September 2013 Report


During the summer we had several daytime sessions to finish off the rocking chair for the Seminar competition. There was a very convivial atmosphere as far too many experts attempted to assemble it - in particular Ricky's anguished yelp when Jim decided to encourage the front leg into the rocker by giving the carefully carved & sanded armrest a quick wallop with the back of an axe will live on in memory! Happily, this managed to avert the danger and a little shaving & sanding persuaded the leg into place without any violence being required. The weaving of the seat by committee also proved a tricky operation but thankfully Mike (our resident expert in seat-weaving) was able to direct the proceedings.

Our first official meeting in September was in two parts. First Ricky McDonald gave an excellent demonstration of how to cope with a workshop fire. He showed us three different types of extinguisher, explaining clearly which to use and when.

He recommends that every workshop should have 2 fire extinguishers - one CO2 extinguisher for electrical or flammable liquid fires; and one other - water, powder or foam for all other fires. These should be positioned just inside the door so that in the event of the fire you can run out of the workshop, stopping at the door to lift the extinguisher and using it from a position of safety.

He demonstrated how effective the CO2 extinguisher is with flammable liquids but explained that it would be dangerous to use with a workshop fire of wood shavings as power of the gas flow would spread the shavings and thus spread the fire instead of putting it out. Similarly, a water extinguisher cannot be used on an electrical fire as the person holding it will probably get an electric shock.

He also demonstrated the correct way to use a fire blanket - by wrapping the corners around your hand and holding it up in front of you as you approach the fire. The blanket is the most suitable way to deal with a contained fire such as a chip pan fire. After use, the fire blanket must be thrown out and replaced with a new one. Fire extinguishers should be serviced regularly.


The next part of the evening was a demonstration by Eddie Gorman of how to make a bowl or eggcup with a pewter rim.

He reminded everyone of the importance of using lead-free pewter and also to wear full safety glasses because of the danger of metal fragments when turning it.

As this is a time-consuming process, Eddie (like on Blue Peter) had several bowls at different stages that he had made earlier so that we could follow through on all the steps. First he turned the bowl. Next he marked out the edge of the bowl on a piece of MDF. Next he cut a groove in the MDF a few mm deep to fit over the rim of the bowl. At the same time, he heated the lead-free pewter in an old cast iron frying pan with a pouring point on the rim.

When the pewter was melted he poured it into the groove.

When the pewter had cooled, he mounted the MDF piece onto the chuck and used a Parting tool to trim the pewter level with the MDF to get a totally flat surface. He then used a parting tool the exact width of the bowl rim to cut a very slight (1mm) groove in the pewter so that it would fit neatly.

All shavings of pewter were kept for recycling. Next he detached the ring from the MDF and glued it to the top of the bowl using superglue.

He normally leaves this to set overnight before turning so he changed over to another bowl he had prepared. He used a parting tool to clean off the top surface of the pewter rim and do the finishing cuts inside and outside the bowl.

He cut 2 small grooves in the pewter to finish and then sanded and polished it to get a brilliant finish.


The evening concluded with a photo shoot of the chapter chair with all the members present and usual wonderful supper provided by Lorraine.