Well, I’ve been busy lately! My thanks to all the clubs I’ve visited in the last couple of weeks; Erewash Valley Woodturners, Sheffield Woodturning Club and Chelmer Valley Woodturners. All were great fun, and although audience numbers varied, there was always lots of interaction and some interesting questions.
I could have done without the overnight road closure on the A12 though, which more than doubled a one-hour journey home! Strangely, when I talk to other demonstrators, it’s a topic that everyone brings up! And judging by some of the tales I hear, I still got away lightly!

Talking of demos, one of the things I always stress is the importance of preparation. That’s not only smoothing the timber before applying a coating, sanding each coat is important prior to applying another one. The idea here is to make sure each surface is as smooth as possible, as this will give the best final result. I often hear people talking about the need to provide a ‘key’ for the next coating, but that’s no really the case these days. As long as the two products are compatible, the second coat has been designed to adhere without any problems. And I was asked, this week, how fine should that sanding be? My answer is to use the same grit that was last used on the bare timber, but anything upwards of 320 grit would be fine.

I often have conversations at demos about how much to smooth timber. I believe that it is possible to go too far – and this is just a personal opinion – and this can cause certain timbers, particularly dense exotics, to lose their tactile appeal. They can be so smooth that they just feel like plastic! We’re talking about sanding with abrasives in the multiple-thousand grit rating.
But sometimes, you should consider the coating you’re applying as well. If you’re applying a stain, or sometimes even an oil, which want to be able to penetrate the timber, then it can be detrimental to sand past 240-320 grit. The pores clog too much, and the stain can’t colour as much as it should.
This isn’t such an issue with waxes, polishes and lacquers, as they don’t rely on penetration alone, they are designed to adhere to the timber.

Finally, this week, I was asked about what finish I’d suggest for a Banksia Nut (named after Sir Joseph Banks, don’t you know). Obviously, all the voids in them make finishing a little difficult, but the usual method is to use an aerosol finish; our Acrylic Gloss Lacquer is very popular for this, easy to apply and it fits most finishing requirements (hard-wearing, child safe, heat and water-resistant etc). It’s always good to keep things simple!

That’s all the questions for this week, no demos coming up next week to tell you about, for a change. Whilst I was up north last week, I visited the venue for this year’s Woodturning Weekender again. Our audio-visual expert came with me and was very pleased with the venue, and I was able to check some of the measurements. It’s shaping up to be a great event, as always, I do hope you’ll think about coming to join us. Just head on over to the Woodturning Weekender website for more info. Or feel free to ask!

Have a good week