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.
March Meeting: Turning Spheres
Hopefully you all will have a path shoveled by March 21st. Yes, our March meeting will be on our traditional meeting day - the third Saturday of the month. The doors open at 9am and the meeting starts at 9:45. Come early, have a cup of coffee and share how you finished the bowl you started last month for "empty bowls". Dave Dudney will be collecting them for the show.
For the instant gallery we would like to see your small turnings. It doesn't have to be recent because many of us are fairly new to the club and haven't seen things from the past.
This month we are fortunate to have Linda VanGehuchten with us to show us how she turns a sphere without one of those expensive jigs. Linda has been a long time member of our club, a past board member, officer and president. She is a professional woodturner and demonstrator, has served on the board of the AAW, and most important, is an accomplished teacher.
With this interesting history and with her experience in demonstrations, this is one meeting you don't want to miss.
See you there and bring a friend!
- Dave Betler
Dave Delo Hands on Session
Because of the weather last Saturday, we didn't have a full house at our monthly meeting so I wanted to update you about an announcement I made that you might have missed and were not aware of.
There was a survey recently taken of AAW chapters on one of the forums I frequent and some of the responses were interesting. One item that stood out to me was the idea of not only having the monthly chapter meetings but having training, mentoring and hands-on sessions on a regular basis at member's facilities.
To that end, I decided to open up and invite other members to my home/shop for a "Hands-On" hollowing session on Saturday, March 7th from 9 a.m. until noon. This first session/class will hollow-out a wide mouth vase to around 12" deep using a captured hollowing rig. This form will make it easy for everyone and get a feel for what it takes to machine deeper vessels. We will use a steady-rest to capture the vessel so it will be a very safe operation. We'll also use a laser to help in achieving uniform wall thickness throughout. But the biggest point about this session is that it's a hands-on class. You'll have plenty of time at the plate so to speak.
I'd like to keep this class size to 5-6 people so everyone gets ample opportunity. There are a couple slots available and if you would like to sign up, please contact me via phone or email to reserve a spot. You can find my contact information here. The only thing you need to bring is safety glasses or face-shield or Airstream device. All cutting tools necessary will be provided.
Here is a handout that shows the form we will be working on
Just as a disclaimer, this is not a T.A. sponsored event.
February Meeting: Kick Starting TA's Contribution to the AAW Symposium's Charity Bowl Drive
How many ways are there to successfully turn a bowl? Some of us may answer "NONE" either because you have not attempted it or because you seem to always end in disaster resulting in placement in the burn bin. For the most part, I believe there are two major bowl turning techniques used: the PUSH CUT and the PULL CUT. There are, however, infinite ideas on tools, grinds and approaches to either technique and probably even more ideas on finishing cuts for either method. Do you shear scrape? If so what tool do you use? How do you do the inside bottom? What do you do for the foot? Well, our February meeting isn't designed to answer all these questions but rather to create a situation where you can share your ideas and learn new ones with other members of the group by means of a hands on session.
As you hopefully know by now, this year's AAW Symposium will be held in Pittsburgh this June. As one of the local sponsoring clubs, we want it to be a huge success. One of the ways all of us can make it successful is to participate in the AAW's give back effort to the Pittsburgh Community. That's what the bowl drive is all about. Members from all over the world contribute bowls that are sold at the symposium. The proceeds of the sale go to a local charity that TA has selected. That charity is "Variety the Children's Charity". You can learn more about this charity elsewhere on this website.
Our February meeting is not only designed to share bowl turning techniques amongst the membership, but it is also our goal to get you a "kick start" on the way to making bowls for this worthy cause. If you are an adept bowl turner bring your tools and techniques to share with others. If you are a novice bring your tools and questions and get some help to improve or learn the techniques. This meeting will go on past our normal end time of noon-ish and will continue as long as you have an interest in turning (or until 3:30).
Dave Betler and I have prepared a number of blanks that can be used during this session and if you need blanks we will a sign-up sheet to allow you to take some home with you to complete for the club's donation to the AAW's Bowl Drive. Dave Dudney will be collecting your donations at each of the next 4 TA meeting. These bowls will be presented in your name and as a member of Turner's Anonymous at the symposium.
