Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cherry Vessel with leaves

Height: 210mm (8-1/4")
Diam: 130mm (5-1/8")
Finish: Haarlem oil

This was turned out of a green piece of Flowering Cherry grown in Taupo and turned to 2 - 3mm thick. It was going to have a round bottom but it was a bit unbalanced so I flattened off and added the pattern. The pattern is done with pyrography, painted with black and gold then the iridescent green and blue painted last. My wife Sue thinks I'm mad adding so much detail to the bottom, when you can't see it and thinks it should be displayed on its side.

Comments and critique welcome

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Right picture, Delani and I.

Height: 9m (30 feet)
Width at base 4.5m (14 feet)
Carving: Totara
Legs: Steel

I haven't been in my workshop much lately as I have been helping with this Sculpture.
A Master carver Delani Brown, a friend of mine was commissioned to carve this piece. It is a gift to the Taupo community from Contact Energy and to celebrate 50 years of Geothermal
Power at the Wairakei Power Station.
Not a lot of turning but the plugs that cover the bolts are turned!!! I helped
design the legs and was the liaison between the architects and the steel fabricators
and Delani.
I started off making Delani a scale model to show him how his drawing
would look in 3D and work out how tall the piece was going to be when finished.
I have been working for the last three to four months on this project, cutting
out rot and replacing it with solid wood. The logs have been down for about
seventy years or so and some of the heartwood had started to rot and had to
be removed. One section we replaced was so heavy four of us couldn't lift it.
Each carving weighs a tonne, so there is total of three tonne of wood up
there. Fitting the carving to the steel work was a mission in itself, which
ended up being one of my jobs; I also did the red paintwork.
On Wednesday 10th Nov at midnight we fitted the carvings to the steel work
so the public wouldn't see it being erected. Each of the carvings was covered
in black plastic while we were fitting and once fitted the plastic was replaced
with a large black fabric cover. The sculpture wasn't to been seen by anyone
until the unveiling, which was five thirty the next Saturday morning. Nobody
had seen the finished sculpture, not even Delani until then. It's all to do
with Maori protocol and to be a surprise to the Taupo public.
It has been an amazing project and has been a privilege to work with Delani.
It's given me a greater understanding of Maori protocol and history.
Now you can see why I haven't been in my workshop lately!
Now it's up, I can get back into my workshop.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Toru 6

Toru 6
Wood: Matai
Diam: 160 mm
Height: 45 mm
Finish: inside vessels lacquer, outside rust

It was pointed out to me that was number 6 not 5, now corrected.

This is the smallest of this multi axis series, which is only half the size of Toru 4. I decided to coat the entire outer surface with the rust this time to give some contrast to the Matai. I think it works quite well with this piece. I started this piece in February and thought it was about time to finish it.
Comments Welcome

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Woods: Rhododendron, Tawa and Jarrah
Length: 750mm
Height: 350mm

There is more carving in this piece than turning and it had it ups and downs in the design and some of the processes used in the making but I'm pretty happy in the result. I had intended to have this piece more like a mutant monster but this is how it ended up.
The vessel is turned out of green Rhododendron, which would dry and give me some distortion and look more organic. The stem is laminated Tawa, using strips just over 1mm thick and formed and clamped in a MDF pattern.
The leaf is recycled Jarrah, which once was a side of our unused waterbed and had kept to use one day. (I had forgotten how dusty Jarrah was to work and my work shop was covered in red dust) I have laminated a strip of tawa through the centre. The vessel and the stem are air brushed it using acrylic paint.
Comments welcome.

Monday, July 20, 2009

New piece of woodturning


Wood: Rhododendron
Height: 200mm (8")
Texture: Pyrography and painted

I turned this out of a piece of wet Rhododendron to about 2mm thick and let it dry before doing the pyrography. It has a rounded bottom, which makes it rock if bumped, hence the name Balance.
The photo isn't the best sorry. I found that no mater what light source I used the pale wood over exposed and if I set the exposure for the bottom part of the vessel the picture came out too dark!??

Comments and critique welcome

Monday, June 29, 2009

New piece on the way

This is something new and one comment I have had so far is "you really are mad".
I like to try new things and have new challenges.
I will post a picture of it soon.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rhododendron Tube

Height: 315mm (12-3/8")
Diam: 70mm (2-3/4")
Finish: Haarlem oil

Richard Raffan's tubes on the last NZ Creative Wood Magazine and tubes by Dick Veitch inspire this piece. I wanted to have a go at one for a while, so here is my version of a tube.
It is turned from green branch Rhododendron that had a bend in it and was hoping that the stress in the bend would allow it to distort when dry.
I turned the out side then turned the inside with a wall thickness of 1.5mm and microwaved it until dry. I stained it with rimu stain then sandblasted it until it broke through in places.
Comments welcome.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Needs a name?

Sphere: Camphor Laurel
Dowels: Jarrah, Black Maire, Matai, Rimu, Lemon, Macrocarpa, Osage orange
Diam: 125 (5")
Height: 200mm (8")

I am very unsure of this piece and don't even know if I like it. I got half way through making it and was unsure whether I should continue and finish it.
The sphere is drilled, turned, drilled five more 20mm holes at 90 degrees to the original holes then hollowed, scorched and painted with a wash of dark blue. The side holes looked too small and decided to remount it and turn them to about 45mm. I think it looks better but still pretty weird.
What do think?
Sorry the photo isn't the best and, need better lighting.
Comments and critiques welcome.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Turn-fest 2009

Arrived on the Gold Coast at seven thirty on lovely sunny morning and jumped on the next shuttle to the Radisson Resort, which I must say was a pretty impressive place to hold Turn-fest. We checked in and got driven to our room in a buggy and our bags were delivered to our room, a lovely room with a great view as you can see by the photo.

