PO Box 52096, Berea 4007, South Africa
Editorial Chairman’s Turn
It is hard to believe that so much time has passed since our
It’s been a while since the last Turnaround – too
long. Time seems to have flashed by and the weeks roll into
last Turnaround , and I guess I should apologise on
months. No excuses but I have been involved in a sugar mill behalf of our Editor Brian and myself. I know that in
expansion project that has caused me to travel to Brian’s case he has spent a lot of his work time on a big
Mozambique 7 times this year. This prompted me to write a sugar project in Mozambique. In my case a trip overseas
short article on my impressions of what I see mostly from a early in the year followed by a short spell in hospital with a
motor car while travelling from the airport to the factory. considerably longer spell of recovery time has taken a
whole big chunk out of 2003.
To make up for lost time we bring you a bumper
Anyway, things are coming together now and we hope to
Turnaround edition filled with excellent produce this plus another two Turnarounds before the end of
contributions from members around the country. On your this year. To achieve this and make each issue newsworthy
behalf I would like to thank the following for their news and we need information from each of the 10 woodturning clubs
articles: Butch Smuts and Izak Cronje (both regular in our Association.
correspondents), Beyers Cronje, Don Wood, John Mills, At the moment the only clubs that send me their Newsletters
Allan Ferguson plus an article from “REVOLUTIONS” the are the Western Cape and Pretoria. Brian, I think also gets
AWTGB Newsletter. (kindly sent by Reg Sherwin) the Gauteng, newsletter and occasionally EL and PE - that is
it!!! If you are not writing a regular newsletter, then please
Sharing one another’s news and information I’m sure at least send us a short report on anything interesting that is
creates a sense in us that we belong to the greater about to happen or has happened locally, such as
woodturning fraternity that is AWSA. exhibitions, demonstrations to the public, overseas visitors,
I would like to introduce a news round-up of all the clubs in or individual achievements in woodturning.
the country in the next and all future Turnarounds Over the last month or so I have received some comments
so I appeal to the various editors in particular and to all and queries regarding the proposed date of our next
members to report on activities and technical matters of Congress in Durban. In the last Turnaround I wrote the
general interest for the next edition. following: -
You will be hearing from me!!! But don’t wait. Start
compiling now. Half a page will be fine but if there is more At the AGM it was suggested that maybe we should only
– great. (see John’s notes also) hold Congress every two years. This was debated and in the
end it was decided to continue with an annual Congress. As
It’s great news that our association is expanding. We have it turns out, we most probably cannot hold Congress during
maintained contact with newcomers from Port Alfred 2003, as there are no long weekends during either August
region, Natal Midlands and Natal South Coast. who were or September. We need a long weekend as this is the only
represented at the August 2002 AWSA Congress What time that we can take over a school which seems to have all
about other potential clubs around the country? the varied facilities that we require, and I know that
I am aware of interest in Bloemfontein and Mapumalanga members who still work are reluctant to take a number of
so don’t miss an opportunity to promote the idea of a new days leave so as to attend. Therefore I think, and I would
club if you get the chance like feedback on your opinions, that we should only hold the
next Congress during March or April 2004 – an 18 month
I trust you find this edition interesting and informative. gap, which may be a reasonable compromise between
Brian Kitching - Editor Turnaround annual and two yearly. Then the following Congress could
be held during August/September 2005 – another 18-month
Its far more impressive when others discover your
good qualities without your help.
This issue needs to be decided soon, so that, we can book It is pleasing to report that about 70 copies of videos from
the venue and organise an overseas turner in good time as the last Congress have been bought and supplied to
they get themselves very booked up. members. Perrie Bullock is working on the Budget and
there will be more about this in the next Turnaround. Our
Unfortunately I did not get any feedback on this issue. I current paid up membership stands at 146.
have spoken to a number of local representatives and after
careful consideration we have booked Glenwood High Beyers has done a great job of getting the AWSA website
School again for our Congress over the long weekend up and running and I strongly recommend that you take a
starting after lunch on Friday 19 March till Monday 22 look at www.awsa.org.za. Please feed Beyers information
March 2004. As explained above there are no long and especially all copies of your local Newsletters.
weekends later in 2003, and this is the first available one. I
would like to confirm this date at a Telephone Conference If anyone wants to contact me my Email address is
with the Executive and Area Representatives a week after email@example.com
this Turnaround is distributed. I hope you are all having a successful turning year
With the date and venue fixed we can go ahead with John
organising an overseas turner to attend. There are already
some positive developments in this regard.
Butch Smuts – his recent achievements
News from Butch Smuts is that he will be attending the 17th annual American Association of Woodturners conference in
Pasadena, California in June 2003. He and a few other South Africans will also be exhibiting work at the Conference and trying
their luck at the American market - thanks to the unselfish help of turner Andi Wolfe in America.
In February 2003 two of Butch’s bowls were sold for R45 000-00 each at a charity auction in Johannesburg, in support of the
African Gamebird Research and Education Trust. Who said there was not a lucrative local market for turned art. In South
African woodturning circles Butch is well known for his large, finely crafted bowls and other pieces, mainly turned from African
hardwoods and local burls . He likes to undertake risky projects, using each piece of wood that he finds to its best advantage. He
is currently working on large multiple centre turnings using his VB36 lathe, carving techniques and specialized tools which he
designs or makes himself.
Butch has one major corporate collection of 48 pieces belonging to Anglo American plc in London and has sold his work to
collectors in the UK and to individuals and corporates in South Africa, Europe and America. He has participated in a number of
woodturning exhibitions in South Africa and has held a successful solo exhibition at Flow Gallery in London in February 2002.
His work has been featured in newspaper articles, magazines and popular journals in the UK, Germany and South Africa. He is a
member of the recognized woodturning associations in America, Britain and South Africa.
Butch claims to receive his artistic inspiration from his genes but also from the beautiful African timbers he discovers and from
the more than 30 years he has spent working in the African bush.
