2014 Programs

2013 Programs

January 23rd
"Marketing Your Turnings"

by Dave Dunn and Lyle Solem

Dave and Lyle discussing
pricing of Larry's bowl

Dave Dunn and Lyle Solem's presentation at the January club meeting covered marketing our turnings.

Various outlets for selling our works were discussed including consignment shops, craft fairs, art cooperatives like the South Eastern Minnesota Visual Artists Gallery (SEMVA) and others as well as the advantages, disadvantages and costs associated with them.

Lyle reviewing identifying costs and calculating expected profits

Setting the price for a turning proved to be an exercise in determining market demand for a given audience (craft crowd, utilitarian, art, collector).

The ways in which the visual appeal of the design, the level of finish, 'hand feel' and many other factors both visual and tactile influence the price that could be charged for the piece was also discussed.

Once the price was set a comparison with true costs including time invested had to be made to get an idea of the profit of the proposed sales technique. We were reminded that bartering by potential customers or price reductions if the turning did not sell in a reasonable time period would change these numbers.

Dave ended the presentation with a reminder to never let the 'inside' of the turning become the 'outside' showing us a vase that can only be used for a very large kaleidoscope now that there is a hole in its bottom.

Show and Tell

February 27th
"Inside-Out Turnings"

by Chuck Grimm

Chuck Grimm at work

Chuck Grimm's presentation at the February club meeting introduced 'inside-out' turnings. The demo used a heart shaped candle holder to discuss the basic concepts behind an inside-out turning.

The turning of the inside of the candle holder was accomplished with these surfaces of the squares facing 'out'. Chuck used screws to hold the blank together to avoid waiting for the glue to dry.

Chuck turing the inside facing out

After the inside was sanded and finished each of the two squares were rotated 180 degrees to expose the outside surface so it could be turned. Chuck uses the 'shadow image' of the rotating blank to judge his cuts stopping the lathe periodically to inspect his progress.

Chuck recommends you take very light cuts with a freshly sharpened tool when getting close to the final dimensions of the piece to minimize chip-out on the edges as well as keeping yourself from removing too much wood in any area.

Completed example

Show and Tell

ZVW Displays and Demonstrates at the 2014 Rochester Woodcarvers Show on March 22nd and 23rd.

Each year the Rochester Woodcarvers hold a two-day Woodcarvers Show in the 4 H building at the Olmsted Co. Fair Grounds to display their handiwork.

We thank the Rochester Woodcarvers for welcoming the Zumbro Valley Woodturners to join in this event to display our turnings, demonstrate on the lathe and educate the public in the art of woodturning.

Lyle Solem, Mike Schmidt and Chuck Grimm answering questions at our display table.

ZVW volunteers also demonstrated woodturning on our Club's small lathe. We turned honey dippers, holiday ornaments, finger tops, small bowls and other objects to give away to the crowd.

John Thorson turning a small bowl for someone

The Zumbro Valley Woodturners club donated several turnings to the collection of items on the raffle table that the crowd could bid on. All money collected in the raffle is used by the Rochester Woodcarvers to pay for this show, there was no attendance charge.

Raffle table at the Woodcarvers Annual Show

One of our club members, Chuck Grimm, gave away one of his hand-made lamps with a turned Boxelder lampshade. You may have to zoom in on this photo to see it in the center of the front row. This turning had a very full 'bid bag', very generous Chuck!

Our Volunteers at this Event

Lyle Solem and his wife Donna
Dale Eppen
Chuck Grimm
Mark Bherends
Mike Schmidt
John Thorson
Bob Post and his wife Karen
Dave Dunn
Jerry Huneke

A big thank you to Chuck Grimm who took on the organizational responsibility required to make this project a success for our club.

March 27th
"Carbide Tools and Techniques"

by Special Guest
Mike Hunter

Mike Hunter, founder of Hunter Tool Systems, presented the wide range of carbide tools produced by his company and demonstrated their use at the March meeting of the Zumbro Valley Woodturners Club.

