Woodturning projects during WBW meeting on February 21, 2024

West Bay Woodturners Newsletter, March 2024

Next Meeting

Wednesday March 20,
7 pm at Bridges Church, 625 Magdalena Ave,
Los Altos 94024


Finishing Part 2 – Types and application

Come hear what our resident panel of experts has to say about the “Why, What and How” of finishing your turned work. David, Dennis and Jon will be discussing their personal go-to finishes and answer questions. Bob will once again act as moderator and has prepared very informative slides to kick off the topic. Big thank you to those who responded to Bob’s request for questions about finishing.

President’s challenge:

Inspired by Mike Mahoney’s thin turning: how thin can you go? Show your best attempt at a thin wall bowl. It might not be the most practical, but it sure gets your technique up!

Upcoming Meetings

  • April: Rose Engine/Ornamental turning live demo with Brad Bond

Upcoming Demos

  • Sally Ault – June 9 10:00-4:00 at MakerNexus Sunnyvale, $30.00 at the door.
  • Eric Lofstrom – October, details to follow

Last Meeting Review

Wednesday February 21, 2024
Notes by Laura Rhodes, pictures by Roman Chernikov


  • Jerry Galli promoted turning pens for the troops. Contact Jerry if you would like pen kits to turn for this effort. His goal is to make 1000 pens between the WBW and SVW clubs by Veterans’ Day.
  • Dave Vannier announced that the Main Gallery on Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park is looking for a wood turning artist. This is a co-op gallery. The cost is $175/month and requires two days per week volunteering. The gallery takes 30% of the sales.
  • Kevin Lee has not received any further information from the arborist with the City of Mountain View about their Arbor Day Fair on April 20. If anyone is interested in pursuing this outreach opportunity, contact Kevin and he will pass on the arborist’s name.
  • Jerry Galli asked folks going to the AAW symposium in Portland in May to contact him if you are interested in carpooling or sharing hotel rooms.
  • The hands-on sanding follow-up session is postponed. Date TBD.
  • Guests:
    • Vic Mitnick – 10 year woodturner, taught woodturning at TechShop in the past and currently teaching at Maker Nexus.
    • Jim Koren – taking the woodturning class at the Palo Alto Adult School

Finishing Part 1 – Sanding and prep

Panel on sanding and wood preparation for finishing. Left to right: Dennis Lillis, Jon Bishop, David Vannier, Robert Bley

This was the first part of a two-part series of discussions on how to get a museum quality finish on your turned pieces. This session focused on wood preparation. The discussion covered several topics, including: safety, sanding equipment, sandpaper, and sanding techniques. Safety topics included N95 masks, powered respirators with positive air filtration, dust management, and air filtration. Methods for getting the best surface you can using your cutting tools included: sharpening your gouge; and sheer scraping on the outside of the bowl. Several different types of sanders were discussed, including random orbital electric units from Metabo and Mirka; random orbital pneumatic units from GREX, angle drills; cordless drills; and inertia sanders. The panel members also showed photographs of their sanding equipment/supplies storage solutions in their own shops.

The panel recommended to always use an interface pad between the sanding pad holder and the sanding pad. This will allow for some compliance and gentle contouring of the wood and save the hook and loop on the main pad holder.

Several different brands of sandpaper disks were recommended, including: Mirka (Gold, Abranet and Abralon) and Klingspor. For sanding the finish (to get rid of dust nibs), Dennis recommended Tolex. The panel members also recommended the use of a “sanding taco” to reach into tight rounded areas.

Show and Tell/President’s Challenge

Jon Bishop — brought two platters, one of sycamore, the other, marblewood. He also showed a lidded candy dish made from madrone with a blackwood knob. The base of the knob was decorated with a segmented insert and the top of the knob with polymeric clay. Jon also showed two ice cream scoops, one of spalted maple, the other of bocote. Both received a CA finish.

David Vannier — showed a couple platters. One was made from podocarpus. The other, turned from maple had an intricate Celtic Knot pattern woodburned and painted. He made this in a class in 2016.

Tom Gaston — tried to copy Glenn Lucas’s platter in walnut but it got very thin. He had another platter in Mahogany and a serving tray of fiddleback maple. All were finished with Osmo. He also was inspired by teaching his woodturning class on making bud vases, so he made a couple of his own. One was of ginko, colored using Trans Tint dyes. The other was of eucalyptus burl and featured a copper pipe insert (plugged with epoxy) and given an aged patina using vinegar, salt, and ammonia. He also showed a redwood burl box.

Laura Rhodes — showed a first attempt at a platter in poplar. She also brought two small bowls, one from acacia, the other from honey locust.

Don Bonnett — brought a platter made of myrtlewood crotch (aka Bay Laurel) with General Finishes Bowl Finish.

Kevin's wooden platter turned on a lathe.