He uses woodturning to express himself, often relying on the natural imperfections and hidden beauty of the wood to carry him
through difficult projects. His reward comes mainly at the end, often with some relief, and it may cause him to keep a special
piece for many months before he is able to part with it.
Butch Smuts has recently taken early retirement to pursue his woodturning career and other timber related interests. He can be
contacted in Johannesburg, South Africa at:
Physical Address Postal Address
91 West Road North P.O. Box 875
South Africa 2057, South Africa
Telephone: (Home) +27 11 784 1419
Cell phone +27 82 771 5877
Butch Smuts’ “Dune landscape”
LOWER ALBANY WOODWORKERS’ GUILD – By Don Wood – Port Alfred
In the heart of the sunshine Coast dwells the Lower Albany Woodworkers Guild, based in Port Alfred, an undiscovered secret
place, as is our guild.
Ten years ago a fellow named Jan Nezar with the help of founder members Chris Terry and Eric Tasmer, a guild was formed,
drawing members from Port Alfred, Grahamstown, Bathurst, Kleinemonde and Kenton-on-sea.
Approximately two years ago, membership slumped and a concerted effort was made to revive the Guild, with tremendous
success. Membership now numbers 41. Gratifyingly, most attend meetings whenever possible. Approximately half the members
utilize their skills either in a full-time profession or to supplement their incomes. Although many are retired or semi-retired and
regard woodwork mainly as a hobby, there is a growing awareness that this skill can be put to good use, resulting in a growing
participation in craft markets and the like. Also the Bathurst show woodworking section is our battle ground as we compete for
the elusive 1st prize trophy.
We are an informal group of like-minded people, we meet every month, visiting each others’ workshops or, when possible, local
commercial woodworking shops, to see how the “big boys” do it. Our meetings are on the second Tuesday at 8.30 and visiting
woodworkers are always welcome. We recently reinstated a newsletter which is still in its infancy. Visiting experts are a great
draw, as was Nigel Waters, demonstrating bowl turning and Andrew Stevens with his magical skew. Many a lathe has been dusted
off as a result.
By “coming out of the closet” we hope to profit by interfacing with other guilds in South Africa.
Contact Don Wood on phone and fax (046) 624-4043
probably very different. There is no evidence of bitterness or
aggro and serious crime is not common. Pilfering and
Some impressions of Mozambique corruption of course do exist.
- by Brian Kitching
I’ve not seen much evidence of turning around the Maputo
I have been involved in a sugar project in Mozambique and area but up north near Beira, there is a rural turning
have travelled frequently from Maputo to the Xinavane operation which turns out some remarkably competent work
sugar factory 140 km north. It’s an uninteresting trip - dead despite their crude equipment and rickety roadside shed in
flat, sandy white soil with sparse vegetation. The massive which about 8 turners toil away. Their lathes consist of two
coastal plain is just a few dozen metres above sea level – railway sleeper-sized planks fixed into the ground with old
remember the floods of a few years back. The plain used to roller bearings jammed into holes in them to carry a wooden
be under the sea eons ago. Only the river flood plains are shaft. The shaft is driven by a vee belt off an electric motor
fertile which is where the sugar plantations are. However, fixed to a plank on the ground. Bare electric wires dangle
strangely on this apparently barren landscape large trees and lie all over the place!! The blanks are jam-chucked into
grow in places – mostly mango and cashew nut trees that are a recess in the end of the drive shaft that has been reinforced
carefully preserved for their source of sustenance and with the outer race of a bearing. I didn’t see a tail stock. The
income. Some Kiaat trees have survived in this area. turner sits on the ground and uses a portable wooden tool
rest and crude home-made scraper-type tools. They make a
Sadly, the valuable timber is almost all gone. This free wide range of bowls, vases and boxes for the passing
resource is all but denuded in the area that I travel but I tourists.
regularly see large trucks heading for the Maputo area Just think what these guys could do with modern equipment
loaded with logs of Panga-panga and Pod Mahogany. On and some tuition.
the outskirts of Maputo the informal market trading is a (See page 14 also)
thriving industry and substantial furniture is manufactured in
rough sheds on the side of the road. The Portuguese left a
legacy of skilled craftsmen. Their goods which range from
nicely carved house doors, dining room suites, chairs,
cupboards and lounge suites are displayed on the dusty
verges amongst hoards of people, dilapidated cars and taxis
and vendors of every commodity you can imagine.
Fire wood and charcoal are sold everywhere which further
threatens the remaining trees.
In the rural areas they even make baked red clay bricks fired
in domed brick kilns fueled of course by wood.
The people seem to have a work ethic that doesn’t exist in
SA. Their unemployment rate is around 60% and their
extreme poverty is always evident. Despite this they seem to
be happy and more carefree than we see here. Reality is
Building materials at a roadside market
UK WOODTURNING TRIP – By – John Mills
During January my wife, Barbara, and I visited our son in including the shades. His shop/gallery is attached to his
London, and were invited by Reg and Anne Sherwin to stay workshop and after a lean Christmas period was full of both
with them for a couple of days. This seemed like a great finished and partly finished stock.
opportunity to try and visit a number of other turners during From here we drove to Malvern where we met Anne Hayes
a five-day trip. Reg very kindly laid this on and this is an (also a member of the club) in her Gallery with her
account of the trip. workshop down a short passageway. Her delightful gallery
We travelled from London, Wimbledon heading North and immaculate workshop reflect the same that is evident in
towards Birmingham. It was a cold day and the fields her superb workmanship. She turns bowls and lamps, but
alongside the freeway were covered in a thick layer of frost. also makes beautiful dining and rocking chairs. She has a
Reg and Anne live in Stoke Prior, a part of Bromsgrove, in a VB 36 and a number of Graduate lathes.
very comfortable triple storey home. Reg has his workshop After a pub lunch and farewells to Reg and Anne we set off
in the Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings, a for Wales, where we had arranged to visit the “From the
fascinating place covering seven centuries of rebuilt rescued Wood” gallery owned by Dave Woodward in the little
old buildings. His workshop is relatively new and has at village of Hay-on-Wye. This is a big Gallery that only sells
least 5 lathes varying from small to a new VB36. Reg says wooden articles, mostly turned. Dave himself is a
that he would like to do much more turning, but currently he professional woodturner and his large workshop with a VB
spends most of his time teaching, demonstrating at clubs, 36 and a Graduate is attached to the gallery with enormous
showing his skills at Trade Exhibitions and writing for the windows separating the two, and he obviously sells his own
Woodturner magazine. work. In addition he also sells the work of many really well
known turners such as Bert Marsh, Don White, Mark
On our first night we attended his local woodturning club’s
Hancock, Jules Tattersall, Laura Ponting and others.
