Serving Southeastern West Virginia

West Virginia Woodturners Association

The West Virginia Woodturners Association provides woodturners in southeastern West Virginia and western Virginia with an opportunity to meet other turners, enhance their skills, and share their skills and interests in woodturning. Send an email to to request additional information about the club and its activities.

Next Meeting - April 26

The April meeting will begin at 9:30 AM at Gerald Chandler's shop in Crawley. This will be the Club's semi-annual wood and tool auction so check your tool crib and woodpile for surplus stock that can be donated to the Club and purchased by other members. After the auction, J erald Carter will demonstrate how to turn a bowl from a single board or plank.

March Meeting Highlights

Twenty seven members and four guests attended the meeting on March 22 at Gerald's shop. In addition to the door prize and raffle drawings, several members brought their recent turnings for Show and Tell. Harry, Mike, and Cliff discussed tool sharpening - equipment available, sharpening jigs, and sharpening techniques. Harry also demonstrated how he turns small items from bankasia pods and tagua nuts.

Show and Tell

12" Cherry Platter
Nelson Dew

6" Translucent Ash Bowl
Charlie Myers

12" Cherry Burl Vase
Mike Cope

14" Natural Edge Bowl
Mike Cope

Cherry Urn
John Gregor

Walnut Urn
John Gregor

Cherry Urn
John Gregor

4" Bankasia Vase
Harry Newman

Sharpening Demonstrations

There are a large number of sharpening tools available ranging from simple grinders to elaborate systems with belts, water-cooled grindstones, or abrasive wheels with elaborate jigs to help produce consistent results. This demonstation focussed on the most common systems utilizing grinders with various jigs. Abrasive wheels are available in a variety of materials and grits. 80 or 100 grit white or pink aluminum oxide wheels are used by most turners because they are relatively inexpensive. Pink wheels cost about a third more than white wheels but last longer and generally cut faster. Since the abrasive particles quickly wear away on these wheels, it is necessary to use a diamond dresser to flatten the surface of the wheel since since the surface becomes convex since most sharpening is done on the center of the wheel. Cubic boron nitride is very tough and sharp and is the best type of wheel to use . Since it is bonded to a precision ground steel wheel, it does not wear and will last for thousands of sharpenings. While it costs about three times more than a pink wheel, a diamond dresser is not needed and CBN wheels never wear out.

Sharp tools are the safest to use and produce the best surface so turners want to have sharp tools without spending a lot of time at the grinder. Harry, Mike, and Cliff achieve that goal in somewhat different fashions. Harry generally uses the freehand method of sharpening which requires him to position his hands very carefully on the grinding platform so he can both support and guide the tool along the sharpening path. Mike uses a simple jig to set the angle of the grinding platform when he is sharpening scrapers or skew chisels. He uses the OneWay Wolverine sharpening system for all his gouges and uses the same jig setting for most ofhis gouges, even though the profiles may be somewhat different.

Mike uses a special jig for sharpening the Ellsworth-style grind on the bowl gouges he normally uses. The jig and the 120 grit CBN wheel allow him to sharpen his gouges consistently and quickly so he can concentrate on turning rather than sharpening.

Cliff uses several different profiles and tip angles on his tools so the Woodcut TruGrind sharpening system is ideal for him. The length of the support arm and the angle of the tool holder control the geometry of the sharpened tool, and there are indexing notches on both the support armm and the tool holder. Cliff has marked the length and angle settings on each tool so setting up the jig for each tool is quick and (almost) foolproof.

Harry Newman: Turning Bankasia Pods and Tagua Nuts

Bankasia pods are the seed pods of a flowering plant that grows only in Australia. Once the outer fibrous layer has been turned off, the inner portion is relatively dense with very interesting seed cavitiies. The pods are easily turned and can be used in many interesting designs such as vases, pen barrels, and clock mounts.

Tagua nuts are the seeds of the ivory palm which grows in coastal regions from Panama to Peru. Once the outer brown skin has been removed,the nut has the appearance and texture of ivory. It turns very easily and yields a very smooth surface. It is well suited for turning small, decorative items and components for larger turnings such as finials and knobs.

Since both tagua nuts and bankasia pods are small and difficult to grip, they should be glued to a waste block for mounting on the lathe.

Lathes and Lasagna

Lathes and Lasagna sessions are held on the first and third Tuesday evenings of the month at Bill Sproul's shop in Lewisburg. Turning is from 4 pm until whenever with dinner and a surprise dessert about 7 p.m. In addition to turning, one person also serves as "Chef of the Day" and prepares dinner and dessert for the group. In order for the Chef of the Day to prepare sufficient dinner for everyone, participants must RSVP to Bill no later than the Monday evening before the session.

General Club Information

For further information about Lathes and Lasagna or any other WVWA activity, call Bill at (304) 645-5332.

Supporting Companies

We would like to thank these companies for the support they have provided to the Club during the past year. Check out their websites when you are ready to purchase products that they stock.

Craft Supplies USA is a one-stop shopping site for everything a wood turner might need or want - lathes, tools, accessories, project supplies, materials, and more.

Woodcraft offers a 10% discount at the Roanoke store to WVWA members when they show a current membership card.

by WVWA, a chapter of the American Association of Woodturners