Bob Chapman 9 April 2009

There was a good turnout for Bob’s demonstration this evening; in addition to See Bob's Photosthe usual crowd there were several prospective new members and some visitors from Huddersfield Woodturning Club. Bob turned two projects during the evening which were so interesting that virtually the whole audience was still there when he finished shortly after 10 o’clock.

Bob started the evening by making an acorn shaped box using holly wood (no not the Los Angeles variety!) for the nut part and ziracote for the shell. He mounted a square piece of holly in the chuck and turned a spigot on the end, then turned it round and mounted the spigot in the chuck. He trued up the front face and hollowed it, using a template to get the correct shape. Bob explained that he uses a template to turn the inside first as he cannot turn the outside until he has done the inside because it would be held by too small a piece of wood. He used a spindle gouge to ‘drill’ out the middle to the correct depth then, with the flute angled at about 2 o’clock, he opened out the hole and quickly turned it to shape, using a round nosed scraper to finish it. He sanded it down to 400 grit and finished it with cellulose sanding sealer as this dries more quickly than spirit sanding sealer. Bob explained that he always uses this curved shape inside his boxes regardless of the outside shape because it makes it a lot easier to get things out of the box. In general he tends to make his boxes with loose fitting lids so the lid can be removed with one hand without having to use undue force, however for the acorn box the lid needs to be tighter as the box doesn’t have a base to stand on. Having turned the inside, he measured the depth of the outside and cut in a little way with a parting tool to mark it. Using a bowl gouge with a long grind he turned the outside to shape and turned a lip at the top, parallel to the side, using a parting tool. He made the final cuts with a round nosed scraper then parted it off.

Bob now turned his attention to the lid; he mounted a square piece of ziracote in the jaws and turned a dovetail spigot, which he used to mount it in the chuck. He squared off the end, made a shallow recess to use as a jam chuck to hold the base then, once he was happy it was the correct size, he turned away some of the wood from the inside. At this stage he mounted the base onto it, finished turning the curve at the bottom and sanded and finished the outside to match the inside. Before removing the base from the lid he turned the bottom edge of the lid to make it curve down into the base. Bob measured the lid to be approximately two thirds of the size of the base, he cut into it with a parting tool then finished hollowing the inside, taking care to ensure he didn’t cut away any wood on the lip as he didn’t want it to have a sloppy fit when he attached it to the base. He turned the outside of the lid to match the curve on the inside, taking care to ensure he had a good curve without any flat spots. He parted it off then turned a spigot on the waste wood to mount it onto to finish the top. After sanding and finishing it with sanding sealer he marked a hole in the centre with a skew chisel and drilled a hole approximately 3-3½mm diameter part way into it to locate a stalk. For the stalk he mounted a small piece of ebony in pin jaws and turned a trumpet shaped stalk, using a round nosed scraper, then parted it off and finished the shape on a sanding disk, sanding diagonally across the end, then glued it into the lid. (See photos BC_03,04,05,06,07 and 08).

Bob’s second project of the evening was an earring stand which he turned from two pieces of wood – a cylinder of sycamore for the main part, approximately 3½ inches in diameter by 6-7 inches long with a spigot already turned on one end and a small piece of laburnum to act as a ‘spire’ on the top of the stand to hold rings. He also turns a tray on the bottom of his earring holders to hold other pieces of jewellery, making it a very versatile jewellery stand. First he mounted the sycamore in the jaws with the tailstock at the other end for a little bit of added security. He trued it with a spindle gouge then used a ½” bowl gouge to turn the ‘umbrella’ top and drilled a 10mm hole, 3/16” deep in the top, using a drill mounted in the tailstock. He then took the chuck off the lathe with the piece of wood still mounted in it and replaced it with another one with pin jaws, in which he mounted the piece of laburnum. He squared off the end and turned the first inch round then turned a spigot to fit in the hole he had drilled in the ‘umbrella’ and chamfered the end of it to fit the bottom of the hole. He then removed the chuck from the lathe, remounted the one holding the base and glued the spire into the hole, putting superglue on the spire and spraying accelerator into the hole. He used the tailstock, without its centre, to hold the two pieces together whilst the glue set then remounted the centre into the tailstock and used it to put light pressure on the work to ensure it ran true. Using a spindle gouge he turned the spire to shape and used a round nosed scraper to blend the curves together across the glued joint. He cut the spire to length with a skew chisel and curved the end with the round nosed scraper. Bob sanded and finished the top, using sanding sealer and suggested that if there is a small gap in the glued joint you could use a skew chisel to cut it into a ‘v’ shape and make a feature of it. (See photos BC_09,10,11 and 12).

The next job was to drill the holes in the top to hold the earrings. For this Bob mounted a specially designed post he had made himself into the tool rest holder, this had a piece of wood on it with a pilot hole drilled through one end. He lined this up with the work then using a 3-3½mm drill bit in a hand held drill, he manually turned the work clockwise and used the indexing on the chuck to position the 24 holes. He sanded over the holes lightly with 400 grit then worked through the grades to sand the outside edge and finished the top and edge with sanding sealer. He then applied beeswax, followed by carnuba wax to the top and outside edge, applying each of them lightly in a single layer and polished it with a cloth, pressing hard to melt the waxes. Finally he gave it a light buff with a clean piece of cloth. (See photo BC_13).

Bob makes the distance between the top of the stand and the bottom tray 4” to allow room for long dangly earrings; he measured and marked this quite carefully. Using a sharp parting tool he cut in under the top, angling up into it until he had cut past the holes, then he used a small round nosed scraper to cut under the top, using it like a parting tool, keeping it flat on the centre line, to cut in then angling up under the umbrella. He cut the top of the stem to around 5mm thick then continued cutting down the stem, using a bowl gouge to take out the bulk of the wood and a round nosed scraper to finish it, working on lengths of about ½” at a time, gradually making it thicker as he got closer to the base. Using a round nosed scraper he broadened out the base of the stem and turned the tray at the bottom, angling the lip on the edge of the tray. There was a bit of a blemish in the wood on the outside edge of the tray so Bob used the small round nosed scraper to cut a decorative cove to remove it. He parted part way through the underneath then sanded, sealed and polished it to match the top. He finished parting it off, making it slightly concave so it will sit properly, then sanded the underneath using a sanding disk mounted on the lathe. (See photos BC_14,15,16,17 and 19).

Finally Bob polished the acorn box using the buffing system that Gerry Marlow uses. Phil and I use this at home and find it gives a super finish to our work. (See photo BC_21).

I thoroughly enjoyed this evening’s demonstration, Bob turned two items I have never seen turned before and which I thought were very interesting – the acorn box was quite different from any boxes I’ve seen before and the earring stand is a super all purpose jewellery stand that holds earrings and so much more. Thank you Bob for yet another great evening, I always enjoy watching your demonstrations, I just wish I could have been there when you turned the spiky ball a couple of years ago, I still don’t know how it’s done.Top of Page

Lorrie Flannery

SWC club member