The AWGB run some really good workshops for those of us afflicted with turning, I was lucky enough to be selected to attend one such event and this is how we got on!
The workshop was the Corinthian Helmet making course held at the workshop of Andrew Hall in County Durham, the course was attended by four AWGB members from the North East and Scotland. We were joined in the workshop for the day by Allan Joicey whose advice and support are always on hand and whose questions always seem to lead you to the correct solutions!
We started the day with introductions and the required Health and Safety notices followed by Andrew explaining the basic outline of the day with sketches and examples of the stages of making the small size Helmets.
Once the formalities were out of the way we were let loose onto a pile of green Ash blanks which had been prepared by cutting them into spindle blanks (grain parallel to the lathes axis of rotation) which were around 100mm square and around 170mm long. The initial task was to turn the blank down to the largest possible cylinder and put a chucking point onto both ends.
Once in the chuck the length was set and the "spare" cut off complete with its chucking point to give a handy little jam chuck either for this project or for any other that might require it.
The process is then pretty much the same as making a goblet with a short stem, shaping the outside first to give the outside shape of the helmet and then removing the inside. The helmet is in fact an upside down goblet and the stem is trimmed down to form a small spigot, of which more later...
The big advantage of the workshop day is that not only do you get the benefit of the two professional and experienced turners but you also have your fellow addicts to share experience and handy tips. A range of tools were used in the hollowing because with the array available to us it would have been rude not to try at least a few....well that was my excuse.
The thickness of the walls were measured using a set of scissor calipers and whilst turning a small LED light proved to be very useful in gauging the wall thickness - this works really well on the side walls of this project as you are working in spindle blank orientation and the side walls don't have alternating side and end grain as they do in a bowl blank.
A small spigot had to be left on the completed goblet bowl to give an attachment point for the crest on the helmet and of course one person could not resist the opportunity test the tutor by telling him their goblet bowl had been parted off with no spigot left at all....sadly nobody got a photo of Andrew's face at that point !
A splendid lunch was provided by Janet and the conversation of course mostly focused on tools and lathes, its funny how that always seems to happen in a room full of woodturners.
The next stage was to use a template to mark the cut away sections of the helmet and then to cut them away using a Proxxon mini jig saw, this is tricky than it looks as the helmet does not have a flat surface and the thin walls mean that vibration is a major issue. All of the helmets were cut without major issues and the cut out pieces were saved to be used as templates in our own workshops for future helmet projects.
The next turning task was to turn a piece which would be machined on the bandsaw to make a "crest" for the helmet, this is basically a thin disc with a cove on its edge and some other basic details. The piece is then cut down on the bandsaw and the "spare" piece is saved to be used as a marking up template for future projects of this type. A hole is drilled in the crest and it is then fitted to the "spigot" on top of the helmet and the project is then ready to have any final "tweaks" made, sand and finish in whatever way you see fit.
Overall a good project and a grand day out, next time you see a workshop listed I would recommend you get in touch and get yourself along to one you never know you might just have some fun!