The 2019 Craobh Eo Seminar was held on Sat 23rd February in the Gateway Hotel, Swinford.

Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural & Community Development opened the seminar and welcomed delegates from around the country to Swinford, Co.Mayo.

Demonstrators for the day were Liam O’Neill (Spiddle, Co Galway), and Seamus Cassidy (Newgrange, Co Meath).


Liam O’Neill

Open Hollow form
 The first step is to mount a blank, beech in this case and shape the outside. Different shapes are possible. Liam used a homemade hollowing tool initially to open the top and set the depth with long drill bit. Next he introduced his Dennis Stuart hollowing tool with arm support that had different tips and hollowed a little further down.
Then two windows were cut from the side of the blank (still solid). The hollowing process continued. It’s a slow process as shavings clog up the opening initially and must be cleared.  Tool tips are changed as you go along. Eventually you can now see the tool through the sides.   Liam emphasized the importance of taking light brushing strokes from side to side. You can see exact thickness of wall. Amazing to see the turning through the cut out sides as it spins. This is a slow process, too long for a demo so the partially turned blank was left for another day. 
 Next Liam introduced a partially finished hollow form. He cut one side to reveal the inside and proceeded to shape the outside with the bevel riding nice and gentle on the wood. Then he cut the other side and proceeded to hollow out the piece. Again the tool could be seen through the opening. He stressed careful control, small steps and a long curve. Liam also mentioned Parfix (a superglue replacement) with no smell from USA that he uses to stiffen up wood.

Bog Oak Bowl
 Liam started this demo by explaining how to harvest bog oak. Blocks are cut into bowl blanks and soaked in water until you are ready to use them. This blank being used was 19 years in a barrel of water (he can tell stories as well). We are talking here about wet turning. Start with the outside of the blank, watch for cracks and use wide spigot for chuck. Finished base of bowl will be width of the spigot. Finish in one go.
Rechuck and hollow out inside of bowl. Keep on eye on wall thickness and make sure its wet. Turn final thickness at rim first and then work your way down. You will be left with bottom and use chisel with a different grind for bottom cuts. Important not to put pressure on wood as you turn. Finally sand wet going through the grits starting with 100 and sand inside and outside together. Rechuck using guide hole from earlier and tidy up bottom. Then final sanding watching for tiny cracks as you go.
Dry in microwave with mug of water. Superglue the cracks that appear and spray with water. Dried bowl will not be round in shape.
Finish with Danish oil or Ronseal.

Liam kept the audience engrossed during the day and we enjoyed him telling his stories and relating his experiences. 

A special presentation was made to Liam by Tom Jordan and Willie Creighton on behalf of the CraobhEo Chapter to mark his contribution to woodturning over the years. 

Seamus Cassidy

Green turned thin walled bowl with stitching

 Mount blank (ash chosen) in screw chuck with tailstock for support. Seamus used an Axminster screw chuck with holding screws.
Shape outside of bowl. Decide on optimum size and turn. Next turn a spigot and mark centre just in case you need to go back. With torn grain use a shear scraper. Rechuck on spigot and hollow out the centre. Drill hole at pith before wall gets too thin to avoid breakout. Use superglue to reinforce area around pith which can be soft. Finish hollowing.

 Seamus gave an example here of a blind turner who turned a flawless bowl to illustrate the importance of feel while turning.
Now sand the inside as you won’t get another chance. Go through the grits. Mark depth of bowl on tool rest. Mark out line for cutting and cut. Mount in a jam chuck and finish the outside bottom of the bowl to a point. Part off the tail very carefully holding bowl by hand for support. Sand as you go.

 Mask up the bowl along cuts and mark out line of cuts. Mark holes for stitching on tape. Use pencil and bradawl. Put tape also on inside to avoid breakout and use padding as well on inside for safety. Drill four holes on each side and repeat process on the side of bowl. Sand around these areas. Stitch using wax cotton shoe laces. Leather too big. Finally stitch up and tie, not too tight so it can open a bit. Apply danish oil to finish. You can also make base or a foot to display.

Three Piece Candle Stand

 Turn spindle first. Rough turn blank to a round and turn spigot at both ends. Last bit deeper inside for glue. Mark off against old spindle or drawing. Cut in to depth of old, remove waste and turn to match other spindle. Lots of different spindle cuts involved here. Sharpen up shoulders with skew. Then sand it except for the shoulders. Touch up shoulders with parting chisel.
Next the base. Drill hole for screw chuck in blank and mount in headdstock.  Drill recess for spindle on top. Flatten face and dish slightly around recess. True up edge. Mark out design and remove waste. Finishing cuts should be taken slowly.
For top, drill recess in bottom for spindle. Clean up face. Turn seat at top of recess for spindle to sit into. Like above mark out design, turn & finish. Next reverse chuck using recess. Drill recess to hold candle and slightly dish top.
For bleaching there are several options available. Finally assemble the candle holder.
This could also be a lamp. The middle could be drilled to receive the flex.

 As always, Seamus gave us wonderful demos on the day and we always look forward to seeing him. We hope you enjoyed your trip to Mayo.



 Both demonstrators adjudicated on the pieces and gave a critique afterwards. They pointed out that the standard was high and that little things made the difference when it came to the judging. Well done to all who brought their pieces.  


Winner               Colm Brennan      Sligo           Segmented Lamp

Second                Ian McDougall     CraobhEo   Bowl   

Third                    Ian McDougall     CraobhEo   Bowl


People’s Choice Colm Brennan     Sligo           Segmented Lamp