Mike Hunter demonstrating

Mike turned an off-center golf tee and a hollow form using a variety of tools and techniques. Mike provided detailed information on the tool and the various types of cuts it was capable of as he demonstrated.

Off-center golf tee created by Mike

The primary tools used by Mike in his live demonstration were from his Hercules and Osprey line. With either of these tools Mike could scrape, shear scrape or rub the bevel in a push or pull cut.

Hercules on left
Osprey on right
both photos from Hunter Tool Systems website

There was a hands-on session after the live demonstration and club members had a chance to try some of the tools Mike brought along with him. Members were also able to purchase tools at a discount at this time.

Several members tried the bevel rubbing push cut with the Osprey and Hercules tool and were able to manage it in a nearly traditional manner due to the angle of the carbide cutter and the tip profile of the tool shank.

If you are an AAW member you might want to look back at the article in the American Woodturner December 2011 issue: "Carbide Cutters Are Here to Stay" by Lyle Jamieson.
This in-depth look at the virtues of carbide cutters and how to use them is a very good compliment to what we saw demonstrated in this event.

Details posted earlier for this demo

March 29th
Special All-Day Hands-On Session
"The Wooden Bowl"

by Special Guest
Jim Sannerud

link to event summary

April 24
"Carving on Your Turnings"

by Cherl Jones and
Ron Jensen

Power Carving
Ron Jensen

Rod introduced power carving by discussing the various types of systems on the market and when he would use a rotary system as opposed to an impact system.

Ron prefers the results of the power carver (impact) system and uses this type of tool whenever appropriate.

Ron discussing carving systems and his approach to relief carving on a bowl

Ron shared details on his approach for the layout of a pattern and working with the wood grain of a bowl surface for relief carving. As in all types of woodworking Ron had to go to plan-B and modify his design a bit to work on this bowl. Keeping his tools sharp was very important to getting a clean cut.

Relief carving example by Ron on a Silver Maple bowl

Hand Carving
Cheryl Jones

Cheryl introduced the club to carving on our turnings using hand tools.

Although Cheryl also demonstrated the traditional triagular-chip form of chip carving she used a free-form, flowing line style of chip carving on her bowls.

Cheryl educating in traditional chip carving techniques

Cheryl discussed the various knives she prefers for each carving technique, her approach to each type of cut and how she sharpens her hand tools.

Cheryl has an acquaintance that helped design her patterns on computer so they could be scaled to fit the piece and printed in a manner that she could transfer to the bowl with a small iron. Using this technique Cheryl transferred the same pattern to two bowls, carving one in reverse of the other creating a very different visual affect.

Intricate pattern Cheryl is carving on a Basswood bowl

Show and Tell for this month

Education hour for this month

May 29th
Nick Cook Style Baby Rattle
by Todd VanDeWalker

Nick Cook Article in American Woodturner magazine
Heirlooms in the Making, Turned Baby Rattles

Inspiration for Todd

The baby rattle design Todd follows starts with two halves that are each routed at one end to make the cavity for the beans to rattle around in. Todd uses navy beans for his rattles. The beans are placed in one half before the two sides are glued togehter to make a completed blank.

Todd and his father Jim have opinions on what the correct number of beans are to make a good sounding rattle.

The Bean Count Discussion

Todd began using his table top micro lathe after a skiing accident made it hard for him to stand at a standard full size lathe. Although now healed Todd still favors this small lathe for ornaments and pens.

Todd Turning While Seated at Micro Lathe

Todd had a wealth of information on how to turn an object of this type efficiently, safely as well as how to avoid all of those things that could go wrong when turning an object with an internal void.

Part of the trick to making a good rattle is to get the walls thin enough to produce a good sound but still thick enough to be strong. Todd mentioned the diameter required to keep the rattle from being a choking hazard to an infant and this point is stressed in the Nick Cook article too.

Question and Answer Portion

Todd either uses no finish at all or a food safe oil finish on his rattles.

