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Mick Hanbury Creates a Decorated Platter July 27 2022

Mick Hanbury started his career as a cabinet maker and around 20 years ago he took to woodturning and since then has grown in stature to be one of our finest artistic turners.


He and his associate, Steve, not only carry out commissions, teach, and demonstrate but also supply timber blanks for turners. The moisture content he uses is 18/20% and along with very sharp tools sanding is minimised.

The project for the evening was a decorated platter on a stand. Starting with the platter a 12” blank was mounted using a screw chuck the outside edge, was trued with a shear cut, then an ogee shape formed on the underside with pull cuts. 

Mick emphasized how important it is to listen to the cut to determine the purity of the cutting action. The final cuts were with a newly sharpened smaller gouge, the flow of the shape being tested with fingers rather than by simply looking. Interesting that he waxed the shaft of the tool to ensure a smooth action across the tool rest.

The final step is sanding, however prior to that the surface is treated with his own compound made of 80% liquid paraffin 20% beeswax. This not only acts as a grain filler but also prevents sawdust being in the atmosphere. After buffing with a paper towel, a couple of narrow shadow lines were cut, then burnt in with Formica.


After drilling a chucking point the piece was remounted. After truing the surface, the area for colouring was selected and finished as before. Mick again emphasised light sanding only, so that a perfectly flat surface is achieved, avoiding forming peaks as the softer material is taken out.


Now the first steps of the colouring process, with 2 coats of eboniser and 1 coat of lacquer. Once dry 3 colours of poster paint (starting with the lightest shade) were dabbed on by brush, and while still wet covered with cling film to further spread the paint. After drying multi coats of lacquer applied (on show pieces as many as 12). The effect was stunning.


The inside of the bowl was now hollowed.The blank for the stand was mounted, again using a screw chuck, shaped using pull cuts, then finished with a smaller gouge, taking care with the male spigot fit and with the deep cove. 

The surface again finished with the wax compound and light sanding. After remounting in the chuck using the tenon the underside was completed. It was hollowed out quite deeply, Mick explaining that this was a way to relieve the internal stresses in the wood. He also incorporated two beads, meaning that if required the piece could be remounted.

In conclusion a very interesting and entertaining evening, Mick expounding the “the 2 Ps leading to the2 Cs”. Practice and Persistence leads to Confidence and Competence.

Report by Bill Clyne

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