February 2008


President's corner

Next meeting

Last meeting



Last Meeting

In the absence of our new President, Frank Ramsay, Vice President Jay Perrine started off our January 2008 meeting by asking for announcements.

Mark Bouquet brought in some phenolic off-cuts that can be used for fixtures and jigs. They were free for the taking.

Harold Patterson and Frank Taylor, the co-chairs of the Toy Workshops, want to issue toy plans to interested members so that parts can be made ahead of time for the workshops. Also, there is an interest in making more toys that are unisex, or can be used by both boys and girls. Workshops will start early in the spring.

Stan Booker who is off to Africa on another trip asked that it be announced that he is taking over 200 pounds of tools to Africa for donation. Many of the tools were donated by you the members.

Mark Rand once again announced that annual dues are now payable for the year 2008. Come on everyone. Pay up or else.

We still need someone to volunteer to do the refreshments. Fred Reicher was kind enough to do it for the last two years. Step-up please, it will be appreciated.

Per Madsen talked about the upcoming meeting for February and March. In February, Jamie Buxton will present a demonstration of vacuum bag forming for bent laminations and plywood. He used this technique to make the two exquisite bent wood handbags he showed to the club.

In March, Tim Killen, who is a member of the Diablo Woodworkers, will be our speaker.

Next was a Tech Talk.

Ken Rauen showed an easy wood finishing system using super glue as a primer and epoxy as the topcoat.

Ken wanted a solvent-free finish for the speaker cabinet he builds. He also makes exercise boards for yoga. The material can't be too hard to run through a planer while still serving to reduce tear out. It had to be a clear finish.

On Ribbon Mahogany, he would apply the super glue as a primer and immediately wipe off the excess with a squeegee. The super glue would soak into the wood, but sometimes little glass like bubbles would form on the surface of the wood. He found that if he wiped the wood with satin fabric, then he achieved a bubble free surface. He would allow the superglue to cure overnight. The next day he would apply an epoxy finish coat, again squeegee and wipe with a satin cloth. Glenn Krueg suggested that Ken try wiping with Saran Wrap. Ken uses the System 3 Clear Coat epoxy.

You must wear latex or nitrile gloves when using epoxy, Ken emphasized. He passed around boards coated with his epoxy finish system. The surface was smooth, clear and brought out the character of the wood. Good idea, Ken.

Another Tech Talk was by Frank Taylor

Frank presented four ideas. The first apparatus was a connector system for joining two ¾ inch boards. A template is used to drill a 7/8" diameter hole in the flat surface of each board, connected by a 7/16" hole in the side of the boards running between the two larger holes. Cam connectors are placed in each large hole and a threaded rod inserted through the narrow side hole. A nail is used to turn the cam, threading the rod into both connectors and drawing the boards tightly together. He suggests using a biscuit or a spline to align the two boards. He buys the hardware from Bradley Hardware. He donated a kit for the Silent Auction.

The second idea presented was a feather board with three holes drilled in the solid stock. He inserts Mag-Jig magnetic clamps into each hole. These magnets can be switched on and off. They serve to hold the feather board firmly to the metal surface of the saw or router table. They are available from Lee Valley.

Frank's third device was a fixture for holding a gooseneck lamp. The metal box can be attached with a clamp to a table and has holes into which the base of the lamp is inserted. He donated several for the Silent Auction.

The last device is a "gravity clamp". A block of lead, painted gold to resemble bullion, is used as a weight clamp. Frank is ingenious. Thank you for sharing these great ideas with us.

Jay then called for guests to identify themselves.

Joe Russack is visiting us from Petaluma where he is building a 2600 square foot shop. He saw our booth at the San Mateo show. He joined our group. Welcome Joe, we think that you will enjoy this group.

Carl Felperin has a shop in Newark where he builds Arts and Crafts furniture. He is a designer by training and uses CAD to develop his designs. He joined on the spot. Welcome Karl, we hope you will enjoy our presentations and maybe even give us a presentation at some point.

Jeff Berkman, is a friend of Frank Ramsey, and has a garage shop. He heard of us not only through Frank but also from the Shows.

Gideon Biran is a hobbyist. He heard of us from Jeff.

Rob Kalkbrenner of San Mateo has a shop near Jamie Buxton's and is new to woodworking. He also became aware of us through the internet.

A big welcome was given to the two new members and hopefully the guests will join us at later meetings.

Although we don't have a Refreshment person, several of the officers teamed up and put together the refreshments. Fred Reicher again made the coffee and Per Madsen brought delicious cookies. Please note, without a Refreshment person, this will not continue. Members did enthusiastically partake so one or more of you should enthusiastically volunteer to do at least one month of refreshments or several months as the spirit moves you. Remember, no volunteer, no refreshments in the future. Contact Frank Ramsay if you are interested at 415 495-7002 or frankramsay8@aol.com. Go ahead, pick up that phone or tap out a message on the computer.

Our main speaker was Glenn Krueg, a master wood turner. His topic and demonstration was miniature wood turnings.

Glenn has been a woodworker for over 45 years. In his earlier years he focused on furniture. Then, about 15 years ago, he met Bob Stocksdale of Berkeley, a renowned wood turner. And so began his woodturning adventures.

Combining his interest in horticulture with turning, Glenn has traveled extensively seeking rare sensuous woods for his turnings. He selects materials for color and grain pattern that will enhance his forms. He seeks quiet simplicity in the classical forms he creates.

