April 2008


President's corner

Next meeting

Last meeting

This n that



Last Meeting

We started out our March meeting with the introductions. Rob Kalkbrenner of Belmont who builds furniture introduced himself and became a member. A warm welcome was given to him and to several guests whose names I was not able to get.

Per Madsen, our Program Director, described the April meeting and the May meeting which will be a presentation of what people learned at Yeung Chan's Making Joints with Machine Tools 2-day seminar.

Jay Perrine who organized the Sawdust Session described a very fulfilling session where the subject was making a box. No one finished but were well on their way to making one.

Frank Ramsay discussed this year's Rebuilding Together project. There was some discussion as to where we should go to volunteer. Frank to research it further. He asked for a volunteer to lead the group.

Harold Patterson, our mid-year Santa Claus and toy maker said that we will have a toy making session in April. Stand by for further information.

Stan Booker described his trip to Tanzania and the crying need for hand tools there. He will be making a full presentation to us later in the year. He then described the evening's door prizes which included a BAWA T-shirt, various glues, tool bag or veneer.

Arnie Champagne who took over while Stan was gone said that the Birds Eye Maple board would be raffled off this night.

Our librarian, Dan Goodman brought our library of books, magazines, DVD's and tapes. $1/month.

We then took a break with coffee, tea and cookies courtesy of Frank Ramsay who volunteered since no one has stepped forward to take the Refreshment position. No refreshments in April since he will be away.

Our presenter for the evening was Tim Killen, a furniture maker, writer and teacher. He had been a Nuclear Engineer working for Bechtel all over the world including Baghdad where he worked on power plants. He gave this up to become a woodworker following his grandfather's and father's footsteps. He likes to reproduce 18th Century and Shaker style furniture. He likes to work with hand tools and does his own carving. He said that hand cut dovetails just look better than machine made. He uses French Polish as the finish for flat surfaces and Shellac for items such as chairs.

The problem with reproducing this furniture is the lack of detail and dimensions. He tries to find old pieces where he can get some dimensions but they are hard to find in California. He relies on his trips to the East coast where there is a lot more. He showed a picture of a table with only a small carving in the center of the skirt which had a dimension. Using the SketchUp software which he bought and is now free, he was able to recreate the piece using his own knowledge and the carving dimension. After he discovered SketchUp 3 years ago, he tried to interest Fine Woodworking in publishing an article he wrote. He was turned down with Fine Woodworking stating that no one would be interested. Times have changed and he now has a Design, Click, Build blog through Fine Woodworking where with additional authors Dave Richards and Bob Babcock. By going to the download, You can go through the steps to use the system. http://forums.taunton.com/n/blogs/blog.aspx?webtag=fw-designforum&redirCnt=1

He then ran through how to use the system on a Curly Maple tea table which he brought with him. As mentioned earlier all he had was one dimension of a carving. Applying classical proportions mostly of ancient columns in Mack Headly's book and his own knowledge, he started designing. He ran through many configurations on SketchUp showing how easy it is to get one or two or three dimensions and how easy to change them. He then breaks the components apart and showed how to put in mortise and tenon joints. Once he is satisfied with the design, he can then lay the pieces on what size boards would be available and he has what he needs to buy and a cutting schedule.

He prints out each piece to full size on a standard home printer on pieces of standard paper. Attaches them together, marks out the piece on cardboard then transfers this to the wood board.

He showed the finished table describing how the solid Curly Maple table top floats in the frame. The skirts were also Curly Maple but not the legs. The top floats in the frame with a 1/16-inch clearance on all sides. The carving on the skirts and the legs were carved separately and attached. He uses hide glue in his work.

There was much interest and discussion during and after his presentation. It appears that many members have SketchUp and it also appears that many members would be interested in attending his class. He usually teaches in two 3-hour sessions but he likes to have a last 3-hour session for discussion and questions. Per Madsen will try to coordinate such a class.

Following another short break, we had a presentation by Jim Voos on Draw Boring. Jim has been in Software Engineering where products he designed have a short shelf life. He wanted to build for the long term. He said 17th and 18th century furniture used wet and variable woods and old style glues. They used mostly compression joints where now we use mechanical joints with modern glues. No one knows the long term reliability of these modern glues. So to have solid joints such as a mortise and tenon, he drills a hole in the joint and drives a pin into the hole to lock the joint together. He uses Drift pins to which he attaches a handle to widen the hole as needed so that the wood will not split when driving in the pin. For the pin, he uses straight grain Oak. He splits the block of Oak using a knife and taps the knife with a hammer to split off a piece which will be square. To round it, you can buy an expensive metal jig with multiple holes. By driving the square peg into the right dimension hole will round it. One can use a hard wood into which holes are drilled also. One can also use chop sticks or even wooden skewers for small work.

He then demonstrated a shooting board. Using MDF, he attaches a very accurate wooden board with 45-degree angles to it. Placing a board against the 45-degree face, one can then final plane a 45-degree miter to very accurate 45-degrees. By rotating the 45-degree board, one can plane a very square 90-degree face.

Finally, he showed a board he uses to hold whatever he is working on. He cut several slots at various places into which he inserts a wooden stop. He can then place the work against the stop and do whatever has to be done.

As the meeting was ending, the door prizes were given out to satisfied members and the raffle for the Birds Eye Maple board was held. The winner was....STAN BOOKER, our Rafflemeister. As shouts of FIX reverberated through the room, he declared his innocence citing that Arnie Champagne had handled this raffle. The California Attorney General will be holding an investigation also Congress, Homeland Security and the Foster City Senior Center. We shall get to the bottom of this.

Mark Rand