May 2017

Our May meeting was a departure from our usual format, insofar as it was made up of three different segments. The first half of the afternoon was taken by Vincent Whelan from the Dublin chapter who demonstrated the turning of two useful items, a bottle stopper and a pair of door wedges, (to hold doors open). The bottle stopper was turned from a piece of hardwood with a tapered cork dowelled in, the pair of door wedges were made from one piece of poplar, a ball each end and cut wedge shaped when finished. Thank you, Vincent, as you told us it was your first demo outside your own chapter and we wish you continued success, (you did have a call from Joe O’Neill, your mentor during the proceedings and that from the Utah symposium, nice one, was he checking up on you?).

After our break the floor was taken by Cecil Barron who gave us a display and a talk on a selection of items collective known as Treen. (literally, from the tree) These antique pieces are all household items handmade from wood and some metal, going back a long way in time and Cecil tasked us with identifying their use, some of these I recognised as I go back a long way myself. Cecil then enlightened us by explaining the use of each piece, the obvious ones first, an apple corer, two sock darning holders, a finely decorated cigarette box, I won’t give away any more as I’m sure Cecile will be exhibiting this unique collection at other venues. Thank you, Cecil, I’m sure everyone present found it as interesting as I did.

The third and final part of our meeting was taken by Tom Murphy who gave a talk and demonstration on finishes commonly used by woodturners and a few uncommon ones. Now I’m sure most experienced turners know what finish they are going to use to suit the object they are working on but there are some like me who look at a piece they are about to finish and scratch their head and think, what finish is going to work and look best. There are some pieces like bowls or containers which will be used for food so we must think foodsafe so something like beeswax or liquid paraffin work best. Tom had a bowl made from spalted beech which was finished with liquid paraffin but this as he pointed out, can go dull with time, however it can be revived with another coat of the same, making sure it has been absorbed and dry before reuse. The other finishes Tom showed us were, Yorkshire grit, more used as a prep than a finish, hard wax oil, beeswax, mineral oil (or a combination of these two) resin, and one I found interesting, CA (Cyanoacrylate adhesive) or better known to us plebs as super glue. This is best applied in several thin coats, sanded lightly with 600 grit between coats to give a glass like finish, well worth the effort on small objects such as pens. Thank you, Tom for a well informed and presented demonstration.

Just remains to give the competition results which are as follows, in the advanced, 1st Jim Hynes 2nd Cecil Barron and 3rd Kevin Milton.   1st in the novice section was Shay Clarke.

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

Pat Gannon.