North East Chapter – Irish Woodturners Guild

January 2017

Our Vice Chairman, Peter Donagh, displayed an array of thought provoking Christmas decorations straight from his Christmas tree which he had turned in recent years – the angel was chosen as the main demonstration project for the afternoon. 

 tn_Christmas Decorations - Pater Donagh P1040721

Christmas Decorations - Pater Donagh


Starting with a section of Yew branch-wood 3” x 1.5” mounted between steb centres and tailstock, the unit was turned to a round and a spigot cut at the drive end and remounted in chuck.  Mark at 5/8” for shoulder and 2” for body:  Drill shoulder 11mm x 31mm deep, and counter drill shoulder 15mm x 15mm to accommodate the neck and head.  Taper the body and undercut the shoulders – shaped like a mushroom.  Sand and spray on sanding sealer, finishing with EEE and friction polish.  Cut the shoulders from the back of the neck at 45 degrees to create the arms.  Part off the body.  Using the remaining timber in the chuck – cut off a small disc for gluing to the back of the head as a halo.  Next, mount a 50mm length of contrasting timber x 20mm square in chuck to turn spigot, neck and head.  Drill 1mm hole in top of head for gluing hanging hook into position.  The hook was made from fine copper wire which was shaped by wrapping it twice around a small nail and trimming to required length. 


Next project was a Christmas tree using a Laburnum log 4” x 1.75” prepared for mounting in chuck.  Bring to round, and drill hole in top for hanging hook.  Engage tailstock and mark out, allowing 0.75” for base, and 2.5” for tree which is divided into 4 sections.  Turn a cone shaped tree, and decorate each section using a texturing tool.  Burn decorative lines in the base, part off, and fit hanging eye. 


A Santa was turned from a 4” x 2” section of Yew – marked out with 2” for the body and 1” for the head. The bottom of the body was drilled and the hole was enlarged using a round nose scraper in order to lighten the weight. 1.5mm drill holes were inserted for eyes, nose, mouth, and 3 button holes in the body. The buttons were turned from Anjan with 1.5mm spigot inserts. Anjan was also used for turning the hat with a brim and spigot to fit into the head. Thanks Peter for making all the projects look so simple – the true trademark of an accomplished Turner.  


Thanks to Seamus Cassidy for his critique on the following exhibits:-


 tn_Off centre Ash Bowl - Gene McConnell P1040710

Off-centre Ash bowl – Gene McConnell:



tn_Bog Oak Bowl - Cecil Barron P1040714 

Bog Oak bowl– Cecil Barron:




tn_Decorated raised bowl - Cecil Barron P1040713

 Decorated raised Laburnum bowl – Cecil Barron:



tn_Ash Bowl - Bob Dier P1040728

Ash bowl – Bob Dier:  



tn_Oak Clock - Sarah Shannon P1040715

Oak clock – Sarah Shannon. 



tn_Palm eggcup - Sarah Shannon P1040717

Palm eggcup – Sarah Shannon. 


tn_Yew Angels - Peter Donagh P1040709

Yew Angels - Peter Donagh