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May 2012 Newsletter

By Frank Lench

Frank shared some of the techniques he learned while attending the seminar given by Mike Jackofsky.  Frank had a partially completed hollow turning for the demonstration of how to do a tucked in bottom.  He had turned the top half of the outside and hollowed out the inside.

We all want to do the best possible design for a turned vessel or bowl, and we want it to be pleasing to look at.  We have been taught the theory of 1/3’s, or to hang a lamp pull chain, and follow the profile of the chain for our outside shape.  The bottom third gets more of our attention than any other part of the turning.  Do we put a foot on the bottom, do we make it a wide foot, a thin foot, or do we make a three legged foot or use a separate base?  Some of our decisions are made by the grain pattern, width and height of the project.  We struggle to make our projects pleasing to the eye.

The design Frank was showing us seems to have the turning floating on the table.  I have never done it before.   I have seen it in the magazines and admired it.  I tried to do one, and it turned out more like an attached plate holding a hollow turning on the table, but I used the old tried and true method of finish the outside, hollow the inside.  Frank got out of the box, and showed us to finish the upper half of the outside, and then hollow the inside.  He then used his home made tool to find the bottom.  (Frank will make a bottom finding tool for you, just contact him.)  He marked the depth of the bottom location on the turning, and then turned the lower half of the project.   Frank was taking small cuts, and constantly watching the profile.  Frank made sure his tools were sharp.

While Frank was working on the bottom, he told us he uses a small live center.  (See above picture.)  He will drill a hole in the project and put the live center in the hole.  He then uses a two bladed drive center.  As he is turning the project to round, he is watching the grain and the color of the wood.  Frank is able to adjust the center with the two bladed drive center.  He is able to get the grain and color so it looks as good as possible.


The two photo’s above show how the bark inclusions were used on both sides of the vessel to balance them.  The turning seems to float on the top of the table.

Absolutely stunning work Frank.  Thanks for sharing with us.


Beginning turners were asked to turn an ice cream scoop.

Dennis brought in the ice cream scoop shown in the picture below.

The judges commented that the finish on the handle is very well done.  The connection between the scoop and the handle is excellent.  


Advanced turners were challenged with a natural edge bowl.

First place went to John Pickrell with this bowl.

John also entered this bowl.

Rich Froehlich entered this bowl.

The judges struggled as to which bowl was the winner, because both bowls are excellent.

Turning of the Month

Michael Kingsley brought in this captive ring cup for the turning of the month drawing.  I should have bought more tickets; great piece, Michael.  This piece is white walnut.


Show and Tell

Steve Young brought in a large hollow turning.  The finished wall thickness is 3/8”.  Steve said this is the largest turning he has done.  The silver maple block was green when he turned it.  He needed help to mount the block on his lathe.  He got it turned round, and then he said he did what Frank talked about, which is adjusting the center to take advantage of the grain and wood color.  When Steve started to hollow out the blank, he was only able to turn for a minute or so.  The cavity became so full of shaving, he had to stop the lathe and use forceps to remove the shavings.

Notice that Steve used a flat bottom, and how he positioned the blank to take advantage of the color of the grain.  The top of the color ends at the textured feature ring.


Steve brought in another piece.  He said that the inspiration for this piece came from being a structural engineer and designer of buildings.  The bottom is square, for a solid foundation, and the center is round, for wind resistance.  The top is the antennas on top of the building.

The turning is 27” high, and the scale he used is ¼” to a foot.  That makes his building 108 feet high.

Steve made the point that your inspiration for what you turn can come from your everyday life.  Just let your imagination take over, and turn.  OK Steve, I am retired, so should I go turn a couch potato?

This building is made out of Yucatan Rosewood and Blackwood.

Outstanding work Steve; keep up the great work.

Rich brought in two pens.  He showed the blanks during his demo last month, as examples of his segmenting work.  He brought in the completed pens.   

The pens are made from Maple and Saplle.  Notice that they are exact opposites.  Rich used two pen blanks, segmented them, and then alternated the pieces to make the blanks.

Great work Rich.

Don Thompson brought in a bowl that he made.  He said he was making a bowl out of Purple Heart.  One side of the bowl broke across the grain, and a missile flew across the shop.  Don said he very glad that he learned to stand to the side while turning, so missiles can fly by.  After Don found the missing edge, he realized that just gluing the broken piece back on would not give him good results, so he decided to insert a piece of Ash.  The results are a very good looking bowl, with a lesson we can all be reminded of.  

Don’s finishing was so smooth, that he had to tell me the inserted piece is ash.  Ash is an open grain wood, and there was no open grain showing on the finished bowl.

Don also brought in a segmented pencil cup he made out of Hickory.

Thank you Don for sharing your work and experience with us.  You are a first class turner.

Trudy brought in a pen she wanted to share with us.

Trudy, sorry for the poor picture.  That is a lady bug she inlayed on a branch.   The light reflection should tell everyone that she put on an outstanding CA finish.

Excellent pen, Trudy.

Susan brought in a bowl she made and stained it.  The bowl is cottonwood.  Susan was doing some experiments with wood stain.


This bowl was brought by someone at the meeting.  I apologize to the turner; I don’t have any information about it.  It is a very nice bowl and should be in the newsletter.  Notice the size of the foot in relationship to the top.  Excellent design.

Thank you for showing it.


Just for Fun

Nick Peterson made a top, and gave it to a visitor at the meeting, Luis Gonzales.  Luis would spin the top on the floor. and then pick it up and let it spin on his hand.

Monte’s New Products

Monte came in and told us about a new product that he is making.  He is taking a new grinder and mounting it on a base, and then installing the wolverine sharpening jig.

Check it out if you need a sharpening jig.

Monte has also obtained a lot of new turning blanks.  They are Curly Maple, Tasmanian Burls and Blackwood, and some Australian Resin Burl.  

Be sure and check out these and other new turning blanks at Woodcraft.

Other Club News

TThe club board has decided that making tools at our meeting is a bad idea for many reasons.  Instead, we are going to update and expand the library.  You can check out DVD’s at the monthly meeting, and return them at the next meeting.  If you keep them over one month, you will be charged a late fee.  If you lose them, you will be charged an additional fee.  We are also looking into bringing expert turners to Boise for demonstrations.   

Please if you have any good DVD’s that you would like to donate to the club, bring them to the next meeting.  If the DVD is in excellent condition, the club might consider buying the DVD.  

Frank, Steve, Trudy and Susan attended the Utah Wood Turners Symposium.  Susan said, “There were 430 people attending from all over the world.  Many super demonstrators with ideas to last us a lifetime.  At the closing ceremony Trudy won a lathe!”

OK, Trudy won the lathe; I hope we will be seeing lots of new projects from her.  

Frank, Steve, Trudy and Susan; lots of new ideas!!!!   Don’t miss the next meeting, it sounds like it will be very informative with lots of new ideas.    

Challenge for June

Beginning turners-Screwdriver handle
Advanced turners-Closed form with max 2” opening

Everyone-let’s get turning

Next Meeting June 12th, 2012.

Club Offices for 2012

Frank Lench, Pres: phone 939-3089, fglench@cableone.net
Susan McCoy, VP/Prog Coord: phone 549-0157,
John Pickrell, Treas: phone 375-6196,
Ellis Miller, Newsletter: wade4430@hotmail.com