Article: Nick Cook Demonstration For CMW March 15, 2014

March 26, 2014 16:58, submitted by Tina Collison (author: Bob Gunther with photos by Scot Roberge)

Nick Cook Demonstration for CMW March 15, 2014


Nick is a nationally known woodturner. He lives in Marietta, Georgia where he also has his own studio. It is the only full service woodturning studio in the metropolitan Atlanta area. He turns a variety of work including one-of-a kind bowls and vessels along with his unique gift items such as wine stoppers, baby rattles, rolling pins, spinning tops and honey dippers. He also provides turned parts for local furniture makers and millwork shops. He is in high demand as a teacher. He teaches and demonstrates at his studio, universities, craft schools and woodworking shows throughout the US, Australia and New Zealand. Later this year he will be demonstrating in Ireland at their national symposium. He last demonstrated and taught for CMW on October 16-17, 2010. He is a founding member of the American Association of Woodturners and has served six years on the board including one year as Vice President. His work is marketed in gift shops and galleries from coast to coast and is included in numerous corporate and private collections.

Morning Session:

Nick began his demo showing the use of the skew. It should be held gently, not white knuckled, and the bevel must be utilized. It should be laid on the tool rest and then lowered to get the cutting edge on the wood thus achieve a peeling cut. Light cuts should be used to achieve the best surface. Most cutting is done using the center third of the cutting edge. To demonstrate the use of the skew, Nick turned a garden dibble which is used to plant garden bulbs. A 2 x 2 x 12 inch blank was used. Nick usually uses maple. The blank was roughed into a cylinder and beads were turned at each end of the handle. The working end of the dibble was shaped into a tapered, dull point. One inch increments were marked on the tapered portion by forming V-cuts with the skew. The increments permit various planting depths to be achieved.

Next Nick turned a honey-dipper. A 5/4 x 5/4 x 8 inch piece of hard maple was placed between centers. A spindle roughing gouge was used to shape the piece. A 1/16” fluted parting tool formed the grooves in the dipper that hold the honey. A spindle gouge was used to detail the area where the head of the dipper blended into the handle. The handle was shaped with the roughing gouge and the dipper parted off at both ends.

Another 5/4 x 5/4 x 8” blank was placed between centers. This would become an icicle snowman Christmas ornament. It was roughed into a cylinder. Details of the ornament were turned using a spindle gouge. A piece of masonite was used to burnish the hat band on the ornament. Puff paint would be used to make a face and buttons.

Next a 5/4 x 5/4 x 12” piece of maple was used to make a spurtle (used for stirring hot cereal). It was roughed into a cylinder and details placed using a spindle gouge. The stirring portion was shaped with the roughing gouge. It was then parted off at both ends.

Using another piece of 5/4 x 5/4 x 12” maple a muddler was turned. It was roughed into a cylinder and details added with the spindle gouge. The end was flattened so that fruit could be pulverized in the bottom of a drink.

Nick then made a baby rattle. Maple blanks were used. Two 1 x 2 x 7” blanks were routed out on one side and these were then glued together (after dry beans were inserted). Titebond II was used. One needs to mark the outside of the glued up blank to know where the routed out area is. One doesn’t want to turn into that area and “spill the beans”. Mineral oil can be used to finish the rattle followed by beeswax. The beeswax helps seal the mineral oil into the wood. Otherwise the oil keeps seeping out.

Spinning top: Next a 2 x 2 x 6” piece was placed between centers and roughed into a cylinder. A tenon was turned on one end that fit into the chuck jaws. The top was turned using a ¼” bowl gouge with a fingernail grind. A chatter tool was used to decorate the top. The pattern created depends on how one presents the tool to the wood. This top was parted off. Using the remaining wood another top was turned. A dimple was formed in the end of the stem. Grooves were turned into the top and an Elf tool was used to detail the piece. Then a Wagner tool was used to create further textures. Various patterns can be created by holding the texturing tools at varying angles. The Wagner tool comes in three sizes depending on what patterns you want to achieve and how big the texturing details are. Felt tipped pens can be used to color the tops before they are parted off.

