Did you see Richard Findley’s demo for Conkers LIVE this week? I’ve spent half of the morning passing on fan mail for him, with many describing it as one of the best demos they’ve ever seen. It’s available to watch on our YouTube channel (link at bottom of the page) for two weeks, so if you missed it, or just want to watch it again, the clock is ticking.
We had a few issues with the audio; despite Richard and I spending two hours before the demo trying to solve it the sound is a bit crackly, but this doesn’t really detract from the demo at all.
If you’re not getting bulletins and reminders about Conkers LIVE, and would like to, just head over to the website and sign up.
Richard answered loads of woodturning questions on the night, my turn now with some of the Chestnut related questions we’ve had recently…

Nearly all of the questions we get are interesting in their own way, this next one posed a particular problem. One of our customers had bought an Aerogun – the attachment to turn an aerosol into a spray gun. How, they asked, should it be fitted? They didn’t want to force it on in case they broke it. It’d take a lot to break them, they’re pretty tough; but the problem was, I’ve done it so many times it’s automatic, I couldn’t think of the process. And describing it was also going to be difficult! Anyway, I played with one to remind myself, and the easiest way is to put one side of the clip into place, then push the other side down so that it clips into place.

Is it too early to mention that Christmas is fast approaching? A question this week from someone asked to make decorations for an outdoor Christmas tree; how should they be finished? The best bet, assuming these are small items, is Acrylic Gloss Lacquer. Easy to apply and hard wearing, this should protect the baubles and be able to cope with most of what the elements can throw at it. Although the weather in December can get very bad, I’d also guess that these will only be outdoors for a month, so they should last that long – hopefully longer, but a close inspection would be a good idea. Much will depend on how exposed they are, and how thoroughly the decoration is enclosed. Any moisture allowed in will cause the wood to swell and make the finish crack.

We were also contacted by a turner using our Melamine Lacquer and, frankly, struggling to get a good finish with it. This isn’t unusual; the Melamine Lacquer is probably one of the most awkward products in our range, and requires, care, patience and practice to get it looking good. What’s the answer? Thinning the lacquer will help it flow out much more easily, allowing any brush marks to spread and disappear, and it also slows the drying time down enough to make it easier to apply. Our customer had thinned it down a little, but in some cases it can need about 20% thinners (Cellulose Thinners) added to make a difference. The end result is a great finish, but it can take a little getting used to. If you’ve tried and given up, have another go with the addition of a bit of thinners.

And lo, three questions answered already! I hope you found those helpful, and there will be more of the same next week.
The next Conkers LIVE will be on 3 November, with Paul Hannaby. I hope you’ll join us, and especially tell your friends. The more the merrier!

Have a good week, I’ll be back next Friday