the bowl!

The second project is from a “leftover” slither on the beech log outside. This will make a very shallow dish. Nothing goes to waste!

The ring is held in the chuck jaws and Andy uses a ¾” bowl gouge to shape the underside of the bowl.

With the shape defined Andy uses a large scraper to gently finish the surface.

Using a large skew Andy carefully cuts a dovetail recess in the base so the bowl can be reversed chucked to enable work on the inside.

After a small amount of sanding starting at 80 grit working up to 180 grit andy applies a liberal coat of Tung oil to seal and finish the work. See how the oil enhances the spalting.

The bowl is reversed in the chuck and the ring removed ready to start on the inside.

Using the large bowl gouge the inside is quickly turned out.

With the shaping done the inside is finnished off with the scraper. As the wall is quite thin near the rim Andy supports the underside of the rim with his left hand to prevent vibration and a chattering effect on the surface.

A little gentle sanding, a liberal coating of Tung oil and a buff with a clean cloth and Andy’s bowl is done.

In his work shop he can produce a small bowl in eight minuites or so!

Here’s the finished item.
As there’s quite a riot of spalting and grain patterns the shape of the bowl is kept realy simple so not to detract from the beauty of the wood.

Len casts his beady eye over the array of Andy’s bowls on display.

Andy’s second project is completed in much the same way as the first.

The dish is thinner and needs more support when performing the final scraping cuts.


Many thanks to Andy for his interesting and enlightening demonstration and to all our members who contributed to the Show-and-Tell.

Resources for the Evening

*      Andy’s notes on the Drying of Wood may be on our website at a later date

*      Details on the new Club lathe can be found here

*      For details of Clive’s pen mandrel see here

*      For details on Andy’s centre finding rule see here

*      If you want to know a little bit more about drying see here or a lot see here

*      There is also useful information in Michael O’Donnell’s book “Turning Green Wood

         (Copy available in the Club Library)


Please note that the above links to external websites are valid at the time of writing but may well change or disappear in the course of time

Text: Peter Smart

Photos: D Woodward & P Smart

January 2015

ww logo5 original old


Next Meeting 26th February

The Open Competition

Plus all the usual events