Report on our virtual meeting 17-09-2020 bowls night.

Our virtual meeting on Thursday 17th September was to be a Bowls night, it was to be organised by John Ruickbie but due to Covid-19 restrictions had to be made into a virtual meeting. John also sends his apologies for not putting forward a bowl, family commitments did not allow him sufficient time to send anything in. However we did get a few of our members to send in some pictures, I am going to deal with them in 2 lots, firstly some individual bowl pictures from Nick Simpson and Dave Line, and secondly a few pictures from David Ross and myself where we are both showing a few bowls from different aspects.

We will start with Nick Simpson’s entry,

This is Nick Simpson’s bowl and here is what he had to say about it.

Hi Alec

Here is an entry for the virtual bowl show.

 The picture shows a simple bowl in cherry wood measuring 8”  (200mm) diameter. The wavy line though the bowl is the graft of ornamental cherry on to wild cherry stock.I had to keep the lathe speed down because the different densities of the two woods kept the piece well out of balance until the walls were only a little thicker than the final item. It illustrates that even simple turnings can be special if the pattern and figure of the stock is exploited.

 Best wishes

Nick Simpson.

Now for Dave Line’s entries, Dave put in 3 bowls.

I am sending in 3, the first is my first attempt at segmented turning. You can see that the segments do not line up, this is due to inaccurate measuring but with practice you get better.
It is made from Ash, Sycamore and Sapele and is about 170mm dia and 130mm high.

The second is my first attempt at open segmented turning, it is made from Sycamore and Sapele and is about 140mm dia and 80mm high. The burning rings were made with a bit of formica from an old kitchen worktop.
The third is just a bowl made from Spalted Beech. The problem I had with this was tearing  when turning, this was overcome by sealing with  sanding sealer then finishing with a very sharp tool.
Dave Line.

For the last 2 lots of entries I have used the picture gallery to show these entries, each picture contains more than one image along with some text. The first 4 are from David Ross, the last 3 are from myself, Alec Mutch.

If you would like to see a larger picture of any of those in the picture gallery, just click the picture, you will also see some text with every picture.

Do remember the clubhouse remains closed.

Bowls Night Meeting 17-09-2020

Our next meeting should be on Thursday 17th September 2020 but due to the present restrictions will now be a virtual meeting. This meeting was to be organised by John Ruickbie and I know he was planning something special. Now we will have to wait until we get back meeting again to see what John had planned, however we do not need to wait to see what the rest of you can do as far as bowl turning is concerned, make a bowl, any type of bowl, and photograph it or them, you can present more than one, and I will post it on our web site, do remember to give me some information with any entry.

Bowl work is probably the easiest form of turning to master, so there is no excuse for you not to make the effort to make a bowl or two and send the pictures to me.

Here are a few that may give you some encouragement to take part, you can copy if you wish, or better still come up with your own design.

An Elm bowl I made some time ago, it measured 300mm in diameter by 50mm deep.
A natural edged Burr Elm bowl, it measured 350mm across at it’s widest point by about 60mm deep.
A Spalted Beech bowl measuring 250mm in diameter by 50mm deep, I kept the turning very simple to show off the spalting to best advantage.
An elevated bowl made from Wych Elm, this bowl was 250mm in diameter by 150mm high made from 1/2 a log.

These are just 4 different designs of bowls you can make, lets see how many more you can come up with.

You will have up to Friday 18th September to get your entries to me for publication, so do take part I know the members like to see what everyone has done although the entries have been scarce lately, lets change that this week.

Send your pictures to me at,

Do remember the clubhouse remains closed.

Report on virtual meeting 03-09-2020, making household goods.

This week’s virtual meeting on Thursday 3rd September 2020 was to be about making any type of household goods. This meeting was to be organised by John Cheadle but due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions it had to be turned into a virtual meeting. The usual request for our members to take part has gone unheeded again, with only one member sending me any pictures or information, that being Nick Simpson, I have put a few pictures together for you all to see along with a very short timeline in the gallery on the making of a Natural Edged Bowl but from a source that you may find interesting.

I urge you all to take notice of our requests for you all to take part in what we are trying to do, and that’s to keep the club alive, your continued lack of interest is wearing us down and that’s not good for the club, we are actively looking at methods to get the club up and running again but we are still under lockdown as far as the government is concerned.