Another 2 x 2 x 6” piece of maple was placed in the jaws in preparation for making a coffee scoop. First the scoop cup portion was turned and a ¼” hole drilled on a slight angle for the handle. The scoop portion was then hollowed with a spindle gouge and the interior surface cleaned up with a carbide cutter. The scoop was then parted off. It was placed on a jam chuck to finish the bottom surface of the scoop. A piece of contrasting wood (walnut) 1 x 1 x 8” was placed between centers to shape the handle of the scoop. This was made about 7 inches long. An open-end wrench was used to measure the ¼” tenon that fits into the cup portion of the scoop. The length of the tenon was made to correspond to the cup’s wall thickness. The handle was parted off and fitted into the cup thus completing the coffee scoop.

Nick next made a small goblet with a captive ring. A 2 x 2 x 6” blank was placed in the jaws and the cup portion turned. Do not make the diameter of the cup bottom less than one-half the diameter of the rim; otherwise it will vibrate when hollowing. It was hollowed with a spindle gouge and finished with the Easy Wood carbide tip finisher. Set the wall thickness of the rim and do not come back to it or it too will vibrate. The interior was cleaned up with the carbide cutter. Then the stem was formed with a captive ring and the goblet parted off. Nick used a captive ring tool made by J. Glaser. This completed the morning session.

Afternoon Session:

Nick began the session making a 10 inch peppermill using a 3 x 3 x 12” blank. The blank was placed between centers and roughed into a cylinder. Tenons were turned on both ends. Another tenon was turned 8” from the headstock and the tenon left on the longer, 8” portion of the blank. The chuck was placed on the headstock and the longer 8” section placed in the chuck and a 15/8” hole drilled (using a Colt Maxicut bit). Lathe speed should be about 400-600 rpm for drilling. The 15/8” hole needs to be at least 3/8” into the body of the mill- not the end of the tenon. Then a 11/16” inch hole was drilled into the bottom of the 15/8” hole. First a short bit was used and later a longer one. Drilling was done about ¾ of the way through the 8” section- not all the way through. The piece was then reversed in the chuck and the distal tenon turned away to give a flat or slightly concave surface. This surface will butt up against the top portion of the mill. Then the 11/16” hole was drilled from this end to meet the one drilled from the other end.

The top portion of the mill was placed in the chuck. The end was trued up. A tenon was turned to fit into the 11/16” hole in the top of the bottom portion of the mill. The tenon was about ¼” deep. A 7/8” hole was drilled about 3/16” deep into the tenon. This hole was expanded slightly to fit the stamped aluminum plate provided in the mill kit. Then a 17/64” hole was drilled through the length of the top portion. When drilling using a twist drill one should drill for an inch, then clean the helix and drill another inch. This will prevent overheating and deviation of the bit off center.

The mill rod and the bottom mechanism was placed in the bottom of the mill and the top part placed against the rod. This will show how much of the top portion needs to be parted off. About ½ of the mill rod threads need to show through the top so the top knob can be screwed on and tension in the mill varied.

A mandrel was then made from a piece of maple. It was turned down to 15/8”. This fits into the 15/8” opening in the bottom of the base of the mill. The end of the tenon rests against the shoulder where the 11/16” hole begins.

The entire mill (both top and bottom) was placed between centers. The tenon that was on the base was the turned away leaving only the mandrel holding that end between centers. The entire mill was then trued up to about 25/8” diameter. Shaping the mill was then begun. First the area at the joint between the top and bottom was shaped. If the line separating the two parts is hard to see one can place a piece of thin cardboard in the joint to make it more visible. When turning the area of the joint one needs to leave enough wood so one doesn’t get into the 11/16” hole and the tenon on the top. Then the base or bottom of the mill is shaped with the narrowest part with a diameter of 1¾ to 17/8”. This gives a comfortable diameter to hold the mill. The entire mill would then be sanded to about 320 grit. For a finish Nick uses wipe-on poly by Minwax. This completed the pepper mill.

Next Nick turned a mystery salt shaker. A 3 x 3 x 5” cherry blank was roughed into a cylinder and a tenon turned on one end. It was placed in the chuck and the tailstock end trued up. A 15/8” hole was drilled ¼” to 5/16” deep. Then a 13/8” hole was drilled 3” deep from the bottom of the 15/8” hole. A spindle gouge was placed in the pilot hole at the bottom of the 3” deep, 13/8” hole and pivoted to create ½” wide dimple. This area holds the salt. Then the shape of the mill was formed and parted off at the headstock end. A jam chuck was made to fit into the 13/8” hole in the shaker. The shaker was placed on the jam chuck and the top of the shaker completed. This completed the outside of the shaker. Another piece of wood was placed in the chuck and turned to 15/8” to fit into the body of the shaker. Next to the 15/8” diameter a 13/8” diameter area was turned. Then a funnel was shaped into the piece with a spindle gouge. A 1/8” hole was drilled 2” deep. A 2” long post was formed that was ½” in diameter and tapered to a blunt point where the 1/8” hole came out. The piece was then inserted into the base of the shaker. This completed the mystery salt shaker.

