Shell Lake 2019

Duncan Birch is a long time member of HCT and works hard for our group. I am grateful for him providing this summary of our turning weekend at Shell Lake.

Shell Lake 2019 is now only a memory. Held on June 21-22-23, artists started arriving and setting up on the 20th and by the end of the day the majority was there, set up and ready to start turning.  The gazebo was totally surrounded with campers, tents, trailers, of every description. With twelve lathes and one black smith we were operating at near maximum capacity. Al Bakke was there with his one brick forage on Saturday, offering insight into the manufacturing procedure of making our own tools. Saturday saw our usual carvers adding to the ranks. The weather of course played a role with a beautiful day Friday and a less desirable day Saturday with rain most of the day, but with the tarps lowered and the enthusiasm of the participants, the weather was forgotten. These events are always a time for sharing, learning, and observing, where everyone’s effort is important, and is admired and discussed by all.  There are even times when world problems are discussed and solutions offered. One of the big attraction is the clay oven Cinnamon buns which the local museum serves up on Saturday. This year, even with the rain they still provided us with the tastiest buns to be found anywhere. I can’t say for sure but I think some come just for the buns. Sunday saw some enthused members still turning, but some of us were lacking enthusiasm and by noon everyone was packed up and the cleanup was done. As we all return to our own little world we can look back at the friendships that have developed over the years as well as the ideas we get from watching other turners. Our present club now has fifty-three members and a very good representation was exhibited this weekend. The month of June signifies the end of our current year and the beginning of family time for the next two months. I know fishing and golfing are important but try to slip away once in a while to make something round. Looking  forward to seeing everyone again in the fall.

The following pictures and text are from Trent’s observations.

We were delighted to meet Verena and Franz Appert a couple from Switzerland holidaying in Canada. They just happened to be in Shell Lake on our turning weekend and once Mel Genge met them he spent time showing them around and meeting various turners. They were interested in a demo on making a honey dipper and a spin top so we sent them home with the demo pieces. We learned a new word and now we will be making a ‘Hurlibueb’ rather than a spin top.

Some of the campers, motorhomes, tents, and 5th wheelers Duncan mentioned.

A few items were offered for sale on the lovely day we had on Friday.

John came from near North Battleford to share some of his wood collection now that he is moving to Ontario. We will miss you John.

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June Meeting.

Thirty-two members, along with one guest came out for our last meeting before the summer break. The club’s annual Shell Lake gathering is coming up on June 20 – 23. Click HERE for more information.


Gary Von Kuster showed us how to use Alumilite and hand made molds to cast wood and many other found objects into blanks for turning pens, grinders, boxes or anything you can think of. Gary contacts Alumilite in the U.S. by telephone to order his material. Click HERE for their website.


Eight members brought items for show and tell. This is always an interesting part of the evening where we see what members have been creating since the last meeting.

Richard Pratchler brought Big Leaf Maple and Weeping Birch bowls. Some of the Weeping Birch had beautiful bark inclusions that Richard was able to incorporate into the final design.

Bernie Nagel had a number of project made from wood he won at a previous meeting. He used multicentered turning to create two and three sided pieces and then used that technique to make a candle holder.
“Inside-out” turning was used for the tulip and the final piece was a small bowl.

Jim Beebe has been experimenting with Aniline Dyes for coloring wood. A piece of Elm was used for this orange color.

Dean Weldon and lots of fun with this piece of Elm as it tried to become a UFO and resisted coloring attempts. The design was effective by incorporating the wing off center to the main bowl.

Mel Genge made a grinder out of Mahogany and Maple for a family reunion. The bowl is from Mountain Ash.

Stan Olson felt fortunate to take a class from Steven Kennard with only two students registered. He produced a beautiful lidded box out of Walnut and used embellishment techniques he learned in the class to give it an interesting texture and color.

Al Bakke brought a beautiful Maple burl bowl finished with Bees wax and Mineral oil. Al also explained his technique for drying his thousands of cored bowls that he has made over the years.

Earl Eidem brought a Poplar bowl made from a tree cut down on his son’s land. His second piece was a Big Leaf Maple bowl that generated lots of discussion around putting circular burn marks on the bottom of bowls. Does it add to the look or take away from the overall beauty?

Numerous pieces of wood, Lee Valley gift cards and beeswax/mineral oil finish all contributed to the door prize draw handled by our trusty treasurer Duncan Birch.

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Wood for Sale

Willie Marks has some Crab Apple Wood all cut and ready for turning. The grain should be quite lovely in these chunks. His price is $10.00 for the larger chunks and $5.00 for the smaller ones. Willie’s contact information is on the business card below if you are interested.

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