North East Chapter – Irish Woodturners
A small group from the North East
chapter travelled to Gorey where Robert O’Connor welcomed us to his Woodturning Studio, and treated us to a
multitude of projects during the course of the day – 8 turnings in all, using coring procedures and the
vacuum chuck. He also brought us on a tour of his Drying House and timber storage
He started with a demonstration
of coring techniques, which proved to be a very efficient use of timber for turning bowls. However, at least a 2
hp motor is recommended for coring.
Robert O'Connor coring with a hand from Seamus
Mounting a large spalted Horse
Chestnut blank 18” x 7” on a faceplate, a 4.5” spigot was prepared. Next the face was
marked for 2 cores, allowing 0.5”waste for the core cutter. The 3 bowls were
turned, sanded and finished with a food safe Hardwax Oil before the morning tea break.
The logical follow on was a pair
of salad bowl servers made from Sycamore. Mounted between
centers, shape the spoon section into a large bead with lathe at high speed, and bring the handle to a round
including basic design. Shape spoon on the band-saw, sand and apply finish.
Robert O'Connor - Cored bowls
Next was a 5” Oak
sphere: Mount blank between centers, mark center line and mark 2.5” each side of
center. The sphere was turned by eye judgment only. Mark horizontal center
line to re-chuck for removing original chucking points and refining shape. Finish with a shear
cut, cutting with the grain direction. Texture sphere using a
brass wire brush mounted in the lathe, working across the grain. Repeat process using a
Holm Oak bowl - Robert
An 18” Sycamore blank was mounted
on the lathe and converted to a platter with a broad beaded rim – the beads decreasing in size as they
approach the rim. The final finishing cuts were performed using a cabinet scraper. After power sanding it
was finished with Hardwax Oil.
platter - Robert O'Connor
The final project of the day was
a Holm Oak three footed bowl. This 9” x 9” timber had
been wrapped in clingfilm for over 3 years, and when unwrapped revealed a damp charcoal
appearance. A section of this log was mounted on a faceplate and the outside of the bowl was
shaped. The outside surface was dried with an air drier to facilitate power
sanding. Reverse chuck to turn the inside with the flute of the bowl gouge working at 2
o’clock at all times. Dry the inside and power sand. Reverse onto vacuum
chuck to remove spigot. Mark base to provide 3 feet. Remove balance of
timber with arbortech cutter leaving the 3 feet.
Oak Sphere - Robert O'Connor
Thanks Robert for a prolific
day’s turning that was packed with techniques and intrigue.