Nikos Siragas 20 December 2012

It was good to see Nikos and Frances at the club again this month See Nikos's photosand to see him turn another of his signature pieces. Once again he turned three projects for us, a sculptured vase, a decorative ring and a honey spoon.

1. Sculptured Vase

Nikos mounted a piece of rippled sycamore measuring approx. 4” x 4” x 8” between centres. He turned this to a cylinder with a roughing gouge then, using a Gary Rance round skew chisel, he turned a spigot at one end and mounted it in the chuck. He started shaping it with a roughing gouge then used a skew chisel to round the bottom and a long grind bowl gouge to shape the top. He made pull cuts, using the side of the bowl gouge then went on to show us how to use the skew chisel as a scraper by pointing the tip of the tool down to the wood. (See photos NS12_01 & 02).

Next he started marking out the pattern for the sculpting. First he marked three lines round the top, the width of the microplane he was going to use later to carve it. Then he applied a couple of pieces of masking top to the wood, at an angle to the top, to mark the lines for the ‘v’ area he was going to cut out. (See photos NS12_03 & 04).

The next stage was to hollow it out. He recommended starting by drilling a hole, using a metal cutting drill and drilling to the full depth of the vase. However, he didn’t have a drill so he used a spindle gouge to drill it. He used a variety of tools to hollow it – after starting it with the spindle gouge he moved to a ring tool. He left enough space between the tool rest and the wood to pull the tool out and worked with the tool turned to between 8 and 9 o’clock (he had made a mark on the handle to show when it was turned to 9 o’clock). He also used a scraper to turn away material at the bottom then refined the inside until he was happy with the cut and the shape. He had turned it to approx. 5-7mm thick. (See photos NS12_05 & 06).

Now Nikos started sculpting it. He started by cutting out the ‘v’ he marked earlier, using a Proxxon mounted with an Arbortech blade. He continued to use this to shape the edges and cut out the 3 steps on one side of the ‘v’ (defined by the lines he had marked round the top). He used a small file to smooth the edges of the steps and round over the inside of the edges of the top and the ‘v’. He changed to a rasp disk on his Proxxon to continue smoothing the edges then used a home made sanding disk in the Proxxon. To finish this area he used sandpaper which he had wrapped round a dowel and secured in place with Velcro. (See photos NS12_07 to 10).

To carve the grooves Nikos used a round microplane. Taking slow strokes, he worked in from the edge to avoid any chipping out. He took the grooves around the top, starting at the steps, then continued them down the side of the vase, following the line of the ‘v’ and working all the way to the bottom. He sanded the grooves using the sandpaper on a stick I described earlier and also a Dremel sanding disk. (See photos NS12_11 to 14).

Nikos stopped this project at this point but went on to explain that he sands the inside using a home made sanding tool. This is a round stick, domed at the end and wrapped with kitchen paper, held in place with masking tape to make it soft. He then wraps sandpaper round this. He finishes the inside with sanding sealer. To finish the bottom he uses a jam chuck made from a long block of wood, wrapped in kitchen paper held in place with masking tape. He rounds of the underneath and makes is slightly concave. (See photos NS12_15 & 16).

2. Decorative Ring

For this project Nikos used a piece of olive wood measuring approx. 1” x 1” x 4” which had a hole drilled through the side near one end. He turned it to a cylinder using a bowl gouge then turned the end to a slight dome. He decorated the end using a Decorating Elf. He cut an area of pattern near the middle then turned a groove either side of this to give it definition. He then repeated this near the edge. (See photos NS12_17 & 18).

Once he was happy with the top he started turning away the area under the ring, then gave it a quick sanding before parting it off. He explained that he would normally sand it down to 600 grit. To do the final shaping he mounted a home made sanding disk in the lathe which he used to sand away some of the bulk from the sides and finish the underneath. He also used his Dremel to round the edges. He finishes this with several coats of oil, wiped off between coats with kitchen paper. Then, after the final coat he cuts it back with wire wool and finishes it with wax. (See photos NS12_19 & 20).

3. Honey Spoon

Nikos turned this from a piece of olive wood measuring approx. 1” x 1” x 7” which he mounted between centres and turned to a cylinder using the side of a roughing gouge. He cut a series of grooves in one end, using a parting tool, then rounded the edges of them. These grooves were much wider than he had intended because he didn’t have a thin parting tool, he explained that he prefers to make them much narrower. He started shaping the handle with a roughing gouge then refined it with a bowl gouge. He used a round skew chisel to turn a ball at the end of the handle then turned a curve round the grooved area so the middle grooves were deeper than the outer ones. Once he was happy with the shape he turned four decorative grooves in the thick part of the handle and tidied the ball at the end. Finally he gave it a quick sanding and explained that he normally sands these to 600 grit, taking care not to press too hard, then finishes them with walnut oil. After parting it off at both ends he tidied the ends with a chisel and sandpaper. (See photos NS12_21 to 25).

Lorrie Flannery

SWC club member