As we had arrived so early Sue thought it would be a good idea to hire a car and drive up to Lamington National Park, which was about an hour and a half a way. We didn't have a heap of time so we decided that the treetop walk would be the best walk to do in the time we had. It was great to walk through the canopy and see the epiphytes and other plants that grow up there, which you wouldn't normally see from the ground.

We arrived back at the Radisson in time to set up my workstation. I was to share with Neil Scobie and I had arranged with Neil to bring along tools that I was unable to bring with me. I had a bit of prep to do before my demo, which was mid morning the next day. After finishing my prep it was time to get cleaned up and meet some of the other demonstrators before dinner. Great line up of demonstrators consisting of; Bonnie Klein, Brendon Stemp, Brian McEvoy, Cindy Drozda, Glenn Roberts, Ken Rraight, Lois Green, Neil and Liz Scobie, Robert Mckee, Terry Martin and Theo Haralampou, who unfortunately was unwell and unable to demonstrate.

I did six rotations of one and a half hours each. My first two I used to demo my leaf form hollow vessel. The second and third I made twisted lidded boxes and the last two I demonstrated one of my toru series which involved a fair bit of multi axis turning. I must admit I showed my audience what not to do when making one of these pieces but managed to resurrect it (with a fair bit of CA glue) enough to continue with the demo. My audience had a bit of a laugh to see one of the demonstrators have a mishap. We can't be perfect all the time!!! LoL

It was a fantastic event, wonderful venue and food. It was great to catch with some of the demonstrators whom I had met over the years and to meet some new ones. David Dresher and a small group of helpers put on the event and I take my hat off to him for putting on such a large event.
I had an awesome time as I'm sure every one else did and hope to get back there some time in the future.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Turning Tools Open Day

Hi All,
I was invited to demonstrate at the Turning Tools Open Day last weekend hosted by the South Auckland Woodturners Guild and put on by Ian Fish. I must say it was very well run, I think from memory there were about eighty five attendees or more, which was pretty impressive. The club rooms are very well set up and can handle that number if not a few more all in tiered seating.
The day started off with Dick Vietch opening the day then handing it over to Ian who gave us the program for the day.

Ian had organised for me to demonstrate from 10.15 and finish at 12 for lunch. During lunch there was plenty of time to purchase woodturning tools and equipment from Turning Tools and Treeworkx, also to look around the instant gallery and silent auction table made up of used tools and appliances. Shane Hewitt was demonstrating from 1.30 till 3.
For my demo I decided to do a small version of my “Toru” series, which involves mostly multi axis turning all on a MDF face plate. I used two eight mm gouges and a parting tool to achieve this form and showed how to reach in tight spots using different grinds on a gouge.

Shane showed us how to save part of the bowl blank by turning it off and adding it to the top of the bowl, making it taller. He also showed how to make a top for a hollow vessel using a different wood to add character to the piece and add height to the vessel.

The day was finished up with the countdown to the silent auction, with every one trying to get their last bids on before the cut-off time.
I had a great day. Thanks to Ian Fish and the South Auckland Woodturners Guild!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Turnfest 2009

Hi all, I'm off to the Gold Coast (OZ) for Turnfest an annual woodturning event held March 27 - 29. It is my first time at this event and I will be demonstrating some of my latest designs, for e.g. Leaf form hollow vessels and Toru series (multi axis work). If you are interested in multi axis work it will be worth coming along.(similar to the piece below but smaller)

I am also going up to the Turning Tools Open Day at the South Auckland Woodturning club rooms next weekend(Feb 28) and will be demonstrating multi axis turning. It will be a bit of a trial run for Turnfest, don't miss it if you aren't going to turnfest.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

New Piece

"Ripples" (Toru V)

Wood: Spalted Tawa
Diameter: 320mm (12 -1/2")
Height: 85mm (3 - 3/8")

I started this pieces a the Tauranga Woodcrafters Show in October last year and have been working on it off and on over the last couple of months to get it finished for an exhibition, which opens this weekend.
Sue my wife named this piece, as I couldn't come up with a name. The finish on the vessels is rust and I think it works quite well on this piece, what do you think?
I decided to carve the centre on this one and have no pyrography, a first for this series!
This a link showing the process I used to make this piece Click here
Comments welcome

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Busy time with woodturning events

Feilding Collaboration

I'm off to a five day woodturning collaboration this week which is hosted by Jim Manley down in Feilding. This will be my third time at this event but I didn't make it to last year's due to the timing, too many other things on at the same time!

I find collaborations great for inspiration and usually come back with heaps of new ideas, so I'm very much looking forward to it.

Pinargan Studios Exhibition

I have been invited to exhibit at Pinargan Studios with setup Friday week, so I am definitely going to busy for the next couple of weeks. I am at present finishing a piece for the exhibition and will add a picture soon.
The other exhibitors are
Michael O'Donnell - Clayworker, vessel maker, sculptor

Adele Mitchell - Painter and Host

James Sutherland - Painter

And Myself - Woodturner / Artist

Saturday Jan 17th 2009
309 Waite Road, Te Pahu
RD5 Hamilton

The Gallery will continue to be open from Sunday 18th Jan to Sunday 25th Jan
from 10am till 4pm

Pinargan Studios / Gallery
Contact Adele Mitchell