We look forward to seeing you in February!
- Dave Beringer
January Meeting: How Long and Thin can you go?
Turner's Anonymous' January meeting was well attended with approximately 55 members in attendance. The meeting was a hands-on format exploring the turning of finials. The meeting started out with a video of Cindy Drozda showing how she explores the form. In this short video, she shared her design concepts and the techniques she applies to create delicate, fine finials.
The meeting then moved on to the hands-on portion with everyone assigned to one of six workstations. Hard maple blanks ¾" square were supplied to each team. Then we were encouraged to make long finials as thin as possible. Every few minutes Dave Beringer asked all teams to switch turners. The nature of taking turns in making a piece is that you end up with "design by committee." A shared design vision and consistent plan is not always the case. In another case, one team's spindle was suddenly shortened when a skew was applied to the piece.
Dave encouraged all of us by saying that "speed is your friend" when turning spindles. I learned how to position the tool rest and my left hand in a way that allowed me to support the thin spindle with my index finger while holding the tool on the rest with my thumb.
The time went by quickly, with each team completing one finial and starting a second. Near the end of the program all of the spindles were collected. Dave provided commentary on each of the spindles as he presented them to the members. They were all nicely executed with balls, beads, coves, onion bulb shapes and other features.
It was a great program, very informative and instructional. Thanks to everyone who participated.
- Bob Eckert
As a kind of "thank you" to the host chapter of the the AAW symposium, the AAW has established the "Return to the Community" program. The gist of this program is that AAW solicits donations of bowls and pens from chapters/members all over the country. The bowls and pens are sold at/during the national symposium, and all the proceeds are donated to that charity.
The Board of Turners Anonymous has identified "Variety, the Children's Charity" of Pittsburgh as the target charity for the 2015 "Return to the Community" program. This charity assists children up to age 21 with physical or mental disabilities by providing assistive devices and accessories to allow them to be as mobile and independent as possible. Some examples of items are wheel chair ramps/stair lifts/ adaptive car seats, strollers and vans/wheel chairs/scooters/adaptive bikes so these kids can ride and special IPads with communication devices so they have a way to 'talk' with those around them. To see more information on this please go to http:\\www.varietypittsburgh.org. The charity will be providing staff to handle the actual sales during the symposium.
As the hosting chapter, it would be terrific if we can lead the way with donations for this effort. The bowls will be sold for $25 each the pens for $15 each. The bowls should be between 5 and 14 inches in diameter. Please consider signing and donating some good quality work to help make this a successful event. Note that many of the nationally know turners will also be donating a piece or two, so your work will be offered for sale right along side these other pieces. Dave and I are hoping that our club will be able to donate 75 bowls and 50 pens to this worthwhile event.
- Dave Dudney, Craig Smith
December Meeting - Ornament and Box Exchange
On Saturday, December 20, 2014 one of the most anticipated and enjoyable meetings of the year will take place. The "STARS" of the show are you! It's the annual "Christmas Ornament and Box Exchange". This meeting shows off the talent in the club. Everyone who participates by bringing in an ornament and/or box will go home with an ornament and/or box that was made by a fellow member of the group. I personally enjoy looking at your ornaments on my tree each year. I always remember who did each one without even looking at the signature of the maker. I have collected many wooden ornaments over the years... some I have purchased from professional turners others are from friends like you.
For those of you who are not familiar with how the ornament and box exchanges works, read on. Step one is for you to create either an ornament or box (or both) and bring it to the meeting. When you arrive at the meeting, stop in the meeting room and drop off your item(s) for exchange. Ornaments and boxes will be placed on display in the front of the room and be sequentially numbered. The ornament and box exchange are each separate. Bring in an ornament, you will go home with an ornament. Bring in a box, you will go home with a box. The actual exchanges begin by selecting a number from a hat containing all the numbers (participants) for the exchange. That first person can select any ornament. From then on, the next person to select is always the person who's piece has just been selected. This goes on until no more pieces remain. The Box exchange then begins and works exactly the same way. When someone selects your piece we ask you to say a few words about the piece. You may choose to describe how it was made or share some other information that others may find interesting about your piece.
