North East Chapter – Irish Woodturners Guild

April 2015


Visit to Robert O'Connor's workshop in Gorey


A large contingent from the Northeast Chapter travelled to Robert O’Connor’s Woodturning Studio in Gorey for our April demonstration. Robert’s Studio is situated at the north end of the main street of the town, and is superbly equipped to cater for group demonstrations, and fitted out with some seven lathes where he facilitates individual and group woodturning tuition. Facilities also supports a shop-front showrooms displaying a wide variety of his products.




Robert's first project was a table lamp turned from a 15” length of Hazel branch wood which was mounted between centers.  Using a 3/8 spindle gouge the body was shaped while retaining a section of bark at the base.  The top and bottom holding nibs were removed using the steb centre revolving in the drive. 


Second project was a mirror image off centre candlestick turned from a 9”x 2.5” Holly log.  After bringing to a round, mark centre lines at each end, and with a point 30mm to top of tailstock, and 30mm to bottom of drive end. 




Mount off centre and turn ball shape in centre.  Reverse piece and mount in centre points, and turn towards shadowed area at each end – turning out part of the shadowed area.  Shape top of candleholder, and shape base to include chucking point for holding while drilling socket for candle.  A must try project. 




Third was a thin walled goblet with retained natural edge rim, turned from a Yew log 5”x 2.5”.  Mount in chuck and hollow out inside of goblet.  Robert’s magical light fitted in a baking powder tin was mounted into the turning while working on the outside until the light shines through. 




Fourth item was a beaded bowl, starting with a half log mounted on a face plate, and on the outside profile a series of beads were cut in one continuous motion, progressing from small beads at the bottom to slightly larger beads at the top.  As this bowl was turned so fast, Robert gave detailed hands-on instruction of his beading technique to individual members.  


The fifth turning was a natural edged bowl from the other half of the log.  Mounted between centers the outside was shaped and a spigot shaped for reverse mounting to finish the inside. 


Sixth project was an Ash textured and decorated bowl.  Four large beads at the top were cleaned with a wire disk in a drill working at 45 degrees to bring up the grain giving a rope effect.  A combination of blow torch scorching, spraying with water to control burning, sealing with black ebonizer, use of pyrograph, painting with red spirit, applying liming wax and verdigris wax, and applying gold-finger were all demonstrated. 


The seventh demonstration showed the application of Hardwax oil to a bowl, and using a countersink bit in a drill to create a series of decorative dimples inside the bowl.  Finally, using the vacuum chuck to remove the chucking point.  


Thanks Robert for an exceptionally informative and pleasurable day.