2017 Craobh Eo Woodturning Seminar

craobh eo chapter logo - Mayo woodturners logoThe 2017 Craobh Eo woodturning seminar was held last Saturday 25th February in the Gateway Hotel in Swinford. Once again the seminar was an outstanding success. There was a huge number of turners in attendance for the day. Many more called in at different times during the day. It was great to meet and chat to so many very talented crafts  people, of all ages! It was great to pick up so many tips and tricks too, some of the tricks I learned on the day I thought, “why the heck didn’t I think of that!”

There were 3 woodturning demonstrators at the seminar, David O’Neill (Ulster Chapter), Joe O’Neill (Dublin Chapter) and Ciaran Mc Carty (South East Chapter). There were two lathes set up in two separate rooms with simultaneous demonstrations in each. David O’Neill was first in room 1 demonstrating how to turn a “square winged bowl”.

David O’Neill was first in room 1 first, demonstrating how to turn a “square winged bowl”. Turning a square winged bowl is a little tricky. It can also be a little “hairy” with 4 corners spinning at high speed! The turning process involves some reverse chucking of the piece on the lathe. David finished the piece with a sprayed paint finish and a finish spray coat of lacquer.

In room 2 Ciaran Mc Carthy started off demonstrating how to turn a traditional three legged stool. Before beginning the demonstration, Ciaran went into great detail on the history and the origins of the 3 legged shaker stool. Ciaran began by turning the seat of the stool. When turned and shaped to dimension, he took the piece off the lathe and brought it to the pillar drill and drilled 3 holes on the underside to receive the 3 legs. These were drilled off square to the seat, but at what degree I’m not sure (I was going between both rooms at that stage to get some photos!). Ciaran turned the thee legs and stretchers and competed the stool in the second session. The timer used was ash and was finished off the chisel, there was no sanding as it would be too dusty. The stool was quite heavy and very comfortable to sit on too!

Joe O’Neill from the Dublin chapter took to the lathe for the second session in room 1. Joe demonstrated how to turn a picture frame in oak. Joe is a real “character” and a brilliant storyteller! Joe had the room in fits of laughter more than once. This demonstration was lively, in more ways than one!! (see video below). After gluing the work piece onto a scraficial piece of timer on a screw chuck, Joe began shaping the picture frame. All of a sudden there was quite a spectacular *blow out*. When nearly completed, just as Joe was parting the piece off, the parting chisel had a “catch” on the work piece which resulted in it shattering. It certainly livened things up!

In the final session in room 1, David O’Neill turned a lidded box in Paduak with a finial made out of Ebony. I was very interested in this demonstration as I’ve never turned Ebony or Paduak myself. These exotic woods are a bit expensive to buy and are a little difficult to come by. David explained that using a bit of colour too on the piece makes it stand out from the rest. David did some embellishing on the outside of the box with a drimmel tool and then sprayed it with black paint. The excess was then turned back to the bare wood again. After turning the lid and finial, he then spray lacquered the entire piece.

All in this was a very entertaining and very informative seminar on woodturning. It is great to see so much interest in woodturning as well. All of the competition pieces on show were excellent. As always, the food in the hotel was top notch, and staff as always very helpful. Looking forward to next years seminar already!

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Michael Maye

Following Mayo football all around Ireland and halfway around the world. Been known to take the odd match photo sometimes! P.R.O. of Swinford Tidy Towns & committee member since 2004. I also admin on MayoClub51.com. Member of Swinford camera Club since 2009 and current P.R.O.

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