March 2020 Meeting


 The March meeting of the CraobhEo 2019/20 year took place on the 13th March in the CraobhEo Centre in Aghamore.

Frank Fitzpatrick, Shannonside Chapter and Journal Editor was our demonstrator for the evening.

The main objective of Frank’s demo was to demonstrate the art of colouring on a concave shaped lidded box. First he explained about colouring techniques and how you can use water based or spirit based dyes.

For the box base, mount an 80 mm by 130 mm sycamore blank between centres, round down to a cylinder and turn tenon for chucking. Now mount a second blank, with a slightly wider diameter for the lid, again round down to a cylinder and turn chucking spigot. Frank explained how to turn the optimum tenon size for your particular chuck. Remount the base and shape the outside to a concave shape. Discussion here on how to cut with a skew, 45 degree angle and on the sweet spot about one third up from the heel. A good finish is required for colouring with minimum of sanding, hence use of the skew. Sand with 180 grit up to 600 grit and sand on top to keep dust away from you (John Malone tip). Finally sand with the grain.

Next insert 1 5/8th” forstner bit and hollow out to a depth of 85 mm. Keep lathe speed down to preserve bit life and hold onto chuck. A heavier base is better for colouring, say 10 mm or double the wall width. Continue hollowing with your preferred tool, in this case a Simon Hope hollowing chisel. Finally sand the inside of the box.

Next the colouring. Apply mentholated spirit and denib fibres. Using gloves, apply a series of solvent dyes to achieve your desired finish. Start with black (bottom) and green (top) base coats and set with a naked flame. Sand off with 400 grit sandpaper and wipe off any excess. Now dab on a band of black dye at bottom followed by purple, green (middle), yellow to make it pop at top and then a light coat of yellow all over. Finally apply mentholated spirit and set with a naked flame. Seal with an acrylic sanding sealer, smooth with 600 grit, and then apply five coats of acrylic lacquer (gloss or satin).

Now for the lid. Remount, face off and turn tenon to fit lid into base. Hollow out. Remount in a jam chuck and turn the finial and top of lid. Cut off top to desired design. Cut circle designs on lid itself and sand. Apply black dye, open circle again with point chisel. Finish with ebonising lacquer.

Thanks to Frank for a really lovely demo with plenty of tips and dealing with a subject that is a hot topic at the moment, colouring. It was great to see you back and we really appreciate it. Also great to meet Arthur who travelled with you.


 Competition piece for March was a ceiling rose. A big thank you to all who took part. Frank did a critique on each entry and was impressed with the standard on display. Our thanks to Frank for that.

 Competition piece for April is a three legged stool. 




 Monthly Chapter Competition Winners

Winner –   Michael Maye

Second –   Padraig Grealis

Third –       Paddy Treacy