Tuesday, September 22, 2015

On Saturday last we were all back again at Tony Farrell's for the September workshop.  Whilst Tony is very far from being a one trick pony - a look at his many and varied creations in his studio gives definite testimony to that - he has developed quite a reputation for his very large bowls.  It was, accordingly, not a great surprise when his subject for the day was a large bowl in ash.
He started from the very beginning by taking the members out of doors where he cut the blank from a large trunk.  All the while he explained his chainsaw technique and this alone was a valuable learning experience for most of us.  He then went on to demonstrate the care of the chainsaw, including the sharpening of it.
The blank he then mounted on his big VB36 lathe was then about 37% moisture content.  
Tony likes to rough turn his bowls initially and then put them away for several months until the moisture content is reduced to 16 or 17 per cent.  He then remounts them and finishes them.  He mounts the roughly rounded blank using a faceplate ring, rough turns the outside and then puts in a recess for turning the blank around so that he can partly hollow the inside.  
He leaves the ring in place for remounting later and this, of course, means that he leaves quite a substantial column in the centre.
When, at the beginning of his demonstration, Tony mounted what seemed to many to be gigantic blank and switched the lathe on several members lost no time in moving out of the line of fire in case the blank decided to part company with the lathe.  Not likely to happen, however, because Tony Farrell is the consummate professional and safety is his second name.
Our demonstrator took the wet, rough turned blank off the lathe and substituted one that had been prepared up to 12 months previously.  He took us through every stage of the process until at the end of the day he passed around a complete bowl, finished to perfection.
Thank you, Tony, for another great day in your workshop and thank you, Alice and your team for the delicious lunch, complete with your traditional baked ham.  There will always be a large crowd at Tony Farrell's workshop, the reputation for his lunch is hard to match.
There was a very disappointing entry for the monthly competition which was a bowl on a pedestal.  Ger Hennessy was the winner and it was agreed that the other three would share joint second.
Next month the competition is again a bowl, following Tony's demonstration.  It can be any wood, any shape or any size - though something bigger than an eggcup would be preferred.

Joe Kennedy, our librarian, has reminded me that DVDs of each of our monthly workshops are available to members at the ridiculously low price of €5.00.  Joe can be contacted at 086 3637378.

Ger Hennessy's winning entry

There was a disappointing entry of only four items for the competition

Tony explains the next step.

Tony tells the assembled members what tool he was using and why.