Annual Ladies Night Dinner. It was held in the Droitwich
Unfortunately we did not meet Dave, but were looked after
Golf Club, quite formal with ties and jackets, and very
by his beautiful daughter Abbi, who also does some turning.
pleasant. We met a number of the Worcestershire club
They have a website www.fromthewood.net
At this stage the weather was freezing with all the
The next day Reg and I visited Phil Irons near Stratford on surrounding hills covered in snow. We drove through
Avon in his workshop situated in a farm shed, which has wonderful scenery towards Crickhowell to visit Mark
been converted into a mini Industrial Estate. He is well and Hancock at his workshop in Glanusk Yard, once again a
sends greetings to all in AWSA, and says he has fond series of buildings on an Estate that have been converted into
memories of his trip here. He is also doing very little turning a complex of small industries. Mark made us very welcome
as he has the agency for the Australian manufactured in his large, incredibly tidy and clean workshop – he says he
VICMARC lathe, and WOODCUT tools such as a bowl cleans it every day!! It was fascinating to hear him talk about
saver. This keeps him fully occupied, and can you believe it, his beautiful and unusual flared top vessels, many of which
a man of his size drives a brand new yellow Mini Cooper. he sells in the USA. We spent about three hours with him
We had lunch in an amazing old pub, surrounded by a discussing design and technique, until the cold got the better
number of the locals whose accent was so broad that it was of us and we left for our 14th century coaching inn,
almost impossible to understand them. I had liver and onions surprisingly called “The New Inn” in Bwlch. This is spelt
on mash, which was appropriate for the freezing cold day, correctly – you can try and pronounce!
and also helped by the enormous fireplace, which filled half That evening we ate large rump steaks with Mark in the pub
of one wall of the pub. No wood, just monster chunks of fortunately warmed by a big fireplace.
coal. All in all it was a very interesting trip and the hospitality
Later in the afternoon we visited Ray Key, the president of throughout was great.
the Association of Woodturners of Great Britain at his home Something that really struck me about the turned work that
in the little village Bretforton, Worcestershire. He has a was for sale is that the majority of pieces are small and the
fairly large workshop attached directly to their home and he prices that they get are probably at least 6 times what we
turns on a Oneway and a Graduate lathe. His shop is neatly would sell for here.
stacked with an amazing amount of timber and partly wet- The AWGB are holding their bi-annual Seminar at
turned bowls and boxes etc. He has a number of display Loughborough University, Leicestershire from the 8 th to 10th
cabinets in which one can see his own superb work and that August 2003 and if you have spare Voyager miles this could
of other world renowned turners. He also has a separate well be worth a visit. If anyone is interested the details can
room, which is full of his larger and special pieces. He was be found on the AWGB website www.woodturners.co.uk or
very kind to me and it was an honour and real pleasure to by Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. At the moment there
meet him and his wife, Liz. are about four AWSA members interested, and I am hoping
That night we got back late and Anne had prepared a superb to organise a similar trip to the above visiting a few UK
dinner so after eating we just relaxed and talked turners after the Seminar. If anyone is interested in joining
woodturning – when our wives let us!!!!!!!! us please contact me on email@example.com.
The next day we visited Alan Griffin at his tiny workshop
within the St. Peters Garden Centre, Norton. He is a fellow John
member of Reg’s club and turns mainly bowls and lamps,
New website up and running
By Beyers Cronje
After a couple of years trying to get a website for the
AWSA we published a site with some chaps calling
themselves “The Spot”. This was not the end of
the website woes, the tools to write the site were not the
best i.e. using MS Word and saving as .html format the
result was a difficult to publish and maintain site, but it
was there and worked OK even though a bit slow.
Thanks to my school they purchased the newest version
of MS Front Page, the result is the site that is
on the www today. Some pics from the 2001 congress are Anne Hayes blue collection
displayed. Links to other pages are easy to setup, and the
control I have over download speed makes it a pleasure
(As seen by John on his UK visit)
to view the page as well as edit it.
REG SHERWIN REPORT-BACK
We do need material for the web page in order to keep it
alive and interesting, e-mail me any pictures, with Reg clearly had a ball during his trip around South Africa
headings, articles, club information – dates, secretary, judging by his 6 page article in the March/April issue of
chairperson etc. , links. We can use the site for comments “THE WOODTURNER”, UK”s leading woodturning
on tools and techniques. Sources for tools, materials and magazine. The cover of the mag features none other than our
finishing tips. “persuasive” Chairman, John Mills. Persuasive because talked
Reg into a 5 week trip instead of Reg’s planned two weeks. Just
My e-mail addresses are: firstname.lastname@example.org; as well it turns out as Reg discovered that SA is a big country to
email@example.com; get around especially when with 9 turning clubs vying for his
The article is very informative travelogue of his trip starting in
Cape Town, taking in all the clubs to EL, then on to Durban,
Woodturning at Tourism Indaba - by John Mills Jhb and Pretoria.
