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Donna Banfield Demonstrates for CMW on April 13, 2019

Donna Banfield – ” It Satisfied My Soul No. 4. “

CMW was pleased to welcome Donna Banfield as our demonstrator for April 13, 2019. Donna lives in Derry, New Hampshire and has been turning since 2002. She has demonstrated locally, regionally and at the annual AAW/International Symposium.

The primary focus of her presentation was on embellishing, texturing and carving to highlight wood turnings. Key points are as follows:

1. Your turning should have a tenon still attached so that it can be held in a chuck on the lathe. Once your turning is at this stage the lathe will only be used to hold your work while the paint is applied.  Fix your turning in the chuck. Before painting and carving your turned creation it is important to experiment first on a scrap piece of wood trying different colors and carving burrs/bits and techniques.
2. Cover the lathe bed with a cloth or plastic to catch paint drips.
3. Using a fine bristle brush (not a foam paint brush or glue brush) apply a coat of the milk paint or Gesso to your story board or turning.  Consider thinning Black Gesso with a couple of drops of water to a consistency of ‘milk’. Similarly Milk Paint should be thinned to a ‘slow drip’ consistency. White Gesso can also be considered. Coloring the White Gesso with either powdered pigments or trans-tint liquid dyes could be considered as well. Experiment ( trial & error) first. If using a flat story board, apply the paint in even strokes in one direction, and try to keep paint lines to a minimum.  If applying paint to a turning held in a chuck on the lathe, rotate your turning by hand, using the hand-wheel, while spreading the paint on the turning.
4.  Use the hair dryer on a low heat setting to help the paint dry. Note: painted surface is considered dry when no longer “cool” to the touch as coolness indicates ongoing evaporation.
5.  Using abrasives (starting with grits 320, 400 or 600, depending on how many paint lines are visible, lightly knock them down.  Do not sand through the coat of paint. Foam backed sandpaper can be helpful. Wipe off with a clean paper towel or soft cloth.
6.  Apply a second coat of paint as described in No. 3, above. Again let dry until no longer “cool”.
7.  Dry the coat of paint as described in No. 4, above.
8.  Use 800 or 1000 grit abrasive to lightly knock down any paint lines. Can go up to 1500 grit if desired. Do not sand through the second coat of paint.  Wipe off with clean paper towel or soft cloth.
9.  Apply third coat of paint, repeating steps 3-5. Note: If you want to do multi-colors so that when you carve you obtain a multi-color outline around your pattern you must use about 5 to 6 coats of each color. Wipe clean.
10.  Use 4/0 steel wool in a circular pattern to buff and polish the paint. Note: Do not use “big box store” steel wool as it has oils in/on it. Use Liberon or Briwax steel wool from a woodworking store. Wipe off with a clean paper towel or soft rag.
11.  In a well vented space, or go outside, spray light coats of Krylon Matte Lacquer/fixative over the painted surface.  This will protect your paint from marring while you proceed with the next steps.
12. Select the cutters (rotary burs or cutters, reciprocating cutters) to create the pattern you desire on your painted piece.  Use my samples of patterns that to make your choice.
13.  While wearing safety glasses and magnifiers (if desired) carefully use the cutters to remove the paint all the way to the bare wood to show your pattern.
14.  Reverse chuck your turning to clean up the bottom, and/or remove the tenon if desired.  Repeat steps 3-5 to blend the paint.  Sign your work.
15.  Once finished, apply spray finish of your choice 24 hours later.  She uses Satin Lacquer. Best not to use spray lacquer until there is a relatively low humidity day that’s not to warm. Do not use spray lacquer near a fan as there could be an explosion risk! Also spray in a well-ventilated area!

Carving Tips:

1.Stabilize work piece. Donna uses a ‘Bowl Stabilizer’ made by ” Chefware” to help hold the work piece. 2. Use a Kevlar glove for safety. 3. Turn at approximately 18,000 RPM. 4. Consider V-cut or small round chisel/burrs.

Woodburning/Pyrography Tips:

1.Excellent tip for creating lines is a 1/8 inch radius skew. Can sharpen edge with a fine diamond hone and further refine with honing compound on a leather chamois as desired. 2. Use a magnifier that works for you. 3. Practice creating lines with various heat settings. Straight grained closed pore woods such as maple,cherry,poplar and fruit woods seem to work well. 4. Use the pyrography tip like a paint brush. Keep the pen moving continuously for curves. 5. When doing a series of lines keep work to the left of the pen so you can readily see spacing.

Donna’s Saturday live demonstration and subsequent Sunday class instruction were greatly appreciated by those CMW members in attendance.

To contact Donna Banfield please use the following email address: [email protected]

Her website is :

If you would like to renew your membership so you can utilize our library, participate in our popular Arrowmont Retreat or attend TLC classes, please visit –…/basic-membership

Thanks to Tina Collison for posting her Saturday Demonstration photos to the CMW media website library.

Thanks to Bob Leri , Russ Stanton, and Karl Schultz for providing details pertaining to her class.

This article authored, edited and respectfully submitted by Mike Seltzer.