I will start with Nick’s entry, a mortar and pestle.

This is Nick’s Mortar and Pestle and here is what he had to say about it,
I called this a ‘handy’ mortar and pestle as it was designed to be used in the hand rather than the usual way on a kitchen surface.
Both elements are from Olive wood. The mortar is based on a simple three legged cauldron design. Finish is food safe oil (liquid paraffin).
Nick Simpson.
Here is Nick’s second picture, this time it’s showing the bottom of the mortar, you can see why he called it a cauldron design.

Now for a couple of items from my own picture gallery,

A bread board made from Lime wood, it measured 330 mm in diameter and the carving was all done with a very fine veining tool in the router.
This is a cheese board, complete with tile top and tools compartment underneath the top part. The top part was on a pivot so that when in use on the table the tools were there to cut the cheese then the top part could be closed by moving it over the lower part.

Now for the timeline on a Natural Edged Bowl. This is no ordinary Natural Edged Bowl or at least the part I’m using was not that usual as it comes from the crux of a tree.

I have deliberately kept this gallery short as I know you are all familiar with how to make a Natural Edged Bowl, the part I wanted to show was the fact of using the crux adds a whole new dimension to this type of bowl, it does not have to be a straight log or even half a log, look at what you have and come up with a new way of working it.

If you want to see a larger picture and to read the text, just click on the pictures in the gallery.


I received a late entry for this post from David Ross, there was some confusion with the original email David sent, however here are David’s pictures and text now, better late than never, and thanks David for re-sending the pictures.

Hi Alec
Hope I have better luck this time
My first item is a cake stand it is 220mm tall the top plate is 160 mm in diameter the bottom plate is 200mm in diameter it is made out of sycamore and finished in 3 coats Chestnut food safe oil.
Second item is a spurtle they are approx 260 mm long and 20 mm in diameter they are made from sycamore and have no finish on them as sycamore is a safe wood to use for cooking utensils. 
Third item is a rolling pin it is 400 mm long the pin is made of maple and in 220 mm long and 70 mm in diameter the handles are made of a wood but I cannot remember what kind they 90 mm long and 25 mm diameter at the widest point There is a rod all the way through the pin and fitted to a bearing at each end of the pin it was then glued into each handle.
The handles look to be Wenge, AM.

David Ross.

Do remember the clubhouse remains closed.

Virtual meeting this Thursday 03-09-2020

Our meeting this Thursday 3rd September 2020 was to be about making household goods, it was to be organised by John Cheadle, but as lockdown persists we are having this meeting virtually. Household good give you all a very wide range of items that can be made, things like fruit bowls, candle holders, table lamps, weed pots to name but a few. I have concentrated my thoughts on items mainly to do with the kitchen and to that end I have a few suggestions on thing that could be made. You can of course make something of your own, be it decorative or functional I’ll leave that up to you, but please take part, we want as many of you as possible to make something and then send the pictures to me to upload onto our web site, don’t forget to give me some information on whatever you make.

Here are a few suggestions,

Here we have a mortar and pestle.
A tooth pick holder.
A selection of wooden spoons.
A selection of rolling pins.
A wooden scoop.

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to household goods, I’m sure you can think of many more, do take part in our on line meetings, the site gets a good number of viewers and I’m sure they would like to see what you have made.

Once you have made your items, take some pictures and send them to me for uploading, remember the text, and any other information you care to pass on.

Send your pictures to me at, you will have until Friday 4th September 2020 to get your pictures to me.

Remember the clubhouse remains closed.

Report on our virtual meeting 20-08-2020 safety in the workshop.

Our virtual meeting on Thursday 20th August was to be about workshop safety, this could not take place due to Covid-19 restrictions being in place. John Cheadle was to do a presentation on various aspects of workshop safety, this subject will still be approached once some of the restrictions have been lifted.

As a result of the cancellation you the members were invited to put forward anything on any subject, this could have been on safety issues or just what was on your mind at the time, we were looking to get some pictures of things you had made along with some text telling us about what you had made and why. The response was extremely low and most disappointing despite our best efforts to get some more of you involved. I only received one actual entry from Nick Simpson, I did receive another picture from Gordon Leitch along with a question, which I’m going to include in this post, it’s things like this that I would hope you would put forward, if you don’t put forward anything how can we respond to you.

