Walt Claxton & Tom Allison 11 June 2009

Tonight there was a break with tradition. Walt Claxton, our chairman and Tom Allison, our treasurer, took the stage and entertained us with their turning skill.

Walt started the evening by mounting a cylinder in the chuck to make a goblet. See Walt & Tom's PhotosThis was one of Keith Siddall’s glue-ups which was made up from sycamore, padauk and ebony with a ring of ebony glued on at one end and a hole drilled at the other. (See photo ‘Walt 1’).

He started by turning the ebony ring to a thin rim then turned two thirds of the cylinder to a goblet shape, as he did this the inner timbers started to show through as it tapered. After sanding the outside he turned up the speed and hollowed out the inside, revealing the glue-up as he progressed. After a light sanding he tidied the bottom of the inside using a tear drop scraper then finished sanding it. (See photo ‘Walt 2’).

Walt then turned his attention to the outside of the bottom of the ‘cup’, he had left it thick so he wouldn’t have any problems with it flexing when he did the hollowing. He tapered it down to a narrow ‘neck’ which he then sanded. Finally he finished it with melamine lacquer and parted it off.

Next Walt mounted another short piece of glue-up which had a hole drilled in the middle. He turned this to form the base of the goblet, coming to a point where the hole was. (See photo ‘Walt 3’). After sanding and finishing it he parted it off, making it slightly concave underneath to ensure it would stand flat. Unfortunately, when he was almost all the way through he caught the edge and took a piece out of it which meant he had to re-cut it to a smaller size. This was a very precarious operation as he had already parted most of the way through and consequently it broke off before he had finished so he made a jam chuck from the piece of wood left in the chuck, attached to work to it, brought up the tailstock to hold it steady and finally managed to sort it out.

Finally Walt mounted a long, thin piece of ebony between centres and worked along this with a spiralling tool. He spent some time working on this, gradually going deeper and deeper, until he finally reached the desired depth. He ran the lathe at 400 rpm for this, explaining that if you have it any faster the tool tends to judder. When he had finished spiralling he used a point tool to turn a couple of rings at each end of the spiral then turned a bead and a tenon on each end with a spindle gouge. After finishing it with melamine lacquer he parted each end off using a skew chisel and glued the three pieces together. (See photos ‘Walt 4, 5 and 6’).

After the break Tom stepped up to the lathe and mounted a cylinder of what I think might have been ash, measuring approx. 8” x 3”, in the chuck, to turn a finial box. He turned it to a point and then gradually turned this into a finial using a spindle gouge and skew chisel. Once he had finished the finial he sanded it and treated it with cellulose sanding sealer, cut it back with wire wool and finished it with carnuba wax. Next he turned a round bowl beneath the finial, leaving plenty of wood beneath it to give it strength when he hollowed it. He turned the lid shape and parted it off with a narrow parting took, leaving a small lip to use as a guide for where the lid should fit. (See photo ‘Tom 1’).

Tom hollowed the bowl out with a spindle gouge, making sure he didn’t go beyond the lip and cut a small lip inside with a skew chisel. He finished hollowing it out with a box scraper and a teardrop scraper then adjusted the top with a parting tool until the lid fitted. When he was happy the lid fitted properly he turned the outside of the top of the box round to meet the lid. (See photo ‘Tom 2’).

After sanding the bowl inside and out he worked on the stem, making it roughly the same length as the finial on the top, with some bead detail in the middle, using a spindle gouge and a skew chisel to make the edges crisp. Unfortunately, whilst he was turning the stem Tom had a dig in which snapped it; this was such a shame because it was looking really good. (See photos ‘Tom 3’ for the finished bowl and ‘Tom 4’ for a sample he had passed round the audience at the beginning of his demonstration, of one he had made before).

I would like to thank Walt and Tom for giving this demonstration because I know I couldn’t have done it. It’s bad enough standing up and demonstrating to a group of people at the best of times, but when those people are your fellow club members who you know jolly well will take every opportunity to pull your leg it’s doubly difficult, so you two have my full admiration. Thank you.Top of Page

Lorrie Flannery/p>

SWC club member