October 2011


In preparation for Christmas, Peter Donagh, N/E Chapter, kept us enthralled while creating The Holy Family Nativity Scene which he created from Yew branch-wood and Walnut. 




Nativity Scene - Peter Donagh


He started by marking a 2” circle on top of the 2 ¾” yew log. This was slightly off centre to ensure to incorporate both dark and light woods. Mount between centres and bring to round. Measure in 5/8” from tailstock end and using a parting tool cut a collar ¾” deep. Now taper from 1 ½” at base of figure to ¾” under the arm pits. Drill into the shoulders with an 11mm bit to 12mm deep. Continue drilling to 31mm using an 8mm bit – this hole will accommodate the head. Round off the top of the shoulders, and undercut to provide for shaping the arms. Spray on cellulose Sand & Sealer and buff dry. Apply EEE Ultra Shine, and seal with Speed & Eez. Create an 11mm spigot at bottom for mounting on the base. Cut the shoulders at an angle from the back of the hole to the base of the shoulders to create the arms. Make the 2nd figure 2 1/8” long in a similar manner.  



Peter Donagh - Yew Ebony - Nativity Scene 


The finished base was Walnut and measured 3” x 5/8”.  This was mounted on a glue block to prepare the bottom.  A narrow groove was inserted close to the bottom edge to facilitate tucking in the protective felt.  The centre was marked and drilled for mounting on a screw chuck to shape the face.  Cut three 1 ½” disks of paper and position on the face of the base.  Punch the centre points for the position of the 2 figures and the manger. 


To turn the manger use a 1 ¼” cube of yew held between opposite corners and cut from centre to drive end creating a chuck spigot.  Reverse chuck and turn a dish shape between the 3 corners.  Create spigot for mounting on base and part off.   


The walnut heads measure 5/8” with 8mm spigot to fit into body.   Baby Jesus was made using similar procedures as the 2 figures, however, his body and shoulders measured 1” long x ¾” wide.  The body was rounder at the feet and the back of the shoulders flattened to facilitate gluing to manger.  The walnut head measured 3/8” with 5mm neck to fit into body.  Thank you Peter for a classic presentation.


Then there was the Killarney Seminar – congratulations to all the category winners and participants.  Well done to the South East Chapter on winning the Chapter Challenge for the fourth consecutive occasion; their team spirit certainly creates an example for other Chapters to pursue.  While on the home front congratulations are due to James Halligan on winning the Under 19 Section, and also the President’s Prize. 



James Halligan - President's Prize 2011


His winning piece was a 9” Elm Platter which incorporated a decorated rim which was crafted using a Sorby texturing tool.  Well done James – we are all proud of your achievement.   






Cross Beads Burr Elm

Cecil Barron

Spalted Laburnum Bud Vase

Cecil Barron



Ash Bowl

Noel Byrne

Stitched Bowl Spalted Beech

Noel Byrne


Yin Yang Night Light  -  Bob Dier