I told you in the last post that I would do a timeline on a bowl I made from an Ash Gall, it will feature in a separate gallery here in this post.

Firstly here is Nick Simpsons submission for this post.

Hello Alec,

This is my submission for this week.

The forms are hollow and mathematically known as tricylinders. Basically they are 6 sided tubes which intersect at right angles.

These have been turned and carved from 4 inch cubes and when finished they were decorated in different ways.

The ‘Rusty Pipe’ is from Sycamore and finished with a mixture of acrylic paint, and artists sand.

The ‘shiny’ pipe is also Sycamore and threaded on all 6 ends then finished in Rustoleum gun metal acrylic spray.
The ‘Steampunk’ form is from green Ash which was then scorched to fire then wire brushed back and decorated by copper wire and brass cogwheels.

 The form was popularized by the Irish woodturner Max Brosi but I have never seen a timeline for construction.
I have demonstrated the construction of these so have pieces in the various stages production.
If there is interest I will send you a timeline for the next set of postings.
Nick Simpson.

I’m sure some of you will want to see Nick’s timeline on the making of one of these tricylinders, do let me know.

Now for Gordon Leitch’s question, this came as a result of some information I put out on fitting a tile into a wooden surround.

Hi Alec I enjoyed your article fitting tile into wood surround I still have the original I got from you way back when you did demos at Ullapool. However could you  advise how I can overcome the problem I have fitting clock chapter rings .I have tried exact fitting and also fitting with clearance but get the same result within 3 weeks of fitting( photo enclosed ) the blanks used were well dried and seasoned 

Your comments PLEASE Regards Gordon 

This is Gordon’s clock as you will see the chapter ring has been pushed out in a bulge between 2 & 3 o’clock.

This was my answer to

Hi Gordon,

Thanks for you comment on fitting a tile into wood, interesting that you still have one of my original information sheets.

The first thing to say is for these items a quarter sawn blank would be preferred, this is where the grain of the wood is vertical to the face of the blank, it should also be from one quadrant of any log, I.E. not using the centre pith, the shrinkage if there is any will only be in one direction, towards the centre with no buckling, and that movement can be catered for in making the fit not too tight.

This problem of movement when using a chapter ring is quite different to that of fitting a tile, the option to remove some of the centre part under the tile is not available when using a chapter ring. Instead of taking material away from under the tile, the opposite needs to happen, remove the material from the back of the surround. You should use a medium length shaft clock movement, that would leave about 4 to 5 mm thickness where the movement gets fitted, but don’t just remove the wood from the centre where the movement goes, the wood needs to be removed on the back right back to the outer diameter of the chapter ring, so you have a fairly large opening in the back that is all 4 to 5 mm thick, the area outside of the chapter ring can be left at full thickness but flat to just a little concave, this needs to be wide enough to carry the brass or plastic hanging plate. On the front (you will need a jam chuck to hold the work peice)  mount it on the jam chuck, drill the hole for the movement screw and flatten off the face right across including the area for the chapter ring. You can recess the chapter ring by removing just 2 mm of the thickness where the ring is to go, allow for a little shrinkage, so not too tight a fit, the gluing proceedure is the same as for a tile, 4 x 25 mm x 6 mm strips of silicone placed at 3,6,9 and 12 o’clock. Now the profile on the border outwith the ring can be made, that’s down to personal preference. Sand seal and polish, let me know how you get on, I’m going to do a full set of instructions on this for the web site shortly, so thanks for asking the question.



Now for my own submission, a timeline on the use of an Ash Gall being made into a bowl.

For a larger picture of any in this gallery just click on the picture, it will be accompanied by some text, there are 14 pictures in all, just start at picture one and follow them through to picture 14. This shows the possibilities of using some weird and wonderful pieces of wood.

Our next virtual meeting will be on the 3rd September 2020, it should have been all about household goods and was to be organised by John Cheadle. Let us see if you can come up with some household items, you are being invited to give me pictures of the things you have made, so lots of them please.

We are still working on a method to get us re-opened as and when the government allows us back meeting again, we are looking at things like better ventilation and trying to increase the floor space for social distancing, the hall committee have been contacted to see if they will agree with some of the proposals we have put forward. More on this as and when we get it.

Remember the clubhouse remains closed.

Virtual meeting 20-08-2020 workshop safety.

