Sunday, March 12, 2006

Nick Cook visits Central Ohio Woodturners

Nick Cook is visiting the Central Ohio Woodturners this weekend. Yesterday he did an all day demo for us at Wood Werks in Gahanna. He spent the morning going over the basics of skew and spindle gouge techniques. He made several projects before our lunch break including a garden dibble, a Christmas tree ornament, spin tops, a spurtle, a honey dipper, a baby rattle, and bottle stoppers. After lunch he made a pepper grinder and demonstrated how he makes a platter with a scorched rim. We had a good time with Nick and he seemed to enjoy giving some of our members a hard time. There's a level of familiarity that Nick has with turners who have been to various woodturning symposia, and that was part of the fun we had together during yesterday's demo.

Here are some pictures from the demo:

We had a good turnout for the demo. We really appreciate Wood Werks offering their classroom for our club to use during these events.

Nick's demonstrating the use of the oval skew for the morning projects.

He showed us the machinist's collet he uses to hold the dowels for his bottle stoppers and high-end spin tops.

One of the bottle stoppers he demonstrated. This one is made from cocobolo. Nick gave us a lot of information on his methods of doing production work. He's made over 250,000 bottle stoppers and the secret is to offer only a limited number of styles in a limited number of timbers. He also does each stage in production mode: cutting the blanks, removing the corners, drilling the holes, etc.

The pepper grinder demonstration began with the series of holes drilled out with different size forstner bits. The big hint of the day was to hold onto the drill chuck as you're backing the bit out of the wood. Also, gloves are pretty helpful in preventing burnt hands.

After all the holes are drilled, the shaping and fitting can commence. Nick prefers the shape of a Japanese wooden doll he saw demonstrated at the Tacoma AAW symposium back in the mid 1990's.

The last project of the day was a platter made from ash. He mounted the blank on a screw chuck and then turned the recess for the chuck, marked out where the foot would be and then did the overall shaping.

The blank was remounted on the chuck to shape the rim. A propane torch was used for scorching the rim.

A lot of smoke is generated during this process. Nick blows out the flames and just keeps burning until the scorching is pretty uniform across the rim.

A scotchbrite pad dipped in water is used to remove the soft part of the growth ring and to distribute the soot across the rim.

This process is pretty sloppy so you need to put down some paper towels on the ways to catch the drips.

A bit of drying with paper towels keeps the slop from flying off when the lathe is turned back on.

A touch-up of scorching finishes the process and evens out any areas that need to be darker.

The soft part of the growth ring is removed here and you can see the beautiful undulating pattern that ash gives when scorched.

The next step is to finish the inside part of the bowl. Nick slightly undercuts the rim, which gives a hand hold and also cleans up the scorched border. After the interior shape is done he reverse mounts the platter on a vacuum chuck to clean up the foot and remove the recess made for the chuck. The finish he uses is Krylon matte spray.

These are some of the small projects Nick made during the demo. He's donating these to the club for our volunteers raffle, which will take place during our last meeting of the season in May.

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