North East Chapter – Irish Woodturners
Visit to Robert O'Connor's
workshop in Gorey
A large contingent from the
Northeast Chapter travelled to Robert O’Connor’s Woodturning Studio in Gorey for our April
demonstration. Robert’s Studio is situated at the north end of the main
street of the town, and is superbly equipped to cater for group demonstrations, and fitted out with some
seven lathes where he facilitates individual and group woodturning tuition. Facilities also supports a shop-front showrooms displaying a wide variety of his
Robert's first project was a table
lamp turned from a 15” length of Hazel branch wood which was mounted between centers. Using a 3/8 spindle gouge the body was shaped while retaining a section of bark at the
base. The top and bottom holding nibs were
removed using the steb centre revolving in the drive.
Second project was a mirror image
off centre candlestick turned from a 9”x 2.5” Holly log. After bringing to a round, mark centre lines at each end, and with a point 30mm to top of
tailstock, and 30mm to bottom of drive end.
Mount off centre and turn ball
shape in centre. Reverse piece and mount in centre
points, and turn towards shadowed area at each end – turning out part of the shadowed
area. Shape top of candleholder, and shape
base to include chucking point for holding while drilling socket for candle. A must try project.
Third was a thin walled goblet
with retained natural edge rim, turned from a Yew log 5”x 2.5”. Mount in chuck and hollow out inside of goblet. Robert’s magical light fitted in a baking powder tin was mounted into the turning while
working on the outside until the light shines through.
Fourth item was a beaded bowl,
starting with a half log mounted on a face plate, and on the outside profile a series of beads were cut in
one continuous motion, progressing from small beads at the bottom to slightly larger beads at the
top. As this bowl was turned so fast, Robert
gave detailed hands-on instruction of his beading technique to individual members.
The fifth turning was a natural
edged bowl from the other half of the log. Mounted between centers the
outside was shaped and a spigot shaped for reverse mounting to finish the
Sixth project was an Ash textured
and decorated bowl. Four large beads at the top were cleaned
with a wire disk in a drill working at 45 degrees to bring up the grain giving a rope
effect. A combination of blow torch scorching,
spraying with water to control burning, sealing with black ebonizer, use of pyrograph, painting with red
spirit, applying liming wax and verdigris wax, and applying gold-finger were all
The seventh demonstration showed
the application of Hardwax oil to a bowl, and using a countersink bit in a drill to create a series of
decorative dimples inside the bowl. Finally, using the vacuum chuck to
remove the chucking point.
Thanks Robert for an
exceptionally informative and pleasurable day.