West Bay Woodturners Newsletter, July 2023

Next Meeting

Wednesday July 19,
7 pm at Bridges Church,
625 Magdalena Ave,
Los Altos 94024


Jon Bishop on using the Sorby texturing tools. Tina’s demo has been moved to September.

President’s challenge:

For the July challenge, you probably guessed it: make a finial, either to fit a hollowed piece, an ornament, or by itself.

Upcoming Meetings

August: picnic at Cuesta Park in Mountain View. NOTE: the date has been changed from our regular third Wednesday to second Wednesday, on August 9.
September: Tina Chou on bowl turning techniques from various masters.

Notes from the Last Meeting

(thanks to Laura Rhodes)

Wednesday June 21, 2023

Don Bonnett – Finials

Don Bonnett demonstrated how he makes his delicate finials for his hollow forms. Don’s preferred wood is Blackwood. Alternatives he suggests include cocobolo, tulipwood and ebony. For a matte finish, he uses EEE paste wax with grit. For a shiny finish, it’s white diamond paste followed by shellac. For finial
shape ideas, Don suggests looking at Cindy Drozda’s website.

To create the finial, Don firsts creates a tenon (to fit into the hollow form) and mounts it on the chuck. With the lathe running at about 2000 rpm, he starts turning at the far end away from the chuck and works backwards. The fine details at the point are turned first. Sharp tools are a must. He uses a 3/8” spindle gouge with a 40-degree bevel and very swept-back wings. At times, he wraps his fingers
underneath and behind the tool rest and pinches the top of the gouge to the top of the rest to prevent chatter. Don sands his finials starting at 220 and finishing at 800 grit with the lathe turned down to about 900 rpm. He applies the white diamond stick, buffs with a microfiber towel, applies HUT wax, buffs again
with the microfiber towel. It typically takes Don a half-hour to an hour to make a finial.

Presidents Challenge – Staved Cup

Tom Gaston presented a staved beer mug which he won in last month’s raffle. The mug is made from walnut, maple and ipe. Tom added a maple ring at the top.

Show and Tell

Kelly Smith showed his latest creations, including: a big ash offset-turned mushroom; a pair of carob vases; a cedar mug; and an olive lighthouse. Kelly will be exhibiting and selling his works at the Volcano Cannonball Run over the July 4 th weekend.
Tom Gaston showed a twice-turned plum bowl. He filled voids with coffee grounds and epoxy and CA glue. He said the bowl is still moving, and he’ll likely have to turn it once again.
Dean Caudle presented a lidded box inspired by the turnings of Jakob Weissflog. Dean finished the box with General Finishes Bowl Finish, but he is not particularly happy with the results and is asking for general help with finishing. The consensus was that many of us struggle with this and we’ll probably have a demonstration for the club in the near future on finishing.
Ed Howes showed an apricot log with a bottle form emerging from it.
Kevin Lee presented a Kendama – a Japanese ball and stick toy – that he made for a neighbor boy.

President’s Message

Thanks to Laura Rhodes for supplying notes and pictures from the last meeting! We need more of this kind of participation, and it’s a benefit to all in the group. Don’t be shy or worried about your skill level, volunteering is a good way to learn new things without much risk. Currently we could use more help with programs, demos, photos at the meeting, website, newsletter, your pick!!

Claude Godcharles

“As the Wood Turns” by Dave Vannier

So, what hooked you on turning?  I started woodworking in high school, and loved being able to make things. One of my first projects was an open segment lamp shade.  No turning involved, but cutting small pieces of walnut and gluing them together.  I think back on how much time I spent sanding all of the over glue joints. Our shop teacher wouldn’t let us use the lathe. He considered it as too wasteful.  Then, college and a full time job put this activity on hold.  As retirement started to appear on my horizon, albeit earlier than most, I decided to try again. We decided to build a home, and I decided I could make the cabinets in the house, using the saving to buy better equipment. I had been making some small furniture on a shopsmith. Good tool, reasonably accurate, didn’t take up too much space. But the first full size sheet of plywood tipped it over, so a cabinet saw started the new hobby.  But, a box is a box is a box!  Never again will I build a box!  Add in the random orbital sander killing my elbow, and I feared I would have to give it up.

One of my friends introduced me to Jim Laflin and we made a trip to the WBW meeting in San Mateo. Wow, what an eye opener.  So many talent people, with so many different pieces on display.  After giving it a try, it was pain free and back to working with wood. So many members practiced what I’ve learned was something unique and something David Ellsworth is/should be credited with. Pay it forward, share your knowledge, help others, don’t let personalities get in the way.  Over the years, I made many friends, sadly lost many friends. 

I live to learn. So, I’ll probably never be known as a “XXXX” turner.  Bowls are relaxing, and kind of a warm up. Pens bore me, sorry no insult intended.  Segmented work becomes a fascination, then no interest.  Hollow forms are still a work in progress.  Piercing, painting, beading, burning, inlays, etc all draw me in when the mood hits.  Sharing, demonstrating, teaching all help me feel like I’m paying forward to the next generation of turners.  I hope I leave a little piece of me with each person I’ve helped. 

So what hooked you!


WBW board members and committee chairs

President: Claude Godcharles
Vice President: Tom Gaston
Treasurer: Jon Bishop
Secretary: Roman Chernikov
Member at Large: Fred Colman
Meeting Program Coordinator: Vacant (Claude G acting)
Visiting artist Coordinator: Vacant (Bob Bley acting)
Anchor seal: Dennis Lillis
Craft Supply: Tina
Librarian: Kelly Smith
Audio Visual: Curtis Vose
Website & Newsletter: Vacant (Roman, Claude and David acting)

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