Kevin Lee — showed a pear wood platter (made from wood from the 40 pear trees taken down at the San Jose Rose Garden several years ago). It remains unfinished because he’s looking for help with sanding.

Harvey Klein — brought a platter made from honey locust and finished with Doctor’s Woodshop Walnut Oil Microcrystal Wax. Harvey took the SK Krafts challenge and made a sphere (~3″ in diameter) using a blank laminated from several different woods. This was challenging because he was always going against the grain in at least one of the woods.

Fred Colman — showed a black acacia bowl.

Jerry Galli — brought a madrone bowl. He noted that some people try to boil madrone to stabilize it. He just rough turns it in stages. This bowl was turned 3 times. After each turning, he notes the date, species, and moisture content on the bottom of the bowl and puts it away in sawdust. After the final turning, he sanded to 600 grit, applied sanding sealer, and finally used several coats of General Bowl Finish, sanding with 600 grit between coats. Jerry also showed a cork oak live edge bowl.

Jeff's woodturned platter

Jeff Starr — brought a platter he had made in a class he took with his dad at Craft Supply with Richard Raffan.

Ed's woodturned tall goblet

Ed Howes — made a goblet with a natural edge base from the remains of his neighbor’s Christmas tree.

Dean's large woodturned bowl. Ash.

Dean Caudle — showed an ash live edge bowl finished with Danish Oil.

Vic's lidded box

Vic Mitnick — showed an oak box with walnut lid that he made in preparation for teaching a box workshop at Maker Nexus. He also brought a small bowl made from a neighbor’s 100 year old black locust tree that had come down. He said most of the wood from the tree was rotted and had active termites. The bowl was finished with Acks finishing paste. He also showed a walnut vase finished with friction polish.

Dennis shows his platter with stone inlay.

Dennis Lillis — brought a madrone burl platter/bowl.

Tina's bowl.

Tina — showed the end slice of a black acacia log and two small bowls she turned from that log (in the two different orientations – pith up and pith down). These are intended as bowl turning teaching aids.

Show & Tell and Prizes:

President’s Message

As you might have seen in Slack, lately I made a series of ornate balusters for a client. That reminded me that, although we focus a lot on bowl turning, there is a long tradition of spindle work used in furniture making and architectural work. It was very satisfying for me to explore the ways of the spindle, reproducing a pattern, becoming efficient (sort of…) at making multiples. It might be fun to see more of that other side of turning at our meetings. The April meeting will be another excursion into non-bowl turning with Brad introducing and demonstrating live his Rose Engine work. I might do a spindle demo myself if there is enough interest. If you can demonstrate any other non-bowl technique or project, let me know and we can find a time at a future meeting. It’s great to develop your skills “toolkit”. Very often one thing you learn for a specific project can be brought in to help with a different kind. Crossover skills are great to have!

Claude Godcharles

“As the Wood Turns” by Dave Vannier

Well, so much for my wood diet!  I am cutting back on what types of wood I will chase.  I will drop everything to go after carob, black acacia, iron bark, and maybe black walnut.  Who am I kidding, of course Black walnut.  After that, I will at least think. Birch was high on the list, but I think I have enough pieces turned to practice piercing and painting that I can be at least picky. For those of you that didn’t make it to the black acacia, you missed some nice wood.  Beautiful colors, and decent size.  It difficult to safely cut into pieces that we could lift, had a fairly short window to operate, and did have some weather to deal with. But well worth it.  Dan and I carpooled, and came home with a fully loaded van,,Don got a trunk full of nice pieces, and Kelly was a chainsaw king!  Dennis and his “apprentice” loaded a trailer, so SVW is likely to see some good wood soon!  I should have some to bring to WBW. I’ll be unloading today and then start processing it into rounds on Monday. We have a city ordinance that prohibits chainsaw work on Sundays.  After I get it processed I should know what I have.

All in all, it was a good time!  I enjoy this phase, with the thoughts of being able to create something from what nature provided.  A time when we focus on positive hopes and thoughts. Spending time with good people, sharing stories, and of course sore muscles.  Thank you to all that came and helped out!  The same house in Aptos is going to be taking out a large Cyprus tree. Large being probably 4’ at the base. They promise to let me know when it happens. I might take a piece or two, but will hold myself back, I hope. 

Slack has proven to be a good way to communicate wood opportunities. So, Thank you Tina!  I like to joke with her, but she has been a great friend to add to my life. Tina suggested this would be good to show to potential new members. Maybe, but if their family sees it, they might just forbid them from taking this up to prevent them from bringing this home!


WBW board members and committee chairs

President: Claude Godcharles
Vice President: Tom Gaston
Treasurer: Jon Bishop
Secretary: Laura Rhodes
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 Chernikov, Claude and David acting)

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One response to “West Bay Woodturners Newsletter, March 2024”

  1. So good to see so many high quality turnings… and so many smiling faces! 🙂

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