Friday, August 5, 2011

We are back with a vengeance!

Missed last month's meeting, so I think there's going to be a lot to catch up on.  Thanks to the guys at Water Gap Woodturners for the support during some tough days.

The meeting actually was preceded my an event.  Not just any event, either, but a free wood event.  One of the greatest benefits of being in the Water Gap Woodturners is our membership resources.  Ed Brannon connected us with the Park, and Dick Plog volunteered to trailer his Woodmizer bandsaw mill to cut the free walnut logs dropped off by the Park.

Now that the log has been loaded on the mill, life gets easier! Dick is operating the mill with a tremendous amount of supervision...I think Peter is from OSHA?

Now that the log has been loaded on the mill, life gets easier! Dick is operating the mill with a tremendous amount of supervision...I think Peter is from OSHA?
Did I say free wood? They look like they are working pretty hard for it? This is when I showed up, and backed my truck under that slab...Thanks guys! (Kidding, sorta...)

After everyone grabbed their share of wood, we went inside to hold the normal meeting.  Our first order of business was to have elections.  Ed Brannon and Mike Gurodis were unanimously elected president and vice president.  Jim Matthews  retained the Treasurer role, and I am still blogger/secretary/Director of Programs.  (I am Steven Antonucci, if you didn't know)

After the elections, which were hotly contested (nobody wanted to run...), we went to our first club challenge.  The Grey Towers black locust pieces were due for the exhibit that Ed Brannon set up with Grey Towers.  There were many good looking bowls, and only a few lathes broken during the process.

We also held our second drawing for tool donated by Doug Thompson.  Harvey Fein was the winner of a 1/2 V shaped bowl gouge in 10V steel and Doug's custom shot filled handles.  Doug is also making 15V steel tools now for just a few extra dollars.  15V steel has 2x the carbides compared to 10V, and it's effectiveness was proven out by turning partially dry black locust all night without sharpening.  Doug had sent me a 1/2 15V bowl gouge to test drive, and it is rapidly becoming a go to tool.  (

Harvey Fein thinks "moving the meeting to Thursday worked out great for me!" 

 Ed and Mike- our new leadership

After the Grey Towers Show and Tell, we had a surprise hands on demo session.  Mike Hunter had contacted me about connecting with Peters Valley, and we were asked to look at some of his carbide hollowing tools.  Mike sent a small ornament set and a Hunter #5, and I found some time to make beefwood (I think) handles for the tools.  They were donated to the Peters Valley/Water Gap Woodturners cause, and quickly checked out of the library by anxious members who wanted to try them out.  (

The tools are somewhat unique in that they use a replacable carbide cutter and cannot be sharpened. The cutter is actually rotated to a fresh spot when it gets dull, and the cutter gets replaced when it is dull all around. Because they are nano-carbides, they get sharpened to a fine, polished edge that lasts for a very long time. No sharpening.

After a five minute demo by Steve, we asked for volunteers to step up and take a try.  There is a short learning curve and then even a novice can pick up the tools pretty rapidly.  We had some of the black locust that broke Gary's lathe to practice on, and we cut it without issues to a fine finish.  Jim Matthews, Peter Thome, Don French, Izzy Padula, Harvey Fein, Ed Brannon all took turns making cuts, and with a few small corrections, were all doing well in a few minutes.

Jim gets a little adjustment from Steve

In the end, Jim and Don both checked out the tools from the library and will bring something that they made to the next meeting.  We're going to be sending surprises to Mike Hunter for supporting Peters Valley and the Water Gap Woodturners as a way of saying thanks (I made him a couple of things...)

The meeting adjourned with a quick clean-up (Thanks Jim, Don, Izzy) around 9:30.  Happy to take suggestions for next months topic?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

An Impromptu Appearance by a Turning Celebrity

Our June meeting had a surprise visitor:  Graeme Priddle (tan shirt and flip flops) was in town to teach at Peters Valley over the weekend, and joined us a couple of days before his class began (as opposed to wild Peters Valley nightlife ;-)
Our group assembled on the second Wednesday of June.  This is the final meeting that will occur outside the normal "first Wednesday" meeting rule.  Our next meeting is going to be July 6th at 7PM and we will follow this schedule for the rest of the summer.

