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.
Pat Griffin has taken videos of the January and February demonstrations as well as a number of photos of the February Instant Gallery. He has them shared on One Drive. Please take a look and if you appreciated his efforts, be sure to let him know!
Our April Featured Meeting
We are both pleased and honored to have Don Derry with us for our April program. Don comes from Washington State and has a background in custom automotive finishes prior to becomming interested in woodturning.
For the Saturday, April 16th program, Don will start with a demonstration of how to obtain a pleasing shape and form. He will also talk about coloring and finishes and share examples of his airbrushing techniques. In the afternoon, he will demonstrate a hollowing system that he has developed which removes the guesswork from making a hollow form. The $30 cost for this all-day program includes a lunch. On the day of the event, ticket prices increase to $35 so make your reservations early.
On Sunday or Monday, Don will give a hands on class teaching you how to obtain the shapes and forms that he talked about on Saturday. If we were in a school setting, this class would probably be a mandatory pre-requisite to other woodturning classes. Don has had many novice and professional turners take this class and all said it was a worthwhile experience. If time permits, we will have a few of the hollowing tools for you to try.
The cost for the hands on class is $ 150 for either day. There are some spots still open for either day, so please see Craig to reserve your place.
YEE-HAW! Hi folks, Rusty Skew back again from my vacation!
Wow, that Mike Trucco is one turning Hombre. You guys did not see me, but I had a front row seat and when the chips started flying, I thought I would get covered. When Mike was making the first hat, I was really getting excited because it looked like it would fit me. That would have been cool to have a big hat to keep the rain off my rusty legs. Maybe I will talk to one of the Daves.
I enjoyed the light show and how he used the brightness to see how thick the turning was. I have never seen any of you use this, so I learned something. There is not any need for that thin wall stuff while I am working. He really had my attention when he was finishing the top. That light got so bright I thought he would make a vent.
I really liked the show and Mike, if you get to read this, thanks for coming to T.A.
Now to the mailbag. You turners are doing so well that we only had one person with a question.
I have looked around the room and can't find you. Where are you hiding? I wanted to ask you a question in person because I'm not good at my wife's computer.
My question has to do with those spiraling groves that I find on my turnings. I don't know what caused them and they are real hard to sand out.
I am not really hiding, just lost in the clutter. If I can get someone's attention maybe I can come out and meet all of you. I can not answer your question in person, because when I was made it was without the ability to speak. Computers are not that hard. I know that one of the Daves recently got a smart phone. If he can learn it, anyone can.
To answer your question, the spiraling you have is likely caused by vibration. If you figure a way to get the spirals under control, you can probably sell the patent to Sorby. They will want to protect their spiraling tool.
This has been a big problem with spindle turning. When the spindle gets thin, it can flex as you are cutting. This can be caused by the wood being denser on one side, pushing too hard on the tool, not being on the tool rest properly, or something called harmonics. I don't understand harmonics, so you are on your own there, and the wood density is probably rare. That leads us to tool control. Remember the basics.
- Anchor your tool on the tool rest. That means not just laying it there, but using enough downward pressure so the tool does not bounce up and down.
- Bevel. Place the bevel of your tool on the spinning work. This should be a light touch. When you push too hard it will flex the spindle and cause those spirals. On bowls, enough pressure will distort the fibers and cause the same result. Instead of using the term ride the bevel, I like to say glide the bevel. Try it - It makes a huge difference.
- Cut. After your bevel is gliding on the spinning work, gradually lean the cutting edge into the work. Once you pick up the cut you will see a small bit of wood coming off the tip. At this point do not rotate or lift the handle any more, but just lean in the direction you want to cut. Once you pick up the cut, your knees come into play to make a nice smooth cut. Remember - glide that bevel. Also if your spindle is really thin or long, you may need support. Sometimes wrapping a finger on the back side is all that is needed. On a long spindle you may need a steady rest.
If you already have those grooves in the work, I think a light pass with a scraper will make them easier to remove than sanding them out.
Well folks, I think we are at our limit for this month, so remember to send in those questions and comments. Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi to all club members,
For this month, we have our world famous ornament and box exchange. Okay, maybe my world is smaller than yours. At any rate it is always a fun time to share.
