Welcome to Turners Anonymous

member AndyTurners 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.

January Meeting: How Long and Thin can you go?

Jan meeting From the title, you may think this meeting may intend to address one of your New Year's resolutions, especially if you plan on losing some pounds as I do. Well, you would be wrong. This meeting will revisit a topic featured at Ashley Harwood's demonstration in November: FINIALS. We will be having a hands-on challenge.

The program will begin will a brief video reviewing the process of designing and and turning a finial. Afterwards, we will break into small groups and try some of the techniques. WOW! This meeting will feature coffee, donut's, a movie and some turning; how could you miss it?

The object will be to turn a number of finals that involves every member of the group. The group will need to decide on a finial design (examples will be provided) and then make that design into a real turning. Along the way, we will call for a different member of the group to continue the turning. You will get several chances to turn at various stages of the process. Hopefully each group will have completed or blown up several finials during the session. Near the end of the meeting we will have a little show and tell of all the finials, both those successfully completed and some the failures, too. Judging will be done to determine what group has the longest, thinnest, best designed finial and also which group has the saddest stories of those in the scrap pile.

It should be a fun meeting and a great learning opportunity, especially if each of us shares their ideas, skills and mistakes with the other members of the group. As with most turning techniques, there are many ways to get the job done. The video will be presented only only to supply some ideas to help you along the way. If you have tools that you prefer to use for this project, please bring them and perhaps you can share why they work for you and maybe give other members of your group a chance to try them. We look forward to seeing you there!

Also, please don't forget that this meeting will include our annual elections.

The instant gallert for this month is an open topic, so please bring in any item that you wish to share.

- Dave Beringer

Dec meeting 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

Dec meeting 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...

Ashley Harwood 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!

-Craig Smith

Ashley Harwood website

October Meeting - Wine Stopper with a Theme and a Teardrop Box

Tear Drop 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.

Ornament toppers 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

Other Stuff

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...