Tonight, Glenn showed us a collection of the miniature vessels he makes, demonstrated his craft by making a small bowl and answered questions from an enthusiastic audience. He also donated the miniature bowl he turned as a door prize.

Even before Glenn could start, the audience wanted to know how one could get their works displayed in a gallery. Glenn had the following suggestions:

  1. Make very good product
  2. Choose a gallery that fits your work
  3. The gallery must really like your work
  4. Make sure your work is displayed in a good location in the gallery
  5. Show the gallery your product, not just photos
  6. Present your resume to the gallery. Make sure it's a professional looking Resume
  7. Get a written contract with the gallery
  8. Galleries want recognized artisans, so get your product into written articles and into competitions

Galleries usually get in the range of 30% to 60% of the list price. Glenn sets his own wholesale price and lets the gallery set the list price.

Glenn remembered getting into a gallery for the first time. He took a box of turnings, mostly larger bowls, into a gallery owned by a friend of his in Carmel. His friend encouraged him to make more miniatures, and he has not looked back.

Today, Glenn works 6 days a week from 8 am until noon. He has been doing so for 15 years and he is still having fun. There is always something new: new wood, new forms, and new challenges. In his works, he uses over 150 types of wood, Tagua nuts, Beetle nuts from India and acrylics. He makes over 400 miniature pieces each year, selling them at an average wholesale price of $40 each. Recently he has been making miniature pagoda temples that sell for $1600 each.

Glenn works on a small, but precisely made Oneway lathe that sells for approximately $2500. He uses a Beall collet chuck on his lathe. The jaws of the chuck do not protrude so there is less likelihood that he will hit his fingers while turning. He has developed turning techniques that work well for him, allowing him to make high quality turnings quickly. He has found that acrylic impregnated wood turns easily almost eliminating tear out and it facilitates finishing. He sends raw wood to Iowa where it is impregnated with acrylic with 400 pounds of pressure. It costs approximately $12 per pound to treat the wood. Treated wood cuts cleaner, requires less sanding and can be used on figured as well as spalted woods. He glues the wood using CA glue to a dowel. He cautions that both the dowel and the wood surface have to be absolutely flat to achieve a good bond. The actual turning should not be too aggressive because the glue could fail and the piece would fall off. After turning the wood, he sands with 400 grit paper, buffs with white diamond dust and waxes the piece. He uses the Beale System for finishing: Rouge, White Diamond, and Wax. He does not use the Rouge but starts with the White Diamond. He found that the wax was too hard so he uses his own mix of waxes.

He also uses another finishing system recommended by Craft Supplies where he buys many of his finishing materials. In this system, he sands with 400 grit, then applies a cellulose sealer to the work piece, holding a soaked rag to the work piece until it becomes warm. He then applies a 3D polish using the same technique. The final coat is shellac.

Using a technique similar to that presented earlier in the evening by Ken Rauen, Glenn sometimes applies a medium viscosity Cyanoacrylate or CA glue, a form of super glue to his turned piece. It is absorbed into the wood, then polished using Saran Wrap. Since CA glue bonds almost instantly he has found that a de-bonder works better than acetone to clean up spills and accidental bondings of the glue. There have been cases where wood turners have bonded fingers together or bonded a finger to a machine. Without the de-bonder, skin will be left if you yank your finger(s) off the machine. Glenn provided the following information. CA glue is available in 1, 2, and 16 oz size in various viscosities in clear also black color. There is also flexible CA glue plus an accelerator and debonder from CPH International 800 900 4583 in the Los Angeles area or www.starbond.com. It is also in many woodworking stores, the internet and at Woodcraft.

Turning tools to make miniature pieces is a whole new ballgame. His experiments have run the gamut from industrial to dental. Imported small dental tools, he has found, are too soft and thin. The tools will vibrate, creating chatter while cutting. Small cutting blades need large, strong shafts. He has found some dental tools that work well, but prefers to make his own using high speed steel (HSS). This steel must have a Rockwell hardness in the range of 62 to 65 and is available from machinists supply houses. Do not use drill blank rods, they are too soft, he cautioned. He also uses small plane blades for shear scraping. Glenn gave us a handout summarizing his technique, tools and accumulated wisdom. Copies can be requested from John Blackmore 650 361-1889 or johnblackmore@comcast.net or in our library.

He buys Kovak Eagle brand sand paper from Craft Supplies. He also uses the Mirka screen when he wants to do aggressive sanding. The 3M woven pads are also very useful, he has found.

Making attractive miniature turnings is all a matter of "form" Glenn advised us. Be attentive to your design. And with this advice, he turned to making a turning a small Mahogany bowl. Ten minutes later, it was complete. It bore testament to his theme for the evening: "In the end, it is not how you get there, but how good the form is."

To conclude the evening, in the absence of the raffle master (his spirit was hovering over us), Stan Booker who is off on another sojourn to Africa, we had to jury rig the raffle by tearing up a sheet of notebook paper to make raffle tickets. Perhaps that is why John Blackmore won Glenn"s little bowl.

The Silent Auction items of several little tool holders and the lamp holders both donated by Frank Taylor also wound up as raffle items.

As usual, your newsletter editor didn't win anything a dejectedly shuffled home with the other non-winner members. A Board investigation will be launched as to how John Blackmore won the little bowl.

Many thanks go to Frank Taylor for providing the Mahogany for the turning demonstration, the lathe and the vacuum cleaner to clean up the shavings.

John Blackmore and Mark Rand