When we first started the exchange I really thought the exchange would go on in the background while members chatted and shared the holiday cheer. To my great surprise, when the exchange started you could have heard a pin hit the floor. Members paid completed attention and there was no yawning or napping - which is known to happen frequently even during the best of demos. I was, and still am, amazed every year.
For those of you who need some help with ideas or directions I would suggest visiting the web. There are many a video on turning ornaments and boxes on youtube. I am sure you can find collections of pictures and directions on most woodworking/woodturning websites.
Also, if you are inclined and hopefully many of you are, we would be pleased to share some of your Christmas cookies and goodies if you would be kind enough to bring some in. There won't be any club provided doughnuts this years, so we are completely dependent on what is provided by members.
We look forward to seeing you on the 20th!!!
- Dave Beringer
November Meeting - Ashley Harwood
In Ashley's own words...
I will begin by talking about the tools that I am using -how they are sharpened and what their benefits are. This theme will continue throughout the demo -I encourage questions on this topic, too! I will cover all of the fundamental cuts in spindle turning before showing how I make one of the finials on my sea urchin ornaments. Next, I will show how I use these same cuts on a bowl, with a tall-shaped push cut bowl. By using the same cuts that we use in spindle turning, I can create a flowing shape with a finish straight off of the gouge that is ready for 150 to 180 grit sandpaper.
I will talk about how I can get different grain patterns in my bowls depending on how I cut the wood out of the tree. I will touch on the drying process, although mine may be very different from yours due to different woods and a different climate. Lastly, I will talk about the aesthetic side of what we do -how do you create a pleasing form and how to add simple turned design elements to your bowls and other work that can help it to stand out.
This is our fall feature program. If you haven't already purchased your tickets, they will be available at the door for $35. This is a great bargain considering it includes lunch. This opportunity should offer a chance for all the grizzled club veterens in our club to revisit their fundamental ltechniques while offering our newer members a chance to get started on the right foot. I very much am looking forward to this program!
Don't forget that we will still have our instant gallery, "Flame On," this month. This features pieces that have been burned or otherwise touched by fire in their decorating process (I wonder if Jimmy Clewes' drying process counts)? See you all at the meeting!
Ashley Harwood website
October Meeting - Wine Stopper with a Theme and a Teardrop Box
Our October meeting of Turner's Anonymous featured two members performing demonstrations. Tim Janeway shared the process for a tear-shaped box and Bill Hayes demonstrated a wine bottle stopper. Both shared some great tricks and gave an enjoyable presentation.
Tim was up first; he used a maple blank 3" diameter by 6" long. He put a tenon on both ends and formed the base of the teardrop. He then split the box at the widest diameter about 1/3 of the way from the base. To finish the parting cut, Tim used a retractable razor saw. I need to get one of those. To form the joint, Tim used a dovetail chisel by Benjamin's Best. I need to get one of those, too. After putting the box halves together and aligning the grain, a finishing cut was made over the joint and the two halves were joined with electrical tape. The electrical tape worked beautifully here because it stretches to conform to the diameter changes in the joint area. Tim then cut the tip with the tail stock in place until the waste dropped away. It was poetry. Tim then reversed the base and expanded the chuck in the base to form the bottom. Again, he did this with the tailstock in place. He goes for a squashed look here as if the teardrop had hit the table surface - beautiful demonstration Tim.
Next up was Bill Hayes; he shared some of his trade secrets for his wine stopper, which is really an adaptation of his beautiful ornaments. The design features windows on four sides looking in on a suspended element; in this case, a hand-tied fly. What I learned is that the blank must be square, and the centering of the drilled windows is critical; in particular, the hole on the bottom must be centered. Bill drills the holes from both sides to meet in the middle. He selects a hole size that will leave a 3/8" wall to the sides and to the top. He turns the ornament to leave a bevel on the bottom for a signature. Bill has prepared an illustrated handout It is available on the Turner's Anonymous website under member resources/handouts. Great job Bill.
It was a timely learning experience as both projects can be used/adapted for the upcoming Christmas exchange of boxes and ornaments, thanks Tim and Bill.
- 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...