Ryedale Woodturners

Dave Lowe


Thursday 5 January 2017

Snainton Village Hall

A bright start to the New Year in our new venue, due to both the well lit room and the demonstration. Dave Lowe offered us a thorough exposition of the pros and cons of many different finishing techniques and products.

Oil finish

Dave Lowe

Dave started by completing the shaping of a small part-turned bowl with a little burr in it.

Whilst turning he reminded us of three things that will help ensure a good surface prior to any sanding or finishing application: a sharp tool, a high speed, and a fine cut.

In contrast to high speed for good surface, sanding should be at a low speed, less than 500 for a small bowl. This should be used to minimise the effect of inevitable high and low spots caused by slight movement in the wood once the centre has been removed: few bowls are perfectly round.

Sanding a bowl

Dave used a powered right angled drill to sand inside the bowl. He then applied citrus oil (lemon oil), which acts as a good base for other oils, penetrating deep into the wood as it is a thin oil. Finishing oil was then applied.

Dave Lowe

Finishing oil is a hard wax oil, and several coats should be applied for a high polish, ideally alowing each to dry overnight. These bowls show the difference between one coat and five coats.

Abrasive pastes

Yorkshire Grit

Dave had requested a sample of an abrasive paste made locally in Scarborough. Further details from the website as on the tin. It was the first time Dave had used it. Items are sanding to 240 grit, then the paste is applied. Pumice in the paste breaks down smaller during application.

Cutting wax

Cutting wax such as that made by Mylands does a similar job. One advantage of sanding using cutting wax is it reduces the dust, and creates a slurry which fills the grain. Applied with Nyweb pads following the GROW colouring scheme - green, red, orange and yellow. Read Mylands labels carefully - all the tins look the same.

Ash bowl

Dave did one side of an ash bowl with the Yorkshire grit, and the other side with cutting wax. A touch test did suggest that the finish was smoother on the grit side.

An old buffer

Three wheel buffing system

Buffing wheels next. The standard system is available most readily now from Chestnut, but also from Beall, comprises three different wheels to be mounted on a screw thread mandrel. The first wheel is used with Tripoli wax, which is abrasive, the second with white diamond, still abrasive but finer, and the third wheel with carnauba wax, a palm oil derivative.

Yew bowl

A yew bowl was put through the three stages of buffing, the final result being a highly polished finish. One suggestion was to have some shavings underneath the buffing wheel (on the floor) - pieces can catch and are then liable to fly downwards at considerable speed.

Limed oak bowl

Limed oak finish

Liming wax works well on ash or oak, leaving the characteristic lime patterning in the grain. The grain should be brushed out first using a liming brush.

A small oak bowl was given this treatment, then finished with microcrystalline wax. Only a small drop or two is needed.

Burnishing and friction polish

Yew finial

For a small finial turned in yew, Dave applied a spray lacquer and then burnished using a burnishing cream.

Friction polishes also work well on small diameter items, because the size allows the surface to be more or less permanently in contact with whatever is used to apply the polish, so heat can build up.


Acrylic polish

An acrylic pen was sanded to a high gloss - always finishing each grade with an up and down rub to remove ring marks. It was then polished using some micro gloss liquid abrasive.


Coloured rim bowl

For a finale Dave demonstrated using a little colour. A small bowl was given a reasonably wide rim. Ebonising spray to give a black base, then Buff It colour was flicked on to the surface at very high speed - at least 3000 ideally.

Coloured rim bowl

Once the pattern was established the centre was then cut away to leave a clean wood dish. Grooves were placed either side of the colour band to give a clear delineation between the colour and the natural wood. The whole was finished with a spray lacquer.

And that completed the tour de force for our New Year. Very informative, very engaging, and apparently very strong odours - enough to linger until the following morning. Thanks to Dave for the demo, to those who set up the equipment and customised it to the hall's demands, and to the numerous members who made clearing up at the end so quick and efficient.

A few pictures of our new venue and new equipment

Ryedale Woodturners

The view from the back

Ryedale Woodturners

The view from the front

Lathe trolleys

Bespoke trolleys for moving the lathe to storage

Nova DVR lathe

Our NOVA DVR lathe

Camvac dust extractor

Our Camvac dust extractor

Nova DVR lathe

Lathe with spotlight affixed