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I write occasional daft emails to fellow members of my woodturning club.  As we get new members, some of them are stupid enough to ask me for some of the older emails.  As time passes and the read them, they will learn never to ask again - but meanwhile I have to dig into my email archives and find old items and then send them one by one to the unlucky recipients.

You would think they would find more useful things to do with their lives than read the sad wittering's of this old fool and try to make something of their lives - but no!  Any that appear here will do so in reverse order, there are many reasons for this, but logic is the main driver.  If there is one thing I have - it is logic.  Not much else to be fair - but I do have logic.

I have only recently worked out how to put the pictures in, so many are still missing.  I will continue to work on it.

62 - Wood you like some?

A short one this month as you had too many emails last month. (If I say it will be short it rarely is of course!!)

Mid-summer holidays are in full swing and the roads are quiet. You will have noticed it is easier to get about if you go to work in the morning. I wouldn’t know of course because I don’t really work anymore.

Frankly I never used to work that much anyway – I had a piece of paper you see, and as long as I walked around the office with a look of grim determination on my face, holding the aforementioned piece of paper I found people left me alone on the assumption I was on my way to:

  • berate someone for shoddy work

  • get to a meeting I was obviously late for

  • get to reception to meet a customer who had just arrived to see me about something important

  • rush to another department to dig them out of the shit

  • rush to my own department to dig myself out of the shit

  • do some secret but vital piece of work

Under no circumstances would I allow myself to be stopped in my apparently important perambulation, unless of course the enquirer had on a very low-cut blouse – which is fair enough I thought.

Once back at my desk I would take the plaudits for any successes that occurred during my absence – putting it down to my own very good planning. If there were any failures while I was away – how could they possibly be my fault as I was elsewhere at the time?

One day I shall write a book about the art of being the perfect employee, I have so many tips.

Anyhow – this has nothing to do with woodturning, so let’s see what we have on the menu this month.

  1. Next Tuesday’s monthly evening meeting on 13th August

  2. September social on 28th September

  3. Saturday workshop on 24th August

  4. New Members

  5. Newbury Show

  6. Fruit for the Newbury show

  7. New Lathe

  8. New bike

Next Tuesday’s monthly evening meeting on 13th August

Following a wonderful demo last month from the ever popular Tony Halcrow, the monthly meeting this month is one of two members evenings we have during the club year when we get our hands dirty. We are going to spend the evening making platters.

We will split into teams and have at least 4 lathes between us – possibly 5. Each team will make a platter (or platters) and at the end of the evening we will decide who is the winning team. We may not say the best platters win, there may be teams who are made up almost entirely of beginners – and lots and lots of points will be awarded if novice turners were heavily involved in the work being produced.

Please remember this if you have novice turners in your team, it is about taking part and learning more that producing a work of art.

We do still have a competition in August, and unless you have already made it, the subject is a pair of identical candlesticks.

About meetings, please remember that we are doing our best to be as green as we can so you can help us by bringing your own cup for half time refreshments. We do still have paper cups, which of course can be recycled – however if you have one of your own to bring – that is better still, and also saves money for the club as we don’t have to spend £60 buying a box of paper cups periodically.

So, this talking dog goes to a hardware store and says, “Can I have a job please?” The owner says, “We don’t hire dogs, why don’t you try the circus”. The dog replied – “what would the circus want with a plumber?”

September social on 28th September

We discussed the September Saturday workshop at the last committee meeting (there are some of us still standing) and are building plans. Here are a few possible items – I stress the word possible as there are still arrangements to be made.

A possible visit from Tony Halcrow, perhaps to help novices with a little bit of off centre turning. This is by no means confirmed – I have spoken to Tony and while he wants to be there, he is looking to shift his family commitments around a little bit to allow attendance.

Perhaps a barbeque. We will be running from 10.00am until about 4:00pm, and while we do not intend to feed the 5000 but we thought it would be fun to do a barbeque. I think that if we do some basics as a club, but then if you all bring along a picnic, and perhaps some bits you want cooked – we can probably sort it out between us all on the day. We will organise a gazebo in case it rains so we can cook in the dry – and we have the hall all day to sit in if the weather catches us out. Sheila Hughes has graciously agreed to do some colouring and some pyrography (I also want to do some pyrography) and we will have several pyrography machines with us to allow people to give it a go. Have you eve tried Pyrography – it is actually really good fun. Try the treadle lathe. We will be armed with the treadle lathe which the late Robin Percy would bring to our outside demonstrations for many years. Robins wife Joy Percy has very kindly offered to allow the club to use the lathe at the Newbury Show the week before our Saturday social, and we will still have it for use the following week. Sharpening methods – we will ask people to bring along their various different sharpening tools and allow you to try them out on your own chisels.

