chat transcript

a Special Guest Chat with
Turner, Demonstrator, Instructor

with host
Ellis Walentine

May 30, 2012

EllisTonight, it is my great pleasure to introduce none other than Jimmy Clewes, woodturner, designer, instructor, demonstrator and all-around great guy. Jimmy, welcome to the WoodCentral chatroom. How are you tonight?
JohnVwelcome Jimmy
Lan_Bhi Jimmy
Jim_EvansMr. Clewes
Jeff_WHowdy Jimmy
EllisWe're so glad you could make it.
Michael_GibsonEvening mate
Jimmy_ClewesEvening all! Glad you could make it!
EllisIt looks like you're in off the road for a bit, then off to San Jose.
EllisTaking the summer off from teaching?
Jimmy_ClewesThat's right. North Carolina first this weekend and then to San Jose
EllisHow was the gig in Michigan?
Jimmy_ClewesI'm teaching and demonstrating and travelling during the summer and gets me out of the of the summer
EllisI guess Las Vegas gets a tad warm during July and August. :)
Jimmy_ClewesGig in Michigan was great. What great group of lads. Thoroughly enjoyed it
Jimmy_ClewesYes, Ellis, a bit warm. But remember it is a "dry" heat :)
Lan_BStill Hot!
EllisYou can't fool me. I've been in LV in summer. Will you be in anyone's booth at San Jose?
dick_hinesWait until you to NC
JohnV120 will dry will still cure meat
EllisThere's a tech tip, JV
Jimmy_ClewesEllis, I will be in Doug Thompson's booth. Drop by and say hello.
EllisI'll definitely be stopping by.
Jimmy_ClewesGreat. Look forward to it Mate!
EllisSo, I'll bet these folks have a bunch of questions for you. If not, I do.
Jimmy_ClewesGo for it!
EllisWell, we might as well talk about design.
EllisDesign is my great passion and I know it is yours, too.
EllisWhat motivates your designs?
EllisHow do you come up with your shapes and your decorative stylings?
Jimmy_ClewesDesign is mainly thinking outside the box. My design training has been an immense help
EllisSo, you check yourself to see that you're coming up with original ideas?
EllisAnd/or, do you start with a piece of wood, or with a concept, or with a sketch or what?
Jimmy_ClewesGood question, Ellis. Many of the times simple sketches and the wood also can have an influence
Jimmy_ClewesDesign is a process.
Jimmy_ClewesDesign is also a very logical process.
EllisI tend to work in applied arts, problem solving and so on. Fine art and sculpture are a different kind of design problem.
Jimmy_ClewesAbsolutely Ellis and can be very subjective and personal.
Jimmy_ClewesFor example, two interpretations of the human form -- one - Michaelangelo's David and two - Henry Moore's sulptures are totally different
Jimmy_ClewesBut both are brilliant in their own way.
EllisI'll say.
StuartJimmy, in your DVDs you show making small changes that enhance the piece. When you start, do you have something firm decided on and then make changes on the fly?
Jimmy_ClewesHi Stuart. Over many years of turning I have developed the ability to see proportion in three dimensions. I step back, have a look and can tell if it looks right or not. You build up a library shapes in your head ... good and bad.
don_in_central_illinoisJimmy, what got you interested in turning?
Jimmy_ClewesHi Don. Ever since school when I scraped a thin, shallow bowl for me Mam, I always enjoyed it.
Jimmy_ClewesI resumed turning in my 3-dimensional design course at the age of 22 and never stopped
EllisWhat forms do you enjoy making the most?
Jimmy_ClewesI really enjoy platters and simple curved bowls.
GeorgeTDoesn't originality come from personal diversions from "normal" forms?
Jimmy_ClewesInteresting question, George. Originality can be derived from and influenced by many experiences and emotions.
Lan_BJimmy, do you prefer to decorate a platter or look for the best wood possible?
Jimmy_ClewesHi Lan. It really depends on the wood. If it highly figured, simple form. More plain wood could be embellished or make a feature of the grain.
JamieDHi Jimmy, I just had to say hello out there on the left coast!
Michael_GibsonJimmy, tell us about your Doug Thompson gouge and why you prefer it to others.