Reg gives a humorous account of of his tour and in particular
A few weeks back the enormous Tourism Indaba was held in his turning and social interaction with the clubs, the demos and
Durban at the ICC and Exhibition Centre. Izak Cronje together the master classes.
with a guitar player were chosen to represent the Cape Town The article features no less than 10 colour photos featuring
Waterfront at the Indaba.Izak used my baby Carbatec lathe on turned pieces which obviously impressed Reg. A selection of
which to demonstrate turning miniatures and lace bobbins and work by Dennis Laidler, Izak Cronje, Bert Parker, Johan
it was obvious from the short time I spent with him there that Labuschagne, Mike Kaplan, Grant Marshall, John Mills,
he generated a lot of interest amongst the thousands of people Perrie Bullock and At Smit. Is displayed.
who attended. Reg’s generous report gives an overview of woodturning in SA
There seems to be an increasing awareness and appreciation of that is sure to help put us the world woodturning map.
woodturning in SA and it is people like Izak who we must
thank. Get your copy of THE WOODTURNER at a quality bookshop
near you. -------- Ed.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT PRICE
"It is unwise to pay too much but it's worse to pay too little.
When you pay too much you lose a little money - When you
pay too little you sometimes lose everything, because the thing
you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought for.
The common law of business prohibits paying a little and
getting a lot - it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest
tenderer it is well to add something for the risk you run; if you
do that you will have enough money to pay for something
John Ruskin (1819 - 1900
Izak at the Indaba
TOOL- MAKING GUIDLINES By Allan Ferguson – Durban
Elemental iron is the basis for most engineering tools. On its own it is practically useless. It is very ductile, soft, and corrodes easily. It is
in combination with carbon, that it has immense value as an engineering material. Other elements can be added to impart specific
properties, but it is the carbon content, mainly, that gives it its potential to be hardened into a more useful material.
Cast iron: Has a carbon content of 3 to 4 %. It is a brittle material with low tensile strength, but makes good
castings for appropriate applications.
Steel: Has a carbon content ranging from around 0,1 % to about 1,5%
Mild steel Typically, a low carbon steel (0,2% C); finds immense use as a structural material, but cannot be
hardened by heat-treatment alone.
Tool Steel Medium to high carbon content (typically 0,4 to 1,2%) can be hardened by heat treatment.
High Speed Additions of various alloying elements to tool steels imparts the ability
steel to retain hardness at higher temperatures.
Annealing Heat treatment of the material followed by slow cooling. Transforms the material to its softest most
ductile state. Can be machined, forged etc in this condition
Hardening Heating to a specific temperature, followed by cooling at a predefined rate. Achieved by quenching
in various media such as water (fast) or oil (slower)
Tempering Heating to a specific temperature (much lower than the hardening temperature) followed by
cooling. Improves the grain structure, increases the ductility (toughness) at some expense to
hardness. The following graphs of tempering temperatures for typical tool steel (left), and HSS
illustrate the main difference.
Hardfacing Applying a layer of hard material to a mild steel substrate using welding
AQ 500 AQ 500 Temperature °C
Tool Steel High Speed Steel
AQ = As Quenched – maximum hardness RC = Hardness, Rockwell C scale
OPTIONS FOR MAKING YOUR OWN TURNING TOOLS
1 Forged or fabricated low carbon steel shank; hardfaced.
2. High carbon tool steel, machined from annealed condition and heat-treated.
3. High speed steel, machined from annealed condition and heat-treated.
4. High speed steel tip, shaped by grinding and welded to low carbon steel shank.
If you posses a welding machine and grinder only, then option 1 is a good choice. It does involve a bit of tricky welding, and access to
the right welding rods, but produces a very good result with an excellent edge. Unless you are a fairly skilled handyman, it may not look
too professional, but can be made quickly and cheaply.
It will require re-welding after you have sharpened it to the point when 2 or 3 mm is lost.
If you have some basic heat treatment facility, and some knowledge of heat treatment methods, then
option 2 is possible. Shaping the tool can be done by grinding or machining, so possession of a metal machining centre is not essential.
The cost of the high carbon steel will be approximately the same as for option 3, but you will avoid the heat treatment cost by doing it
yourself. The final result, if well heat treated would be about as good as HSS (option 3 or 4) but will have the disadvantage that you will
have to exercise caution when sharpening, as the steel could lose its hardness by overheating.
Option 3 will produce a result closest to the professionally produced products. The preparation of the shank from the annealed form in
which the HSS is purchased, is the same as for high carbon steel, but heat treatment is best left to the professionals due to the high
temperatures involved. The higher final cost will be due to the heat treatment.
Option 4 is also a good choice if you are good at welding, and have an angle grinder. It uses a pre-hardened HSS tip, shaped by grinding,
and welded to a mild steel shank by special arc-welding electrodes. The result will give an edge as good as (if not better than) option 3,
but should be much cheaper. The HSS tip is a considerably more expensive material to purchase than in the annealed form, but you only
use a small amount (say 20 to 30 mm).
MATERIALS AND CONSUMABLES NEEDED
Mild steel round bar or reinforcing rod. Best, but not essential, use bright mild steel (BMS) shafting as it has a nice
finish. Scrap shafting will also do.
Heavy walled hydraulic tubing; split to form the shape.
Silver Steel (High carbon steel) supplied in machinable form (Sanderson Newbould or Bohler Steel)
S600 (High speed steel) supplied in machinable form (Bohler) - Price R 72.00/kg
HSS toolbits : WKE4, M2, CO8, or other commercially available in round form. (Drakewoods, FEW, Mitco )
Hardfacing rods: e.g. Duroterm 20R; Kestra D61; ESAB OK 84.84, 85.65
Welding toolsteels:e.g. Eutectic 680; ESAB OK 68.81, 68.82; Afrox Transarc 312, or
equivalent electrode of 29% Cr and 9% Ni, Coreweld 312 (AWS 312)
Heat Treatment: R90 min. (up to 3 kg) Beyond 3 kg, charges are R30.75 / kg
Silver steel - (Supplier : Bohler )Available 3mm to 30 mm diameter (except 19mm) in 2 metre lengths.
