North East Chapter – Irish Woodturners Guild

July 2017

Our traditional July BBQ was complemented by a full day of demonstrations with Robert O’Connor and Seamus Cassidy.  Robert started the day by turning a 10” Horse Chestnut bowl with a series of beads on the rim and a bead under the rim.  A coat of red water based milk paint was applied to the outside of the bowl, and a strong black line was burnt at the bead underneath the rim for decoration and also to prevent migration of the paint into the rim. 


tn_Spanish Chestnut beaded bowl - Robert O'Connor IMG_0051

Spanish Chestnut beaded bowl - Robert O'Connor


Next project started with a log of wet Birch, 7” x 10”, mounted between centres to cut a 4” spigot and to bring the log to a round.  It was remounted in the chuck and the inside was hollowed out and shaped, and finished with a round nosed scraper.  The outside was shaped to reflect the shape of the inside.  A light was positioned inside the vessel while continuing to turn the outside to a wall thickness of 2mm – the light penetrating the timber to indicate even wall thickness.  The base was undercut and decorated before parting off. 


 tn_Horse Chestnut with milk paint bowl - Robert O'Connor IMG_0047

Horse Chestnut with milk  paint bowl

- Robert O'Connor


The third project was a 15.5” Spanish Chestnut beaded bowl which had been previously rough turned.  The outside and rim were trued up and the finished surface was achieved with a shear cut.  Using a 3/8” spindle gouge and starting at the outside base, a series of beads were formed which gradually increased in size up to the rim.  The beads were formed in one continuous operation without lifting the gouge from the bowl – a procedure that took all of 3 minutes. 


tn_Robert O'Connor creating shavings IMG_0010

Robert O'Connor creating shavings


A second light repeat cut was applied as a finishing cut.  Reverse chuck to turn inside.  Redefine the large rounded rim and cut 30 mini beads   on the rim.  Starting at the inside centre of the bowl create a further series of beads on 1/3 of the inside surface – 3/4’s of beads were formed working right handed, and the balance working left handed. 


tn_Spanish Chestnut beaded bowl - Robert O'Connor IMG_0021

Spanish Chestnut beaded bowl - Robert O'Connor



Meanwhile, Imelda Connolly Dave Carroll and Seamus Cassidy were preparing the outdoor BBQ which was followed with a variety of scrumptious deserts. The lunchtime orchestral recital was supplied by James Halligan on guitar & mouth organ, Michael Clarke on accordian, Eamonn McKelvey on harmonica and vocalist was Paul O’Leary. 


tn_BBQ Trio - Eamonn,Michael & James, with vocalist Paul IMG_0040

BBQ Trio - Eamonn,Michael & James,

with vocalist Paul




Before we eventually returned to demonstrations, Imelda conducted a monster free raffle where everybody was a winner on at least two occasions.  The prizes being donated by the members of the North East Guild and our visiting IWG members. 


tn_North East Chapter Members IMG_0005

North East Chapter Members


The fourth project was a request for Robert to repeat his method of continuous beading technique, this time working at a slower pace.  


The fifth project was a lamp stem turned from a piece of spalted Beech measuring 3” x 20” mounted between centres.  A 1” spigot was cut at the tailstock end, and three sections were marked for design.  When the stem was finished, Seamus Cassidy was tasked with turning a 7” matching base for the lamp. 


tn_Spalted Beech lamp stand - Robert O'Connor & base by Seamus Cassidy IMG_0050

Spalted Beech lamp stand - Robert O'Connor

& base by Seamus Cassidy


Seamus concluded the day’s turning by reproducing an antique beaded chair leg with a square pummel.   The blank was mounted between centres and the pummel marked.  Seamus explained his technique to cut a clean, crisp pummel: This entailed making one side of the square with a starting line for the pommel and an ending line 3/8” apart.   The first cut is made with the long point of the skew chisel presented at 90 degrees 3/8” from the pummel mark.  The third or fourth such cut working towards the pummel should reach the point where square meets round on all four sides.  A parting tool can then be used to define the start of the round section. 


The rounder spindle was then marked using a Story Stick with all the necessary points to reproduce an exact copy of the antique chair leg. 


tn_Reproduction of antique chair leg - Seamus Cassidy IMG_0053

Reproduction of antique chair leg - Seamus Cassidy


A memorable day was enjoyed by all, thanks to demonstrators, members, visitors and trade stand. 



tn_Eamonn McKelvey with his Sycamore bowl IMG_0056

Eamonn McKelvey with his Sycamore bowl