March 2003


President's corner

Next meeting

Last meeting

This 'n That

BAWA contacts



Last Meeting

Craig Mineweaser opened the meeting by introduced Manny Hernandez for the Tech Talk. Manny's presentation, "Today's Handplanes", was an overview of plane types, and what could be expected in various price ranges.

Surrounded by an impressive array of 12+ planes, he then delved into how one improves a cheap plane and how one tunes an expensive one prior to use. Picking his planes from the very expensive (don't ask the price) to the cheap ones, he covered the following topics:

  1. fit and finish
  2. stress relieving
  3. flattening ( don't get any plane with a convex sole ).
  4. backlash adjusting
  5. flat plane/ good blade/ sharpen correctly

In summary, any priced plane can do the job but it is easier with the better ones which require less or no tuning. Some basic points to look for. A good body, a flat sole with a convex sole being impossible to flatten because there are no reference points, getting a good blade and learn how to sharpen. In his mind, he felt that wooden planes need more maintenance.

Manny then showed a Brian Boggs ($140) spoke shave which he got at a reduced price and donated it for the door prize.


VP/Newsletter Editor: Mark Rand reminded everyone to make sure to report address changes both of the home and email.

Treasurer: Gene Wagg reminded that dues are way overdue.

Rebuilding Together: Bill Henzel reminded all that the Rebuilding Together (Christmas in April) will be the last Sat. in April, 4/26 & 27 across the nation. He described past projects where things were replaced or repaired from a stairway to new cabinet construction in private homes, churches, schools and other buildings that he has worked on. Several members attested to how enjoyable the experience had been.

Membership & Outreach: Harold Patterson wants to start the Toy Workshops at the end of March rather than wait until the end of the year. Stay tuned and sharpen up your saw blades!

Programs: Jay Perrine described the coming programs and the box contest in April. The July meeting will be with Ron Hock at Japan Woodworker in Alameda.

Door Prize and Rafflemeister Stan Booker: He described the door prize, the Boggs spoke shave donated by Manny. A Bubinga also a Spanish Cedar plank will be in the raffle and book matched veneers donated by Japan Woodworker.


  • Northern Hardwoods has closed. Eco-Timber has moved from Berkley to Oakland.
  • Arnold Champagne described the classes he gives (see the Classifieds for the list.)
  • Yeung Chan will be giving classes at College of the Redwoods and at the Mark Adams School. He donated two copies of his new book, "Classic Joints with Power Tools." (Lark Books). One for the library and one for the silent auction.
  • Gene Wagg introduced visitors the majority referred by Arnold. A big welcome to Eli Dari, King Smith, Paul (sorry didn't catch him or his last name), Mark Ferraro and another person who I didn't catch at all.
  • Arnold did a brief discussion of the need to register early for the summer classes at College of the Redwoods. He said that he is going to be a student there too and volunteered to carry applications for anybody who is interested.

Show & Tell

Harold Patterson showed a revised xylophone design that was made in the Toy workshop. He demonstrated the tones and it will now be used by the S.F. Symphony Orchestra.

Paul Reif showed tea trays using African Satin Wood veneer on the bottom, the carcass was lowland Koa and also Silky Oak was used. He used 6 jigs and a shooting board for the veneer and used a cold press. Brian Harrington showed him how to use veneer. Because of the beautiful reflections by the veneer there was some discussion on these optical effects. Jay remembered the word Chatoyance (it's in Webster, folks.)

Julia Ryan showed a Japanese style hand plane she made in one of Jay Van Arsdale's classes. Tapping the body, she seated the blade by the sound. Only later she noticed a heart shaped impression on top also the sole of the body. She calls it, "the heart of the sole."

Arnold Champagne showed a mock up of an asymmetrical file system he made for a filing cabinet he's building.

George Comstock showed a "non linear" cocktail table he made with a carved front. He commented on a better understanding on why such a diversity of gouges is available.

Arnold Champagne showed a Krenov style wall cabinet he uses in teaching his class the coming Wednesday and did an informercial on its design. He said that all the major parts can be made in his 2-day class and put together at home (the longest part of the project.)

Jamie Buxton showed a thrust bearing he designed to replace the existing "Euro-style" one in his bandsaw. Now it supports and rotates with the back end of the saw blade rather than the old design which presented a round flat surface to the back end of the saw blade. Also, for a bar/kitchen stool commission, he wanted to design a comfortable kitchen stool with leg support at a comfortable height. He showed several mockups exploring the positioning of the footrests and the shape of the seats. He then showed the final production version, with four legs and a square mortise for the legs. Now Jamie what are you going to do with the footrests if a 4' tall and a 6' tall person want to use the stool?

Carl Johnson showed a chair he built using Simon Watt's book "Making a House Full of Furniture". He used "scrap" mahogany and double parallel tenons. There was some discussion of using a split dowel when test fitting. He showed a simple bending form he used and also a formula for predicting spring back when laminating curves "edge= curvature/# of laminations squared." (Glad there is no SQUARE ROOT involved!)

Main Presentation

Michael Cullen furniture maker for 13 years, based in Petaluma. Originally studied Mechanical Engineering at UCSB. He is a member and now president of the Baulines Guild. Studied sculpture in the Art Department of UCSB while getting his engineering training. Developed an admiration for the furniture work of Wendel Castle and Julie McKee. He later studied at the East Hampton School's Barnsly Workshops. In 1986 he worked at the Emily Street Workshop in Boston. (

He showed slides of some examples of his work including a table and several sculptural works. He discussed a table design he developed with a shape similar to a Wenkel rotor. He had interesting names for some of his items such as "the Vertebrae" table.

There was some discussion of his finishing method using Jasco Tung Oil finish. Michel uses equal parts of this wiping varnish with mineral spirits. It's application is by pouring on followed by a fast leveling, followed by untouched drying. Subsequent coats remove any blemishes.

The presentation moved on to his work with dyed wood to produce "whimsical cabinets" and his experimentation with lace style carving. Michael has used and experimented with every imaginable media and approach. He has made everything from beads to huge cabinets. From somewhat standard pieces of furniture to wildly imaginable pieces. A very satisfying meeting and before we all went home to get rid of everything square in our repertoire, Stan Booker had the drawing for the door prize and raffle. Manny Hernandez won the veneer, John Blackmore the Spanish Cedar and Joyce Fukuman the spoke shave. Larry Hoffman was the high bidder on Yeung's book in the Silent Auction. Hope no one was mugged of their treasures on the way to their cars.