We welcomed Graeme to the meeting and he joined us at the Show and Tell, even displaying and passing around some of his work.  Tony brought an interesting piece of pierced work that displayed great technical skills.  Richard is seen here evaluating Tony's sphere.
Clearly, the wow factor was Mike's piece of big leaf maple that was turned and carved.  Mike described a process of using the lathe to hollow and then refine the shape with power carving and power sanding techniques.  It is as big as it appears.

During the meeting, Ed brought up an opportunity to work with Grey Towers in two ways.  Firstly, in contributing work from the black locust that Ed brought.  If you took a piece (we know who you are...), you should be ready to bring a finished piece to the August meeting.  One piece will be donated to Grey Towers for fundraising in exchange for the opportunity to work with this historic wood.  Please do your best work.

In addition, we will be looking at staffing a day at the Grey Towers Festival of Wood event.  More as that evolves, but in short, it is an opportunity to work in the public eye and recruit new members to join the Water Gap Woodturners.  It looks like it could be a lot of fun.

Ed also had a bowl in a chuck with some cracking.  We're hoping he can save it by appealing to the turning gods.

Finally, the demo of the day was again given by Steve.  Using a hook tool, Steve quickly cut a jamb chuck for a scoop and hollowed out the bowl with a gouge lent to him by Graeme.  It was a team effort, and the scoop is an easy project that utilizes lots of different techniques.  It would be fun to see how many scoops come from the demo, or if the techniques can be leveraged into other projects (hint, hint!)

In July, we will try to nominate a new Executive committee.  Here is your chance to get a big fancy title.  All of the roles are open for volunteers, and none of them pay particularly well, but you can put it on your resume and that's good for something.  Step up and volunteer!

Until July- be safe and have fun!

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Day of Service

Once again, our photographer didn't show up so we'll have no pictures for this entry.  Please feel free to volunteer for the unofficial title...

The Water Gap Woodturners pitched in to help the Peters Valley Wood Studio reorganize and get ready for the 2011 season.  I'd like to thank the folks that lifted and tugged all of that heavy equipment around and repositioned into a more turning friendly shop.  When we left, there were still a few kinks to work out, but I am sure that Jim Whitman appreciates all of the man power we brought to bear.

In addition, you will also notice that the big Vega Lathe is no longer in the way!  YEAH!

We will be getting together in June on the 8th (not the first, as I have a prior commitment and the only key to the shop :-)  The topic is TBD.

In the May meeting, we began by discussing the topic of the upcoming David Ellsworth lecture.  It was agreed that we would fund it in the amount of $100.  Ed had suggested that we contact Kristen with regards to holding a raffle to recover some of the costs, but Kristen informed me that Peters Valley doesn't hold a gaming license.  Instead, we will be silent auctioning off the bowl gouge donated by Doug Thompson of Thompson Lathe tools with a starting bid of $85.  The retail cost of this gouge is $110 in the 16" handle, and if it doesn't get the minimum bid, we will take it back to the Water Gap Woodturners for another function.

On the topic of Doug's tools, we did raffle off a nice Thompson Spindle gouge and the winner was... ME!  After a fine celebratory dance worthy of Youtube fame (thankfully, no pictures taken), we took advantage of the new layout to practice making tops.  Got to get everyone ready for the December meeting, so practice, practice, practice!

Until June 8...Safe spinning!

P.S.  If you happen to be ANYWHERE in the Peters Valley area, check yourself for ticks...they are everywhere this year!

P.P.S.  The correct term for the item Peter brought was a molinillo (I think I said molinaro).

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Better Late Than Never!

