January 2017

The first chapter meeting of the year was well attended by members and very welcome visitors from other chapters, our guest demonstrator for the day was John Doran from the Dublin chapter.                                It turned out to be a very light-hearted meet with a lot of very good jokes told by John (from a prepared script) and a lot of wise-crack remarks from the floor, not a lot of work done mind you but I think we all went home with a smile on our faces, I know I did. John who I believe was a teacher in his working life seems to love making wooden toys, a few he had on display, trains and trucks and stuff like that, and I have to say I too like wooden toys, reminds me of my childhood and all the fun I had with them.  John started by turning some spinning tops and followed this with some small figures of his “People” as he called them, these figures, all in pine, about three inches tall had burnt and coloured markings with little faces drawn in, simple toys that children love. Although he told us he had more than seventy different chisels in his workshop he only had four with him, two different sized skews and two spindle gouges, the gouges he used for roughing out, the skew chisels he very skilfully used for everything else. I suppose he was making the point, as I have seen other turners do that with the right skill it is possible to do good work with the simplest tools, less is best.

With all the joke telling and smartassed banter from the floor the first session passed very quickly and after the break John demonstrated some pen making. With two prepared blanks, (tubes inserted) and mounted on a mandrel John quickly shaped both parts of the pen and these when finished to his liking, he polished, using super glue and when given three or four coats becomes a hard-high gloss finish, perfect for something that’s handled a lot. John had a novel way of presenting his pens, the business end of a caman or hurley stick, these he gets at matches, broken during play which he sands and polishes and fixes a small pen holder to. John assured us he only uses broken ones and no hurley suffers during this process. Thank you, John, for an entertaining afternoon, look forward to seeing you again sometime and hearing more of your jokes.

Thanks to Tom Murphy, the chess set and table we made for the Guild competition was sold, the proceeds going to buy equipment for several children’s charities, thanks to all the members who took part in the venture.

Only thing left to me now is to give the results of our monthly competition, the subject was a platter and in first place, was Cecil Barron second Jim Hynes and third Seamus O’ Reilly. In the novice section, Frank Trappe was first and Anthony Murphy second. Come on lads you are all woodturners let’s see more entries next month which I believe is a bowl, competition improves skill.  

That’s all for now, hope to see you all next month, until then work safe.

Pat Gannon.