Our next virtual meeting is this Thursday 20th August 2020, it was going to be about workshop safety and was being organised by John Cheadle. John was going to do a presentation on various aspects of workshop safety, and in light of what’s happening at present with the Covid-19 his presentation would have been very appropriate. It is something we will be addressing as soon as we get back to anything like near normal, but there are going to have to be some changes for us to return to the club meetings, a few selected committee members have been working on the way forward but we still need to hear what the government have to say before we can put any changes to firstly the full committee members and then to all the club members.

You will have received an email from Geoff asking for your status and thoughts on how you would wish to approach opening the club again. I can tell you that 40 out of the 65 members have replied and only a handful have said they would need to wait for a vaccine, all the rest have welcomed the possibility of a return all be it with some qualifications. For those who have not replied to Geoff’s email I’m urging you all to do so A.S.A.P. it’s the only way we are going to be able to make a considered judgement on how we make the return.

If any of you have anything in particular concerning safety matters or PPE then send that information to us and we will include it in the next post.

I’m still looking for you all to take part in the virtual meeting by making anything you want or have made in the past and sending the pictures on to me, remember to add a bit of text. I’m going to do a timeline on how something was made, how about some of you doing the same, start with your blank or lump of wood and take photo’s of it frequently as you progress through whatever you are making, then send them all to me and I’ll post them on the web site, try to do it with about 12 to 20 pictures and don’t forget to tell us the species and the size and why you have made it.

This is going to be my timeline, it’s an Ash Gall that I’m starting with, see the next picture for what I will turn it into.
This is the finished item, my timeline will consist of about 20 pictures, showing you step by step how it was made.

You will have until Friday 21st August to get your pictures to me, so plenty of time to do a timeline.

Send your pictures to me at,

Do remember the clubhouse remains closed.

Report on our virtual meeting 06-08-2020, one on one.

Our virtual meeting on the 6th August 2020 was to be a One on One meeting, this is where a less experienced turner is taken through the process by a more experienced turner. This was being organised by David Hobson but due to the lockdown situation had to be turned into a virtual meeting. As there was no actual theme for this meeting you the members were asked to produce something on your own and send me the pictures and story on what you had made.

The response from our members was I’m afraid to say as bad as ever, I have only received pictures from 2 members, I did however receive a phone call from Dave Line with an apology for not being able to send me anything this time, Dave has participated in every virtual meeting since the beginning of lockdown. The 2 members who have sent some pictures and text are Gordon Leitch and Nick Simpson and I thank them both for taking the time and effort to do so, their work will be featured here today.

I have as a precaution done a timeline entry to augment the small amount of pictures I received, it would be just great if I didn’t have to anticipate the disastrous apathy that persists with you the members.

First will be the pictures from Gordon and Nick, then to follow that my timeline will be in the format of a gallery on the making of a shallow bowl with a Laser rim.

Here are 2 items that Gordon Leitch sent in, they are both made from Yew, the size is not known as Gordon didn’t give me any more information.
The 2nd of Gordon’s entries, clearly a lidded box, the wood might be Iroko but again I have no more information on it.

Now for Nick Simpson’s entries, this is what Nick had to say about them.

Here is a project I did  a while back.

My family were corn merchants and these are Victorian heirlooms. I have 2 original sets which were made from fruit wood and bear the assay marks from 1 Gill to 1 Quart  to confirm their internal volume.

I decided to try to make copies from Ash and Sycamore. And show here the final items 1 pint, ½ pint and 1 gill.

They were made, like the originals, from a single piece of wood. I had some discussions with Stuart King, who is the acknowledged expert on historical woodturning in the UK and we decided that these were definitely turned and probably by an early rotating lathe rather than a reciprocating lathe (pole lathe) although there are no historical records.

The Pictures show 2 original ½ pint measures and their respective assay marks.

The next photo shows my 3 finished measures, which are in use today for horse feeds and supplements.

The final photo is a work-in-progress sequence showing the transition from square blank to final item. No finishing products were applied as they would not have been used in the 19th Century!.
Nick Simpson.

Now for my timeline gallery.

Click on the pictures to get a larger view and also some information on the making of the bowl.

Our next virtual meeting will be on the 20th August 2020, it was to be all about workshop safety, something that has taken on a more acute interest during these troubled times.

