April 2007


President's corner

Next meeting

Last meeting


The 25th


Last Meeting

The March meeting was held in the new woodshop at Sequoia High School, Redwood City. Tony Fanning introduced Ethan Sanford, Department Chairman, Industrial Arts at the high school.

Originally from Maine, Ethan had extensive experience in shop classes at his high school. After he graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz he got involved in renovating old houses. He became interested in developing his skills and took cabinet making classes at Laney College in Oakland, followed by design classes. He came to Sequoia High School approximately two years ago to head the industrial arts department. The retiring teacher had been an art teacher by training and had focused the students on scroll saw projects. The old shop at Sequoia was huge, but collapsing. It did not meet seismic requirements and was shut down.

Ethan met with the school superintendent to propose that the wood shop program be reinstituted. Fortunately, monies were available from a recently passed school bond measure. Planning began. An existing building was renovated, seismically strengthened and engineered for a state-of-the-art woodshop. In August 2006 the shop opened and the first class began. It took $ 3 million, including $200,000 for tools and two years of intensive effort and construction. It is a magnificent shop, replete with the best equipment and tools. Still much remains to be done.

The Sequoia High School Woodshop is seeking volunteers to make shelving, jigs and fixtures, to supervise students in specialized machine areas of the shop and even to participate as regularly scheduled volunteers during classes. Ethan gave Tony Fanning a list of all the volunteer opportunity, including the projects that need to be done. Interested club members should contact Tony and Tony will be contacting members.

Ethan does have one volunteer who comes in fours hours a day, a week. Tom Carlson is a retired mechanical engineer who was raised in Oregon during the heyday of the lumber business. He remembers "riding the carriage" as the giant logs passed the spinning saw blade. He felled trees up to 12" in diameter. Clearly he has returned to his roots. Bud Finey, from the East Bay also helped Ethan with the shop layout.

The community has been very supportive of the program. For example, a local surgeon, donated his Felder, Format 4 sliding panel saw to the shop, worth nearly $34,000.

The first class started in August. Ethan restricts class size to 29 at the beginning of the class. It usually goes down slightly from there. In the class Woods I, during the first six months the focus is on shop safety.

Ethan walked us through the entire operation, from table saws, to band saws, to router tables, to planers, drill presses, to dust control, to wood storage, and to finishing. It is refreshing to see that the opportunity to develop fine craft skills is still available to students today.


Tony Fanning: BAWA will not be participating in the Rebuilding Together program this year. Instead, BAWA has scheduled a "Christmas at Sequoia" for the last Saturday of April. BAWA members will build jigs, fixtures, and storage for the shop. Harold Patterson will be in charge, working with several team leaders. Look for more information in the next newsletter.

Mark Rand announced that Bruce Woods, the Membership Chair had resigned for personal reasons. Mark then announced that Neal White volunteered to run for the office. He asked if there was anyone interested in running for the position. The silence was deafening. A vote was taken and Neal won overwhelmingly. Congratulations were heaped on Neal for his hard won victory.

The BAWA 25th Anniversary Dinner will be held at the Elks Club in Emerald Hills, just off Jefferson Avenue. There will be an exhibit of members work, both photographs and actual furniture pieces. Mark will be sending out directions and information on the dinner. Sam Maloof is our guest of honor and featured speaker.

Our Rafflemeister, Stan Booker had several items for door prizes in the monthly raffle: an Acacia block, push sticks, 2 clamps and a tool bag. Freebies available for the asking included a band saw blade, a vintage tool bag, a hand vacuum cleaner and steel wool. Our Birds Eye Maple board still needs more raffle tickets to be sold to break even. So buy, buy, buy. Tickets are $1 each and for the next 1,000 tickets sold, Stan is offering a deal 6 tickets for $5.

Next came a Tool Talk by Frank Taylor on Wood Clamps

We have all seen them, those parallel wood bar clamps joined with turn screws. But do we know how to use them properly? They are versatile and effective, offering broad pinch contact, full coverage, and good holding pressure. Frank demonstrated how to close the clamps properly, how to hold pieces of wood together, and how to use the clamps as a vice. Set the clamp wide at the bottom, and then tighten the tip of the clamp. Try to get uniform, broad clamping pressure on the object being held. After Frank's excellent talk, we all may be digging the old wood clamps out of the closet and making them a mainstay in our woodworking.

After touring the shop and its gorgeous array of tools, members were seen checking out the shop's burglar alarm on their way back to their vehicles.

John Blackmore & Mark Rand