West Bay Woodturners Newsletter, December 2023

Next Meeting

Wednesday December 20,
6 pm at Bridges Church, 625 Magdalena Ave,
Los Altos 94024


Holiday Potluck! Note that we start earlier than usual at 6pm.

Don’t miss out on what’s likely to be another memorable feast. The club provides the turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, water. Members contribute a favorite dish. We will have the usual secret gift exchange (bring a nice piece you would be proud to have a fellow member display at their house), and an ornament raffle. The ornaments were scarce last year, so please dig deep and find an ornament or miniature to provide for the raffle. The more the merrier!

You can still sign up on the potluck sheet here:


… or reply to me and I will enter your name and dish on the sheet (claudeg@earthclod.com).

President’s challenge:

Bring an ornament for the raffle !

Upcoming Meetings

  • January: Panel on finishing
  • February: Show your best piece, an extended Show&Tell

Last Meeting Review

Wednesday November 15, 2023
Notes by Laura Rhodes

PHOTO GALLERY BY ANGELA GUNN, https://photos.app.goo.gl/QctaxQuhB8PgfFRp6

Kelly Smith – Bent Tree Demonstration,

The inspiration for Kelly’s bent Christmas tree decorations came from a fleeting image in the Christmas tree ornament challenge video. He then came up with a turning strategy based on combining techniques from two presentations by Don Bonnett – an  offset bird and finials. Kelly starts with a blank 2-3 inches in diameter. The blank is turned first into a cylinder. He puts on a tenon on both ends and then gives the edge of the tenon a bit of a roll so that it can be rotated a bit “out-of-square” in the chuck. He draws a reference line along the cylinder which is used for determining where to place the offset for each successive tier of the tree. The top tier of the tree is turned first with the tailstock end placed near the outer rim. The branches of this top tier are undercut slightly. This top tier is then sanded and completely finished because there is no going back after the offset is adjusted for the successive tiers. Then the blank is moved in the chuck so it is slightly closer to being running “true”. That reference line is moved about 3/16” away from the tool rest. Then the next tier of the tree is turned and finished. This procedure is repeated for each successive tier. For the middle tiers of the tree, the blank is close to running true and by the time the base is turned, the offset is the opposite of that of the top tier. Care must be taken when turning because of the unbalanced nature of the offset blank and the tenuous hold of the tenon in the chuck.

President’s Challenge – Christmas Ornaments

A table full of turned bowls and holiday ornaments
President’s Challenge and Show & Tell Projects

Harvey Klein showed ornaments on stands. He experimented with dyes on the globes of a couple of them. One he first dyed black, then sanded most of the dye away, then dyed red. The dyes he used were from the Hampshire Sheen Intrinsic Colour Collection. Harvey also made a couple acorn boxes with texturing on the top made with the Wagner texturing tool, and a bell made from bocote, complete with clapper.

Claude Godcharles presented a driftwood tree full of ornaments in several different styles, including: an inside-out turning, bird houses, bells, trees decorated with twisted copper wire, banksia pod ornament. He also recommended using swivel hooks (usually used for fishing) for hanging the ornaments.

Kelly Smith had an army of snowmen with jaunty black hats, a forest full of bent trees, and a hollowed and carved pumpkin.

Show and Tell

Jon Bishop liberated four rough turned bowls from his shed and finish turned them. The first was made from rainbow poplar. Two were from red oak and finished with Tried and True. The last was turned from Coast Live Oak and finished with multiple coats of red milk paint, topped with shellac and then Wipe-On Poly. The inside was painted with black India Ink. The bottom exposed after turning off the tenon after the coloring was done showed the natural color of the wood.

Tom Gaston had an oversized goblet turned from a pine gall – a piece of wood found on the side of the road. The base was a camphor gall. He also showed a genie bottle shaped vase whose base had gone oval in one direction and whose neck had gone oval in the other direction as it dried after rough turning.

Laura Rhodes showed a bowl finish-turned from a rough turned bowl blank from the Dave Vannier collection. Members suggested that the spalted wood is likely birch.

Bob Bley showed some hollow forms made from gorgeous Masur or Karelian Birch. One was turned side-grain, the other end grain. He explained his technique of inlaying turquoise around the rim of another vase. And he showed a giant buckeye burl art piece with turquoise inlay. He explained how he used a home-made wood hardener (ground plexiglass-based) to strengthen the buckeye burl to make it safe to turn.

Angela Gunn presented a mahogany travel mug. She described how tricky it was to hollow out the blank to the correct tapered size and shape to fit the metal insert. She used a Forstner bit to remove the bulk of the material and an Easy Wood finisher to refine the inside shape.

Dean Caudle presented a black acacia live edge bowl with General Finishes Salad Bowl finish.

Daniel Boehmke showed an elm salad bowl with a domed bottom detail.

Daniel Saal presented two bowls.

President’s Message

I hope everyone is on track with their Holiday gift production! But don’t stress too much, if you miss this time, that just means you are ahead for next year’s Holiday season!! I have been too busy with other things this year to turn or make anything. That’s when I start realizing how much I miss making things and how important it is for my well being. So, like I jokingly tell my students sometimes: if your job or responsibilities interfere with your woodworking, it’s time to re-evaluate your life choices!! Being a maker is being active, both mentally and physically. Everyone should make time in their life to do things they enjoy. It is not necessarily stealing time from other concerns, it will in fact enable you to be more efficient, focused, available once you feel good about having done something you like for yourself! Try it, go make something (I am mostly telling that to myself right now, but if it inspires you, all the better !!).

Claude Godcharles

“As the Wood Turns” by Dave Vannier

It has been a busy month. Always seems like the end of the year is that way. Unfortunately it isn’t full of shop time, but it is full of family and friends so I’m not going to complain! I got a couple of hours today, and worked on this piece of madrone. It was already roughed out, boiled, and allowed to dry. Didn’t move much, so turning the outside went smooth. I do something I’ve been told isn’t safe. But since I’ve not figured out why, I keep doing it. I pin the roughed blank between the chuck and the tail stock. Friction drives the piece and lets me turn the outside, as well as make a new tenon. All went smooth, and I sanded it ready for finish. Turned it around, and notice a little vibration while turning the rim. Was just noise, so eh, keep going. I started turning the inside. I like to take one full cut and get it as balanced as possible. Can’t be perfect, but takes out vibration and lets me turn the speed up. Stopped to adjust the tool rest, and wham! I’d been sanding in reverse, so I must have loosened the chuck up, and it spun off the spindle, crashing onto the tool rest and bed. Oh well, time to return the outside, and more sanding. No major damage, but frustrating to have to redo work, when I have so little time to play! Lesson learned, always check to make sure the chuck is snug against the head stock, and the jaws are tight. Was a fun day! No more shop time is likely to happen for 2 or 3 weeks. I’ll be having a good time, just not in the shop.

Unfortunately I won’t make the December club meeting. I always enjoy the gift exchange and the social time. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! See you in January.


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 (Dean Caudle 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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