Next a platter blank 5/4” thick and 9” diameter was placed on a screw chuck. The surface was trued up and a tenon turned to fit the expansion jaws of the chuck. The base of the blank was then shaped with a bowl gouge. A shear cut was used to give a final surface finish. The piece was reversed and the edge trued up. Then the top of the piece was shaped leaving a flat rim. A band about ½” wide and ½” in from the edge was textured with a Sorby texturing tool. A point tool was used to define each side of the textured area. The areas on each side of the textured area were turned deeper so that the textured area was raised. The inner, deep turned area was done with the lathe in reverse so that a more controlled cut could be achieved. A piece of Cocobolo was used to burnish the raised area and give it a golden brown color.

The center area of the plate was hollowed. When 5/4” and 6/4” wood is used on a screw chuck one must be careful drilling the hole especially when a Brad point is used because the point of the bit is considerably deeper than the cutting edges.

Next a 6/4 inch thick 8” diameter piece of ash was placed on the screw chuck. The surface was trued up and a tenon turned for expansion. The shape of the base was turned and the piece reversed. The edge was trued up and the flat rim of the platter was left higher than the edge. The platter was then burned with a propane torch. Before burning, shavings should be cleaned away from the lathe bed so that a fire is not started. After burning the surface scotch brite pads were used to rub away the surface leaving different degrees of burn on the summer and winter growth rings. At this point one can spray 2 coats of matte acrylic to seal in the burned surface. The center areas were then turned away to define the edges of the burned area. The inner limit of the burned area can be undercut to further highlight the burned area surrounding the rim. This completed the burned rim platter.

A bottle stopper was then turned. The blank had been previously drilled and a 3/8” dowel inserted. The dowel was inserted in a machinist collet which was secured in the headstock with a draw-bar. The stopper blank was then shaped. A cork would then be placed on the dowel to complete the bottle stopper. CA glue is used to secure the dowel to the cork.

Making handles for ice cream scoops, pizza cutters and bottle openers: Nick placed a 2 x 2 x 6” blank that had a tenon on it in the jaws. A ½” hole was drilled. A threaded insert was placed in the hole. A collet was then used to hold a mandrel that screwed into the insert in the blank. A drawbar held the mandrel in the headstock. The blank was then turned and removed from the mandrel. It was then screwed to the ice cream scoop. Scoops, cutters and openers can be obtained from Rockler. Nick then turned a Spectra Ply blank that could also be used as a colorful handle for one of the above items.

Next a candle stick was turned. The base was placed on the screw chuck. A recess was turned on the bottom to go in the chuck. The piece was reversed. The surface was trued up. A 13/8” hole was drilled into the base to accept a 13/8” tenon that would be turned on the post of the candlestick. The edge was trued up and the shape of the base defined with an ogee shape. The base was removed from the chuck and the post of the candlestick placed between centers. It was roughed into a cylinder. A tenon was turned on the headstock end and the piece placed in the jaws. A 7/8” hole was drilled 1” deep to accept a brass candle holder. The piece was taken out of the jaws and placed between centers with a cone live center in the 7/8” drilled hole. A 13/8” tenon was turned to fit into the base and the surface around the tenon undercut to assure a good fit between the two parts. The post of the candlestick was shaped. This completed the candlestick and a very interesting and enjoyable demonstration.

Submitted by Bob Gunther Photos by Scot Roberge

Suppliers: Pizza cutter, ice cream scoop, bottle opener and mandrel from Small screw eyes from 3 x 3 Cherry, maple and ash from Hardwoods, Inc, 404 792-0910 Puff paint from Michaels, JoAnn shop and Wal-Mart Colt Maxi-cut bits from Packard, Craft Supply and Woodcraft Collet chucks and drilled corks from Spectra ply scraps from Candle cups from Packard and Craft Supply