Prices per length excl. vat: 8mm - R37.60, 12mm - R84.30, 16mm - R131.90
Prehardned high speed steel - ( Supplier : Drakewoods )
Prices less 15% +vat. The table below all for 200 mm lengths. 63, 80, 100, 160 mm also available
6 65.90 6X6 87.10
8 80.60 8X8 114.00
10 102.00 10 X 10 153.00
12 152.00 12 X 12 201.00
WOODTURNERS at V & A WATERFRONT
By Izak Cronje - Western Cape
for a week, selling our goods while we were
The epitomy of joy for any woodturner is, I am sure, showing off on the lathes. Peter had the first sale.
to know that his creation is saleable. I have been The piece had attracted a lot of interest, but was
toying with the idea of finding a suitable outlet for my very politely put back on the shelf when the price
turned pieces. Albeit that a gallery would be the was noticed. This tempted Peter to reduce the price.
ideal place. But, are my creations good enough to However, I convinced him to sweat it out.
honour the shelves of a gallery? Well, beauty is in
the eye of the beholder. Five minutes later he had a sale. I wish I’d had a
camera to capture the smile!
Ever since Mike Kaplan and company started their
venture in Knysna, I viewed them with envy and After two full months we had sold 143 pieces. The
after each visit I would leave with more envy or with rent has been paid. We did catch the tail end of the
one of their pieces in a shopping bag – paid for of overseas visitors which is a bonus. The lull is
course. Mike also became my “Jiminy cricket”. He already setting in. But, nothing venture, nothing
would always asked me when we Capetonians were gained.
going to start something similar in our part of the
world. When Mike posed this question again at the A very positive spin-off is that the venture keeps us
congress in Durban, it dawned on me that I now at our lathes, that is, if we get the time off from
have run out of excuses. selling. It is a long day from 09h30 to 18h00,
Turning also became a little bit of a bore. I would especially if there are no sales. However, we still
rather make shavings than creating something get to meet people and the Knysna boys can get
worthwhile. Because, what will I do with the piece? some stock from us if they are running low.
My personal “gallery” was bigger than my collection
obtained from other turners I am very pleased with my choice of partners. They
are doing a sterling job and their support is
A visit to the V&A Waterfront during January 2003 everything I could wish for. The variety and
led to the Blue Shed and there I found the African standard of work are continuously commented upon
Experience Hall. The atmosphere in the place just by visitors to our gallery. Our visitors book shows
touched me and I knew I belonged there. It is not a names and addresses from all over the world and
gallery, but you have to crawl before you can walk. we are enjoying it.
A venture like this is impossible for an individual to
run. I started jotting down some names with certain
criteria in the back of my mind. It sounds rather
selfish , but I knew that these names also had
attributes similar to mine: diligence, artistic flair,
experience and an enterprising streak.
I applied for a stall at the V&A Waterfront Blue Shed.
Got all the details of the infrastructure there and then
made seven phone calls. What a response! Seven
calls later and I had Steve Bull, Thys Carstens,
Beyers, Gert Ferreira, Dennis Laidler, Peter Nicolle
and Bert Parker committed to the venture.
“Waterfront Woodturners” came about and before
Steve Bull and Dennis Laidler man the stall
we knew what hit us we were invited to demonstrate
by Gerald Jones
Article reproduced by kind permission of “REVOLUTIONS” – newsletter of AWGB
Gerald has spent many years as a medical practitioner, both in general practice and hospital appointments. He also has long
experience as an enthusiastic cabinet maker and woodturner and won a silver medal at the Bristol Woodworkers Show. With
his love of wood and background in medicine he is ideally placed to explore the hazards that may lurk for woodworkers. This
paper, which will be presented in two parts, is the result of his study and was originally presented to the Worcestershire
which the person is sensitive has the same effect on the nose
Those who take up woodturning today must face a daunting as, for example, grass pollen does in hay fever. Irritation on the
problem. Apart from the essential equipment which they are other hand, means that everyone is affected as, for example, if
advised to get, including a lathe, there is a need for wood dust you inhale pepper.
protection. This will entail extra expense and they must
wonder how seriously to take this need. I have heard so much Allergic Conditions
said concerning the dangers of dust that I have undertaken a
study of the subject for my own peace of mind. Happily that
As in hay fever the nose will be blocked with swelling of its
blissful state of peace has been achieved; if I can do the same
lining and discharge of a lot of fluid. Usually the eyes are
for others then so much the better. However, before you can
affected as well. Sneezing is commonly very marked. There is
make a judgement, you do have to know about the diseases
usually a good response to Antihistamine drugs and this is a
which can result from wood dust so that you can consider the
good test to show that the cause is allergic.
reasonable steps to take for protection.
Only the nose may be involved but if the process goes to the
Thanks to an excellent science library system in this country
lungs asthma will be the result. The same thing happens inside
and after consulting the Health and Safety Executive for the
the small air tubes in the lungs as in the nose, the lining swells,
references, I have been able to gather the necessary papers to
mucus is secreted and in addition the muscle lining contracts.
complete the medical section which follows. Thanks to an
All this leads to narrowing of the tubes and a wheezing sound
equally excellent President of our Worcestershire Woodturners
is heard with breathing, breathing may be difficult in which
Club, Reg Sherwin, I have compiled the second section on dust
case medical help may be required. Antihistamines do not
protection, using mainly his ideas which he has generously
work so well in asthma so the test is not reliable. Allergic
made available to me (part two will appear in the next
asthma together with chronic bronchitis are the two diseases of
greatest importance in this study as they are the most common
Surprisingly it was not until 1940 that it was discovered that
and are preventable.
wood dust could be a medical hazard, I was completely
ignorant on this subject, as on so many others, but with the
justification that when I was a
Eczema (sometimes called Dermatitis) is the condition caused
medical student in the I 940s it had not penetrated to the
by contact if the patient is sensitive to the wood. Itchy red
curriculum. It was a lecture in 1991 by a salesman for
spots and a watery discharge occur. The exposed areas of skin
protection equipment who made greatly exaggerated claims for
are affected and this helps to indicate the nature of the
the dangers of dust which got me started. There are, however,
definitely some dangers so it is necessary to know what to do
to avoid these dangers and why. Eyes:
The eyes become red and very watery and the lids swell up and
THE DISEASES INVOLVED itch. Often the skin elsewhere is involved as well.
