Did you see Ronald Kanne’s demo for our Conkers LIVE series? It was great fun and has been very well received, even with his internet breaking down at the very beginning – before he’d even started! Fortunately everything went smoothly after that. You can still see the demo – and me desperately padding to fill the gap! – on our YouTube channel. There’s a link at the bottom of this page.
We get new readers every week, so welcome to any newbies out there, let’s get on and answer some questions…

One question that came in recently, asked about the best finish to use on the outside of a purpleheart pepper grinder to preserve the colour for as long as possible. There are two parts to this question; the finish needs some UV filters in it to slow down the colour change of the timber (from a lovely purple to brown) and also be hard wearing enough for the use and abuse that a pepper grinder will get – it’s an item designed to be handled, with pressure applied to twist it. The best answer here is one of our acrylic aerosol finishes – either the Acrylic Gloss Lacquer or the Acrylic Satin Lacquer. Both contain UV filters and both dry to a very hard wearing finish, ideal for something that will be handled a lot. The finish is also highly water resistant, allowing it to be wiped with a damp cloth if, for example, subjected to sticky fingers.

Our Buffing Systems are, it seems, a never-ending source of questions – and, of course, we’re always happy to answer them. Whilst discussing them recently, my caller asked, mostly out of curiosity I think, why we didn’t produce a morse taper mandrel to use with the Buffing Tree.
When we first created our Buffing System (and the Buffing Tree hadn’t even been thought of) we decided to use a mandrel that is mounted in a chuck. This avoided having to have at least two different size mandrels, and the need for a draw bar to stop the mandrel from working loose during use. Another option would have been to bring the tailstock up, with a live centre in it, but to our mind this defeated the object of what we were trying to do.
The Buffing Tree, however, is used between centres, so it can’t come loose. But why have two items that do the same job? Including a morse taper mandrel with the Tree would increase the price unnecessarily, and you can bet whichever one you bought first, you’d find yourself needing the other in due course!

Finally this week, I’d like to return to a question that was covered some time ago. Our good friend Rowland sent in some extra information at the time, which I neglected to pass on, so here it is at last.
The original question came up following Richard Findley’s demo using pewter, and the time it takes to cool and solidify. Could/should it be put in a ‘fridge to speed up the process? Here’s Rowland’s take on it:

The rate of cooling is the differential between the molten pewter (approx 230) and the room temperature (approx 15ish). A difference of 215 degrees. If it goes in a fridge then the differential is 230 to 2 or 3. A difference of 227 degrees. Which when you think about it is not very different. The gain is minimal. Add to that the fact that the last time I used pewter (about 3 weeks ago)[this was in March] the temp in the shed was 0 degrees so putting it in the fridge would probably have lengthened the process. I have a much better method……. pour the pewter then pour a coffee. By the time the coffee (and obligatory biscuit) have been consumed the pewter is ready.

That’s about the end of this week’s Newsletter. Thanks for reading it, I hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you have, please feel free to tell your woodworking friends about it. I’m a firm believer you can never have too much information, so please do spread the word.

And of course, I’ll see you here again next week!

All the best