For you newer members, we bring in an ornament or a box that we have made and get a number. The pieces are then put on display for all to see and when the program starts a number is pulled. That person picks an ornament and the turner describes the piece and then gets a pick. It is a really fun way to get to know your fellow club members and start building a collection of your own. If you are a beginning turner please participate. I would love to have one of Dave Berringer's early pieces before he became famous.
For this meeting we are not going to have any of those greasy donuts. Instead we ask all of you to bring in your favorite holiday treats. This makes for a wonderful variety. Of course coffee will be there as usual.
Also for the December meeting we are having a special raffle. The items include a special pyrography plaque donated by Cynthia Carden Gibson, A new chuck for your lathe, and a Roborest tool rest for your grinder. Total value of these prizes is close to $ 500.00, so save a few bucks for raffle tickets.
Also remember that dues is due for 2016. See Dave Schelbe to stay current. According to our bylaws you only have until February to remain a member.
Stay warm, Stay safe, and bring a friend,
- Dave Betler
We have a new addition to the website staff. Today it is my honor to talk with Mr. Rusty Skew, the writer of the new column on the Turner's Anonymous website. To help with the column, please send your questions for Rusty to answer.
- Dave Betler
I sure had fun at the November meeting. I really liked it when Craig used my good friend Crown skew. Boy were they a good team. Did you all see how nice that box lid fit?
I was really impressed to see Bill make that snowman with the buttons, eyes and nose. I can't even see things that small!
That other Bill had an ornament spinning so fast that I could see through it, and I swear I could hear Dave's bell ring.
Now I promised you that I'd pass on some of my wisdom if you sent in some questions, so here goes.
I recently turned a bowel that I really liked. I know when I took it off my lathe that it was perfectly round. It has been the center piece of our dining room table since June. But, now it is slightly out-of-round. What did I do wrong?
Hi Dave, and thanks for the question. I don't think you did anything wrong. Actually you may be on to something really exciting here. If you know how to turn an oval bowl on a regular lathe, there are turning clubs all over the world that will hire you for demo's. I will be your agent for a percentage of the take and of course I want to tag along to see the world. Let me see if I can book Australia first. I always wanted to see how they turn things upside down and "how do they keep their tools from falling up?"
I guess the other thing could be that the bowl dried after you turned it and changed shape. I heard one of the professional turners that visited our club say that the out of round bowls will sell much faster than the perfectly round ones. It seems people want things that don't look like they're machine made. If you want a finished bowl to stay round, you have to rough turn it to about an inch thick, let it dry for quite a while, and then finish turn it. The drying part without cracking is the big mystery. Check with me after the next meeting and we'll explore the internet on the details.
I have been using the same lathe for a number of years now and I really like it. But, when I check the alignment, the tail stock and the head stock no longer line up perfectly. I am afraid to take the head stock apart and try to realign it myself. What is the best way to get my lathe back into alignment?
Here we go again with the Dave's. You guys are going to have to start using last names or something, I keep getting confused.
I have a cousin - we call him "Bent Skew". He had an alignment problem and we sent him to a chiropractor. Well he's now on a schedule for three times a week and his insurance doesn't want to pay. I don't recommend you try that with your lathe.
You talk about taking the head stock apart - that is scary. All kind of things like parts missing in the shavings and voided warranty. If you have a sliding headstock, maybe there is enough play that you can shift things around. I heard one guy say that his lathe was out of level and that was enough to get out of alignment. If that doesn't work, give customer support a call to see if they know of any problems. Hey, I'm just a smart alek hunk of iron with a wood handle. Sometimes you have to really call someone with a brain.
Well folks, that's all for now. I'm sure looking forward to all those cookies on the 19th. After then maybe they'll call me "Fat Skew". I heard two of the "Daves" talking and they haven't turned an ornament yet, so I guess there's time for you.
Till next time - stay sharp, stay safe,
Dave: Good morning Mr. Skew. We look forward to your new column.
Rusty: Good morning Dave, by the way please call me Rusty. Mr. Skew makes me think I'm getting old.
Dave: That's an interesting name. Is it your given name or a nickname.
Rusty: Back when I was a youngster, you know a ¼" round skew, I lived with a turner that sort of misused me. He even used me to open a can of paint and used me to stir it. Many times he wouldn't hold me right and had a catch, and then called me all sort of ugly names to the point where I forgot my real name. Then he would turn off the shop lights and heat and I would get scared, cold, and damp. I then developed a coat of rust and all the other tools started calling me Rusty.
