Welcome to Turners Anonymous
Turners Anonymous is a group of about 100 wood turning enthusiasts from the area surrounding Pittsburgh. We love all things about wood turning... the satisfaction of a sharp clean cut; the smell of freshly sliced cherry shavings; an excuse to buy new, expensive tools; and most importantly, the chance to help others to explore and enjoy the hobby as much as we do.
Please feel free to explore these pages to learn more about Turners Anonymous, look at some photos, and consider coming to a meeting.
Are there any programs or turners you would like to see in our future featured presentations? The Board is currently planning these events for the next 12-18 months, so now is the time to be heard. Feel free to send me an email, and I will pass along your input.
For our feature meeting this fall, Turners Anonymous is very pleased to be hosting Art Liestman of British Columbia. The following paragraphs are excerpted from his website...
I was born and raised in Kansas, but I have now lived in the suburbs of Vancouver, BC for more than half of my life. My day job (as a University professor) keeps me busy and provides lots of stimulation, but I turn to making wood art whenever I can spare the time.
Although I had a brief and unimpressive exposure to woodworking in a junior high school class, I began working with wood more seriously when I was a graduate student. At that time, I was interested in designing and making experimental musical instruments.
After moving to BC, I fell in with a rough crowd at the local woodworking club. One of the most interesting things that the club did was to hold an annual 2x4 challenge in which members were challenged to make something using only an 8 foot long 2x4, glue, and finishing products. One of the 2x4 projects that I decided to make was an automated programmable xylophone. It needed some roundish parts which was a good enough excuse to add a new tool to my small arsenal - the lathe...
Turners Anonymous will be hosting Art on Saturday, November 16, at Society for Contemporary Craft. Art is planning to cover three topics during that presentation.
1 - The lost wood process - Art turns spindle blanks that are made up of three laminated layers. After turning, the middle layer is removed and the two outer layers are rejoined to give a turned object that isn't round. More details can be found in his recent American Woodturner article "Beyond Round: The Lost Wood Process" (August 2012). This should be understandable and within the abilities of any member.
2 - Therming - Art discusses the construction of jigs and shows how to use them to turn curved surfaces on wood blanks. More details can be found in his recent American Woodturner article "Beyond Round: Therming" (April 2010). This is a bit more challenging and should only be attempted by the more experienced turners in our group. By the way, both therming and lost wood can be combined with other turning methods, as well as carving, to make many objects that don't appear to be turned.
3 - The design and construction of teapots - This is largely a presentation of lots of images of wood teapots, together with discussion of various different approaches to construct them. This is intended to encourage members to think outside the box and to be inspired by the many approaches that woodturners have taken.
As a final reminder, the Art Liestman presentation will be Saturday November 16th, with hands on Classes on Sunday and Monday. The Fee for the Demonstration is $30 if paid to our Treasurer Paul Brandt by Wednesday, November 13th. It will be $35 after that. The fee for the class is $150 per day and we have one opening remaining each day. Send your payment made out to Turners Anonymous, to Paul Brandt, One Laurel Woods, Wintersville, OH 43953.
The Demonstration and classes are in the usual place The Society for Contemporary Craft, 21st and Smallman. Enter through the back (river side) door to the basement.
The Demonstration on Saturday Nov 16th begins at 9:30 am and will end about 4:00 to 4:30pm. Doors open for Coffee and Donuts at 9am. Lunch is included.
The Hands on Classes on Sunday and Monday, Nov 17th and 18th begin at 9:00 am and will end about 4:00 to 4:30pm.
- John Schlueter and Craig Smith
The October 19th meeting of Turner's Anonymous featured a hands-on workshop arranged by Bill Hayes. The focus of the workshop was to create your own bottle stopper.
The kit included a nice lamination of cherry and maple along with the stopper mechanism. The finish available was a Deft lacquer. After completion of the bottle stopper, the members had the option to donate it to the veterans. A gift box was provided with the kit for this purpose.
There were five lathes supported by members who gave individual instruction on the bottle stopper creation. The five members at the lathe were Bob Zentner, Tim Janeway, Rich Homar, Rick Kristofik and Becky Maruca. Unlike the last hands-on program, the stopper was created in its entirety at one station.
Here are a few of the things I noted:
- Many of the members had never made a bottle stopper and some admitted not doing much spindle work.
- Tim Janeway had a crazy golf ball live center. Take out your golf frustrations by impaling your golf ball on your tail stock.
- Becky described how she uses her bowl gouge for a lot of her spindle work.
- I created my stopper at Rick Kristofik's station. Rick showed me how to use washers to shim out the bottle stopper and thus get the tools in closer to the base of the stopper. He showed me a better way to use the roughing gouge to get a finer finish. He also recommended an 8mm detail gouge that I had fun playing around with. I will be ordering one of these!
A total of forty-nine kits were sold at $5 each. It was unknown how many would be donated to the vets.
All in all it was a fun program with lots of mingling. Thanks for organizing it Bill.
- Bob Eckert
At the Turners Anonymous inaugural meeting of the 2013-2014 year, our own Dave Beringer demonstrated how to make various types of scoops handy for a variety of uses. Most of the demonstration focused on making a small spoon or coffee scoop. Dave brought a number of examples he had previously turned which were passed around the attendees early in the demonstration.
As usual, during the course of his presentation, Dave provided a steady stream of information and helpful tips, as well as cautions:
- The importance of cutting in the "downhill" direction of the grain of the wood, using the wood fibers beneath the cut for support.
