Saturday, July 19, 2014

An entertaining evening with Jimmy Clewes


Our usual blogger John Eugster was out of town for this month's meeting, so this re-cap is courtesy of Joe Hessling, who covered the meeting in detail.... thanks for filling in, Joe! We appreciate it!

The July meeting of the Sin City Woodworkers was called to order at 7:00pm, with a packed house. I counted about 35 people but I think a few more snuck in after it started.

Jamie explained to the group that everyone was so excited to watch the guest speaker perform his magic that she opted to suspend General Business and the usual show and tell and let Jimmy take over.

We were pleased to have Jimmy Clewes in attendance. If you missed this meeting, it is your loss because Jimmy is an incredibly talented wood turner. One of the top ranked turners in the WORLD…and he lives right here in Las Vegas. Not only is he an accomplished wood turner, but he is an engaging teacher and speaker as well.

Jimmy started off with a block of Ambrosia Maple, about 4” square and maybe 7”-8” long. 

He quickly rounded off the 4 corners of the block and formed a short tenon on each end. 

Then using his parting tool he separated a small section to become the lid of this box. He installed the lid in a 4 jaw chuck and hollowed out the inside.

He then retuned the base of the box to the lathe and form a short should for the lid to rest upon. He carefully fit the lid to the base and then trued up the outside of both pieces. He then returned his attention to the lid and cut out a depression to receive the cocobolo piece he made earlier. He sealed the end grain of the lid using Zinser Shellac to keep the glue from soaking in too fast.

He then aligned the grain of the insert with the grain of the lid and glued into place with medium Super Glue.

 Then he gently shaped the lid with a gouge to create a slight domed effect. Once this was completed he used a parting tool to make a shallow V cut precisely at the intersection of the lid and the insert. He then filled this groove with Brass dust (available online from your favorite wood turner supply store) 

and glued into place using thin Super Glue. He smoothed the lid with a gouge removing any access brass. He continued by hollowing out the base and finished by sanding (180 through 600 grit) and sealed it with shellac then oil to really make the grain pop out nicely.

  This first project was completed in about an hour, much to the crowd's delight!

The second demonstration was a simple Walnut bowl approximately 8” in diameter and 4” tall. 

This beautiful block of Walnut was mounted on the lathe using a screw chuck. 

Jimmy started out by truing up the outside. 

He had a hard time doing this because the block of walnut was a little too big for the small bench top lathe and the it vibrated violently if he increased the rpm too high. To compensate for this he began removing excess material but forming the foot and then roughly forming the curve of the bowl. Once he had the basic shape he was able to increase the rpm and began refining his design. 

Once again he finished the piece by sanding (180 through 600) and sealed it with shellac and oil.

Jimmy is so talented that he was able to look away from the lathe as he answered questions from the crowd as he continued to make cuts. He also gave good general tips such as using a faster rpm because it’s actually safer and he explained how the angle of the tip of the gouge HAS to follow the shape of the piece.  Otherwise you risk that dreaded “Almighty Catch” and some tear out.

Thanks to Lupe - here are some of the highlights of Jimmy's presentation...

Jimmy was an inspiration to me and I’ll bet others as well. He makes lathe work look so easy and fun. He teaches classes at his Las Vegas studio. ( ) With reasonable tuition and a very low 4 to 1 student teacher ratio, you are almost guaranteed a fun time and you’ll be a better woodworker when you leave.

A big thank you to Mr. Jimmy Clewes for entertaining and educating us. We hope to see him again soon. 

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