Margaret Garrard 8 October 2009

Margaret started the evening by mounting a sycamore bowl blank measuringSee Margaret's Photos approximately 8” by 2” on a faceplate, onto the lathe and told us she would be turning it into an off-centre bowl (See photo MG01). Before screwing the faceplate to the surface Margaret had put it through her planer to ensure the surface was absolutely flat. She turned the edge until it was round then faced it off until it was flat, taking very light, scraping cuts with a swept back bowl gouge to finish it, then turned a dimple in the centre and sanded it. Next she used an Arbortech to texture the surface, drawing it slowly across the surface a couple of times from the dimple in the centre to the edge (See photos MG02 & 03). Then she used a wire brush and sandpaper to tidy up any torn out grain and applied a coat of water based acrylic paint to the surface (See photo MG04). At this stage Margaret removed the timber from the lathe and mounted another blank she had prepared earlier; she said it would be better than watching paint dry! The one she had started today will be used at her next demonstration.

Margaret marked a rim about ¼” deep on the edge of the blank and turned away some of the timber behind it. Using a skew chisel she marked the position for a bead towards the edge then turned the bead using a swept back bowl gouge. Next she took it off the lathe and remounted the faceplate 15mm off centre and remounted it onto the lathe. She marked the size of the bowl she wanted to turn then started turning it with a spindle gouge and made a recess in the edge of the bowl with a parting tool. The size of the bowl was determined by the size of the jaws she was going to use to mount it on the lathe when she turned the underneath. Next she marked and turned a couple more beads, one on the edge of the bowl and the other one next to it. These finished, Margaret turned her attention to the bowl, making a recess behind the bead where she intended the jaws to go. After finishing the bowl she tidied the beads then sanded the bowl with Vitex hand held sanding pads and sanded the beads with sandpaper, taking care not to catch the painted surface. (See photos MG05, 06 & 07).

After removing it from the lathe Margaret mounted the jaws into the inside of the bowl, taking care to ensure she tightened them enough to hold it, but not too much, to ensure they didn’t damage the bead and, as an extra precaution she held it in place with the tailstock. She started by turning away the bulk of the material on the back, taking care not to turn into the bowl and working very carefully near the rim (See photo MG08). Then, working in from the outside edge, she gradually turned a nice flat surface under the rim with an even thickness, stopping frequently to check her progress and the thickness and turning away more of the bulk of the timber as she got further in from the edge. She used a swept back bowl gouge turned on its side to make a fine scraping cut and get a nice smooth finish to the surface. Margaret left a ridge under the bead on the edge of the bowl which she turned into another bead with a nice crisp edge (See photo MG09). Having moved the tailstock away Margaret used a small bowl gouge to turn away the waste wood under the bowl and refine the outside of the bowl, making sure she didn’t have a point on the bottom as she wanted it to rock on the bowl (See photos MG10 & 11). This part of the project was now complete and Margaret removed it from the lathe. (See photos MG12 & 13).

For the second part of the project Margaret turned an involuted flower; she mounts two or three flowers on the narrower edge of her off-centre bowls making them the right weight to balance the bowl when she stands it on a table. Before leaving home she had prepared the timber by gluing together 4 lengths of wood which were approximately ½” square, using PVA wood glue and gluing strips of newspaper between them so she would be able to separate them later. She had tacked thin strips of wood onto the outside of the joints and then clamped them together with G clamps. Once the glue had set she cut them into approximately 2” lengths. She then went on to explain that if she were going to mount them between steb centres she would tack a thin square of wood on one end and a small block of wood on the other end and then find the centre on each one. However, for this project Margaret mounted it in the chuck and, using a spindle gouge, she turned the inside shape of the flower and took it off the lathe (See photo MG14). Next she scraped the paper and glue off the edges, numbered the bottom of each of the four pieces, put a mark on them to show which corner had been in the middle, separated them using a hammer and chisel then turned them round and matched them up with the aid of the marks. At this point she would re-glue them, but without putting the newspaper between the joints. (See photo MG15)

Margaret mounted one she had prepared earlier onto the lathe with a steb centre in the headstock and a live centre in the tailstock with a piece of leather placed over the point to protect the timber (See photo MG16). Once she was happy it was running true she used a spindle gouge with a straight grind to turn away the corners, starting at the tips of the petals and working down to the base, gradually refining the shape of the flower as she went (See photo MG17). She sanded the edges of the petals to blend the curves and get rid of any remaining paper then continued turning with a smaller spindle gouge tapering it into the base of the flower and leaving a small groove which she used to cut it off the lathe (See photos MG18 & 19).

Finally Margaret mounted a piece of timber measuring approximately ½” square by 3” in the chuck which she turned into a stamen to fit in the flower. She turned it with a long grind spindle gouge and tapered it to a fine point then used a bradawl to make a hole and the centre of the flower and glued the stamen into it.

See photo MG20 for an example of Margaret’s finished flowers and photos MG21 & 22 for an example of the finished bowl.

Thank you Margaret for a very interesting and artistic project, it reminded me that I must finish the involuted tulip vase I started turning some months ago!Top of Page

Lorrie Flannery

SWC club member