Jimmy_ClewesHi Michael. Tell Cyndi I'm asking after her. Doug ground the tool to my design. I prefer it because of the flute profile. It is in between a vee and a "U"
EllisWhose dyes and stains do you use to color your projects?
Jimmy_ClewesRegarding the stains. I prefer the brand name "Chestnut". The Chestnut stains are a spirit based stain. They are available in the UK.
Jim_EvansI don't care for the Chestnut dyes
StuartAre the Chestnut dyes fairly UV resistant?
JamieDJimmy, I know that you have been using some English "spirit" dyes for a long time, do you know specifics about their lightfast characteristics?
Jimmy_ClewesJamie. I have had pieces colored with the Chestnut stain and they are as bright as the day I made them. They are not kept in direct sunlight.
Jimmy_ClewesI also have more control "bleeding" them together with alcohol
EllisThat's the key.
EllisSpirit stains don't raise the grain of the wood as much as water based dyes.
Jimmy_ClewesThat's correct, Ellis
Jim_EvansMine look like they are washed out colors. It took some skill to get them shipped here though. ;-)
dick_hinesIsn't Chestnut supposed to be selling in the States?
Jimmy_ClewesDick. Unfortunately, Chestnut hasn't made it to the US yet.
dick_hinesI heard at the NC symposum that they would be sold in the States soon.
Jimmy_ClewesThat would be great news, Dick!
Lan_BI beleive Craft Supplies sold Chestnut brand last time I bought dye
Mike_HunterChestnut product can be ordered through the UK ... Peter Hemsley at The Tool Post in the UK
StuartIf Chestnut isn't available what is next best option?
Jimmy_ClewesGood question Stuart. I have found some airbrush dyes that have been pretty successful. It the Comart range of colors from Dick Blick
JamieDWhat are the "colors" made of in these dyes? Even ambient light has significant color degrading elements that must be avoided if possible, especially any fluorescent lighting.
Rob_WallaceHi Jimmy (and Mary!!) - good to have you on here - I'm going to try to bring the dyed maple burl piece with me to San Jose. BTW - Chestnut is working on trying to develop an exportable, dry version of their dyes that could be reconstituted locally - I heard from them about 6 months ago that this was in development.
Jimmy_ClewesCheers, Rob. Good to hear from you, Mate! As you know, your piece turned out AWESOME! Good news about the dry version of the dyes.
EllisDo you use an airbrush pretty regularly, Jimmy?
Jimmy_ClewesI just started to get into using the airbrush.
Rob_WallaceWhen I was in Jimmy's class in Las Vegas (March 13-16), I air-brushed the chestnut dyes and they worked REALLY well. I also have air-brushed the Artisan dyes from Craft supplies and although the colors are not as vivid as the Chestnut dyes, the Artisans worked fine.
JamieDRob- the CS dyes are advertised as lightfast, and that in not true. I believe they are aniline, and most are very unstable in light exposure, so be forewarned. The most stable colors are pigment based, such as acrylics and drawing inks, and can be used with alcohol or H2O.
Jimmy_ClewesThanks for that information, Jamie.
EllisI guess it makes sense to think in terms of permanence if you're selling art.
Jimmy_ClewesAbsolutely, Ellis
JamieDThere is so much misinformation about color permance of the materials in use that it will be difficult to overcome old myths!
Jimmy_ClewesColoring and media is a HUGE subject.
EllisDo you have favorite woods that you like to turn?
Jimmy_ClewesI prefer native timbers, Ellis -- walnut, ash, maple, sycamore. I have a particularly good contact for grafted walnut -- American root stock and English grafted on top. The wood is gorgeous.
don_in_central_illinoisJimmy, isn't that what is called claro walnut?
Michael_GibsonIs woodturning moving in the same direction in Britain as here?
EllisCounterclockwise, Michael? :)
Michael_GibsonThat's anti-clockwise Ellis. :)
don_in_central_illinoisNo Ellis, that is south of the equator.
Jimmy_ClewesHi Michael, to be honest, over the 27 years I have been involved in woodturning, there is very little that I haven't seen. Generally, the Brits aren't quite as adventurous.