The Water Gap Woodturners finally caught a break after the winter and got together in March at the Peters Valley Wood Studio.  The road was "passible" and  8 hearty individuals came up for a deep dive on the ins and outs of hollow turning.  After the discussion of business and the fact that there was an issue with the chimney and we couldn't run the heat, we did our usual Show and Tell.  Of course, there weren't any pictures, so it never happened!

 The topic for the day was hollowturning, lead by yours truly, Steven Antonucci.  We defined the term hollowform as a vessel that the opening is less than 1/3 of the major diameter of the vessel, and then proceded to talk about how to make tools, measure, and the proper techniques for getting the insides out.  The diagram at the right describes the cutting sequence and oddly resembles a set of Sorby Calipers?

With the shop heat only being provided by 2 small space heaters, we decided to make the day less hands on and more demonstrative.  Unfortunately, the vessel didn't make it off the lathe in one piece, but the viewers agreed that it was valuable to watch how the insides were cut without that little hole at the top.  Substantially easier to clear shavings too...

In the end, we parted with a mission for all of the attendees to try hollowing at least one time.  I can't wait to see the next S&T.

In closing, we'll be getting together one last Saturday before the Peters Valley season begins in May.  We are looking for members to step up and demonstrate at the next meeting.  Any and all topics are welcome and appreciated.  Turning experience not necessary.

Then, you can have your demo picture posted in the blog like this little beauty:

See you in April. 

Safe spinning.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday fun and a good cause!

Happy Holidays to and from the Water Gap Woodturners.  On December 4th, a great group of people got together for a Holiday party and to make a bunch of toys for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program.  Thanks to everyone that contributed and made the event the amazing success that it was!

I was going to write a lot of gushy stuff about how much I appreciate the folks that stepped up, but I decided that I'll just share some of the picture that Jim and I took (mostly Jim!)

Al works the spray booth.

Eyes and carrot noses pile up
Steve turns a cup...who is doing the assembly?

 Dick makes some wheels for the trucks

 It had better snow soon, cause we've got some snowman parts!

 Our tops are tops, and our ball in cup toys are mesmerizing

 Jim in the color finishing area...

Izzy busy?  You know he is... 

I never thought we'd get through all of this material... 

 And I never thought we'd get through all of this food!

Richard is focused, Joe is listening to Christmas songs, and Peter is ducking a photo op... 

 Tony is the final quality gate for assembly...

Wil and Harvey hard at work. 

Santa's elves form a production line...

Our next meeting will be in a similar format.  I still have to get an OK from Jim Whitman at Peters Valley, but assuming that is not going to be a problem.  We will meet at the shop around 1 PM on January 22nd until we are through (no lunch this time, so be prepared or eat first) and we will be back to our normal SHOW AND TELL followed by a hands on program (TBD).  If you have any suggestions, send them my way...

Happy Holidays and safe spinning-

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October recap

No pictures, so we can't prove anything...

We gathered to a growing crowd of turners, and interested bystanders.  As mentioned, anyone coming to a meeting and thinking about joining, here is your chance!  Join now for 2011, and we will grandfather you in for the rest of 2010!  The best deal in town just got better...

We kept our business and our show and tell to a minimum.  The S&T was about 12 objects made from the cherry that Dick Plog had brought in 2 meetings back.  Ed Brannon mentioned that we might want to do a similar event with the wood from Grey Towers as a potential fundraiser.  Kristin Muller also sent me the following note about Grey Towers locust auction:

Subject: Historic Locust Trees from Grey Towers to be Auctioned

Hi: The attached press release has details about the US Forest Service auctioning off historic Locust trees from the grounds of Grey Towers National Historic Site, home of conservationist and PA Governor Gifford Pinchot, Milford PA. Perhaps your organization might be interested in bidding for use as a fundraiser, or you may have some craftsmen who would appreciate working with this material.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you might have....

Lori Danuff McKean, Assistant Director
Programs, Partnerships and Communication
USDA Forest Service
Grey Towers National Historic Site
P.O. Box 188
Milford, PA 18337

Please direct any questions to Lori at .

