Saturday, July 17, 2010
Day 333: Hands on
Today was the July meeting of the Arizona Woodturners Association. We had a special hands on meeting at the local Woodcraft and it was a huge success. We had 8 lathes going most of the day, with several turning pens, a couple of turning demonstrations by J Paul Fennell (http://www.jpaulfennell.com/) and Paul Porter (http://paulporterwoodturning.com/). I also did a little demonstrating, doing a pair of small hollow forms, one with wire brush texture and the second with some wood burning. In my opinion the best part of the day were the 2 contests we held. The first was to challenge club members to turn a small cylinder and to get the best cut they could get on some small spindle blanks that I provided. They were free to use any tool and any turning method they wanted, the only rule was that no sandpaper could be used. Some of the results were very good and one club member walked away with a maple burl for his work. The second contest was a group contest, a relay race actually. We had club members signup for teams of 3. Each team was provided an identical block of wood and the first member of each team turned for 15 minutes. They then handed off to the second member of each team who also turned for 15 minutes. The third team member then took over for the final 15 minutes. The only rule was that team members were not allowed to talk to each other before or during the relay. The finished pieces were then judged and the winning team declared and the winning team members won a small prize. I initially planned to judge the contest but when the third team ended up with only 2 people when the relay was ready to start I jumped in to anchor their team. Things went well until the last 90 seconds of my time when I had a monster catch that nearly ruined our bowl. The last 60 seconds was a frantic effort to save the bowl and trying to get it finished. I ended up running out of time and wasn't able to get the bottom finished. Had I gotten it finished I think we might have won. I think the catch was a matter of 2 different factors, unfamiliar tools and a large check in the wood. I'm not saying that it wouldn't have happend with my own tools or with a marginally better piece of wood - catches happen to everyone - but both of those factors together plus the fact that I was rushing was asking for disaster.