Perhaps a Bring and buy – do you have anything you no longer use and can make a few bob by passing on to other members (for a fee of course) – this might be tools, wood, books – whatever?

Possibly Gallery table – as we are encouraging members to bring their partners – lets give them something to look at on a gallery table.There is a faint possibility we could have a chainsaw artist on site. (To be clear – this is NOT a person who makes a living by painting chainsaw, or even by painting pictures of chainsaws!!) We have confirmed and decided against a bouncy castle in case Terry injures himself on it.

Hopefully the weather will be good, and hopefully yourselves – your partners or offspring can also make it for all or even part of the day to make sure we have good numbers and a good social get together. If you have any ideas for what we should (or could) do in September – then do please let me know.

Saturday workshop on 24th August

This is a simple one. Our Saturday workshop will be on 24th August and the subject this month is going to be basic spindle turning. We will also sharpen tools of course. Remember that the Saturday workshops are important for our novices apart from anything else – but also a great chance to get together and chat about what we are doing.

I think I enjoy the Saturday get togethers just as much as the Tuesday evening gatherings. I know that as a novice – I learned more by trying it on a Saturday than I did watching it on a Tuesday – but also the Saturdays allowed me to investigate what I had seen on a Tuesday.


I went to the Doctors last week.

The Doctor said “Don’t eat anything fatty”

I said “Like bacon or burgers?”

He said “No Fatty – don’t eat anything”

My father (yes I knew him) was a Kebab Salesman. We buried him with all his equipment. He must be turning in his grave.

New Members

We are lucky enough to have a few new members in recent months, they are most welcome and hopefully will be able to make it both on Tuesday and Saturday this month.

It is important to say that things have been a tadge upside down in that same period because of a couple of things. We have lost one of our most valuable committee members – Nigel Amour. Nigel is ill and battling a tumour which is very nasty indeed.

Our Chairman, Mike Alan has also had a battle with the big C and is having treatment. John Austin - our treasurer, has a very nasty leg ailment and he is suffering badly – it is keeping him at home at the moment. I have a (thankfully temporary) problem through being over-confident when dismounting my motorbike and having it fall on my left leg – making a mess of my cruciate ligament.

At this rate we are going to have to insist on BUPA membership as being a requirement for joining the committee.

The end result is that we are leaning on half a committee at the moment and struggling slightly. This I less than impressive for the newer members and I want to assure them that with a full and healthy committee we can made a mess of things in half the time.

Rest assured – we continue to do our best to make this the best woodturning club you can possibly belong to that is based in Padworth!!

New Lathe

Speaking of doing our best – we have a new lathe. It has taken a while and we have delayed buying it because we wanted to get the best possible deal we could so that we didn’t spend too much of your money.

Out of interest – the choice of lathe came down to two possibilities. The first was an Axminster Craft AC355WL lathe and the second was a Record Power DML320 lathe which is a slightly larger and more powerful version of the Record Power lathe we already have.

We opted for the Record. There are a few reasons for this. We did a good deal for the lathe, along with a new SC3 scroll chuck. Also we felt we were unable to agree a suitable discount for the AC355WL lathe.

It is being delivered to my house on Friday 9th August – great news while I am on crutches – so Dave and Denis from the committee will help me on Friday. Let’s hope we can use it soon.

Sadly, we need a couple of things in order to use it and store it. The first thing is to mount it properly – for which we need to attach it to a wooden base (see existing Record Power lathe) along with a couple of handles so we can lift it up.

Storage is also a problem. Our cupboard at the club is not large enough to take the new lathe so we must remove the existing cupboard and build a new one in its place which is large enough to accept the existing contents, plus a new lathe. We have plans and measurements for this, and we need help.

If you are reading this and you are a master carpenter, or very good at DIY – please let me know.

Newbury Show

A reminder – we have an invite to the Newbury Show and need to setup the stand on Friday, and man (or woman) the stand on Saturday and Sunday.