Lan_BJimmy do you use any of the embossing tools on platters?
Jimmy_ClewesI know the process, Lan, and have raised the grain using a small punch and a damp cloth to form a "braille' type of pattern ... which is basically the same process, but I haven't used the embossing tools.
Rob_WallaceThese are also known as dapping punches...
Michael_GibsonWhere are you going to be in NC this coming weekend?
Jimmy_ClewesI will be at Piedmont Woodturners. Demo on Saturday and hands-on Sunday, then back home Sunday night
Lan_BSouthern Piedmont at Jerry's house
Michael_GibsonWhat out for the ghosts if you are stopping at Jerrys B&B
Jimmy_ClewesThanks for the heads up Michael.
StuartJimmy, how far in advance do your LV classes normally fill?
Jimmy_ClewesI have groups coming back and book a year in advance for a certain date or time of year. However, it could be as little as a week. I never cancel a class even if it only has one student has booked.
EllisDo you sell a lot of work these days, Jimmy? Or are you devoting most of your time to teaching and demonstrating? Or both?
Jimmy_Clewes98% of my time is teaching and demonstrating. It would be a difficult market to compete in selling at the moment. I really enjoy teaching and meeting all the guys.
Rob_WallaceIf you guys haven't had a Jimmy' Clewes class yet - JUST DO IT! It's a BLAST! I took the design class, and got a lot out of it - plus it's just a great experience overall.... ....even the lunches are fantastic!
Jimmy_ClewesThoroughly enjoyed you Rob! Had some great conversations! See you in San Jose
Rob_WallaceLooking forward to it Mate! I'm also spending some time working at Doug's booth - remember - I owe you a beer!
Jimmy_ClewesCheers, Mate!
StuartHow much time do you usually spend beating out old, bad habits at the start of a class?
Jimmy_ClewesGood question, Stuart!!! Hopefully, the way I teach, most guys get a result pretty quickly.
Mike_HunterJimmy .... will you be with Francis from Belgium in San Jose? He is a super individual
Jimmy_ClewesFrancis is a real gentleman, Mike. He is flying over from Belgium and I am taking the WivaMac lathe. We are driving up on Thursday.
EllisWho's selling the WivaMac these days?
Jimmy_ClewesClay Johnson at Choice Woods is selling the WivaMac range.
EllisThat's what I thought. How are they going?
Mike_HunterThe Wiva Mac is a sweet machine, but all of the new machines are good
Jimmy_ClewesI agree, Mike. All the machines are good.
EllisIt looked good to me at the price point, Mike.
Lan_BDoes that lathe do something the others will not? or just for the comfort level?
MollyHi all. Good to see you Jimmy
Jimmy_ClewesYou too, Molly.
Mike_HunterHi Molly
Michael_GibsonYou can see him?
MollyI have mad ninja skills Michael.
EllisComes with motherhood, eh Molly?
MollyGot good news this afternoon. I can get back to turning! Woo hoo!
Rob_WallaceNot only can she see him, but out of the back of her head.... just like mom....
don_in_central_illinoisGood news, Molly. I suppose this means the surgery, etc. was a success.
Michael_Gibsonl heard you have been sniffing those fumes from your burning Molly. :)
MollyYeah, I'll be doing a "public service announcement" when I demo now.
Jimmy_ClewesThe WivaMac is comparable to machines in its price range, and, in particular, I notice how quiet it is. Other than that it is down to preference. I have one in my schoolroom a DB 600. I also have two Powermatics, a Oneway and a Jet.
Mike_HunterIn a machine, I look for nice HP and ease of getting the tailstock out of the way
Rob_WallaceThat was going to be my comment - the WivaMac I used at Jimmy's was REALLY quiet and very smooth... only tried it a little, but it was impressive...
MollyJust did a search for the WivaMac. Sorry to repeat, but what is the price range?
EllisClay Johnson has them on his web site.
Jimmy_ClewesSorry Molly, I don't have that information. Contact Clay Johson as he would give you a better idea.
Mollywill do
Mike_HunterI think they are mid to high, but all good machines are expensive
Ellis4K to 5K range
Mollythanks Ellis
Rob_WallaceJust checked Clay's site and he has the Wivamac DB801 1 HP for $ 3,822
Jim_EvansJimmy, it's been awhile, but did you get your citizenship?