In addition, Kristin also invites us to the Sussex County Fall Harvest Festival:

Subject: FW: Revised Harvest Festival Registration form

Calling all Agritourism, Ecotourism and Heritage Tourism entities out
there! Sussex County is having a Harvest Festival on Saturday, October
23, 2010 at the Sussex County Fairgrounds and we'd like you to
participate. See the attached registration form. There is no charge for
this event. The Fairgrounds is providing us the use of the livestock
barns, so everyone will be under cover. This event will help get out the
word out about all the good work you do. There will also be fun
activities for the whole family and demonstrations by Peters Valley
craftspeople. This is Peters Valley's 40th anniversary and they will be
celebrating with a separate dinner and auction (fee) that evening which
you can also register for. Feel free to pass this on to other relevant
organizations and individuals. Hope to see everyone there on October

Donna Traylor
Sussex County Office of Farmland Preservation and Conservation

Anyone interested in this event should contact Kristin (  and Donna about attending (I have a prior commitment.)

Our main topic of the evening was on how to build a lathe with matchsticks and ducktape.  Since there were no pictures taken, you'll have to take my word for it.  Seriously, we need someone to be the official photographer or this blog will be pretty sad (although much easier for me, since I don't have to edit pictures and layouts...).

Our main topic was finishing.  Joe volunteered to lead session about finishing, since he had taken a workshop earlier this year and works at a cabinet shop.  He walked us through a vairety of topics, including burning and wirebrushing to create texture, aniline dyes, and using scotchbrite pads to level the finishes.  He also brought a "reject" from his days at Tiffany, and suffice it to say that we'd all want to be able to produce this quality work!

Our next meeting will be on November 3.  As a reminder, it will include a show and tell as usual, but we are also going to be having a swap meet/tool sale/surplus inventory reduction.  Bring in that stuff that you don't use anymore and see if someone else might need it!  Bartering, cash, trade- we're all adults, and the rules are simple:  if both parties are happy, it's a deal.

Time permitting, there will be a short demo TBD on something... I reserve the right to make up something on the spot...

Safe spinning-


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

An apology to Joe Eid

I'd like to begin this entry with an apology to Joe Eid.  He had volunteered to lead a "hands on finishing" workshop for the September meeting, and I had no idea that we'd run so late with the usual stuff.  In the October meeting, we will limit the new business discussion to the following two topics so that Joe has all of the time he needs for the workshop:

1.)  Dick Plog's Cherry challenge (in place of the normal show and tell).  Please remember to bring your item that you made and we will limit all Show and Tell to be completed by 7:45PM, so try to get to the meeting by 7PM promptly.

2.)  Peters Valley Craft Fair recap and any other PV related requests.  As we know, the use of the studio is greatly appreciated and it would be great if we could contribute our time and some work as fundraisers for the programs that PV runs.

With the holidays approaching, won't it be great to know that you can become a world class finisher  if we can just give Joe about 90 minutes to get us through his program!

Steve Butler says hello.  As you may have heard, he's started the Blackstone Craft School in Massachusetts (  He also sent me a short commercial for a new public access program that he's doing called "The Garage".  I'm playing with Blogger features, so I hope this will appear in the post!

As a recap of the September meeting, we had a lengthy show and tell and discussion of club business. Of note, Dan Moore will be moving to Virginia in a couple of weeks, and as such, resigned as President. Richard Wortman will be filling the vacancy until the next election. Thanks to Dan for his efforts and Richard for stepping in!

Lastly, there seemed to be a good deal of interest in making a cowboy hat as a topic for future meetings.  Now that the summer workshops have ended, it may be possible to move the November meeting to a Saturday (I have to check).  Would anyone be interested in an all day WGW meeting one Saturday for a "super demo" meeting?  The idea would be to have two or three topics going on at any given point and a floating audience.  If the idea of making hats or a holow vessel or a bowl is intimidating, we could have lots going on!

 Until next time, happy trails, partner!