Andrew Hall 11 August

See Andrew's PhotosI always look forward to Andrew’s demonstrations. As well as being informative and educational they are very entertaining and today’s demo lived up to my expectations. He turned two quite different projects, the first was very decorative and the second a real novelty.

1. Wall Plaque with Oval Clock

This was made from a piece of oak measuring approx. 1½” thick by 8” square, which had a circle drilled in the middle of each side. It had been air seasoned for 6 years and had a moisture content of 12%. Andrew used a faceplate to mount it on the lathe.

Using a swept back bowl gouge he made a ‘v’ cut about 1½” from the hole then tidied the area between the ‘v’ and the middle, undercutting it slightly. He the made another ‘v’ cut about 1” from the first and turned the area between the two to a downward curved. He made a pattern on this curve with a texturing tool and then tidied it by pressing a hogs hair brush hard onto it with the lathe running. He warned against using a nylon brush to do this as it could melt the bristles. He used a point tool to turn a definition groove on the two edges of the textured area then cleaned the grooves with the hogs hair brush. (See photo AH11_01).

Before turning the rest of the plaque he coloured this centre area. With the lathe turned off he sprayed it with dark blue spirit stain, using an atomiser bottle, then applied a coat of yellow on top to give a green finish. To finish this area he applied a coat of liming wax to it; putting it on with his finger (wearing a latex glove). He cleaned the excess off with a piece of paper then wiped it over with finishing oil on a fresh piece of paper. (See photos AH11_02 to 04).

Using a bowl gouge he turned the outer area to a gentle curve then concentrated his attention on the four edges, using a Proxxon cutter with a chain saw blade to carve patterns on them. He started to carve diagonal lines on the first edge then invited David, one of our junior members, to do it for him. David quickly got into the swing of it and when he had finished carving the first side he coloured it with light blue, yellow and red, overlapping each colour slightly to give a rainbow effect. Andrew then went on to carve the other three sides, making a random cross hatch pattern on one, an adze effect on the next and a random, free hand pattern on the last one. He then went on to colour them all. (See photos AH11_05 to 07).

Next Andrew took it off the chuck, removed all but one of the screws from the faceplate then twisted is slightly to put it a little off centre and re-mounted it on the lathe. Using a ⅜” bowl gouge he turned some eccentric grooves in the outer area then coloured it. He sprayed it with light blue first then added red on top to give purple, next he sprayed dark blue onto the corners and finished by spraying yellow all over. Once it was dry he turned a cove in the flat area to reveal the natural colour of the wood, then added a pattern using the ‘decorating elf’ and defined the edges with a point tool. Again he cleaned the texturing with the hogs hair brush. Finally, he sprayed the whole thing with a coat of melamine lacquer to bring out the natural colour of the wood. (See photos AH11_08 to 10).

2. Smoking Snowman

Andrew mounted a rough sawn block of olive ash, measuring approx. 3½” square by 12”, between steb centres and used a roughing gouge to turn it to a rough cylinder. He turned a chucking point at each end then turned a groove about 4” from the tailstock, with a parting tool, then turned another deep groove next to this and cut it off with a saw. Andrew then very kindly gave the piece of waste wood to David to turn into a box. (See photos AH11_11 to 13).

He mounted the remaining piece in the chuck, then trued it up with a roughing gouge and tidied the end with a bowl gouge. He marked two lines to show the top and bottom of the snowman’s head then drilled a hole down the middle, using a 1” forstner bit in a jacob’s chuck, with the lathe running at 500rpm, drilling as far as the first of the marked lines. After cutting a recess in the end to fit the chuck he hollowed the piece out to the diameter of the chucking point, coning it out and making a slight ‘v’ at the edge to grip the chuck. (See photos AH11_14 and 15).

Next Andrew turned it round on the lathe but left a small gap between the bottom of the piece and the jaws so he could turn a slight curve. This done he secured it properly on the chuck then drilled a 10mm hole in the end, to meet up with the hole he had drilled from the other end. He used the tailstock to support it and turned the body area to a basic snowman shape then turned the head. After working out the best part of the grain to use for the centre front he locked the lathe with this part on top then marked three buttons on the body plus two eyes a nose and a smiley mouth on the head. He used a dremel to drill the holes for the nose and buttons, then carved out the mouth with a conventional drill, drilling all the way through to the centre, and drilled a long hole for the nose. He hammered three brass studs into the button holes and burnt the eyes in with a pyrography kit then moved the tailstock away and carefully tidied up the top of the head. (See photos AH11_16 and 17).

To make the snowman’s hat Andrew mounted a small cylinder of a darker wood in the jaws and turned a tapered dowel on the end to fit into the hole on the top of the snowman’s head. He turned a slight curve away from the dowel, to form the underneath of the brim, then turned the top of the brim and turned a bowler hat shape, gradually turning the top of it with a spindle gouge until it finally parted away. (See photos AH11_18 and 19).

Andrew made the pipe in two parts. To make the bowl he mounted a block of oak approx. ½” square by 4” long into the inner part of the jaws and cut a thin ‘v’ shaped cylinder in the middle of it then drilled a hole into the narrow end of this. He cut the waste timber off the end then sanded it and coloured it with a black pen before cutting it off. To make the stem he remounted the piece of oak he had cut off the bowl into the jaws and turned a small cylinder in the end to fit into the hole he drilled in the side of the bowl. Once he was happy with the fit he turned it to a length of about ¾”, coloured it black and parted it off with a skew chisel. He assembled the pipe and painted the top of the bowl red then fitted it into the snowman’s mouth. (See photos AH11_20 and 21).

For the nose he turned a small dowel at the end of the timber left in the chuck then turned a long cone shape which he painted orange, to look like a carrot. He snapped this off and fitted it into the hole he had drilled for the nose. (See photos AH11_22 and 23).

Finally, Andrew remounted the snowman in the chuck and drilled a 10mm hole in the back of the body, close to the bottom, to act as a ventilation hole. Now for the acid test – would it actually smoke? Andrew put an incense cone onto a burner, lit it, then put the snowman over the top. After a brief pause, smoke started to come out of the snowman’s mouth. Brilliant!

There wasn't time during the evening for Andrew to sand and polish the snowman so a club member took the piece home, sanded, polished and glued all the bits together. 

As usual Andrew gave a very entertaining and interesting demonstration with lots of banter between him and the audience. He held the attention of all present right up to the end and was rewarded with a standing ovation. Thank you Andrew for a great evening, I am already looking forward to the next one.

Before leaving Andrew donated both of these projects to the club for us to sell for our charity of the year, Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. I feel sure they will both make a lot of money for us.

Lorrie Flannery

SWC club member