Saturday, January 27, 2018

Workshop Report

Padraig MacAnFhaillghigh – Jan 2018.

January 20th brought a very cold and bitter wind to Dromahane but still 30 enthusiasts struck out for Padraigs workshop. Some arrived early for his tool sharpening tutorial which proved very popular. Many also stayed on afterwards to avail of his kind offer to continue with some more hot tips and one to one consults on issues around sharpening – ‘edge’ ‘edge’ and more ‘edge’ as we say.

Padraig began by showing a sample of a completed Grole (pronounced Groll). It was absolutely new to us insofar as it was never demonstrated before at any of our Workshops. It was pointed out to me later by someone more travelled than myself that it is common to the Savoy region of France and the Aosta Valley on the Italian side. It is an ancient wooden vessel with a small lid and several spouts (as little as 2 and as many as 10) – Padraig did eight spouts (see picture below). It is sometimes called a friendship bowl because it is designed for one to drink from the spout and pass it to the person to the right until all imbibed. If it is put down before the circle is completed it is suppose to bring bad luck. Traditionally it is filled with coffee, liquors, spices etc to produce a delicious hot drink. Interestingly the Grole should never be submerged in water, instead it is wiped down with a warm cloth and stored in the shade away from direct sunlight.
It’s always nice to listen to the story behind the artefact but it’s really the woodturning that gets us salivating. Padraig proceeded to explain the importance of planning out the stages in a good logical fashion and not to rush at it. A 12mm bowl gouge (finger-nail grind) shaped the lower two thirds of the bowl leaving a raised section for the spouts. The top surface was shaped leaving a slight recess where the lid would fit. Padraig now settled down to shaping the spouts with a Microplane rasp, a small saw and a ‘Microplane rotary shaper’. Alternatively, an Arbortech industrial carver and a mini carver could be used for this and the decorative carving later.
To remove the material from the inside, Padraig began by drilling the centre out to the correct depth. It was now a little easier to come back with the 12mm bowl gouge and draw-cut the bulk of the material. To finish off the inside a shallow grind bowl gouge was used across the bottom to avoid dig-in. Followed up with a scraper (inclined downwards) to give a clean finish.
It was brought to our notice that time had run on as it does when you are having fun so Padraig concluded with a question and answer session before we all retired to Padraig's sun-room for well-appreciated sustenance and plenty of hot drinks.
Shortly afterwards we returned to the workshop to finalise the Competition. This is a major part of what we do to help maintain and promote a high standard of woodturning in the Cork area. Once again a big thank you to the judges Brian Goulding and Leo O’Donoghue for their time and critique. Also, thanks to the competitors for coming out so soon after a busy Christmas with well-finished new pieces.

Beginners.     Ken Morey - 1st.
Intermediate. P.J. O'Brien - 2nd. and Kevin Geaney - 1st.
Advanced.    John Ahern - 3rd., Hugh Garrett - 2nd. and Ger Hennessy - 1st.
(photographs are shown below). 

Next competition is a bowl/vessel “with a difference” Our secretary Mick Boucher will be circulating, shortly, the actual ‘brief’ for the competition.
It is clear from Padraigs demonstration that the Grole is an ‘advanced’ project therefore extra care should be employed and always use a visor for faceplate work. Yet the skills shown can be adapted for less adventurous items that would suit all levels so there is no excuse for not using your imagination and not bringing your pieces along to next months competitions..

Safety Health and Welfare:
Safety is always foremost in what we do so remember to (1) plan ahead each stage carefully,  (2) assess the risks, i.e. envisage what could go wrong and act accordingly.

Finally we sincerely thank Padraig and family for their hospitality to the Cork Chapter once again and so soon after Christmas.
And as always a Workshop Report will never substitute for the real thing – the actual workshop. So keep the third Saturday each month reserved.

P.S. Also thanks to Padraig for organising the printing of  Life Story – Early Years, by Michael Box one of our founder members fondly remembered by all.