I already have a couple of volunteers for each session (Friday evening for setup, Saturday AM and PM and Sunday AM and PM – with Sunday PM being packing up). Let me know if you want to join us. We will have a few tickets to allow people into the show – but will probably not have enough for everybody (although mike will be trying to get enough). So if you are going to the show anyway and feel you can give us an hour or two then let me know.

As regular members will know – we are also going to look to our members to let us have anything you want to sell. Harvey, Jim, Tony, Denis and Ray are pretty good at letting us have items, also Liz McKenzie will have a bunch of items. As I have previously said we need to price them properly – we can help you with that.

I suspect we will collect items on Friday afternoon, (possibly on Tuesday 10th at the monthly meeting) – we will keep you informed.

Fruit for the Newbury show

We have a large fruit platter and a couple of pieces of fruit but need more in order to try to sell the Fruit bowl and accompanying fruit at the Newbury show (proceeds to club funds). We need more fruit.

A thought springs to mind. We recently had a monthly competition than asked for fruit – and had many worthy entries. Are any of you willing to donate your entries so that we can add them to the fruit bowl? We are hoping we will get a couple of volunteers and make up a decent bowl-full.

New bike

Regular listeners will know that I bought a motorbike when I retired, I mentioned it in passing once or twice – not that anyone would have noticed unless they were listening closely – as you know I am a quiet and humble person by nature.

It seems I am also lucky enough to be attractive to the opposite sex. A young lady recently called me a bit of a looker – well voyeur was the actual word she used.

I have gone off on a tangent.

I bought a Suzuki 650 Burgman last November, it was what is known as a maxi-scooter. A Step through type of bike, but nonetheless powerful and suitable for touring. Along with “Symptom Ian” we bimbled about the locality, buying coffee eating at any café we could find and generally having fun. In a few short months the miles on the Burgman went from 3,320 up to just shy of 14,000 miles of great fun.

I say bimbled. Some say pootled. That is always a bit of a challenge – what’s the difference between bimbling about on the bike and pootling about on the bike?

I checked with a dictionary.

…what of tootle I know you are saying?

I find these on-line dictionaries somewhat lacking. It is, or it should be, well known that the difference between a bimble and a pootle is directly relative to the amount of faff and dither that is introduced to the equation.

Faff comes first. Faff needs to be delivered gently and with good intention, without any sort of embarrassment and well before the addition of a reasonably generous amount of dither. I believe this is well known by all, but if you are in any sort of doubt, I hope you are paying attention.

Any road up – I wanted something that looks less scooter-ish and more motorbike-ish.

Bimble, or tootle – this depends on a faff or dither.

Just a quick word for vegetarians – if animals are not meant to be eaten, why are they made out of food?

Where was I? Oh yes, bimbling around – I wanted something a little more in the vein of being an actual motorbike. I thought I would look around for a few months, take my time and make sure that any decision I made was undertaken with all of the information, test-rides, research, recommendations and certainty that I was doing the right thing. So I went out two weeks ago last Wednesday, did one test drive and bought one. (In this case I decided that I was not at home to faff and dither )

To be fair – I got it right. A nice red Honda 750 twin.

I added the panniers and top box, and a couple of USB charging sockets for sat-nav and phone. I have a bigger screen to fit to it and will be getting a more comfortable touring seat, but I love it.

It did bite back, I parked it in Hungerford on Monday and the side stand did not go down properly. When I got off and moved to the left the bike followed and fell on my leg. The resulting Crutiate Ligament tear hurt like hell, so it will need to sit in the garage for a while until I can get my leg over again. It’s like having a bike and not being able to ride it until Christmas.

Laying there with a bike on my leg did nothing at all for my very delicate ego.

Anyway- I am on the mend now and will see you all next Tuesday one way or another. I am going out to the garden now with no trousers on. (I went out yesterday with no shirt on and had a stiff neck for hours – so I thought it worth a go)

Don’t forget next Tuesday!!

p.s. We said goodbye to Robin two weeks ago, it was a lovely service, and thanks to all those who came and supported Joy in her difficult time. I shed a tear – he was a lovely man.

Phil Boulter

Vice Chairman

Kennet Valley Woodturners

M:07836 274345

H: 01635 826009

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