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Thames Valley Woodturners Guild

London Ontario, Canada

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Tips & Tricks...

This section will be updated with tips, tricks, and techniques you can try for various aspects of your turnings. Feel free to email the webmaster with suggestions for new content.

Finishing Techniques Turning a hollow egg Scroll saw inlay technique
Eccentric Vase Pen Turning Bernie's Tips Website
Turning a sea urchin decoration How to turn a box

Finishing Techniques

The following finishing techniques were captured from the finishing demonstration at the January 12th 2006 meeting. The presenters and their techniques are listed below.

Tom Pinches Doug Magrath John Van Kesseler
Tom Pinches
  • Shellac, lacquer cut 50%. Apply on the lathe with the lathe off.
  • Apply paste wax (hair hare product at shoppers). Apply the paste wax with 0000 steel wool.
  • Put a cloth over your bar of carnuba and press that against the turning. The cloth over top will stop wax build up.
Doug Magrath
General Observations:
  • Most of Doug's turnings are intended for use and he finds that sanding finer than 240 grit for functional pieces is overkill.
  • lacquer on big pieces is a bad idea, you'll see lap marks. Leave this finish for smaller pieces.
  • For pieces he intends to use, Doug applies mineral oil and then rubs the piece down with beeswax applied with 0000 steel wool.
  • If you find that your turnings sometimes have scratches that show through after the finish has been applied you can use this technique to check for scratches before applying a finish. Choose a solvent which is compatible with your intended finish coat (mineral spirits for instance). Wipe a coat of the mineral spirits first to see if there are scratches. Technique 1: Tung Oil
    • Doug uses this finish for salad bowls
    • Blow the dust off the piece with compressed air
    • Apply a coat of waterlox. Let it sit for 10 seconds then wipe it off. Doug uses waterlox, which is a polymerized tung oil. You can buy waterlox at Burlington Hardwoods (see the list of favourite suppliers for contact information). Tung oil will gel up if left exposed to the air for long periods of time so use small containers or store large amounts in small containers.
    • Let the piece dry overnight
    • Next day, rub out the entire finish with 0000 steel wool and put on the next finish right away. Leave it on again for 10 seconds then wipe it off and let it dry overnight.
    • Doug only applies 3 coats of the tung oil. The polymerized tung oil dries faster than pure tung oil.
    • Rubbing out the finish puts a bit of a tooth on the previous coat for it to adhere to and gives the piece a hand-rubbed look. Technique 2: High friction polish
      • Apply one coat of the high friction turner's polish from Lee Valley. Let it dry.
      • apply a coat of wax with 0000 steel wool on top.
      • You can also use neutral shoe polish applied with a cloth instead of the turner's polish.
John Van Kesseler
  • Mineral oil gives a matte finish which is nice and feels good to the touch.
  • You can buy 4L of it at a feed farm in Lucan for a really good price.
  • John also uses formby's tung oil. It Doesn't build up as fast as a polymerized tung oil like waterlox.
  • John applies formby's tung oil with a sponge brush while wearing with rubber gloves. Wipe it off with paper towel. If you touch it with your finger you'll your fingerprint the next day.
  • If you have a piece with a concave spot that isn't as smooth, If you wipe in both directions (clockwise and counterclockwise) it coats more evenly.
  • Rub the piece down with 0000 steel wool between coats.
  • You can get Formby's at the Corner Furniture store on York St in London
  • If the formby's doesn't come out as a flowing liquid then throw out the bottle; it has turned bad with the air. Safety:
    Remember to dispose of your oil cloths or rags appropriately to avoid spontaneous combustion!

    Turning a Hollow Egg

    Order of Work

    1. Template preparation
      • Fix the photocopy on a piece of Bristol board or plywood
      • Cut and/or sand egg to template size
      • Trace the template onto another piece of Bristol board or plywood
      • Again cut and/or sand egg to size
      • Draw a line 3/16" inside the perimeter of the template
      • Again cut the template to the new size.
      • Trace the "large egg" onto Bristol board and cut a "half-shape" template
    2. Turning the Egg
      • Mount a piece of wood 3 - 4" x9" between centers (OR SIZE TO SUIT)
      • Turn the wood to a 3 3/8" cylinder
      • True the ends of the blank
      • Turn a " wide by 3" diameter (or whatever suits your chuck or faceplate) tenon on the headstock end of the blank
      • Mark the length to 9" and part of the cylinder to that length
      • Turn another tenon on the tailstock end of the cylinder
      • Secure the headstock tenon in a scroll chuck or faceplate
      • Use your tailstock for support
      • Mark the blank to the required length (4 ")
      • Mark a line 2" from the headstock end of the blank
      • Part the blank at this point
      • Drill 1 " into the blank
      • Hollow the 2" end of the egg and (use your template as a guide) and remove some of the wood from the outside
      • Turn a glue rebate at the end of the blank
      • Mount the other end of the blank
      • Drill into and hollow this end of the blank
      • Glue the two halves together
      • Finish turning the "pointed "end of the egg.
      • Continue turning the blunt end of the egg and finally part off

        Scroll Saw Inlay Technique

        Penguin Inlay

        Bob Hewson's demonstration of scroll saw inlay techniques can be downloaded in word format from the link below:
        Penguin Scroll Project.doc

        Eccentric Vase

        Eccentric vase instructions

        John Calver's eccentric vase instructions can be downloaded in word format from the link below:

        Pen Turning

        Pen Turning Instructions

        Bob Hewson's great instructions for pen turning can be found in this MS Word document: PenMakingSeminar2008.doc

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