We travelled to Joe Laird’s Woodturning Studios in
Dunshaughlin for our June meeting, where Joe runs a dedicated
woodturning school from his state of the art equipped studios.
Joe had a wet 70 lb blank of Sycamore
mounted on a faceplate in preparation to make a small hat, and during its shaping this had to be reduced in
weight to less than one pound. The initial outside shaping was completed using a long swept back bevel chisel with the
long handle pressed into the groin for maximum control. Hand protection is recommended to protect against chips and moisture, and leather gloves
are ideal for this.
Spraying the timber with water at regular intervals is essential in order to keep the
timber damp and prevent it from splitting. When shaping the rim Joe created a slight cove to encourage warping, while aiming for an
overall thickness of 3mm for the rim and hat.
Joe Laird shaping the hat on the lathe
With the outside shaped, the project was
remounted in 4” jaws to commence turning the inside of the hat. However, waste was minimized during the process by using a McNaughton bowl saver to salvage
the making of a respectable bowl, while at the drive end there was a parted off base which could be converted
into a platter.
Joe stressed the importance
of a uniform thickness when
shaping the rim in order to avoid splitting. A light set up adjacent to the turning illustrated the thickness at the crucial final
cuts. After parting off the hat, a jam chuck was
prepared to facilitate the removal of the original chucking spigot with pull-cuts, while the final cuts were
push-cuts. Finally, blocks are clamped at each sine of the
long grain and elastic bands fitted across the rim to assist warping.
Peter Donagh & Cecil Barron watching Joe
Joe gave a constructive critique on member’s
turnings before making a candlestick holder using only the skew chisel. The roughing was completed with the long point down using the bottom 1/3 of the skew,
cutting slightly above centre.
Then it was over to the rest of us to
replicate the exercise. So, armed with a skew and 2” x 2” x 7” piece of
beech, before long 12 candlesticks emerged.
Dermot Hill in action at Joe Laird's workshop.
Hands on- competition time at Joe Laird's Studio - all made using only the skew
Joe did the judging and Cecil Barron scooped
the honors, and was presented with a Glen Lucas DVD. Cecil also presented an 8 circle Steiner for the critique session - this consisted of 8 circles set in a custom made platter; each outside circle had to
touch the outer edge of the platter while also touching 2 other circles.
8 Circle Steiner - Cecil Barron
A very enjoyable day concluded with Joe screw chucking a 2” x 10” blank of sycamore on the
lathe, which he converted into an ogee shaped footed bowl measuring 3” x 9.5”. This piece of magic is explained by coring out sufficient from the centre to turn a foot
for the bowl. Thanks Joe for a wonderful experience, and also
to Angela for providing the much appreciated lunch.