These are caused either by allergy or irritation. Allergy is a Alveolitis:
condition which affects some people causing them to respond This is a serious disease where the lung tissue is slowly
to contact with substances which do not affect others. destroyed. Here we are in uncharted waters as in most cases
Regardless of the nature of the causative substance the the cause is unknown. In one form of it, however, there is an
response is always the same. The dust of a particular wood to allergic origin, and it is an allergy to the spores of certain
fungi. These occur on some kinds of rotting vegetable matter of cancer, particularly of the lungs, are associated with wood
such as mouldy hay in “Farmer’s Lung” and in Sequoia bark and no connection has as yet been found. This cancer of the
among others. There is an acute form of the disease where nose is extremely rare and was discovered in the 1960s
amongst workers in the furniture industry around High
sudden onset of a ‘flu- like’ illness occurs, and also a chronic
Wycombe. It was assumed to be caused by Oak (Quercus) and
(or slowly progressive) form which is only diagnosed when a Beech (Fagus) as these are the woods most used there. Since
degree of damage has been done to the lungs. It is a very rare then it has been reported from many parts of the world, so
condition but there is a recent report that the variety of presumably other woods are involved. The average length of
unknown cause is more common in woodturners than in the exposure to the dust before the cancer develops is 40 years, so
general public, but with an average exposure of 40 years. modest precautions may be expected to reduce the incidence of
There is the possibility that spalted wood, which contains this disease.
fungal spores, could be a cause but no such case has been
recorded. These spores are very small, one micron or less, and
In this disease there is the excessive production of mucus in
a micron is one thousandth of a millimetre, and I give them the the lungs, coupled with long term coughing. Sufferers are
respect of taking full precautions rather more liberally when prone to bouts of acute bronchitis during which they have a
turning spalted woods. The rotting bark of both Sequoia and fever and severe cough. Chronic bronchitis is not immediately
maple (Acer) is known to cause this disease and are best life threatening but is weakening and unpleasant and best
avoided. Without the bark you are safe. avoided. It is very common in Britain due to our climate and
air pollution in the last 200 years.
Allergic Reaction Wood dust would certainly help to cause it and undoubtedly
make it worse in those who already have the condition. Along
with allergic asthma chronic bronchitis is of major importance
The allergic reaction may be delayed by up to 12 hours so it
to us because of its frequency and that it can be prevented.
may not be so obvious what is causing it, the fact that the
Without suitable precautions the chance of developing it are
same thing happens whenever one is exposed to a particular
thing will eventually give the clue to the cause. The
antihistamine test mentioned may help to clinch the diagnosis.
FACTORS AFFECTING HEALTH
Allergy develops in people from contact with the cause; so it
would be unlikely to happen the first time but people become The nature of the dust:
sensitive to the cause, such as a particular wood, after varying As far as the lungs are concerned it is the finer dust which
degrees of exposure. It is only that one thing to which you matters because the coarser grades are filtered from the inhaled
become sensitive. It is also possible to become sensitive to air in the nose and upper part of the airway. Those particles of
something with which you have been in contact for many a diameter below 5.0 microns remain suspended in the air and
years. One such unfortunate is the humble writer with Iroko get down into the lungs, where the means of getting rid of
(Chlorophora excelsa). them is much less effective than in the nose. Particles of less
than 0.5 microns diameter do not matter so much as they stay
In my opinion writing a list of woods which cause an allergic in suspension and come out with the exhaled air.
reaction in people is pointless, for although someone is
sensitive to a wood others are not, and you do not know until It would be a mistake to conclude that the delay in first
you have tried. Little harm may be done if you become spotting the existence of a hazard from wood dust means that
sensitive to a wood, and the obvious precaution then it to stop its effect is exaggerated, because there have been changes in
using the stuff in favour of something else because subsequent the workshops in modern times which make comparison
reactions may be more severe. With all the numerous exotic between the present and the past misleading. The use of very
hard woods which are now available there may well be some high speed tools and especially the sanding process produces a
which affect many people but I have no experience on the far greater amount of dust than formerly, and in particular the
subject. very fine grades of dust. This may help to account for the fact
that disease from wood dust was not discovered until about
It was the prevalence of asthma among workers in the 1940, it may not have existed to any extent before and, of
Canadian saw mills using Western Red cedar (Thuja plicata) course, there were so many other unpleasant diseases in the
which first bought the hazard of wood dust to the notice of the community that it may not have been noticed.
medical profession in 1941, in that case 70% of the workers
were affected. This is the only case I found where a wood can You have to remember that this very fine dust is invisible
be said to be harmful to the majority of people. It is not and remains suspended in the air long after the coarse dust
generally used in woodturning and it might be best to leave it has settled.
The nature of wood:
Conditions due to irritation It is often said that it is only the dust of
hardwoods which cause illness. With this I disagree, after all
Cancer of the nose: Western Red Cedar with its appalling record is a softwood,
This is the only form of cancer known to be caused by wood and Pine, also a softwood, contains turpentines which are
dust. A great deal of work has been done to see if other forms known to cause allergic problems. The distinction is hardly
relevant as taking protective measures can just as easily apply appreciably worse results than non smokers when exposed to
to both varieties. The only difference which I know is that a dusts, and it is a factor which has to be taken into
benevolent government has decreed that one should be consideration in all statistical analyses.
measured in metres and the other in feet!