Dave: Well, that's a sad story. What have you been doing lately?
Rusty: It's been said for fun we skews like to skate. Just recently, my cousin skated across the length of a nearly finished spindle. Seriously though, I'd like to get into the hands of a gentle turner. You know I go both ways and in the right hands I can be real smooth.
Dave: Tell us about your new column.
Rusty: I think that I have a lot of experience to share with the folks. I've been sitting there on the shelf watching, and you have a real interesting group. Just last month I was watching Cynthia's demo - talk about hot! If I had been any closer my handle would have been branded. I sure learned a lot. She really makes it look easy to do those intricate designs. I was watching the classes and you people sure didn't have the same touch that she has. Even "Dave" had trouble.
Speaking of that, somebody said "hey Dave". It seemed like half the room turned around. What's with that - do I have to change my name to join this group?
In this new column I'll give you my take on the last month's demo from where I sit. I also would like to answer any questions you members have, so send 'em in to me and we'll have some fun. My e-mail address is email@example.com
Till next time - stay sharp, stay safe,
- Rusty Skew
October Featured Presentation
In October, Turner's Anonymous welcomed world-renowned wood burner Cynthia Carden Gibson to Pittsburgh. Cynthia shared her techniques for embellishing turned wood through pyrography. It was a different program for Turners Anonymous, but very rewarding for the nearly 40 people in attendance.
Cynthia started her program by describing what happens before she starts burning, e.g., which woods she likes to work with (lighter woods with consistent grain), the surface preparation (600 grit and buff - no finishes), and finally describing in detail how she arranged her workstation with all of her tools at hand. It was interesting that she creates a cradle from towels to hold her work safely and securely.
She spent some time describing her experience with various wood burning units and making the case for her favorite, the RazorTip. She shared her favorite pen tip shapes and then began her demonstration. Cynthia went through each of the pen tips and showed some stunning effects she could get from them. She had a flat sampler divided into squares with a different pattern in each. To further demonstrate the sampler technique and to break the plane of the flat sampler, she shared some exquisite platters. On these platters she delineated sections and created different sample patterns in each area. The patterns, colors, and themes brought these pieces together so that they did not seem like a sampler but worked as a whole.
After lunch, Cynthia shared a slide show of her work featuring her collaborations with other famous turners. She shared images of some of the things that inspired her like porcelain pieces in her family's collection. She finished up by describing techniques for burning on bowls and other turned objects, for transferring designs, for coloring with ink and for finishing.
Thanks, Cynthia, for sharing your techniques for burning on wood.
- Bob Eckert
Stats from AAW National Symposium - Pittsburgh
Dave Dudney had the role as the key interface with the American Association of Woodturners and the host city for the 2015 (AAW) symposium. Dave provided summary information on the symposium outcome.
1408 paid attendees
925 visiting members of the public
Total attendance: 2333
Lathe raffle: all 3000 tickets were sold and with the raffle proceeds, the club has been able to purchase a lathe demo safety frame and upgraded video equipment for use during club meetings.
Volunteers: The tireless work by so many volunteers supported all of the activities necessary for a successful symposium. In fact, the AAW Board complemented the Pittsburgh volunteers as the best they've seen at any AAW symposium.
There was no theme for this month's instant gallery. A number of members brought in recently completed pieces. Griff Holmes selected two pieces for presentation by the respective makers. Gene Swartzlander discussed the process of making his beautiful (and large) segmented maple and purpleheart vase. Eric Stackowicz told the group about the ash vase he made from freshly cut ash and the process of highlighting the ash grain through burning the surface of the completed turning.
Jim Hoskinson is a member and self-taught segmented turner extrodinaire. Over the next few meetings, Jim will be taking us along on his journey to make a large, segmented vase with embedded "pictures". This week he brought in the completed sphere portion of the project and discussed the processes by which he creates the various components of the overall project. This is a great way for us to see how such a complex project is broken down into manageable parts.
September's Demonstration: Making a Drunken Box - Dr. Tim Janeway
Tim is a longtime member of TA and he recently took a class from Hans Weissflog on making a "drunken box". Tim graciously took the group through the process he learned from Hans on making such a box. My take is that if you wish for success in this project, develop proficiency in making jam chucks - three were needed in making this interesting box.