- "Steb" centers can be gripped in scroll chucks to allow for turning between centers without the need to remove the chuck.
- A short section of 1" diameter PVC pipe can be used to gauge how close you've come to turning a sphere. Dave brought a bunch of PVC pipe sections that he passed out to the audience members that they could take home for the next time they tried turning a sphere.
- When you sharpen your turning tools, think of it as "refining", not "grinding" the edge. You'll typically need to remove very little tool steel to sharpen a tool.
- Jam chucks should always be turned into end grain; side grain will not work.
- If you've overshot the mark and removed a bit too much material so that the jam chuck fit seems a bit loose, a light spray with alcohol can add enough tightness to continue.
- When turning the bowl of spoons, be very careful and deliberate where you put your hands - the spinning handle of the spoon can be dangerous.
- Question: at what RPM are you turning? Dave: "As fast as I'm comfortable with." That was his general advice to the audience for their turning (of course, within the bounds of safety).
Dave's demonstration included a wide variety of turning methods and techniques: spindle turning, bowl turning, off center or Multi-axis turning, jam chucking and turning a sphere. He started with a 2"X2"X5" piece of wood between centers on the lathe, emphasizing that finding the precise centers on the ends was not that important. He then roughed to blank round with a spindle roughing gouge and put a tenon on one end with a parting tool. Afterwards, he noted that cutting tenons on both ends of the blank could have saved time later, using the off cut from the tail stock end as the starting point for the jam chuck used later in the demo.
After mounting the blank between centers, Dave turned most of a sphere on the tail stock end of the blank. Here, he used a short section of 1" PVC pipe as a gauge to see how close he was to a true sphere. For a true sphere, the inner circumference of the pipe section would be in full contact withy the surface of the sphere.
After finishing the sphere (this later becomes the scoop portion of the spoon) he remounted the work between centers to turn the handle of the spoon and do any sanding needed after completing the handle. Achieving a handle that is angled relative to the bowl of the spoon, requires some off-center turning, so when Dave mounted the blank between centers, he moved the tail stock live center point about 3/8" off center along the direction of the grain. After turning the handle, he put the piece back on the original center point at the tail stock to do any finish sanding and to part the piece from the lathe. What he had at this point looked like a small baby rattle with its handle attached on an angle to the spherical head of the rattle.
Next, Dave essentially turned a small "bowl" in the end grain of another piece of wood. The diameter of this bowl was such that the sphere portion of the "spoon in process" would fit tightly in the bowl when "jammed in". The depth of the bowl needs to deep enough that the sphere does not bottom out when pressed in. He cautioned that the side walls of the jam chuck should be thick enough that they do not deflect when the sphere is pressed in. The strength of the fit in the jam chuck comes from the slight compression of wood fibers as the sphere is pressed into the chuck, usually resulting in a "creaking" sound when successfully seated.
He then hollowed out the spoon bowl in the sphere using a small bowl gouge with a regular grind and finished off the interior of the bowl with a small scraper. After sanding the interior of the spoon's bowl, the completed scoop/spoon was removed from the jam chuck.
At this point in the demonstration, we had run out of time for further demos. However, Dave did talk through the process of making a larger scoop, basically turning a thick-stemmed goblet without a foot and, off the lathe, cutting through the sidewall of the goblet to form a scoop form with the thick stem serving as the handle of the scoop.
All in all, Dave provided a tremendous amount of information and very practical tips while making a spoon. Although the demo lasted over two hours, most of that time was spent talking about the process and pointing out practical solutions, answering questions, and even demonstrating some gouge sharpening techniques. In his own shop, Dave said one of these scoops would take maybe 20 minutes to complete! - Griff Holmes
The May 18th meeting of Turner's Anonymous featured a demonstration by Jack Brown of a magical upside-down salt shaker. It was a lovely warm spring day in the strip district - perfect for the last meeting before our summer hiatus.
Jack started out by discussing alternate arrangements of the upside-down salt shaker that he has made or seen on the internet. He shared the pitfalls of each alternative so you can be assured that Jack's design is the best. Jack's demo proceeded with a nice pacing. He showed how to manufacture each of the three parts and how to fit them together.
Salt shaker plans are available on the handout section of the members resources page, so I will not go into the process in depth. However, here are a few tips that Jack offered that are not on the handout:
- For a friction fit that will last, leave the parts large and allow them to sit for a few days before finishing the fit. If the fit is too loose, Jack suggests adding a thin coat of CA and hitting it with accelerator.
- Jack suggested drilling the7/64" hole from both sides so that the thin drill does not wander off if it hits a hard spot. In addition, he recommends the 7/64" hole because it can always be opened up if not enough salt comes out.
- To hide the glue joint at the base, Jack burned the wood demonstrating two different techniques. First, he used a wire with t-handles attached to the ends, holding the wire against the spinning piece. An alternative process was then demonstrated; this time he used a wooden stick (wedge) with one sharp end by applying the sharp end right to the rotating piece.
Thanks Jack, for a great program!
- Bob Eckert
As of March 2012, the Board of Directors voted to cease publication of a printed newsletter for Turners Anonymous. The Board feels that this will help to enable better use of club resources and also to enable fresher updates on club information. Hopefully, going forward, additional types of content much greater than could be included in the newsletter will be developed on the website. For archival purposes, once a month, a "snap shot" of the home page will be captured and placed on the page where the old newsletters are stored. Here is this month's example of how the archives will look. As always, comments are welcome.
Here is a Video made in the "afterglow" of a satisfying session of roughing bowl blanks. Just for fun...