The word really means poisonous but it is taken to include You may come across some things which are not mentioned
those woods which cause allergy, which is not the same thing. because theyare not relevant. These include:
It would be convenient if one could list a few woods and say
that these are the ones to avoid but as already implied, it is I. Organic Dust Toxic Syndrome:
possible that every wood has a few allergic victims. So the list It has the same cause as Allergic Alveolitis, fungal spores. It
tends to get extremely long. This is attempted in the Health does not occur in woodturners and is mild and not progressive.
and Safety Executive Woodworking Sheet No. 30 of July 1997
which gives a list of 52 woods, headed “The More Common 2. Non Asthmatic Chronic AirflowObstruction:
Toxic Woods” and includes Ash, Beech, Iroko, Mahogany, This is the name given to a slight reduction in the lung
Oak, Pine, Walnut and Yew. In other words, all the normal function recorded in those exposed to dust.
everyday woods. Nearly all the details given clearly refer to
allergy but the muddle arises in the case of Yew (Taxus 3. Woodworkers Lung:
bacata) which is reported to cause heart problems. If so this is After correspondence with the Health and Safety Executive it
poisoning and quite a disturbing thought. After correspondence is agreed that there is no such thing.
with the Health and Safety Executive I am satisfied that this is
misleading. A report of 1965 stated that the wood is poisonous 4. Ramin (Gonystylus bancanus) is quoted among the causes
(a well known fact) and these poisons can be shown to cause of Alveolitis, it should be disregarded. Correspondence with
irregularity of the heart. There has been no instance of this the editors of a recent text book where this is mentioned has
occurring from the dust in the subsequent 35 years, and the confirmed this.
census statistics of 1995 showed no increase in the deaths from
heart disease in woodworkers. Greenheart definitely has a 5. Medium Density Fibreboard: In view of the ban imposed in
poisonous effect in that splinters in the skin go septic. the schools on the use of MDF because of its alleged dangers,
Poisoning does not appear to occur from wood dust. readers may be concerned that they would prefer to see the
Having said that there is an aspect where poisoning from wood Information Sheet for themselves. It can be obtained from HSE
could affect woodturners, although not strictly under the Books, P0 Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO 10 6FS.
heading of dust. Storing food or wine in vessels made of yew Telephone 01787 881165. AND IT’S FREE!
has caused death, and this was reported as long ago as Roman
times. One should bear this in mind if making something for
the kitchen, One can cling to experience, Elm bowls for salad PREVENTION
were used, Norwegians making drinking bottles out of Ash and
Oak casks for storing whiskey are beloved of whiskey lovers. Powered Respirators: Every woodturner should be equipped
There is no question of the side effects of the whiskey being with a powered helmet-type respirator and should wear it as
due to the oak! Should a finish be used inside a storage vessel required. That means hen sanding and on other occasions if a
the manufacturers can be contacted for advice. lot of dust is being created. It is not considered reasonable to
expect people to wear a helmet all the time. There are many
Medium Density Fibreboard varieties of dust helmets on the market and articles in journals
(MDF): advising their pros and cons. Whilst they will keep the
This was claimed to be a danger in dust form but HSE breathing zone dust free, you have to remember that fumes and
Information Sheet Issue 16 date April 2000 states it is no more toxic gases are not kept out.
hazardous than its constituent softwoods. The presence of
Formaldehyde from the glue is noted as being well below the Dust Extraction Equipment: Clearly it is best to
danger level. remove the dust at source. Unfortunately the lathe does not
lend itself easily to the capture of dust as the source is not in
The nature of applied chemicals: one fixed place, and, as you have to see what you are doing
There are innumerable chemicals sprayed on trees whilst they and need to get at the work with tools, it can not be enclosed.
are growing and on sawn planks as preservatives which appear However, a large percentage can be removed, thus protecting
to do no harm. However there are compounds of the atmosphere in the workshop from the fine dust which will
Formaldehyde and Isocyanates used in glues and surface remain suspended for a long time. You cannot count on all the
finishes which are known to be harmful. Being ignorant, I have dust being extracted, hence the need for the helmet.
no idea if the varnish I am removing or the glue in some A fixed extraction system designed for the workshop with
plywoods contain these, but as I hardly ever have this problem collection hoods in appropriate places and discharging to a unit
I do not worry I would certainly take full precautions if I were outside is obviously the best arrangement; equally obviously it
working with them. is the most expensive. The full time turner is well advised to
install this whether it is required by law or not. I am most
Smoking: indebted to Reg Sherwin for his practical guidance in this
In every study it has been shown that smokers have section. In his workshop the airborne dust is drastically
reduced by using a custom built extraction system (see photo I, it, and if like me you do not have variable speed, you still
Appendix 2) which has the collection bags outside the prefer to hear it.
workshop but the controls inside. Also he has recently installed
Microdene filters which collect a surprising amount of fine I need to be able to change the head of the cleaner to allow the
particles. Reg tries to leave sawing to the end of the day and cleaning of various places in the workshop where dust collects,
continues to wear the helmet until leaving the workshop, notably pile of scrap wood. In future these will be covered
allowing the dust to settle overnight. He uses the flexible with agricultural polythene.
attachment of his system to clean the floor and horizontal
surfaces next day, once again wearing the helmet. Filtering the Dust Inside the Room: The foregoing paragraphs
in this section on dust extraction are aimed at producing a
For part-timers like myself, Reg teaches attaching a vacuum satisfactory result for little expense. There is now an excellent
cleaner head to the tool rest (see diagram on facing page and method of extracting the fine dust, down to I micron, with a
the photo on page 4). This can be slid along the rest as wall or ceiling mounted unit. The expense is not great, and the
required. The abrasive is held on top of the wood, thus value is very great. The extraction methods described above
sending the Stream of dusts towards the vacuum head. For this remove most but not all of the dust. Further, in woodwork
you have to have a cylinder, or drum type, vacuum cleaner other than turning there will be dust production at many
with a flexible hose intake, and the domestic type will do. The different sites in the workshop where no ready means of
cleaner is thus several feet away from the lathe. extraction exists. The manufacturers of ‘Microclene Filters’
have a high reputation with several members of this club.
