Discussion in 'Tutorials and Tips' started by Eldon DeHaan, Mar 18, 2012.
Looking for any tips for my first club demo?
Rehearse your demo before you go to make sure that you have the tools and material you need. Take spares.
Have clean, sharp tools (unless you are doing a sharpening demo) and a clean turning jacket.
Make sure that the chucks or other ancillary equipment that you are taking is compatible with the lathe that you will be using. Nothing worse than to find your favourite chuck or tool rest will not work
Explain clearly and concisely what you will be, and are doing as you go. Explain why you may use a different method or tool than what is considered normal.
If you can, use just safety glasses instead of a face shield unless they have a microphone. It is very hard to talk through a face shield and be heard.
If someone asks a question repeat it back to the audience. Something like," I have just been asked why I do that cut or xxx that way."
Most audience members have their backs to the person asking and don't always hear it and the answer makes no sense to them.
If you do not know the answer say so. Someone in the audience more than likely will but don't let it get into chitter chatter.
Have clean hands and especially fingernails as people are watching them more than anything else.
Do not have Garlic or similar for 2 days before. Nothing worse than speaking to someone and they reek. Not good inside a faceshield either.
I forgot a couple.
If you make a mistake, stop the lathe and do an "autopsy" on it. How did it happen? Why did it happen? Talk your way through all this whilst doing the diagnosis.
Your audience will appreciate the fact that we all make mistakes, they will appreciate even more the fact that you explained what happened so that they can understand.
If you have drawings, copy them and use them as handouts. If you have any little tricks or tips, print them out and hand them out too.
The most important of the lot.
I may be a little peculiar (some would say very) but I believe that a demonstrator is there to impart his knowledge to the people attending NOT to show how clever or fantastic they are.
Thank those attending.
1. Make sure you have spares and pre-assembled portions for steps that might be a little chancy (especially with limited time). Straight forward steps you do all the time in your shop suddenly become difficult or just don't want to comply when everyone is watching.
2. Don't over think the demo or try to do too much . It is natural to think you need more than you really do.
4. Don't rush. Take you time as everyone in the room will appreciate the clarity and opportunity to process the info.
5. You will likely not be familiar with the equipment so get there early and turn a little before the demo if possible to get to know the equipment.
6. Try to find something/topic/statement early on that will grab their attention.
These are things I have learned from experience. Trust me, the results don't bring a good feeling when one of them is not followed (particularly number 1). When things go wrong they tend to in a big way.
Most of the time, for the local club, I am coming directly from the shop, and don't feel right if I don't have some shavings on me. If it is your local club, they know you, and aren't expecting a 'professional' demonstration.
Do make a list, at least the night before, of what you will need, and check the list the next day to see if you need to add anything to the list, then fill your buckets and boxes up according to the check list. Be ready to improvise for the things you manage to forget and can't borrow on site. Hand truck, lights, chucks, extension cord, multiplug, grinder, etc.....
Having extra of everything is great, and if you have extra turning blanks, they go great in the wood raffle.
Do have an outline, in bigger print than normal so you can see it without having to bend over.
You want to be familiar with the lathe, which could mean showing up early and playing with it. Make sure speed is set at 0 when you first turn it on, and do this with NOTHING on the lathe first.
Don't worry if you forget to mention an important point. Some one will always ask that exact question.
Demonstrations are an excellent learning tool for the demonstrator. You have to think about what you do, and why you do it the way you do. My personal preference is to do a "this is how I do it, and some others do it this way..."
Go to the AAW Best Practices and download the two by Frank Penta #52 &53
If you are showing how to make something, nobody expects the item being created to be perfect at the end of the demo. They will not be seeing tearout or feeling bumps. They will be wondering if they can do it too. The members will appreciate that you have a limited amount of time and your concentration cannot be completely focused on the turning.
Lots of excellent information already presented.
You can't be too prepared.
Mostly have fun, relax, throw a joke or 2 out, relax, don't rush, relax, have fun. See where I'm heading here?
Thanks everyone, really good info. I'm going to be demoing a 18" x 36" HF. I hope that I haven't taken on too much.... wish me luck.
Best of luck Eldon, hope you will post the results of your demo along with any tips you have to offer when you're done.
one of my first demos I was given the wrong size of the spindle, so the chuck was out and I got to go from there. I asked the guy who was in charge of setting up a fair amount of demonstrators, I assumed he would have known. It was after I did a lot of demos and teaching that I decided a teaching/demo lathe was in my best interest. I usually go into my shop and do the whole thing from start to finish on the demo lathe, tracking what tools I need to bring along, and making notes of relevant points in the project and how long it takes me. If the project takes me 20 minutes on a regular turning day it is good for an hour long demo.
I learned early, setup and prep made a big difference in my nerves, and the quality of the demo. I stopped doing the, "this is how I do xyz" When an instructor says that it tells me they are nervous that someone is going to contradict them. Now I tell student/audiences, "here is how to use a skew properly" Sure, I occasionally have someone offer up the alternative methods, but I'm the hired instructor so do it my way, that's what everyone paid for. I do offer that in a softer manner though.
Teaching and demo'ing is a blast, I used to schedule a couple hundred hours a year. I made a lot of friends and had the great fortune of introducing people to a great hobby.
Not sure how much time you have, but a H.F. that size is pretty time consuming. Others have already given much of the advice I would have suggested with one exception. I do allot of public speaking/teaching apart from woodturning demos and I would suggest that since this is relatively new to you, that you actually do a run through in your shop. Pack up your tools that you intend to take, then "pretend" to do the demo right there in your shop, run through what you want to say and DO the demo while timing it to see how long you talk and how long it takes to get through what you are attempting to demonstrate. That way you can make changes to stay within your time constriants and if you forgot to pack something it will become apparent in your shop and you can avoid the mistake of not having what you need when the moment comes at the demo. My very first two Demos were at the "SOFA Chicago Fine Art Show" sandwiched in between several other well known professionals, running through the demo at home made everything go perfectly smooth. Good luck!
If the item is fairly large or time consuming, I suggest you make two or three in different stages of completion. That way you can skip alot of general hollowing, and concentrate on the techniques. My feeling is that most of your audience is interested in the how to, and an overall view of start to finish, so skipping some additional roughing or hollowing will facilitate the process.
If you're not doing a sharpening demo, expect a need for sharpening anyway, even if free-hand. Bring your own grinder and jigs if necessary.