Woodworkers Club of Houston

September 2015 Projects



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WWCH’s own John Gay presented the program at the September meeting.  John talked about wood turning.  He brought a selection of items he has made on his lathe, and he noted that not all items must be made out of wood.  One of the items he showed was made from Corian.       READ MORE 




Steve Wavro wanted to craft something for an upcoming church fall festival auction.  Steve pointed out that all pieces contain no stain, it’s the natural color of the wood.  Before assembling he sanded each piece to fit then added a coat of poly finish.  After he assembled all the parts Steve finished with two more coats of polyurethane finish.  A cornucopia of species of wood graces his intarsia cornucopia.





David Garcia showed Club members his praying hands ornament of pallet wood and the other of maple.





Chuck Lickwar crafted some doggie bowls in recognizable dog forms to help raise money for a K9 rescue group.  Chuck hogs out the bowls first with a Forstner bit then cleans up with a router.  The wood is plain pine for construction that is whitewashed and finished with lacquer. Chuck recommends using quality sandpaper as he had to do a lot of sanding.



Chuck’s pens are turned from various woods, definitely to use when writing home.



A gorgeous hexagonal inlaid box from D.L. Dickey.


Norm showed scroll sawed dragons of poplar with black velour backing.  The hummingbird is of Cherry.  Norm finished all projects with a natural finish polyurethane.


Chuck Meeder used a gouging tool to create this hand carved bowl of walnut.  Chuck used T88 epoxy that was so thick he didn’t think it would fill the cracks.  But over time the goo oozed throo and filled the cracks.



Charles Volek showed Club members something to hoot about – a barn owl.  As with Steve’s cornucopia Charles listed the many species of wood that he used.

A table of Osage orange crafted by David Janowitz was shown to Club members.  He planed it down then used a belt sander to finish it off.  Each turned leg has a shelf upon which rest the table top.  Each leg tenon is split and then wedged tightly into a hole in the top by a piece of walnut.  David said that the wood is amazingly heavy but takes finish nicely

David Janowitz showed a couple of ornaments, also of Osage orange and stuck a bell on one for fun.


For a friend, Sean O’Connor made these two cherry rocking horses finished with Water Lux.  The horses are designed not to tip over.  Sean invited members to visit him at the Renaissance Festival, Gypsy Wagon Toys shoppe.


Norm Nichols explained the trick for getting the golf ball into the cage.  It is simple.  Under high heat and high pressure squeeze the ball and it will easily go in and then expand back to normal size…..uh…okay…I’m exaggerating a little.  Norm did use heat but not on the golf ball.  The cage is of basswood which he placed in boiling water for fifteen minutes which allowed the bars to be bent just enough to allow the golf ball to be inserted. The cage took five days to completely dry out.



Mark Bolinger showed Club members plane sticks which you can use to verify the flatness of a surface that you have just planed. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Lon Kelley displayed some scroll sawed Christmas ornaments.  Lon also showed members his ornament made from a laminated beam that he rescued from the trash.


WWCH’s own John Gay presented the program at the September meeting.  John taught about wood turning.  He brought a selection of items he has made on his lathe, and he noted that not all items must be made out of wood.  One of the items he showed was made from Corian. 


John informed the group that there is a club in Houston that is dedicated to wood turning, the Gulf Coast Woodturners Association.  This group meets on the third Saturday morning of each month.  You can find out more about this group at http://gulfcoastwoodturners.org/.


John brought his Rikon mini-lathe.  He noted that this lathe has nice features.  It has a deep nut, which means you can put larger projects on it than you would think for this size lathe.


Working safely is of utmost importance, and John devoted several minutes of his lecture to safety.  Before you turn on the lathe, you should spin it manually.  This makes sure that any loose pieces are off the lathe, including the chuck key.  Turning the lathe manually allows you to check everything out before running it at high speed, including the clearance and the balance of the piece.


Just like all aspects of woodworking, there are a lot of accessories you can purchase for your lathe.  John listed some essential items and noted that one could probably start woodturning at around $500 for all of the required equipment:


         An upgraded steel tool that will maintain a smooth finish after lots of use.  This is better than the cast iron tool rest that often comes with the lathe.  The cast iron rest is not as durable and will get chips and nicks in it with use which will prevent precision in your turning projects.

           A chuck kit for your lathe with a wide variety of jaws. 

            A lathe faceplate

            A safety shield to protect your face from any chips that fly off

          Gauges and scrapers – John recommends a set with carbide blades to reduce time spent sharpening

         A painter’s pyramid is a very useful tool to help balance the wood and find the center of mass.  John noted that you need to find the wood’s center of mass so the wood will be balanced in the lathe.

          A divider tool

          A depth gauge      


John then demonstrated how to properly load a piece into lathe and how to use a scraper and a gouge. 


One interesting piece of information that John provided was that the best looking wood is wood that has been diseased or if it has had worms or other insect produce the prettiest turned products.  He recommended watching for trees that have been cut down and collecting a few branches. 



Photos and Commentary:  Gary Rowen    John Gay writeup:  Lisa Sessions                  

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