August 2003


President's corner

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Last meeting

This 'n That

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Last Meeting

The July meeting was held at the Japan Woodworker in Alameda. There was some miscommunication with the Tech Talk presenter who was going to show and demonstrate an Australian dovetail jig and it didn't happen. We will work on doing this at another meeting. The main presenter, Ron Hock of Fort Bragg, began the meeting by telling us how he got into the business of making knives and plane irons. He had always fooled around with making custom knives but never for any real profit Then he met James Krenov who was teaching his students the art of constructing wooden planes. At the time he was retrofitting plane irons from metal planes and was looking for something with more heft and thickness. Ron filled the niche and has been busy ever since. He produces the plane irons and other blades in a small shop in a pasture outside of Fort Bragg. Ron continued his presentation by going into some of the metallurgy involved in forging the steel. He explained that steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, carbon being the hardener. The percentage of carbon is critical. If it's over 1% it becomes too brittle; if it's under .2% it's too soft. The combination is heated to 1500 degrees to temper it and then cooled to 325 degrees to relieve stress. By adding a small amount of manganese in an oil bath, distortion can be prevented. Ron considers this step "a great leap forward" in the process. The most popular steel alloy is called A-2. He demonstrated how to get a piece of metal to a certain hardness by observing the color of the metal as it heats up followed by quenching. The metallurgy is quite complicated but judging from some of the questions, some of our members have a good handle on it. He suggested some books authored by David Boye also Bill Bryson. There was a nice handout which is available in our library.

In the break, members took advantage of the 10% discount and quickly emptied the store of merchandise.

Business Meeting

  • Mark passed out newsletters to those who didn't get it via The Web.
  • Gene reported that the treasury was in good shape with $1950 in checking and more in savings.
  • Tony Fanning described the last toy workshop at Per Madsen's shop. Per, Tony and Harold Patterson whipped out 20 block sets made of oak and cased in boxes made from 1/4 inch Finish Birch Ply. The material was scraps from Per's shop. Per had done such a great job of laying out the production process that the work was completed in only 4 hours. Per invited us to return for more block making in the future as the set up has been done.
  • Jay announced the upcoming program schedule which you can find in the Future BAWA Meetings on the last page of this newsletter.
  • Robbie Fanning discussed the September Fall Kickoff Dinner Party. Details can be found elsewhere in this newsletter.
  • Arnie announced that his classes are filling up and that he has a Hegner band saw for sale for $450.00.
  • Craig discussed The Furniture Society and their directory. Details can be found at or at 111 Grovewood Rd., Asheville NC 28804, 828/255-1949.

Show and Tell

  • Arnie Champagne showed a mock up of a glass cabinet he plans to work on while at a workshop in Fort Bragg this month. He discussed dimensions and various little details which can be seen on a mock up well.
  • Mike Bray also brought in a mock up, but of an armchair he has been commissioned to design and build. Working with the customer showed that you have to sacrifice some of your ideas with what the customer wants. The husband is especially tall so Mike designed his chair somewhat higher than the others.
  • Jim Voos brought in some wooden planes he had made at the Tools and Techniques class in Fort Bragg. He made a more fancy one since his wife Connie didn't like the plain one he had made in class. He also showed some knives he had made in Yeung Chan's class.
  • Paul Reif showed us a slick honing guide available through Garrett Wade and at Japan Woodworker which can hold very small chisels. He also showed us 2 Redwood Birdseye bowls he had turned out of one block. He used a Wood Saver tool to cut out the first bowl out of the blank. He likes wood turning since you can design as you turn and orient wood after seeing the figure.
  • The next BAWA board meeting will be held on Saturday, July 19 at Mark Rand's house. Members are always invited to attend.
  • Raffle-There was not raffle since Stan was busily eating spaghetti in Italy.