Albert Harrison 14 August 2008

Albert treated us to a very entertaining evening, interspersing his woodturningSee Albert's Photos demonstrations with plenty of jokes, humour and magic tricks. For the first half of the evening he concentrated on turning scoops in varying sizes – the first being a salt scoop in cedar. He turned it from a piece of wood approximately 2-3” long by 1” square with a hole about an inch long drilled through it’s length to form the scoop end of the piece, he also used this to mount it on a jam chuck. He had also drilled a small hole through the handle end for threading a piece of string through so the scoop can be hung up; he explained that this hole needs to be drilled before the piece is turned in order to ensure it is centred. After turning the handle he removed the work from the lathe and turned a similar piece, but this one was much longer and was in oak. He finished them both with finishing oil as they are to be used with food then, to complete the projects, he used an electric scroll saw to cut the bowls to shape. Albert explained that these scoops are his ‘bread and butter’ work, he makes the small scoops by the hundred for a company which sells them with packets of salt; the larger one is for use in a salt safe.

To end the first half of the evening Albert turned a coffee scoop in cherry; he makes these for Betty’s of Harrogate. He mounted a piece of wood approximately 2” square by 3-4” long between centres and turned it round. He then turned a deep spigot at one end so he could mount it securely in the chuck. Once it was mounted in the chuck he made a ‘v’ cut then turned a ball at the end, he turned one half of the ball with a ⅜” spindle gouge and the other with a skew chisel to demonstrate the different tooling techniques. To ensure the ball was perfectly round he scraped it with a holesaw – hence the reason for mounting it securely in the chuck. After turning the handle he parted the piece off then explained that the next step is to mount it in a home made mould, which he uses to hold it steady so he can cut it through the centre on a band saw, thus turning it into two scoops, then he uses a pillar drill to cut a hole in the bowl (the ball). At this point, in true ‘Blue Peter’ style, he produced one he had prepared earlier. The next step was to mount the scoop back on the lathe in some homemade jaws and hollow out the bowl using a ¼” spindle gouge which he has ground as a bowl gouge. Finally he sanded the handle to shape using a homemade “rotary sander” which was basically a cylinder of wood mounted on the lathe between centres with various grades of sandpaper wrapped round it. See photo AH01 for examples of the various scoops he makes.

After the break Albert turned a box in olive wood. He mounted a square of wood between centres and turned it round with a spigot at each end and then parted off one end to form a lid, using a thin parting tool to keep the grain matching. He cut it off using the proportions of 2/5 for the lid and 3/5 for the base. He mounted the lid in the chuck and used a spindle gouge to drill a hole into the middle so that he could use this as a guide to hollow it to the desired depth. He finished the internal sides with a box scraper to make sure they were parallel then turned a small bead inside the centre of the lid to hide any imperfections. He then mounted the base and started hollowing it out to release any tension in the wood before starting to fit the lid. To fit the lid he cut a lip in the end which he sloped slightly to allow room for error then, once the lid fitted correctly he taped it onto the base, turned off the spigot and turned it to shape, making it slightly domed. To finish the lid he mounted a home made jig onto the bed of the lathe onto which he mounted a small router with a cove bit. He used this to carve a pattern into the surface of the lid by sliding it back and forth across the timber from the edge to the centre and rotating the box by hand between cuts. See photo AH02. Finally he turned a small indent in the centre, tidied the outer edge to get rid of any breakout and turned a groove and a bead on the edge to make it easier to remove the lid from the base.

Albert turned the outside of the base then hollowed the inside, undercutting the top using a hooked scraper See photo AH03. Finally he parted it off, making the final cut a little way away from the base, leaving a small dimple, to ensure the wood didn’t tear out. He mounted it onto a jam chuck to finish the underneath which he hollowed slightly and decorated with some rings. See photos AH04 and AH05.

This was a very entertaining evening and I still have no idea how he performed those magic tricks.

Lorrie Flannery Top of Page

SWC club member