August 2017


Last Saturday we were privileged to have as our guest demonstrator the well-known ceramicist and woodturner Christien Van Bussel. Christien had brought along some of her work in both ceramics and turnings, showing both her skill and artistry in both art forms. For this demonstration Christien had on hand two blanks of sycamore to show us how to turn a lazy Susan, one piece about 250mm in diameter and one smaller around 170mm both around 40mm in thickness. A lazy Susan as we know is a revolving tray used as a centre piece on a dining table, commonly seen in Chinese restaurants and can be any size, the bigger the better I think, but the size might be determined by the lathe we have. It is made in two parts a base and top tray with a double plated swivel between, I’m sure we have all seen or used this gizmo. Christien started work on the base, truing up the bottom, finishing it slightly concave to sit well on a flat surface and decorating it with two vee cuts, then cutting a recess to fit the chuck, she then reversed it on the lathe to work the top. Using a bowl gouge Christien rounded the outer edge and finished it with a scraper held at an angle to get a surface that required little sanding, then again, she cut a recess this time to take the plate of the swivel mechanism which is around 100mm square. Now for the top tray, Christien prepared the bottom of this and again cut a recess for the swivel plate, reversing it on the lathe she got down to the work of turning the tray. Leaving a rim of 8mm she cut down into the blank around 25mm and when satisfied with the finish preceded to decorate the surface. First making two vee cuts, (refer to photos for visuals proportions) Christien set out a series of arcs between the two vee cuts, these can be set out using the indexing on the chuck or as she showed us, to make a chart using a compass. (I remember making floral patterns with a compass in geometry class, well something like that). Using a power carving tool Christien then cut grooves along the line of the arcs making a nice pattern. I should have mentioned the finish she used as she went along, food safe finishing oil is the one she prefers. Putting the two sections together is the tricky part, first you screw the swivel plate to the top of the base using the screw holes on each corner of the plate then giving the top plate a quarter turn you put a mark through the screw hole and on this mark, you drill a hole through the base, big enough so a screw can pass through, then with the tray face down you put the base in position and turning the base you can fix the four corners of the top plate through this hole. Much easier when to understand when you see it done, of course you can always take the easy way and simply glue the top plate using epoxy-resin glue.

That was it, job done, and as you can see by the photos a very attractive piece to show off when we are entertaining friends, thank you very much Christien for a very enjoyable and instructive afternoon, we hope to see you again in the not too distant future. 

Simeon is resetting the gallery on our website and I am sending him the photos of the competition entries, if anyone wants their work included just send the pictures to Simeon and he will put them up.

The result of the monthly competition is as follows.  1st Jim Hynes  2nd Tom Gibson  3rd Kiera Dowling.

That’s it for this month, I hope to see you all in September until then keep well and work safe.

Pat Gannon.