I know some of you use the Newsletter as a calendar, to remind you that it’s Friday, and yes, it is! Another weekend is nearly here! It seems ages ago, but it was only last week that I gave an online demo for Axminster Woodturners; it went very well, and my thanks to them all for being so hospitable.
And there’s some potential good news further down this Newsletter. Meanwhile, it’s question time – which reminds me, we’ll be holding another online, live Question Time sometime soon, so if you have a question for our panel, please let me know.

I was asked this week for some advice – Buffing Tree or Buffing Wheel Kit, which is better? It all comes down to what you make, really. The Tree is designed for buffing small items; pens, fruit, small boxes etc, and it does it very well indeed. Being able to load all three wheels at pretty much the same time, and then move from one to the next without stopping the lathe can be a real boon. If you’ve made lots of small items you can batch polish them very quickly.
However, if you’re making larger items, the 3 wheel option is best, as these allow more room around the wheel to manoeuvre larger items. And, of course, you can still buff smaller items with it. Changing the wheels takes just a few seconds, so it’s hardly onerous. The choice really is the buyer’s.
The mandrels and compounds etc are exactly the same in either option; so, if you have one, it’s easy to add the other at a later date without having to buy new mountings etc.

Another email asked about a finish for a pepper grinder. In particular, what to coat the inside of it with. To be honest, in most cases I probably wouldn’t bother. With dry foodstuffs such as peppercorns the inside of the grinder isn’t going to get messy, and as no-one (that I know of, anyway) washes the inside of a grinder, the timber doesn’t need any protection. My correspondent asked if Melamine Lacquer was a good choice, and as peppercorns are dry and inert (no juices or acids etc) it would be fine, if one wanted to use something. The part of the question I couldn’t answer, though, was about the timber being used. The plan was to use Yew, known for its toxicity. I had to admit defeat on this one, I simply don’t know enough about timber safety to answer it, and suggested checking with a proper expert about it.

Last, but not least for this week, I was asked if Acrylic Lacquer would be suitable for an outdoor wooden sign/plaque. I said probably not; depending on how exposed it was the finish could deteriorate very quickly. The better choice would be our Acrylic Gloss Lacquer, the aerosol one, as the resins used in that are very hard wearing and able to stand up to much harsher treatment. A clean up and recoat would probably still be required in the medium term, but it will stay looking good a lot longer.

And that good news? Well, on Sunday, we’ll be sending out a major update about the Woodturning Weekender, at long last. If you’ve signed up for our bulletins before you’ll hear the news first. Hopefully it’ll be a good way to round off Valetine’s Day! If you haven’t signed up before, you can do so by clicking here; you can also sign up for details about our Conkers LIVE series at the same time if you want.

Enjoy your weekend, and the week, I’ll see you back here in seven days.

All the best