Start with a cylinder turned between centers whose uniform diameter determines the diameter of the sphere to be turned next. Mount the cylinder in a scroll chuck and part it into two pieces, "top" and "bottom". The "top" is the piece that's now in the chuck. Flatten the face of the top and then hollow out a hemisphere of predetermined size (e.g., 18mm deep and 36mm wide). Note that removal of equal mass on the top and bottom promotes a more "drunken" roll of the box when complete. The entry cut into the hollowed out hemisphere must be straight in (i.e., aligned with the axis of the lathe) to allow for future jam chucking. Tim made the final hollowing cut for the hemisphere with a negative rake scraper. For interest, you could decorate the interior of the sphere at this point.
Before following a similar sequence for the other half (the "bottom"), make alignment marks on the two pieces for future grain alignment. Flatten the face and begin hollowing, but before completing create a tenon to match the opening in the top so that the top and bottom can be jammed together for further turning. That is, the bottom becomes a jam chuck for the top.
Tim strongly suggests making a semicircle template for the sphere you will now turn. Getting your sphere to match the template will be critical to the success of your box. Jam the top section onto the bottom section now held in the scroll chuck and shape the top into a hemisphere that perfectly matches the template.
Now, out of a piece of endgrain wood, fashion a jam chuck, to be mounted in the scroll chuck that will receive the hemispherical section just turned. Tim suggests drilling a hole through the bottom of the jam chuck in case you cannot get the box to release after turning the bottom section. Again, a negative rake scraper was used to achieve the final fit for the hemisphere. Now turn the bottom of the box to match the template.
Once Tim achieved a spherical box, he remounted it in the hemispherical jam chuck but with the joint between the top and bottom of the box at 90 degrees to the axis of the lathe. He had to make some adjustments to the hemispherical jam chuck to get the repositioned sphere to jam in the chuck. Tim now cut a conical shape on the exposed portion of the box.
To complete the drunken box, Tim had to reshape the jam chuck to allow the conical portion just turned to be jammed and the other hemisphere to be reshaped into a cone.
Final word: THIS IS A CHALLENGING PROJECT. However, success will put you in the pantheon of jam chuckers! Good Luck!
Turner's Anonymous' May meeting focused on embellishment of your turnings. Dave Betler and Dave Beringer teamed up to share their techniques with approximately fifty of our members. The demo started at 10:20, and the lathe was on by 10:28.
Dave Betler started out by showing a technique for oak platters. He opened the grain of the rim with a wire brush, applied a water-based stain and then sanded it off. The contrast between the treated area and the non-treated area was significant. A discussion of various other approaches to this technique followed.
Dave Betler then showed the use of a Sorby texturing tool on a Maple platter. He added color to the textured area by rubbing with a piece of Padauk. He also burned the wood to set off the textured area; again, he used a piece of Padauk holding it against the spinning platter to burn it. Alternate materials for texturing, coloring and burning were discussed.
Dave Beringer then shared a texturing method that applied a pneumatic needle descaler to the inside of a bowl with the lathe running. He shaped the needle tips first. This result was an orange peel effect down in the bowl.
The Daves then shared various techniques for cutting through a black surface to show the wood below. It was recommended that black gesso be used to treat the surface first. Black gesso sits on the surface and won't migrate into the grain, and it dries fast. A reciprocating carver was demonstated with a round tip and V-tip. A Merlin chain saw tip on a Proxon tool was also demonstrated - while the bowl was spinning! Interference paint applied over black gesso was later demonstrated.
Dave Betler then pulled out the spiraling tools. Spirals and knurls were demonstrated along with methods for highlighting. Both agreed that Sorby made the best spiraling tools.
The highlight of the program was Dave Beringer's demonstration of Kennywood spin art on the lathe. A rimmed platter with the middle left in was placed on the lathe. The middle would be removed later. Paints were then put on thick. The lightest color is applied first. Dave recommended airbrush paints, but acrylics and transparent paints also work. A box with the bottom open is placed over the piece (everyone agreed this was most important) and the lathe is turned on at its highest speed. The result was super cool. You need to try this at home!
I think all will agree that the Daves put on a great program.