Filtering the Dust outside the Room: While the system in the Their units have a replaceable filter and remarkably low
last paragraph is useful in greatly reducing the dust in the electric power usage. Their address is:
breathing zone, the catch is that the cleaner is still in the room A52C The Sanderson Centre, Lees Lane, Gosport, Hants
and the filtration in the bag does not in all probability retain P0123 UL, Telephone 01705 502999, and the equipment is
the finer particles of dust, which are of special interest to us. available also through the Axminister Power Tool Co.
I would not risk putting the cleaner outside the window,
leaving electrical appliances exposed to the rain, unless it was CONCLUSION
safely waterproofed. For myself, I have managed to keep it
indoors, in the garage nest to the workshop. A 4 metre (13 ft) Whatever your feelings about the use of dumb animals in
piece of the standard flexible, corrugated hose was purchased experiments, I hope you will forgive my using my allergy to
and connected to I ¼”(internal diameter) plastic piping which Iroko to advantage. I can test out equipment with it, so far with
is used for outlets for washbasins. Both have the same internal success. It is gratifying to know that the system works, but I
diameter but by using near boiling water for the hose and filing would caution against knowingly using a wood to which you
bevel on the pipe the deed was done. Using the connectors are allergic. On one occasion when I had to use this wood for
which go with the pipe you can easily interchange the underwater use, my dust helmet was out of action.
attachments to the cleaner. The suction is still perfectly I wore a simple cone mask which only covers the nose and
adequate at h end of the extended hose. My domestic ‘Vax’ mouth. It was surprisingly effective but my eyes became red
cleaner will lift 1¼ lbs. weight. One warning, however, do not and the lids swelled up, as of course might be expected.
try to suck up the shavings from the hand plane as they block
the tube. It can be cleared using an upstairs window and I understand some people thinking, like the rest of us, that they
dislodging the obstruction with a piece of polythene tubing of knew some old fellows who lived to a ripe old age breathing in
thick gauge. an atmosphere consisting of wood dust, tobacco smoke and,
presumably, air; and they may argue that the fuss about wood
A system devised by Dr Alan Ritchie consists of a permanent dust s exaggerated. That, of course, takes no account of the
fixture of 1¼” white plastic water piping, and swept ‘T’ number of woodworkers who fell by the wayside at an early
fitments to provide outlets, which is coupled to a domestic age. It is exactly this situation that the scientific papers on
drum vacuum cleaner in the adjacent garage. The cleaner is which this article is based attempt to show. I have tried to
remotely switched in the workshop. Outlets at appropriate leave out anything which is not proven or is controversial but
places are closed off with wooden bungs when not in use. This have included matters where I thought readers might have
permanent layout saves the time required to set up the been given a misleading view.
No one can say what future discoveries may show but this is
Another alternative is described by Rag where he formerly had an accurate account of the situation at the time of writing.
a vacuum cleaner that had an exhaust pipe. This could be
lodged in the workshop and vented direct to the atmosphere I am extremely grateful to Reg Sherwin and Alan Ritchie for
through a hole, but with the outlet pointing downwards. their contributions, and to Harold Heywood for reading and
correcting, and to Kate Price for typing it all put many times
There are thus several methods of dust extraction of varying and producing the article. Also the members of Worcestershire
degrees of expense and convenience. Woodturners by their pleasant company and interest have
made the effort well worth while
An unexpected advantage of getting the vacuum cleaner far
away is that it reduces the noise, which can be most
distracting. If you have a variable speed lathe you need to hear Gerald Jones
AREA REPRESENTITIVES - UPDATED LIST
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Newsletters around the country content of the publications. I’ve noticed a steady
improvement in the standard of reporting and quality of
Newsletters are a vital communication medium to club presentation from the regional editors – congratulations in
members and to the greater woodturning fraternity around your commitment to your club.
the country. Don’t forget the best newsletter award presented at the
There are now newsletters from 9 of our national clubs AWSA Congress. There are several strong contenders
being published on roughly a monthly basis. I receive most amongst you out there.
of these by e-mail and enjoy the broad and informative The newsletter details are : (Order north to south)
NATIONAL NEWSLETTER CONTACT DETAILS
Region Editor N/L Name e-mail address
Pretoria Louw Trichardt Tamboti Louwmarie@icon.co.za
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Durban Derek Martin None Derek@deltamarketagents.co.za
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East London Nigel Waters EL Woodnews Nigel.firstname.lastname@example.org
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Western Cape Gigi Laidler Turnings Gigi.email@example.com
Worry is the darkroom where negatives are developed Highly strung people are those who are self –taut
A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you are in Our background and circumstances may have influenced
deep water who we are but we are responsible for who we become
TIMBERS OF CENTRAL MOZAMBIQUE
Submitted by Gerry Barry – an agriculturist at the Mafambisse sugar estate near Beira (Central Mozambique)
Common name Portugese Botanical name Comment
Kiaat, Mukwa Umbila Pterocarpus Angolensis Well known furniture timber
Pod mahogany Chamfuta Afzelia Quanzensis Not my favourite, boring?
Brown Ivory Pau Rosa Berchemia Discolor "Rose Wood" sister to Red Ivory wonderful timber
Afrormosia Muwanga Pericopsis Anglensis Brown/Gold beautiful, personal favourite (otherwise
known as Afromosia Angolensis)
Snake Bean Pau Ferro Swartzia Madagascarensis Red to purple, very striking
Forest Ordeal Tree Musandu Erythrophylum Sauv. Used for sleepers, Beira/Umtali, circa 1898
Lebombo Ironwood Msimbiti Androstachys Johnsonii "Nails" in roofing used at Punda Maria KNP still there
ti Androstachys Johnsonii "Nails" in roofing used at Punda Maria KNP still there