I will be looking for you all to contribute something to this meeting even if it’s only a bit of text and something you have to offer as relevant and interesting to the members. We the committee are constantly looking into ways of the club reopening but staying within the government guidelines and restrictions, there will be more on this as and when we get it.

Do remember the clubhouse remains closed.

Our next virtual meeting on 06-08-2020 was to be a One On One meeting.

A One on One meeting was scheduled for the 6th August 2020, this will now be a virtual meeting where One on One is not possible. This meeting was being organised by David Hobson. The purpose of a One on One meeting was to team up an experienced turner with a less experienced turner and take them through the making of something they had not done before or through a particular practice that was giving the less experienced turner problems.

Now just because we can’t have this meeting does not mean we do not have to do anything, it would be appreciated if you could make something and picture it along with some text and send it to me for publication on our web site.

The response to my request for pictures in the past has been very poor, can we change that situation and surprise me with lots and lots of pictures, do remember you can put forward more than one picture, A collage of pictures would be very welcome from any of you, perhaps a few pictures of something being made from start to finish like a time line would also be very good, either way do send me your pictures.

I have put together a few pictures from the past with no particular relevance but may show some diversity in turning.

These were a pair of candle sticks John Ruickbie made for a competition.
This is a bowl David Ross made again for a competition, and won the 1st prize with it.
Another winner of a competition, this time it was made by Bill Henderson and won the MacGregor’s shield with it.
Here we have 2 pears made by David Hobson, these too were for a competition.
A shallow bowl made by myself from flamed Ash with the rim coloured with Pebeo paint.

Some of these items above may give you some ideas for things to make, I do hope so, and lets have your pictures please, you have until Friday 7th August 2020 to send me your pictures.

Send them to me at ,

Do remember the clubhouse remains closed.

Report on our virtual all day meeting 25-07-2020

Our latest meeting should have been on Saturday 25th July 2020, it was to be our annual all day meeting where we allow members of the public to come and see what we are doing. It was to be organised by David Hobson, David had arranged for 3 people to be demonstrating in roughly 2 hour blocks, due to covid-19 this was abandoned and made into a virtual meeting. The members were then invited to do any turning they could and send the pictures for publication on our web site.

I have to tell you that apart from 3 very dedicated turners the rest of our membership failed to send any pictures at all, I really shouldn’t complain about the members when only 2 of the 12 committee members produced any pictures, me being one of them.

However here are the few that I did receive and thank you to Dave Line and Nick Simpson for taking the time and making the effort to try to keep the interest in this club alive.

For my own contribution to the gallery, I have shown just some of the items I have been working on during the lockdown.

For a full sized view of any picture just click the picture in the gallery, it will also give you some text relating to the picture.

Our next meeting should be on the 6th August 2020, this will not be happening due to the continued lockdown for clubs like ours, it was to be organised by David Hobson again and David was working on the idea to have a one to one session. We would like to see some of you pictures before that time, so please take part you know it makes sense.

We are working on a safe practical policy for when the restrictions ease to allow us to re-open, further information on this will be available soon, but things will not be the same.

Virtual all day event 25-07-2020.

Our annual all day event should have been happening this Saturday 25th July 2020, this is now a virtual meeting. The day was being organised by David Hobson, it would normally start at 10am through to 4pm with 3 turners working the lathe in roughly 1 & 3/4 hour sessions. This meeting was open to the public for a small fee.

As there is no meeting I am inviting you all to make something of interest to the rest of the members, it can be anything at all, turned or otherwise, but do make something and send the pictures along with a bit of text on what you have made.

The 3 people that were to be demonstration are, Pam Harris from 10am to 11.45am, Gary Lowe from 12pm to 13.45pm and Andy Walters from 14.00pm to 16.00pm.

I have included a few pictures from past open days for your viewing and possibly to give you some inspiration.

This off set goblet was made by Fred Houghton from the North Highland Woodturners in 2018, Fred was one of our visiting turners invited to demonstrate.
A wall hanging made by Mark Sutton at our 2019 meeting.
Here we have a very interesting take on a spinning top, made by Gary Lowe our guest turner in 2019.
A natural edged bowl I made at the 2018 meeting, the bowl is Spalted Beech.

Please get into your workshops and produce something to remember this day, you have until mid day on Sunday the 26th July to make and send me your pictures before I upload them to our web site.

Pictures to,

Do remember the clubhouse remains closed.