Show and Tell for this month

Education Hour
Bonnie Klein
ABC Woodturning Basics

Education Hour
Lyle Jamieson
AAW Winter 2006 Article
How to Avoid a Catch

June 26th
The Woods of South East Minnesota
by David Svien

In the presentation hour of the June club meeting David Svien shared his knowledge of the characteristics of the wide variety of tree species common here in south eastern Minnesota.

The Minnestoa DNR lists 65 deciduous and 21 confierous species of trees for our area. David discussed most of these including those species few of us have considered for turning.

David answering questions

The presentaton opened with a wood identification challenge to the members. David passed out some tree-cookies and a list of tree species. Each member was to match up each tree-cookie with the right species. It was a difficult task for all present.

Tree Cookies


David also reviewed two reference books we have in our club library on the topic of identifying and understanding wood.

Highly Recommended by David
Understanding Wood
by R. Bruce Hoadley

Identifying Wood
by R. Bruce Hoadley

Audio recording of this presentation

Show and Tell for this month

July 31st
Winged Box
by John Thorson

Many other other woodturning clubs in America have either invited Jimmy Clewes in to demo his techniques or done their own version of his Oriental Box demo. So it is not surprising that the ZV Woodturners put this topic on the agenda for our July, 2014 monthly meeting.

Jimmy Clewes holding his Oriental Box in a shot from his Turn it On DVD set

John approached the task with a goal of eliminating tear-out on the interrupted cuts of a winged object by working with the grain as much as possible. A 1/2 inch bowl gouge was selected due to its ability to resist vibration. The gouge was sharpened with a 40 degree bevel angle and the heal of the bevel ground back to give a clean cut and turn a tighter radius.

The winged box would be cut as if it were two bowls...

Basic desing and plan of attack

Number 1 in the photo above: push cut the underside of the wing as if it was the inside of a bowl

Number 2 in the photo above: push cut the outer surface of the box as if it was the outer surface of a bowl

Number 3 in the photo above: push cut the upper surface of the wing as if it were the outside of a bowl

Sharp tools and a relatively fast lathe speed helped made the cuts easier to do in the time allowed. John admitted that we would not normally turn a side-grain obect at over 2,000 rpm.

Design prototype for this demo

Video recording of this presentation

Show and Tell for this month

Education Hour for this month
A review of basic bowl turning tools and techniques

August 28th
Wood Finishes and Finishing Techniques
by Tim Sullivan

Tim Sullivan is formally trained in wood finishing.

Tim Sullivan presenting

His mentor, Bob Flexner, has written many books on the subject of wood finishng.

The Bob Flexner book referenced in this presentation

Tim gave us a quick overview of all of the many types of finishes we might choose to use in our various wood turnings. The discussion included information on what what was in the can as well as how the finish worked and stood up over time.

The first category discussed were the solvent based wood finishes; primarily lacquer and shellac. There are a variety of solvents used to deposit lacquers on the wood surface but alcohol is the primary solvent used for shellac. A solvet not only deposits deposit the finish on the wood as it evaporates but it can also be used to repair or renew the finish as Tim demonstrated by roughing up a finish and then repairing it using a French Polishing technique.

Tim's documentation on surface finishes

Blonde shellac flakes

Next were the finishes that cured, mainly varnishes but some varnish and oils mixes. Some of these finishes cured in the wood while others cured on the wood. This category was very broad covering a wide variety of finishes from chemically complex plastics to those based on the traditional resin varnishes and turn or other polymerized oils.

What is in a name? As it turns out, nothing. To find out what is really in any of these finishes one must read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) on the product.

Waterlox familiar finish to club members

We ran out of time before getting to the final category, the oil finishes.

Tim's documentation on oil finishes

Question and Answer Time

Tools and Techniques #3
Scrapers, Parting Tools, Carbide Tools

Show and Tell for this month

September 25th
Annual Picnic

The main agenda for the September meeting was of course good food and good company.

After the monthly club business we got to the main event, the Corn Cob Challenge

Our team of impartial judges counting the votes...

