Margaret Garrard 28 January 2010

This evening Margaret treated us to an evening of turning, colouring and piercing.

Margaret Garrard Demonstration 2010See Margaret's photos


She started by turning a bowl from a sycamore blank measuring approximately 7”-8” by 1½”, which she mounted in the chuck using a faceplate. First she turned the edge to make it round then she turned the outside of the bowl into a smooth, gentle, round shape with a small foot, using a standard bowl gouge. (See photos MG01 & 02). She then changed to a swept back bowl gouge with the flute closed,Margaret Garrard Demonstration 2010 uMargaret Garrard Demonstration 2010sing the bottom edge of the bevel and taking fine, shearing cuts to tidy it up. (See photos MG03 & 04). After doing this there was still a small area of torn grain near the foot so she sprayed it with sanding sealer to stiffen up the fibres and give a better cut. Once she was happy with this she used a gadget which was designed by a member of Thirsk Woodturning club to help with involuted turning; she held this over the tailstock and wound it into the bowl to make an impression in the foot which she then turned into a bead.

At this point Margaret turned the bowl round on the lathe and mounted the foot in the chuck. She started to hollow it out using a standard grind bowl gouge, leaving a bulk of wood in the centre to keep it stable. She turned it to approximately 2mm thick as she was planning to use it Margaret Garrard Demonstration 2010later in the evening to demonstrate piercing. She took nice, flowing cuts round the curve to ensure she got an even thickness and measured the thickness regularly with callipers. She placed a mark on the rim at the thinnest part which she used as a guide for where she should measure for the rest of the piece to ensure she didn’t turn it too thin. Once she was happy with the thickness of the first inch of the bowl she stopped and sanded it and rounded the rim. Then she carefully turned away more of the timber using a smaller bowl gouge and taking fine cuts when working near the edge. As she got closer to the middle she sanded it again, this time using Vitex foam backed sanding pads which are nice and flexible. As she got further into the bowl it started flexing and you could see it wobbling on the video screen but it needed to be thin right to the foot for the design she was planning to put on it. (See photos MG05/06/07 & 08).

Once she had finished the inside Margaret mounted a small disk of timber in the chuck andMargaret Garrard Demonstration 2010 pushed the inside of the bowl against this with a piece of paper between them to stop it slipping, then used the gadget referred to earlier to hold it in place, pushing it into the groove she had turned earlier. This held it very true and enabled her to turn away the dents the chuck had made in the spigot. (See photos MG09/10/11 &12).


Margaret started the second half by showing us the various designs she has developed using leaves and flowers and explained how she has developed them. (See photos MG 13 & 14). She makes templates to apply her designs to her work using paper, a compass, transfer paper and ‘Frisket’ film (made by West Design Products -

She then turned to a shallow bowl she had prepared at home by applying areas of piercing and drawing on a pattern which consisted of a ring, some leaves and a flower in the centre. The pattern was applied using ‘Frisket’ which she had prepared by cutting round each part of the pattern so she could peel them off individually. First she took the ‘Frisket’ off the ring which she painted brown, using ‘Golden’ acrylic paint in an airbrush. (See photo MG 15). Then she uncovered the leaves and stalks and painted them green; because the paints Margaret uses are translucent she starts with the darkest colour first as the dark colours shouldn’t show through the lighter colours that are airbrushed on top of them. Finally she peeled the ‘Frisket’ off the flower and painted it blue, applying more paint in the middle than the edges to give the flower some depth. When she had finished painting she removed the remaining ‘Frisket’ from the rest of the bowl to reveal the finished pattern. (See photos MG16/17 & 18).

After applying each colour Margaret cleaned the air brush with water and when she had finished painting she cleaned it with a cleaning fluid.


Finally Margaret turned her attention to piercing and explained that her preferred wood for piercing is sycamore as it is close grained and has a bit of spring in it. She prefers it to ash or elm as it can be turned thinner than them and sycamore doesn’t tend to have too much pattern in it. To do the piercing she uses an ‘NSK’ dentist’s drill, fitted with cutters which she buys from a company called ‘Dental Sky’, but she says cutters are also available from Turner’s Retreat. She applied some piercing to the bowl she decorated earlier, working in the area between the ring, leaves and flower. She used a tooth brush to remove any loose burnt bits from the holes then checked the pattern from the back to make sure she had pierced all the way through; if there are any stray bits left Margaret uses a little diamond file to remove them. (See photo MG19).

Next she turned her attention to another piece of work, to which she had already applied a pyrography pattern. This time she used the drill, fitted with a ball cutter, to apply a stippled pattern, taking care to ensure the pattern was random and did not have any regimented lines. As before, she cleaned it with a tooth brush then checked it for flat spots which would need further attention. (See photo MG20).

Finally, working on the bowl she turned at the beginning of the evening, Margaret showed us how she cuts out designs round the edge of her work using the drill. She explained that once she has cut out the pattern she uses a file to make it level.

In Conclusion

In some respects this was an experimental evening for Margaret as she is still fairly new to colouring and piercing and at times it seemed like a bit of a voyage of discovery, which I felt was just great because it left me feeling as if we, her audience, were very much involved in the evolution of her designs. Once again this was a very enjoyable evening which held my attention from start to finish.

Thank you Margaret.

Lorrie FlanneryTop of Page

SWC club member