Saturday, October 15, 2016

For the October 2016 workshop we were back in familiar territory, in Leo O’Donoghue’s comfortable workshop in Little Island. 
Some of the attendance
For his project Leo decided to do a gavel and sound block.  A gavel is a small ceremonial mallet commonly made of hardwood, typically fashioned with a handle and often struck against a sound block, a striking surface typically also made of hardwood, to enhance its sounding qualities.   It is a symbol of the authority and right to act officially in the capacity of a chair or presiding officer.  The expression passing the gavel signifies an orderly succession from one chair to another.  The gavel is much associated with the judiciary but in truth I never saw a judge in this country using one.
In Medieval England, the word "gavel" could refer to a tribute or rent payment made with something other than cash.  These agreements were set in English land-court with the sound of a "gavel," a word that may come from the Old English "gafol" (meaning "tribute").
Leo O'Donoghue at work on his gavel
The main part or head of the gavel was made of mahogany and  the handle was beech.  The sound block was a combination of the two.
Leo drilled the hole for the handle first into the squared wood, on his drill-press, and then turned the head between centres.  For a finish he sanded up to 400 grit and used sanding sealer, followed by his own polish made of bees’ wax (from his own apiary) mixed with turpentine, liquid paraffin and carnauba wax.
When fitting the handle he split a section of it on the bandsaw and glued a wedge of mahogany and this gave the end of the handle a nice contrast.
Leo, with his completed gavel and sound block
Leo’s workshops are long recognised for the great refreshments served and this time was no exception.  Thanks, Leo and thanks too to your wonderful “catering staff”.  
The competition was a plate as demonstrated by Tony Farrell at the last workshop.  In “Advanced” Peter Manning was 1st, followed by Gerard Hennessy and Charley McCarthy, in that order.  “Intermediate” was won by Joe Kennedy, with 2nd and 3rd going to Jim Byrne and Michael Pattwell, respectively.  “Beginners” went to Pat Dromey for 1st and 2nd.

Competition winners.

The members agreed that we should vary the date for the November workshop as the regular date clashes with the Open Day in Ronaynes’ Shop in Thurles.  The new date will be 12th November at the usual venue at Togher at 1.30.