Review: Steve Heeley Demo – Sunday 21st May 2023

Steve demonstrated two projects: a coloured and textured candlestick and a pestle and mortar.

Note: You will observe in the photographs that Steve wore reasonably tight fitting wristbands. It is generally recommended that all jewellery is removed whilst turning.

Coloured and Textured Candlestick

Steve started with the base of the candlestick using a 1″x6″ oak blank which was held on the lathe by a worm screw. The face of the blank was smoothed using the tip of a bowl gouge. A parting tool was used to create a recess for the chuck jaws, and a button decorative feature was created in the centre of the recess. Note that the button needs to be shallower than the face otherwise the candlestick will not sit flat.

Mount the blank on the chuck jaws and drill a hole for the stem tenon using a 25mm Forstner bit. Shape the base using a long grind bowl gouge. Steve created a nice bead on the rim. Leave the base in the chuck.

For the stem of the candlestick Steve used an oak spindle blank approximately 2.75″x9″ with a predrilled hole at one end to accommodate a brass candle cup insert. The blank was held between centres, rounded using a spindle roughing gouge, and then a parting tool was used to the clean the ends. Then a tenon was created to fit the hole in the base; at this stage make the tenon slightly larger than the hole as the hole is enlarged to make the correct fit. Use a skew to make a few V cuts in the tenon to give space for the glue. Mount the base and chuck. Test fit the tenon. Enlarge the hole with a parting tool until there is a snug but not tight fit.

Fit the stem in the base and support with a centre in the tailstock. Waste material is removed using a spindle roughing gouge and the general shape is created using a spindle gouge. We gradually reduce the diameter of the upper part of the stem and finesse the shape.

The lower part of the stem is textured using a (large) Sorby texturing tool, first by rolling the tool across the surface and by using stabbing motions.

The textured area will also be coloured. So mask the areas where colour is not required. Steve applied a satin black spray paint. Only a light spray is needed. Then the coloured area is sanded back to remove colour from the high points. Dust is then brushed away from the painted texture area.

Steve then applied an acrylic sanding sealer and one coat of lacquer (more coats can be applied). The tailstock is then removed and the shape of the top of the stem is finished using a spindle gouge, sealed and lacquered. Then wire wool was used to gently sand over the whole piece and Chestnut Wood Wax 22 was applied.

Mortar and Pestle

For the mortar, Steve used a 4″x6.5″ ash bowl blank. The blank was rounded using a long grind bowl gouge and the face was smoothed using the tip of the gouge. A tenon for the chuck jaws is marked using callipers. A flat shoulder around the tenon is created and then the tenon is dovetailed. The piece is shaped and sanded. The mortar is then mounted in the chuck and hollowed using a standard grind bowl gouge. The mortar needs to have a thick wall and bottom.

The mortar is mounted in a jam chuck supported by the tailstock. The tenon is removed as much as possible, and the bottom is flattened. The piece is sanded using a power sander. The little nub is then removed and hand sanded.

The pestle is created from a spindle blank consisting of a piece of boxwood (for hardness) joined to a piece of ash using a mortice and tenon. The pestle is held between a chuck and centre (or between centres). A tenon is created and the blank is mounted in the chuck supported by the tailstock. The piece is shaped using a spindle gouge leaving waste material in order to remove the hole made by the rotating centre. The tailstock is removed and the nub is turned away. The piece is sanded and finished, and then parted off.

Pommels, Beads and Coves

To round off the day’s demo, at the request of one of the visitors, Steve demonstrated how to create a pommel using a skew and spindle gouge. He then went on to show how to create beads and coves using the spindle gouge.

Review: Steve Heeley Demo – Sunday 21st May 2023
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