Jimmy_ClewesCheers, Jim! I can apply this July for my citizenshhip!!
Lan_Bgood luck Jimmy!
don_in_central_illinois Congratulations, Jimmy. You'll be 'one of us' so maybe you might want to rethink that. Look at the crew you are becoming a part of.
Mike_HunterJimmy ... how is your Son doing
Jimmy_ClewesMy son Rob is a regular cowboy now!! He has his own hHeifer to show, a horse, a saddle, a shotgun and a hat! YeeHaw!
Mike_HunterYou must be proud
Jimmy_ClewesI couldn't be prouder, Mike. He is a great lad.
Michael_GibsonDoes he turn?
Jimmy_ClewesYes, Michael..until he discovered girls at 15. But he has a natural ability for pyrography. We've been talking about doing something together.
Michael_GibsonIt's going to take awhile to get those girls out the way, but a colab would be great
Jimmy_ClewesYeah! And the girls over here just love the English accent.
Jimmy_ClewesI don't want any "trophies in a pram" :)
Michael_GibsonSay no more
dick_hinesNice having you on the chat tonight, Jimmy. See you at the Va symposium in Sept. I will bring you some trout flies.
Jimmy_ClewesCheers, mate. Look forward to it, and tight lines!
Rob_WallaceHow is your gold prospecting going? Did you get any decent color out of the material you were panning when I was there?
Jimmy_ClewesI did actually, Rob! About $170 worth. Haven't done any prospecting lately, been busy working and have me Mam and Dad here for two weeks.
JoeFlemingJimmy, Are you doing any gold leaf? Any tips to share? Any resources to recommend?
Jimmy_ClewesAn excellent book to consider, Joe, would be An Introduction to Water Gilding by Marty Horowitz and Lou Tilmont.
EllisDo you have any new signature tools or new DVDs on the horizon, Jimmy?
Rob_WallaceTell them about the new tool handle fitting...
Jimmy_ClewesDoug Thompson and I have a "quick release" unit available in three forms. The unit itself, the kit or a finished handle. Check out my website for more detail. We will have them in San Jose.
MollyYes, I saw that at Doug's booth in Ohio. Looks like something I'm going to have to pick up.
EllisIs that quick release mechanism some kind of cam lock?
Jimmy_ClewesAbsolutely, Ellis.
Jimmy_ClewesDoug Thompson makes a good product.
EllisYikes. Yet another tool I need to get. Actually, I have quite a few unhandled tools in different diameters.
Michael_Gibsonl bought one of your quick release units and like it a lot
Jimmy_ClewesThanks for that Michael. I appreciate the comment
Michael_GibsonJust don't tell Cynthia..........
MollyYour secret is safe with me Michael...
EllisIt's not safe with our chat archives. :)
Jimmy_Clewesregarding a DVD, I am considering something in Australia next year.
StuartJimmy, are you going to be at SWAT this year?
Jimmy_ClewesNot this year, Mate. Couldn't fit it in.
MollySWAT has to be my favorite symposium!
Rob_WallaceDid you ever get a chance to pick-up and play with one of those air-body saws?
Jimmy_ClewesNot yet, mate. But thanks for reminding me!
don_in_central_illinoisRob, is that like air guitar?
Rob_WallaceSort of Don!! Trent Bosch uses them routinely, and I really like mine.... great for fast shaping...
StuartJust one away from greatness, Ellis. ;)
EllisI know better, Stuart.
Mollygotta run, dinner's on the table. Earlier out here in the West.
Michael_GibsonNight Molly
don_in_central_illinoisMolly, whats for supper?
Rob_WallaceHave a good dinner Molly - see you next week!
EllisGo for it, Molly. Thanks for stopping by
Mollysteak with sauted onions and mushrooms
EllisCome to our WC lunch on Friday
Jimmy_ClewesBye Molly, Take care love
EllisJimmy will you be turning on a WivaMac in Doug's booth?
Jimmy_ClewesYes, Ellis. I will have the Wivamac I'm there to promote classes, sell tools and give advice. Like a clinic "thing".
