Manta Ray - DVD
Antipodean Adventures in Woodturning

with Terry Scott

Published by KTMP, UK


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As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 164

In recent times KTMP, a UK-based producer of woodworking DVDs (mostly woodturning), has been expanding its portfolio of overseas demonstrators. For this video New Zealand turner, Terry Scott, travelled to the UK to demonstrate how he makes his signature Manta Ray vessels.

This particular video has a number of features that will specifically interest Australian turners. Terry talks about New Zealand timbers, many of which have more in common with our native timbers than European species. He also uses locally available brands such as Vicmarc, Woodcut and Teknatool.

While the Manta Ray vessels are very distinctive designs, much of the turning technique demonstrated is equally applicable to turning and texturing bowls generally.

For the video, Terry uses a blank of Beech for the vessel. The timber chosen has to be strong enough to form the thin wings without breaking.

Initially it is secured on a Vicmarc screw chuck. Terry uses a screw chuck rather than a faceplate, because the centralised screw maximises the design options when the vessel is reversed on the lathe.

Having mounted the blank, he then discusses a number of preparation issues. He uses the Woodcut Trugrind Sharpening Jig as well as the Timberly Spacer Guides to quickly sharpen his tools. There is a short discourse on how the jig works for the main types of woodturning tools.

Another part of Terry's preparation is to power sand the top of the toolrest. He makes the claim that the slightest nick in the toolrest will impede the smooth motion of the tool, causing an irregularity in the curve you are trying to cut.

So far as design is concerned, he uses catenary curves for his shapes. These are produced with a length of bath chain; the procedure is fully explained in the video. He also uses the Fibonacci ratio of 2/3:1/3.

Over half of the video deals with the turning of the basic vessel and covers the conventional steps of turning the outer profile, turning the inner profile, and then blending the wings into the finished shape. The exact method of turning and supporting the wings is fully demonstrated.

While Terry always textures his vessels, he stresses that texture will never conceal imperfections - digs or flat spots - in the underlying shape. To repeatedly check that the curves are continuous, he places a flexible length of hotmelt glue across the surface to highlight any defects.

When the bowl is reversed it is held in a Teknatool chuck. Terry shows the use of a negative rake scraper and the initial blending of the wings is done with King Arthur carbide discs.

Having sanded the vessel, he transfers it to the Woodcut Promount Detailing Jig, still attached to the scroll chuck. The feet on the base are shaped with the carbide disc and finished with a small diameter sanding disc.

With the shape finalised, Terry creates a blackened basketweave pattern on the underside of the bowl. To create this texture, he forms his own spring-shaped pyrography nib from nichrome wire. He also uses a heavy wattage pyrography unit to minimise the time lost while the heat rebuilds between 'brandings'.

After starting the branding on the vessel, there is a digression while he demonstrates how other effects can be burnt. The video then jumps to a stage where the full underside of the bowl has been branded. After the surface is scrubbed, the vessel is removed from the Promount and held on a bean bag for the remainder of the texturing (ie. branding the rim of the bowl).

To highlight the blackened texture, the affected surfaces are dry-brushed with gold-coloured paint.

The final finish is three coats of spray-on lacquer. The DVD ends with a slideshow gallery of Terry's work.

Terry's demonstrating style is easy to watch and understand.

Duration: 208min

DVD - English