Report on our virtual meeting 21-01-2021 making wooden toys and puzzles.

Our meeting on the 21st January 2021 was all about making wooden toys and puzzles, It was being organised by Douglas Stewart but due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions this meeting had to be turned into a virtual meeting. You were all invited to take part in this meeting by making something from the programme. The uptake was as ever very poor with only Nick Simpson and myself contributing to the meeting. Nick’s article wasn’t a toy or a puzzle but a novelty none the less and I felt it was appropriate to be included in this report.

Here is Nick’s submission, including what he had to say about the item.

Hi Alec

Here’s a simple toy compared with the product of the Club’s recognised toy makers.

It is a cracker from Zebrano. Simply made with careful use of forstner bit, parting tool and spindle gouge Nick Simpson.

As I said not an actual toy or puzzle, but an interesting project none the less. Made by Nick Simpson.

I did a few very simple turnings, some spinning tops, a yo-yo and a puzzle project. I also made a small toy canon. All the following items were made by Alec Mutch.

Here are the spinning tops, the top row shows them still attached to the mounting block, the reason for this is that they were all finished with a spray lacquer and had to dry, I did several coats to achieve the high gloss finish. Once dry they were parted off and the final tips coloured and lacquered.
The top picture will give you the scale of the items, the yo-yo is 75mm in diameter.
Here is my toy canon, made from scraps of wood, it measured 235mm in length by about 80mm high.
This is a little puzzle stick, hard to explain without giving away the secret on how it works, but if you want to make one contact me and all will be revealed. It’s only about 150mm long.
Here I have given you a set of pictures showing the way I made the spinning tops. Fig 1, start with a block 50mm square by 100mm long,, shape the top section, Fig 2, colour the top section using fine felt tip pens of different colours, do this on a slow speed, say 400rpm. Fig 3, shows the bottom shaped and sanded, Fig.4, shows the bottom coloured and the first coats of lacquer applied, allow to dry before further coats are applied, only cut it off when pleased with the finish.

Our next meeting on the 4th February 2021 would have been our AGM (annual general meeting), this can not take place under the present circumstances, however that does not mean we won’t be having a virtual meeting, we will. I want you all to make something, anything of your own choosing and send the pictures and text to me, I’m hoping for a better response than has happened in the last few weeks.

Here too is a final reminder that the 2021 subscriptions are due and anyone not signed up before the AGM meeting on the 4th February will loose their place with the membership. If you don’t want to loose your place contact Geoff or Cliff before the time runs out.

Do remember the clubhouse remains closed.

Our next meeting 21-01-2021 toys and puzzles.

Our next meeting should be on Thursday 21st January 2021, it was to be organized by Douglas Stewart and his project was to be toys and puzzles. However due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions this meeting has been made into a virtual meeting, we would invite you all to still pay attention to the project matter and make something along those lines. Having made your toys or puzzles, send pictures of them on to me for uploading onto our web site and facebook pages along with some information about the things you have made.

I have given you some pictures of wooden toys, these are for ideas only, you can make something similar or have something completely different, any type of toy or puzzle will be acceptable as long as there are some parts of the item you make that have been made on a lathe, you will see by the pictures I have provided that there are elements of other types of woodwork.

These spinning tops are probably the easiest things to make, just be aware that the heavier the stem the harder they are to work.
A farmyard scene with some parts that are not turned.
Here is a nice project for you to do, this spinning top uses a pull cord and a handle and works very well, can be spun at a very high speed and for quite a long time.
A road roller made almost entirely on the lathe, great for young kids.
Another lot of very easy things to make, trees of all shapes and sizes.

Do have a go at some of these or ideas of your own, the members would love to see what you can produce, we have a constant number of internet viewers who follow the facebook and web site pages, what we don’t have is as many club members willing to make items and send them to me.

You will have until Friday 22nd January to make and send your pictures, send them to me at,

Don’t forget to include some information on whatever you make.

Do remember the clubhouse remains closed.

Report on our virtual meeting 07-01-2021

Our first meeting of the year was to be held on Thursday 7th January 2021, but due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions this meeting had to be made into a virtual meeting. It was to be organised by Douglas Stewart and the subject matter was making wooden jewellery. You were all invited to take part in the virtual meeting by making something and sending the pictures of the items you made to me for publication on our web site. However the uptake was even less than usual with only 2 members taking part, those were Nick Simpson and myself.

This is what Nick had to say about his entry.

Morning Alec, Happy new Year.

Here are 3 pictures of brooches / shawl pins .They are all made from Cherry and measure approx 65 mm diameter, the pins are ebony. The decorations vary from coloured hot melt glue to pyrography and Bubinga inlay.

Please forgive the clash of tartans!

Kind regards

Nick Simpson.

Brooches by Nick Simpson.
Picture of the front of the brooches.
Picture of the back of the brooches.

I made some ear rings from laminated woods and also from a acrylic blank that would normally be used to make a pen.

These were made from 5 pieces of wood laminated then turned. Made by Alec Mutch.
These were the ear rings made from an acrylic blank. Made by Alec Mutch.

Our next meeting should be on the 21st January 2021, this is also being organised by Douglas Stewart and his subject matter is wooden toys and puzzles, the meeting will be a virtual meeting again, but you are all invited to make something for that meeting. Let us have a much better response to this next meeting than what happened for the last meeting.

Our Secretary Geoff Potter and our Treasurer Cliff Sim are still looking to get the membership renewals for 2021 in as soon as possible, do remember that if you have not renewed your membership by the 4th February 2021 you could find yourself having to go onto the waiting list as we will be taking all those on the waiting list that we have at present and that there is space for, so the sooner you renew your membership the better.

Do remember the clubhouse remains closed.

Our next virtual meeting 07-01-2021 wooden jewellery.

Our next meeting should be on Thursday 7th January 2021, however due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions this meeting will not be taking place at our clubhouse instead we are making this meeting a virtual meeting online only. It was to be organised by Douglas Stewart and the subject matter was making wooden Jewellery, we are inviting you all to make something along this line, it can be a neckless, a pair of ear rings, a bangle or anything related to jewellery.

Whatever you make take some pictures and send them to me along with some information on what you have made and from what wood etc, I will post them on our web site and facebook page, we are looking to get a good response to this subject from as many of you as possible.

Here are a few ideas for items of jewellery made from wood.

Here are just a few ideas, you do not need to follow any of these exactly but use them for examples of what can be made, but put your own take on them.

Send your pictures and text to me at,

You have until Friday 8th February 2021 to get your pictures to me.

On a different note, I have just received the information on those who have paid their subscription for 2021, it would appear that only 1/3 of our 2020 membership have paid for the 2021 membership. We know the club has all but ceased to function due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it is still very important that you all take up your membership as you would normally have done in order for the club to survive. So please renew your membership before the AGM meeting that would have been held on the 4th February 2021.

We do have several people on our waiting list wanting to join the club who will be offered a place should there be spaces after the 4th February 2021, anyone who has not renewed their membership by that date will loose their place or have to go back onto the waiting list.

We hope 2021 will be a better year for the club, but in the meantime keep safe and we hope to see you all later in the year.

Happy new year for 2021.

The committee for the Highland woodturners would like to wish all their members, friends and on line observers a very Happy New Year, we hope 2021 will bring us back together for our meetings once again now that a vaccine has been found, in the meantime keep safe , follow the rules and save lives.

We will be continuing with the web site and facebook posts as we have been doing since the first lockdown, if any of you have anything to contribute to the website for the benefit of the club members, please send them to me and I will make up a post with your information.

On behalf of the committee for Highland Woodturners have a happy new year and we hope to see you all as soon as possible.