Brian Keatings miniature furniture

This picture is of a dining table with a 50p coin on the left to give an impression of the scale.

Brian brought along a mind boggling array of miniature rooms, furniture, and crockery.

This represents a room from Brian’s childhood  on a 1 to 24 scale.      You really cannot appreciate how small it is until you see it in Brian’s hands

Some more furniture.   The drawers and doors actually open and close – Amazing


This shows a draw and the joints used to make it with a 50p coin to give an idea of the size

We asked what special equipment he used.    He has no need for glasses for the work and uses a standard size lathe for the turned objects.   He has found that he can only turn about 0.25 of an inch at time, any more and the work wobbles.  So he turns a bit completely, before bringing out the next bit of the job to be worked on.     He uses some small turning tools, and has had to make some.















John Adamson, a club member,  has been working on a commissioned plaque in Oak with the words “A ROLL OF HEADMISTRESSES” on it. We were grateful to him for giving us a a demonstration while he worked. John thinks letter carving is the hardest because if it is wrong everyone will know.

He prints his words out on a computer, checking that it looks right – such as, do some of the letters look too far apart. If the pages are joined together, is the bottom line absolutely straight.  (John paid for his to be printed on an A3 sheet). He talked us through the process of glueing the paper to the wood, He says Spray Mount is best, but expensive.

It is good to have the right size chisel – sharp, flat for straight lines and a slightly curved gouge with rounded corners for curves.

The first cut he showed was a stop cut down the centre of a straight letter – it does not have to be deep. He likes Roman Times Font because of the serifs at the end of each line.

He uses a sharp knife similar to chip carving to do the serifs. If 2 serifs were touching, he shortened them to leave a slight gap. With the stop cut down the centre he made a 45 degree cut from both sides of the letter to complete the V cut shape.

He then demonstrated the same principle on a curved letter using the shallow gouge. Curved letters were more difficult – the word ‘mistresses’ with 4 S would be a challenge!

Club members appreciated that John shared his work and answered so many questions.

John has a website with many of his carvings to view. Here are two links to his letter carvings:


Bob Burton, a club member works with wood for a living.  Bob is experienced in many areas: restoration, cabinet making, carving and sculpture.

He shared with us how he was working on his latest commission ‘The Carving of a Lady’s Head’.

He brought with him a life size model in plasticine and the various moulds he had made of it in preparation for the final carving in wood.

To start with he had taken photographs of the lady, especially full face and side profiles.0 He cut out a negative profile in cardboard to aid his carving.

Bob used  plasticine similar to the one found on this website He paid about £1.75 for 500g for white but shop around because it can be 3 times as much as that. Bob prefers to use white because it is best for showing the shadows. He used other materials like crushed paper to provide inner packing to help him use less plasticine. (the plasticine can be re-used at a later date for another project.) This plasticine model could be used to help him with his carving but he wanted a more permanent model.

So, once he and the sitter were happy with the model he prepared a mask using a basic silicone tube from Wilko costing £1. He covered the face with it and when it was dry he peeled it off the model.

This mask would be too floppy for the next stage so he made another mould using builders’ foam filler. This one holds its shape better.

Then, using the foam mask as a support, he placed the silicone mask inside it and then filled it with cement or plaster. When set he removed both of the masks to reveal a permanent exact copy of the lady’s face. Bob would use this to aid his final carving in stone or oak or lime.

He then discussed the problem of where to source a large enough piece of wood and the problems of glueing 3 or 4 pieces together. Also what would be the size of the finished carving? It seems that one shouldn’t make a bust carving the exact size of the sitter but make it larger or smaller.

We look forward to seeing the finished work.

Finally, Bob showed us various other models and moulds that he had made.


Bob shares a website showing his work.

Report by Gillian Smith

Members talk by Brian Keating on April 21st

Brian is a local boy who came to carving through wood turning

He adds carving to turned pieces and makes some exquisite miniature furniture and room scapes.











AGM 17th March

This years AGM was rather different to our usual.    It was held on a Thursday and not a Saturday, and we had no problem with getting a quorum.     The main point of interest is that the Saturday meetings we have had since 1992 are being suspended due to financial difficulties.    Membership has crept up since a drastic drop during the Covid restrictions but the cost of the hall has also increased.   The new format is Carve and Chat on Thursdays with a speaker on the 3rd Thursday of the month.

Spotland Library Exhibition

In an attempt to popularise woodcarving and attract new members the club exhibited some work in Spotland Library


















































Norman McLaren and Keith Salad – Speak on Wood

Thanks to Gill Smith for this report

Keith spoke of many aspects of his life including his time with the General Post Office and Telecom when he was responsible for the buying of large pine trunks which would be used for telegraph posts. At first they came from Russia and quality control was done in this country. Many were rejected so a decision was made to send him to the source to avoid the cost of transporting spoilt trunks. This meant many trips to Finland. Even after that there was a long process of drying out and preserving the poles before they were fit for purpose.

In his spare time Keith likes to write poetry and he closed his talk by reciting the poem Three Ha’pence a Foot. The poem tells of an argument between Noah wanting to buy wood for his Ark from Sam Oswaldthwaite a timber merchant from Bury.  Click to see The lyrics and Stanley Holloway’s recitation

Norman and Keith (in a hat)














Norman has always been creative and has a great deal of experience working with wood doing woodturning and woodcraft. He showed us many of his small projects, most of which he uses for fundraising,  One larger project was producing a train out of Whisky barrels. The train is now being used as a flower display on the very large roundabout in Rawtenstall opposite the library.

Rawtenstall Train