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Chapter Daytrip to Seamus Cassidy's Workshop.

On a sunny(!) day in July the real Gorey Chapter die-hards who could not survive the summer without woodturning travelled to Seamus Cassidy in the Boyne Valley to enjoy a day of learning and joy. The set-up of the workshop and surrounding buildings is more than capable to entertain groups, the coffee and scones were ready on arrival.

Seamus started to make two scoops out of a branch, he shaped the outline and cut the piece lengthwise in two halves on the bandsaw. The pit of the branch was in the middle to avoid cracks afterwards. The tailstock without the revolving centre was pushed up against the scoop to get it level in the jam chuck. It was secured with hot-melt glue and ready for hollowing out. Seamus sanded the top of the handle slightly curved on the belt sander for an elegant effect.

The next project was a candleholder with heavy foot, a thin stem with two subtle beads at the top and the bottom and a small top part with a metal insert. The stem was blackened with ebony spray-paint to keep the grain visible. The brass insert changed colour after having been grilled by the torch, the new stressed metal-look fitted in with the other parts. Luckily the torch was not used for the BBQ which was served in one of the outbuildings which was up-to-scratch for the occasion, everything was well prepared and we enjoyed a tasteful lunch.

After that there was an air of great excitement; Seamus was going to do the steam-bending. Three similar legs were quickly shaped and then the Big Moment was there; Seamus took the three legs opened the lid of a huge boiler, threw them in the boiling water, put the lid back with the words 'This is the steam-bending, that's it!' We were a bit disappointed how easy it was but we got over it quickly when Seamus clearly showed the importance of thick gloves for bending the hot timber when taking it out of the boiling water. When his hands had cooled down a bit and the legs had the desired curves he made the top for the legs of burr elm. The tapered shape was hollowed out in the middle of the flat top, the wide rim was treated with a nylon brush in the drill to obtain a textured leather-like finish. The hollow shape was levelled with car-filler, covered with glue which was left to dry a bit after which silver leaf was gently applied by pushing small sheets onto the surface. The silver looked beautiful with the black rim around the part which was hollowed out. After drilling the holes the legs were attached and levelled at the base. The legs were standing in 3 holes in a block of wood so they could be cut of at the right angle to stand straight, this was a clever way to get them right.

Seamus worked hard during the day to show us many techniques and subtle design ideas in his precise way, we are grateful for that so thank you very much Seamus and Mary for having us for the day, it was brilliant! Next time we would like to have pizza's from the home-made oven please.