Sep 2017

For our September meeting we once more had the pleasure of Seamus Cassidy as our guest demonstrator and Seamus showed us not alone how skilled he is at woodturning but also in his presentation and ability to hold and inform an audience. Seamus started the demonstration with an artistic piece that I will describe as a double bowl turned from a spalted ash burr which was no more than 60/70 mm in thickness at its deepest point. So how to hold a burr on the lathe, you could use a donut chuck which we saw demonstrated recently or the method Seamus used, which is to start with a base plate of about 25mm thick and affix some timber blocks of varying heights so when the burr is sat on these the face of the burr is parallel to the base, this then is held on with hot melt glue. Seamus mounted this on the lathe with a screw chuck, a chuck he favours for jobs like this, now this burr, like most burr blanks was an irregular shape so Seamus had decided on the area he intended to work and centred the piece to suit, being an offset turning it must be worked at a very low speed to prevent vibration on the lathe. Seamus now proceeded to cut the first of the two bowls about 70mm in diameter and 35mm deep then surrounded this with a recess about 15mm wide and a couple of mil deep. The second bowl has to be carefully set out to line with the first and separated in this case by around 20m and for this of course the centre has to be moved, the diameter of the first bowl plus 20mm. Seamus then cut this one out, matching it exactly and finishing as before with a recess, a light sanding was all that was required to ready it for the last stage, which was, decorating the bowls around the recess with a pyro graphic burner. With a pencil Seamus marked out radiating lines in the recess a few millimetres apart and followed this up by starting with a dot, he burned in the short lines, like little tadpoles, (his words) have a look at the photos and all will be clear. A coat of Danish oil brought out the grain and different shades in the wood and the result, we have a lovely work of art.

After a short break Seamus resumed the demonstration by showing his take on a table lamp, a nice design that evolved from some leftover bowl cores which he had in his firewood box, (there is a story about a cat getting involved but I won’t go there) these cores were too small to reuse as bowls but by inverting them he saw a base for a table lamp. Taking this base, a piece of sycamore, Seamus shaped it and sanded it, here he told us he always uses a sandpaper block when sanding, saves finger burns, then he drilled a 25mm hole in the centre to take the stem of the lamp, a piece of walnut 45mm square and 600 mm long. This piece he had predrilled to take the wire which he then mounted on the lathe and went about turning it to a cylinder before working in a design, first a spigot on the bottom to fit the base then four beads before moving upwards tapering it slightly as he went, where at about three-quarter way up he worked another bead then up to the top to form the holder for the fitting. A short discussion ensued as to the size of a shade to be fitted and it was agreed that it should be around the same diameter as the base, around 10inches (250mm). Altogether a very good demonstration of two totally different pieces and for this, we say a big thanks to Seamus for an entertaining afternoon, we look forward to seeing you again.

To the monthly competition, the result as follows. In first place Jim Hynes   2nd Tom Gibson and 3rd Chris Hayes.  Thank you all for your attendance and support and look forward to seeing you all next month, until then work safe.

Pat Gannon