Here are the winners and entries for the October online competition. Due to the Corona Virus restrictions there was no meeting this month so the competition was again held online.

Alison Hurst is our guest judge this month. 

The Beginners Section had three entries.

John O’ Neill . Cake stand from Elm and Ash 
Using a combination of ash and elm, John has married simple shapes and colours together to make a handsome addition to any home. A cake stand is also incredibly useful to display small woodturner objects, or as a base for floral displays. Johns joins between stem and plate seem to be perfect and his flat plates seem to have stayed beautifully level. Tung oil is a beautiful finish but requires time and patience. John has applied 10 coats! John has successfully made a most ambitious project for a beginner. I have a feeling he will be called upon to make many of these as Christmas presents.

Michael Quinn . Coloured vessel with cord decoration.
Another ambitious project for the beginners section. Michael has made a lovely proportioned vessel, applied iridescent paints, pierced holes, cut away curved areas and applied cord detail. These paints are not easy to apply without streaking, the wood has to be finished to perfection or the paint will show every scratch and flaw and Michael's piece shows no such flaws. The hole piercings can be tricky to achieve without some tear out, and cutting two matching curves down the front requires a very steady hand. The added details of cords and beads compliment a bright happy piece. I love to see a mix of materials in woodturning. Too often we stay with unadulterated wood. It’s great to see some experimentation.

Renee Kennedy . Ash bowl.
Bowls are something most woodturners love to turn. There’s something very satisfying in making something useful and beautiful from wood. Renee has chosen to use ash for her small 3” bowl. The bowl curves beautifully and I’d say feels very comfortable in the hand. The interior of the bowl has a useful curved lip making the removal of its contents a much easier task. The exterior of the bowl has an attractive gentle bead with a burnt line detail. Overall a practical and pretty bowl.



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The Experienced section had four entries.

Brendan Kelly . Laburnum lidded box.
Brendan has made a splendid little box from a captivating piece of Laburnum. The top shoulder area of the box singles out the growth rings of the laburnum. The differences in colour are fascinating and the way Brendan has sanded and finished the box shows the wood to its best advantage. Echoes of the proud shoulder are seen in the unusual foot peeping out at the bottom. The box boasts a sweet belly shape in the middle. The problem with turning boxes is how quickly we become addicted to making them.

Pat Costigan . Zebrano Bowl.
Zebrano is an alluring wood to turn. The differences in colour between the rings are delicate and dazzling. Pat has worked with a simple shape to best show the characteristics of this elegant wood. He has made great use of a recessed chucking point with a detail ring to decorate the underside of the piece while making the piece as large as it can be from his blank. The expert finish is a high gloss. The bowl is both aesthetically pleasing and perfectly functional with a soft rounded edge to the top.

Sean Earls . Redwood bowl.
Sean has presented a bowl from American Redwood. An amazing tree and one of the oldest on the planet. The grain and colour need no additions from a woodturner and Sean has opted to show the beauty of the wood in simple form. Sean has very slightly undercut the crisp rim of the bowl and used a recessed chucking point of the base. The sanding of the bowl and the finish used on the bowl are most accomplished. The bowl stands splendidly as a tribute to such a beautiful wood.

Vinny Whelan . Sessile oak clutch pencil. 
I love using clutch pencils but have never turned one, so here’s something new for my to-do list. Vinny has used sessile oak to great effect here. The long running grain compliments the slender qualities of the pencil. The shape, slightly rounded in top and bottom sections, would be most comfortable to use. The difficult areas to get right on a pen or pencil is where the wood meets the metal rings. Oak can be a brittle wood to turn so managing to finish the joins in such an excellent manner is be applauded.



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The Advanced Section had seven entries.

John Duff . Sycamore Pedestal bowl.
The pale qualities of sycamore wood lend themselves to decoration but John has successfully shown sycamore in all of its beautiful creaminess by keeping the shape and finish deceptively simple. The stable low pedestal base includes a gentle recessed bowl shape of its own plus a decorative line or two (its difficult to see if there’s one at the edge of the baby bowl). The bowl is perfectly balanced and superbly finished. A welcome addition to any home.

Brendan Phelan . Mortar and Pestle in Maple.
Brendan has turned a most useful piece of kitchen equipment. "Mortar and pestle is a set of two simple tools used since the Stone Age to the present day to prepare ingredients or substances by crushing and grinding them into a fine paste or powder in the kitchen. The substance to be ground, which may be wet or dry, is placed in the mortar where the pestle is pounded, pressed, and rotated into the substance until the desired texture is achieved.” Brendan has produced a beautifully curving top edge to the mortar with a satisfyingly deep bowl to contain ingredients. The pestle looks like a comfortable fit for any hand. The finish is impeccable.