EllisI'd like to get some pointers about using that gouge profile that you like.
Michael_GibsonMe too
Jimmy_ClewesNo problem, mate.
EllisThat gouge sounds kind of like the old Glaser profile?
Jimmy_ClewesYes, the "old" Glaser.
EllisI always found that shape to be tricky to sharpen to a nice continuous curve.
Jimmy_ClewesThere is a delicate continous flow of the cutting edge to the grinding wheel. I'll show you in San Jose.
EllisCan't wait. Thanks.
JoeFlemingJimmy, If you are discussing your spindle gouge profile, is this the one where the nose bevel is about 55 to 60 degrees and the wings swept way back?
Jimmy_ClewesYes, Joe. I roll beads with it and get into relatively tight details without the need to revert to a detail gouge
JoeFlemingI still have the gouge I shaped in your class in SD years ago. I keep it as a sharpening guide. I still like that profile.
Mike_HunterJimmy ... Time to walk the dog, nite all see you in San Jose
Rob_WallaceGood night Mike! See you at the Symposium!
don_in_central_illinoisI'm with Mike, time to take the dog out and then to bed. It's been interesting. Thanks for participating Jimmy.
Jimmy_ClewesCheers, Don. Take care and be safe.
EllisAre you doing any rotations at the symposium, Jimmy?
Jimmy_ClewesNo, not this year. I have been fortunate to have done three in the past few years. I understand there are other guys who need a break.
EllisWell you are a well-respected demonstrator. You earned it.
Rob_WallaceI can attest that his sessions were always full. I was his demo asistant for at least three rotations over the past few years...
Jimmy_ClewesThanks, Ellis. I am very fortunate to earn my living doing something that I truly enjoy.
EllisAbout your school.... how do your design courses differ from the regular courses?
Jimmy_ClewesThe Design Course concentrates on learning the process of design and defining a concept and executing that concept. The woodturning is secondary although the basics are required from a tooling point of view as the point of the class is to teach design -- not how to turn. This would detract from the class. The other class teaches tooling technique and shape and form.
EllisThanks. That's what I thought. I'd like both.
JoeFlemingJimmy, Do you still spritz alcohol on pieces and ignite it to raise the grain?
Jimmy_ClewesYes, Joe, I have been known to do that. But given that our country is extremly litigious, I wouldn't advise it.
JoeFlemingI used to do it. Had a large platter on the lathe. Showed (off) to my brother in law. Over zealous on the alcohol. Dripped on the bed. ignited a few chips. No big deal. Patted them out with my hand. Knocked a few into the pile on the floor. OH SH*T! Grab the fire extinguisher. Expired. DOUBLE SH*T!! Grabbed the second extinguisher from the kitchen. Saved the house. Dumped the alcohol. Bought four new extinguishers.
Stuart Jimmy thanks for participating and I'm sure I'll see you for a class in LV one day. It's been an enjoyable evening. Night all.
Jimmy_ClewesMy pleasure, Stuart, Take care mate.
EllisBye Stuart. Thanks for all your help.
Rob_WallaceGood night Stuart
NeilThanks Jimmy, Ellis and all. This was my 1st chat and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Will try to make more of them soon. Good Night All.
Jimmy_ClewesCheers, Neil. Take care and be safe. My first too!
EllisGlad you made it, Neil
Rob_WallaceBye Neil
Jimmy_ClewesWell guys, my roast leg of lamb with rosemary smells done and the zucchini is ready for the barbeque.
EllisI'll be right over.
EllisThank you so much for joining us here tonight, Jimmy. I will archive the chat for posterity.
Michael_GibsonJimmy, Want to thank you for your advice in Gainsville, nice chatting with you.
Doc_GreenThanks for the chat, Jimmy! Good job.
EllisAnd I'll look forward to seeing you in SJ
Rob_WallaceJimmy - please say hi to Mary for me and give your dog a belly scratch for "Uncle Rob". Thanks for agreeing to do this!! See you next week!
Jimmy_ClewesCheers All. I have had real good fun once again! Take and be safe. See in you in my travels or maybe in a class ! Good night and God Bless.