January 2006


President's corner

This & That

Next meeting

Last meeting



Last Meeting

Beating back members from the groaning table of desserts, Craig started the meeting with announcements.

  • Dues are due--$30 for an individual membership and $35 for a family membership. Mark Rand, Treasurer is willing and able to take your checks since he is about to leave for Mexico and needs the money. Send checks to 665 27th St., San Francisco 94131. Feliz Navidad!
  • Jan & Neal Didriksen are recovering from a horrendous automobile accident. They were hit by a drunk driver in Utah. Neal has many broken bones and will be recuperating for some time.
  • Carol Reiser did a great job putting together the dessert party tonight and Dick even on crutches after a fall and breaking his kneecap was cheering her on. Thank you CJ, it was great!
  • The shop tour to John Schmidt's shop in Oakdale, USA is on for this weekend. A number of intrepid members are going.
  • Craig got word that a John McCormick is teaching a winter woodworking class at the Palo Alto Adult School including a Workbench class. Contact the school at www.paadultschool.org or 650/329-3752.
  • Our Rafflemeister Stan Booker described and showed the four book matched pieces of Zebrawood. Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. What a deal!
  • Eric McCrystal announced that David Marks will be teaching classes at the Woodcraft Store in San Carlos on January 28, 29.
  • Craig mentioned that Don Naples' Lap Sharp was featured in an article in America Woodworker. Don has developed a better tool rest to be able to sharpen even more tools.
  • Claude Godcharles brought a barrel of great looking Persimmons for the taking.
  • Dan Goodman brought a lot of "stuff" which had accumulated in his garage some from his grandfather for the taking.
  • Stan Booker explained that hand tools are needed in Africa. He showed a set of newly sharpened chisels he would be sending plus other items from the accumulation of tools from his many years of teaching. If you have hand tools to donate contact Stan at 510/522-7879.

We welcomed new member Stewart Dennis who had found us on the web.

Craig then had the out-going 2005 officers stand up and thanked them for a job well done followed by a membership standing ovation! Then the candidates for 2006 were asked to stand. Ballots were then handed out and the purple ink for the finger was readied.

Mark then thanked Craig for his 4 years of service as President plus all the past positions that he had held and presented him with a little token of appreciation from the club.

Craig then introduced our speaker for the evening, Debey Zito.

Debey has a 30 year history of furniture making, bringing Asian, American and European Arts and Crafts traditions to her contemporary works. Debey individually selects hardwoods from sustainable-grown forests and utilizes time-honored joinery and hand-rubbed finishes. Among her notable commissions are choir benches for San Francisco's historic Swedenborgian Church, and a display cabinet for the lobby of Disney's Grand California Hotel. Her web site is: www.artisticlicense.org/members/zito/

Debey was introduced to woodworking because she became disenchanted with a sewing teacher in high school. A friend suggested she try woodshop. She loved it, doubled her class time to two hours a day and earned an award for her accomplishments. She enrolled at Sonoma State, later transferring to the industrial design program at San Diego State University. After graduation she earned a teaching credential and taught both in San Francisco and Oakland for a year. She worked in a woodshop for two or three years, then 30 years ago started out on her own.

Today, Debey is a member of an artisans' guild focusing on revival work. The guild includes artisans who are experts in woodcarving, hardware fabrication, and tile making. Debey is assisted in her work by her business partner and fellow guild member Terri Schmitt. Terri is an accomplished woodcarver, contributing beautifully detailed and composed carvings to the furniture designed and built by Debey. Together the guild members cooperate on building furniture and more recently to the design and building of entire rooms. Historic houses are a focus of the guild. The guild and Debey have received considerable recognition in professional publications, notably Old House Interiors, Style 1900, Fine Woodworking, Woodwork, The Bungalow, Inside the Bungalow and The Arts and Crafts Style and Spirit.

As Debey designs furniture she has two objectives: longevity and design with subtlety and calm. When one considers that it took the tree over 100 years to grow the wood used in furniture, why not design and build the furniture to last at least as long, she asks. A good sense of design takes time to develop. Her suggestion is to spend a lot of time considering the design of a piece of furniture. Do you like it? What do you like about it? Why? What do you not like about it? Form, she has found, evolves from structure, truth from the material, wood.

Her design sense has been strongly influenced by the Arts & Crafts movement, both in Europe, America and China. Debey showed us many striking examples of furniture that have influenced her.

Her style of furniture design can be characterized by big top overhangs, subtle coloring, elaborately detailed yet subtle wood carvings, tapered legs, and graceful arches. Debey showed slides of many of her current works and slides of work by old time masters which inspired her to create her own designs. A recent example is a family room with fireplace, panels above the mantle hiding a plasma TV, a hanging light fixture, tiles and wood carvings.

Debey and Terri display their work at three craft shows each year. The business produces a maximum of 10 large furniture pieces per year, although some work is done to produce more affordable mirrors and small pieces.

Following Debey's presentation, the results of the balloting was announced. It was a landslide for the candidates who were running.

Rafflemeister Stan then had Debey draw the tickets for the door prizes. The lucky winners were Per Madsen, Dan Goodman and a member who I didn't recognize because of the cookies stuffed into his mouth. The door prizes were a sanding drum set donated by Bruce Bell, Gorilla glue and Titebond II.

The barbed wire was then removed and members attacked the apple, pecan and pumpkin pies. A Danish coffee cake, the persimmon bread, multi-colored cheese cake, numerous batches of cookies and chocolate by the ton.

As members staggered out at the end of the meeting, Pepto-Bismol was handed out courtesy of BAWA.

John Blackmore & Mark Rand