The winner, Dave Dunn for this Corian scoop

Gallery of all entries in the
2014 Corn Cob Challenge

Show and Tell for this month

October 30th

Turned Cowboy Hat
by Speical Guest
Joe Grimm

Joe Grimm presented the turning, drying and finishing techniques he uses to create his wooden cowboy hats.

Joe discussed various cowboy hats, both full sized cowyboy hats large enough to wear and mini hats.

Joe turning a mini cowboy hat during the demonstration part of the presentation..

The event was well attended, members had been waiting eagerly for this event.

Perfect fit!.

Show and Tell for this month

November 20th

Education Hour
Wood Harvesting
From Log to Finished Turning

Tool Steels and Tool Making
Chuck Grimm and John Thorson

Chuck Grimm and John Thorson discuss the various High Speed Steels used in the woodturning tools today and then the club members engage in a DIY tool creation event.

The presentation started with a discussion of the attributes of the various tool steels, the mix of ingredients used in their alloys and the processing differences required to produce the various high speed steels used in the wood turning tools available today.

Several tools that could be ground from a round HSS steel blank were discussed next.

Coving tool on the left has one ground facet, round skew on the right has two facets.

Pyramid point tool on the left has three 45 degree facets, detail point tool on the right has three facets too but is ground back at a 30 degree angle.

The fluteless gouge or skew-chisel-gouge can be ground as shown on the left or as demonstrated by Alan Batty on the right.

The grinders are ready, it is time to create some tools!

Although many members made a version of the pyramid point tool there were several detail point tools and fluteless gouges created during the hands-on portion of this presentation.

Pre-hardened 1/2 inch diameter M2 HSS tool bit blanks were selected for this event. This made the grinding a bit slow but when completed the tool did not require a hardening and tempering step before it could be used.

Tool steel discussion and example of some types of tools that can be ground from round bar stock

Show and Tell for this month

Education Hour for this month
Processing Green Wood for Wood Turning

December 18th

Holiday Social

For the December meeting the Zumbro Valley Woodturners club members all bring some of their favorite holiday treats to share.

During the social portion of the event each club member as well as their guests were all introduced.

As always the Show and Tell sharing time was very lively with many questions and suggestions coming in from the expanded crowd.

Show and Tell for this month

One topic was wood butter, a mixture of beeswax and oil. The oils used by members were walnut oil or mineral oil and the mixes ranged from 4 parts oil to 1 part wax for thicker paste to 6 parts oil to 1 part wax for a creamier butter. Many instructions for mixing your own wood butter can be found on the web, most often on cooking sites where the focus is on care of your wooden spoons.
Home made spoon butter

Another question of note was on where the closest woodturning museum was. The best answer to this is the American Association of Woodturners Gallery of Wood Art in the Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. There is a live demo of wood turning every Sunday from noon to 3, a hands-on section that is very family friendly and the main exhibit is constantly changing. Check the Gallery web site for details on the current exhibit, hours for the day you intend on visiting, parking suggestions and other details. Admission is free and AAW membership is not required.
AAW Gallery of Wood Art

Summaries of earlier programs can be found in the ZVW Repository

ZVW Mentors Program

One of our club's objectives is to enhance our members' woodturning knowledge and skills. To further this objective, the Zumbro Valley Woodturners has a mentors program. This program encourages a ZVW member to have a one-on-one learning experience with a ZVW woodturner who may have considerable skill in a particular area.

The ZVW members in the following table have volunteered to assist other members in learning more about specific woodturning techniques. Any ZVW member who feels confident in any particular woodturning area is welcome to volunteer to be a mentor.

Bill Beckman
Zumbrota, MN


Duff Bement
Pine Island, MN

Bowls, Bowl Coring

Dave Dunn
Rochester, MN

Small Items, Surface Enhancements

Lyle Solem
Rochester MN

All Areas of Turning, Jigs & Fixtures, Small Items

A member who desires assistance in improving a skill, or help with a project, contacts one of the above individuals. A mutually convenient time and place is then arranged for one or more discussion and instruction sessions. This might be in the member's shop with the member using his own lathe and tools, or at the mentor's shop. More than one member may participate in a session if it is agreeable with the mentor.