Cecil Barron . Stacking spalted beech bowls.
Cecil has created a trio of stacking bowls in graduating sizes. The collection looks appealing when stacked or when viewed individually. A fat rolled rim is an unusual choice and looks delightful. Trust Cecil to come up with that one. The bowls exhibit eye-catching spalting. Catching spalting too early or too late is the fate of many woodturners but Cecil has exhibited a knack for timing the spalting just right. The sanding and finishing is expert.

Joe O’ Neill . Calligraphy pens.
Joe has come up with a beautiful collection of pens, expertly using pieces of wood that most turners would discard. The pens are elegant and splendidly finished. What a clever project. I particularly like the different woods and decorative treatments which make the pens easily identifiable to the user. I find a pen made from wood is infinitely more pleasing than its plastic counterpart.

Tony Hartney . Sycamore Vase.
Sycamore is usually without much colour and figure. This elegant vase from Tony shows that sycamore can claim its place amongst the great figured woods. The vase is classically proportioned, solid and elegant. Simple clean lines work perfectly on this vase. The rim is gently curved and rounded. The sanding and finish are superb.

Tony Hartney . Bowl from apple wood. 
Another entry from Tony Hartney. This time a simple bowl from apple wood. It’s always a treat to get some fruit wood to work with. This particular piece of apple wood is beautifully figured. Tony has shown this to great effect. Tony has used a matt finish and no decoration to allow the colours of the wood to stand out. A humble well-formed bowl from a beautiful wood. You can never have too many bowls.

Paddy Finn. Candle Stick in European Lime.
Paddy has chosen European Lime for this exquisite candle stick. As lime wood can be quite light Paddy has included a chunky base for extra stability. Excellently proportioned and well finished with a brass insert.


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The Artistic section had five entries.

Brendan Kelly . Olive oil amphora with stand.
I love finding new things to make in woodturning and this amphora is just such a thing. Although Brendan has specified that it is to hold olive oil (so I assume it’s hollowed out), its size would have made it very useful for perfume, as the smaller Amphoras were in ancient Greece. The piece is beautifully sanded and finished. The black ring and recessed burn/painted lines are crisp and of good proportion. The base looks sturdy and functional and the choice to blacken it makes the colour of the beech pop. A beautiful piece ticking all the boxes of form, function and finish.

Brendan Phelan . Olive wood bud vase.
Brendan has found a wonderfully figured piece of olive wood and shown it to its advantage in this handsome piece. The humble bud vase is something most woodturners have made at some stage or another. Brendan chose to keep the neck and the base the same diameter. The bulbous belly is a perfect shape to show the figure of olive wood. Brendans finish in terms of sanding and choice of finish looks faultless. It’s often difficult to choose a project that perfectly compliments the wood we have at hand, Brendan has done so impeccably.

Cecil Barron . Lidded box from Ash wood. 
Boxes are another recurring theme amongst woodturners. Cecil has dispelled the idea that a box must stand on its base and opted for one lying on its side. When closed, to the casual eye, it wouldn’t be readily identifiable as a box. The pod shape and finial are in charming proportion. As this is a Cecil Barron piece we can assume the lid fits like a glove. The simple groves cut into the box and lid hide the join perfectly. An appealing version of a simple theme executed to perfection in a native Irish wood. A wonderful addition to any side table and one I think I’ll make myself as a tiny sewing kit.

Colum Murphy . Sumac with ash stem, 
The Sumac tree is in full glory at the moment with its dazzling autumn colours. I’ve never turned any of its branches but after seeing this beautiful piece, my sumacs are in peril. The grain, bark and colours are striking. Colum has successfully centred the piece so the grain is precisely balanced on each side. This can be quite tricky with a rounded log. The bark has stayed in place, again a skilful fete. How many times have we tried to keep the bark in place only to have a piece chip out near the end. Colum's piece is elegant and the wall thickness kept thin which makes keeping the bark in place even more impressive. The blackened ash pedestal base works well with the shape of the shallow bowl on top. 

James Nolan . Elm Burl Bowl. 
It’s very seldom we see a piece of elm burl. James has been fortunate enough to have such a beautiful piece of wood on which to work. Burl is exceedingly difficult to work on, grain running in every direction, bark inclusions popping up everywhere and the knowledge that its a “good” piece of wood so we don’t want to ruin it, all add to the tension. James has allowed the wood to speak for itself and kept the decoration to a minimum. Holding a burl on the lathe can also be quite a challenge. James has used an elegant finish to compliment the bowl. The raw edges around the bowl must have been a terrifying blur to turn. A beautiful piece of wood shown gracefully.




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Many thanks to Alison for her wonderful and insightful comments on what I hope is or last online competition. Next month we're back with  a live competition and demonstration. Looking forward to seeing you all again.

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