Report on our meeting 03-08-2023 a Cubic Challenge by Nick Simpson.

Our meeting on Thursday 3rd August 2023 was organized by Nick Simpson, Nick’s theme for the meeting was to make something from a 4″ cube of Ash wood, he arranged for 4 more turners and himself to do the Cubic Challenge, there were no hard and fast rules on what to make, it was very much up to the individual turners as to what they were to produce.

In addition to organizing the meeting, Nick also supplied all the blanks for the Cubic Challenge 2 weeks earlier, this was to allow the turners to gather their thoughts on what to make and if time at the club was insufficient to complete the items they were to make then some preparation was allowed.

The meeting time arrived and it was interesting to see what if any preparation had been made by any of the turners, unfortunately one of the turners had to drop out for medical reasons, this left the meeting with 4 turners. We could not replace the missing turner due to time restraints, however the meeting went ahead with the 4 turners.

The photographs for this meeting were taken by Susan Drew. Here are some of them.

On Lathe nr1 was Nick Simpson the organizer of the meeting and the Cubic Challenge. Picture 1, shows Nick making ready to start his project, he was to mount the cube on the lathe in the diagonal position. Picture 2, Nick makes his first cuts from the cube to the round. Picture 3, progressing well, the shape he is looking for is being achieved.

Picture 4, here Nick is using a drill mounted from the tailstock to assist with the hollowing out of his work piece. Picture 5, checking the work piece is secure before using a turning tool to complete the hollowing. Picture 6, the turning tool in use, it was at this point that disaster struck, the work piece parted company in the chuck, it left the piece unworkable as a small part was still being held in the chuck. The parting happened at the point I have marked as “X”, it could have been a weak area in the wood or it might have been a very small crack that was not visible to the naked eye, whatever caused it to break away we will never know, suffice to say Nick was very disappointed for this to have happened. Picture 7, this was what Nick was trying to reproduce, this is a photo supplied by him at an earlier time.

On Lathe nr3 was David Ross, David is a regular attendee at the demonstrations. David was to make a small box with his Cube also mounted on the diagonals, he did some preparation at home as time would not allow him to start and finish within the time we have at the club. Picture 1, shows David working on the outside of his box. Picture 2, the outside progressing well, David is sanding the outside of his box. Picture 3, here we see David cutting off the lid part of his box.

Picture 4, here David is sanding the bottom part of his box. Picture 5, the work progressing well, here David has used a piece of gripping material to help with the mounting of his work piece. Picture 6, Here we have David with his finished box cut from a 4″ square cube.

On Lathe nr4 was Daniel Stewart, Daniel is fairly new to our club but shows a keen interest in all that we do here including doing some demonstrations. As part of the Cubic Challenge Daniel decided to do a small bowl but turned it leaving part of the square intact. Daniel also did some of the preparation at home knowing he could not complete the project within the time allocated. Picture 1, shows Daniel making some of his first cuts on the outside of his bowl. [Picture 2, Now Daniel can be seen working the inside of his bowl. Picture 3, now doing some of the sanding required on the wings and the inside.

Picture 4, here Daniel is working the inside of the bowl using a small gouge. Picture 5, now the final sanding is in progress. Picture 6, here we see Daniel with his finished winged bowl made from a 4″ cube of Ash.

On Lathe nr5 was myself (Alec Mutch) Nick had asked me to take part in the Cubic Challenge, not being one to shy away from a challenge I was more than happy to take part. I had an idea for the Cubic Challenge that entailed quite a lot of work at home, the nature of which was to have multiple glueings over a period of 10days. Picture 1, shows me having mounted my blank and making the first cuts. Picture 2, with some of the external turning done I was being asked a few questions from those onlooking. Picture 3, having completed the tool work on the majority of the work piece I started to power sand the body of the work.

Picture 4, the main part now sanded, I’m applying some sanding sealer to the work piece. Picture 5, a hole down the centre of the work piece was required, here the dill can be seen in the tailstock ready to start the drilling process, this would go into the work piece for about 4″. A final bit of turning to the top of the work piece tapering in the hole completed the turning, a final seal and polish and the Cubic Challenge was done. Picture 6, here you can see me holding my finished work piece, all from a cube of Ash plus a few other bits.

Here are pictures from the Cubic Challenge, including a picture from Nick of an earlier turning he did. Picture 1, was from Nick Simpson. Picture 2 was from David Ross. Picture 3 was from Daniel Stewart. Picture 4, was from me (Alec Mutch).

That completed the Cubic Challenge, it was an excellent idea that produced some very interesting items. I along with the other turners got lots of questions on what we were all doing and that’s a good thing it opened up ideas that those watching could possibly have a go at themselves. The club would like to thank Nick for the idea and the turners who took part.

The attendance was good especially taking into account the fact the Black Isle Show was on the same day.

Our next meeting is on Thursday 17th August, I will be doing the presentation and the subjects I will be covering are Long Hole Boring and Threading using a Thread box and Tap. We hope to see you all there.