Well it’s all systems go here at the moment as we gear up for our online Woodturning Weekender. There’s been a load of work behind the scenes to get ready for this, and my thanks to my friends for their help and support and to my brilliant team around me for putting up with all these crazy ideas. I hope you’ll join us at some point over the weekend, if not for all of it. It should be a lot of fun.
Let’s sort out some questions…

Here’s one which, like many of the questions that come in, has been asked in different variations over the years. Namely, ‘is our Food Safe Finish ok to use on a kitchen worktop/table/dining surface?’. The answer to this one really depends on what is required of the finish. From the food safety aspect it would be fine, but, in our opinion, irrelevant. In our house we use plates on the table so it doesn’t need to be a food safe surface; in the kitchen we’re usually working on chopping boards and designated surfaces for food preparation, so the worktop doesn’t need to be food safe. (It needs to be clean and hygienic of course, but the coating shouldn’t need to be food safe). Add into this that the Food Safe Finish isn’t hard wearing enough to stand up to the regular washing a worktop would get and we think it’s the wrong choice for this job. It would require very regular re-application which wouldn’t suit everybody. (A better choice would be the Hard Wax Oil, although like most finishes, this can suffer if used near a sink).

Another caller asked whether he should buy the Buffing Tree or the Buffing Wheel Kit. That’s not an easy one to answer. As long as there’s clearance above the lathe bed to use an 8 inch wheel the original kit would be fine.  We kept the Tree short enough to go between centres and it will fit all but the very smallest hobby lathes. So the answer really comes down to what you want to use it on. If you make lots and lots of small items (fruit, mushrooms, boxes etc) then the Tree will be fine and more convenient, especially if you batch your work. That’s pretty much what the Tree is designed for.
If, however, you make a lot of bowls and larger items, then the original Kit might be the better option. The Tree has a limited amount of space between the wheels which makes it difficult to manoeuvre larger items between them; there’s no restriction with the Wheels in the kit. And of course you can still buff smaller items with the larger wheels. Hopefully that will help readers make a more informed choice.
(What we have found is that many people have started off with the Kit and added the Tree to it, to get the best of both worlds).

Finally for this week; we’re regularly asked about the Toy Safety of our products, and I mentioned a few weeks ago that the regulations and the associated test governing this, EN71 Part 3, had changed recently. We sent all of our previously tested products off to be re-tested to the new standard – the limit for Chromium had been made stricter.
Well the results are in and, as expected, everything so far has passed. We’re still waiting for the result on the Hard Wax Oil, we don’t think there’s any problem with it, just a delay on getting the certificate over to us.
And that’s important; all of the products we declare as Toy Safe have an official certificate from a recognised testing laboratory, confirming that the full test has been carried out and the products comply with the requirements. So if you’re selling anything that is even vaguely toy shaped and Trading Standards (or just a concerned customer) ask for proof that you’re using a toy safe finish, don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

And there you have it for this week. I’ve got to dash off now and get a few last minute things done for the Weekender. I’m starting to think that it was easier arranging one in the real world! I really hope we’ll see you over the weekend.

All the best