- Bob Eckert
Fall Featured Presentation
Please remember that we are accepting registrations for the Cynthia Gibson featured presentation and workshop that is coming up on October 17, 18, and 19. It might seem early, but really it will be here before you know it. Note that this presentation and workshop is not purely woodturning. Check out Cynthia's website, www.cynthiagibsonpyrography.com, and you will be amazed at what she can do with a woodburner.
If your spouse, kids, or grandkids have any crafty or artistic interest but maybe not so much in woodturning, this is the perfect chance for them to join in one of our meetings. During the Saturday demo, Cynthia will show us examples of her work, demonstrate how she arrives at the patterns, and teach us how to relate a flat design to our round turnings - or not quite round turnings in the case of Beringer. In the Sunday and Monday "hands-on" workshops, we will start in the morning by making your own sample board to learn the shapes and shading techniques. In the afternoon, we will provide a platter for you to embellish with a design, or better still, you can bring in your own work and Cynthia will help you to design a pattern.
- Dave Betler
April Featured Presentation: Dave Hout
We are pleased to have Dave Hout, a well-respected veteran teacher in the woodworking field, for our all day meeting in April. Dave has led many workshops and seminars on woodworking with an emphasis on woodturning. Dave shares his love of wood by instructing and demonstrating both locally and nationally and is well liked for his easy going teaching style and keen ability to convey his knowledge to students. A founding member of the American Association of Woodturners, he has served on their Board of Directors and was instrumental in the formation of two local AAW chapters. Dave is the past host of "Woodturning Techniques" on the DIY Network. Currently, Dave enjoys designing woodworking tools along with teaching woodturning and woodworking classes.
The morning portion of Dave's demo will focus on metal spinning using a wood lathe. Metal spinning involves using thin non ferrous metal discs and a turned wooden form that is used to create the negative shape as the disc is spun over it during the process. The tools and rests used are different that those used in the turning process. The tools used to spin are smooth and polished with no edges that can catch. The tool rest has pin in it which provides a fulcrum point to apply pressure to the disc. The process is quite fascinating. During the afternoon session Dave will share a number of woodturning tips he has developed over the years.
The day should be quite enjoyable. Please remember there is no charge for this event. There will be a reasonable lunch break during which you can either eat what you bring in your brown bag or wander out on the strip for some other fare. The club will provide water and soft drinks for your enjoyment during lunch as well as coffee and donuts for the pre-meeting. As always we hope to see you there!
- Dave Beringer
March Meeting: Turning Spheres
Turner's Anonymous' March meeting featured Linda Van Gehuchten. Linda is a professional artist and has been a board member of the AAW. In addition, she helped to found the Butler woodturning club. Linda shared her technique for turning a sphere.
Linda started by creating three jigs, two for workholding and one as a gage. The first of the workholding jigs was made of end grain maple mounted to a small baseplate. It took the form of a small cup. The second was formed of side-grain maple. It was mounted to a live center, which was locked with a nail (taped over for safety). She mounted the blank with a drilled hole to fit the locked live-center threads. She again formed a small cup on this piece. Finally, she removed the nail so that this jig could spin. The final tool was a ring gage made of 1.5" PVC pipe. Linda rounded off the end, and then made a deep groove for later parting, but not all the way through. She rounded this groove from the outside and sanded. Then, using a bright light, she located the groove from the inside and cut through. The ring ended up captured on her tool. Neat trick, Linda!
Finally, Linda was ready to start on the sphere. A 3" diameter end grain maple blank was mounted between centers. The diameter was trued up and the new diameter was then transferred to the length of the piece. The center was found and marked. Linda then cut both ends to the lines down to a 1" tenon. The next operation was to round off the ends from the centerline down to the end tenons. Linda cautioned us to go slow at this point and to check frequently with the PVC pipe ring gage. After this section was spherical, she reduced the tenon diameters with a parting tool and cut the waste off leaving enough material to allow the finishing of the sphere. The sphere was then rotated 90 degrees and mounted between the jigs made in steps 1 and 2. The tenons were removed preserving the spherical form as verified by the ring gage. Linda noted that it is important to be sure that the cup-shaped jigs are true. If they were made even a day or two before, they may have warped and will need to be trued-up.
Finally the sphere is sanded, it can be rotated 90 degrees within the cup jigs and sanded again.
Thanks Linda for a great program; it was very informative and instructional. Now I can replace my pallino on my bocce set!
- Bob Eckert
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...