Sue Harker 10 September 2009

Sue’s project for this visit was a ‘multi-centre faceplate turned bowl’;See Sue's Photos quite different to the segmented project she turned last time she visited us, but equally complicated. She turned it from a sycamore bowl blank approximately 9” by 3” which she had put through her planer thicknesser at home to ensure it was parallel. Having found the centre she mounted the faceplate onto the block then used a cardboard template which fitted round the faceplate to draw two lines through the centre, at right angles to each other, dividing the bowl into four equal quarters. She then marked a hole on each of these lines approximately 2” from the centre which she would use to position the faceplate off centre, explaining that the amount you put it off-centre will dictate the shape of the arcs you produce.

Next Sue mounted the blank onto the lathe, trued the edge and marked a couple of reference circles on the flat surface, one about ½” from the edge and the other about 1½” from the edge, then took it off the lathe. She removed the faceplate from the block and remounted it with one screw in the centre hole and the opposite one in one of the holes she had made earlier, then mounted it back onto the lathe. (See photos SH 1 and 2). She set the tool rest on the centre line then turned the blank a quarter turn anti-clockwise, positioned her pencil point where the first reference circle she marked earlier met the tool rest and drew a circle from here, then did the same with the second reference circle; once the lathe was running this gave two distinct circles she could work on. Using a fluted parting tool to ensure the sides were as sharp as possible Sue cut a groove in each of the circles, making the outside one approx. 1½ chisel widths and the inner one approx. 1¼ widths; these were approx. 3-4mm deep to ensure they would hold the resin she was going to fill them with. (See photo SH 3). She now dismounted the bowl and repeated the process on the other three lines, giving the grooves a light sanding as she went along to ensure the edges were sharp. At this point it all looked very confusing but Sue assured us that all would be revealed in due course. (See photos SH 4 and 5).

Before filling the grooves with resin Sue sprayed the surface with cellulose sanding sealer to seal the end grain. To fill the grooves she mixed 60ml of Fastglass resin with coloured glitter, adding enough glitter to achieve the desired depth of colour, explaining that you need to keep adding it until you can no longer see the mixing stick through the resin. She then added 12cm of hardener to the mix (i.e. 2cm per 10ml of resin) and mixed it thoroughly to ensure the colour was evenly distributed. Sue did this mixing in a cardboard cup because if you use a plastic cup the plastic accelerates the hardening process. Once she was happy with the mix Sue poured it into the grooves, ensuring it was distributed evenly over the blank. (See photos SH6, 7 and 8).

As the resin needs time to set hard Sue mounted a blank she had prepared earlier onto the lathe, using the faceplate to mount the outside of the blank and turn a spigot on the resin side, so she could then turn it round on the lathe to turn the outside of the bowl. She turned the outside using a long grind bowl gouge, ensuring she had turned away all the screw holes she made earlier – she suggested that you could glue a piece of sacrificial timber to the blank before starting to avoid wasting too much wood for the screw holes. Having turned the rough shape, she then turned a foot with a spigot in the middle which she would use to mount it on the lathe. She then refined the shape, ensuring she got a good, even curve with no flat spots. To turn away the bulk of the timber Sue used the gouge with the flute open, cutting with the area just left of the centre of the tip then, to make the finishing cuts and get rid of any tear out, she closed the flute and made shearing cuts using the bottom of the grind to get a nice, clean finish. After tidying the foot and making a small hole in the centre of the spigot Sue sanded it using a Robert Sorby Sandmaster, coated it with cellulose sanding sealer and rubbed the sanding sealer in with paper. (See photos SH 10 and 11).

Sue then turned it round on the lathe; using the spigot she cut earlier to mount it. She turned the top with a bowl gouge to get a nice crisp surface then finished it with a scraper to ensure it was flat, taking care not to cut too deep and lose the resin. Using a standard grind bowl gouge Sue turned the middle of the bowl, gradually working towards the edge until she had the desired pattern on the rim. As she was turning the bowl a split revealed itself in the wood and it became apparent that she wouldn’t be able to turn it away so she filled it with superglue mixed with wood dust. Finally Sue sanded the rim and the bowl with a power sander but she didn’t add any finish to it at this stage. (See photos SH 12 and 13).

To finish the underneath, Sue mounted an Air Press vacuum chuck on the lathe, ensuring first that the headstock was properly centred. She then offered the resin side of the bowl up to the vacuum chuck, used tailstock in the small hole she had turned in the foot to centre it and turned on the vacuum chuck. When she was happy it was gripped properly Sue moved the tailstock away and finished turning the foot, with a few rings in it, sanded it and sealed it with sanding sealer. After removing it from the vacuum chuck she sealed the rim and the inside of the bowl with sanding sealer. To finish it she said she will apply 2-3 coats of finishing oil and buff it up on her buffing system at home. (See photos SH 14, 15, 16 and 17).

For a selection of the work Sue brought along to show us, see photos SH 18 to SH22. This was a fascinating and, to me, really inspirational project which I definitely plan to try myself; so thank you Sue for a very enjoyable evening. Top of Page

Lorrie Flannery

SWC club member