June 2008


President's corner

Next meeting

Last meeting


This 'n That


Last Meeting

After a nice socializing 6:30 to & 7+ pm session, our President Frank Ramsay gaveled the meeting to order (not that the gaveling did much good).

Frank asked for any guests to identify themselves. Larry Birenbaum braved his way to us from Saratoga. He is a beginning woodworker aiming to make simple furniture. His first project will be a French Louis the XIV, 6' high armoire. He heard of us from his cabinet maker who was not identified. Scotty Logan has decided to come back into the fold. And recently, we had David Yager of La Honda join. He has a tree farm and also mills wood on a circle saw mill and bandmill. He mentioned that he is willing to do a presentation to the club at his location. He also sells many different types of wood. He has a nice web site. www.alderwood.com.

First were Announcements and Per Madsen talked about the SketchUp class scheduled for the next two Thursday evenings at the San Mateo Garden Center. He described the meetings to come with the June BAWA meeting to be held at the McBeath Hardwoods store in Berkeley. In July the meeting will be held at Joinery Structures in Oakland. Then, in August the meeting will be a sharpening seminar in Foster City with Don Naples.

Yeung Chan is planning to hold a seminar on Tool Building. The date has not yet been established. If you think you might be interested, tell Per Madsen.

Mark Rand reminded us that the Name Tag Contest will be held in July. He brought small pieces of wood that can be taken home to use to make the nametags and clips to attach to the nametags. Mark announced that if you don't make a nametag, you will be locked out of the meeting.

Stan Booker said that Montera Middle School in Oakland is still looking for teaching help for their woodshop program. He asked that we keep the notice in the newsletter. Tennyson High School in Hayward is looking for donated tools such as clamps. Contact Stan if you can help. He also described the evening's door prize goodies and was selling raffle tickets for a very large Jatoba board. It is not yet fully subscribed.

John Blackmore announced that the Costano School bookshelf building project will be held again on Sunday morning, May 18. Volunteers are welcome.

Karl Felperin is planning to make some promotional videos for the web site of his business. He is looking for a videographer. Any suggestions anyone?

Eric McCrystal said that Festool is introducing its new table saw on July 1. Its dust collection system captures 91% of the sawdust; and all that for only $1300. Sorry no discounts. At 32 pounds, that's only $40.63 per pound. CBS Channel 5 will be visiting Woodcraft San Carlos on May 27 to film a demonstration of the SawStop for its Good Question segment. Hot Dog!

We then had a break where members feasted on coffee, tea and cookies brought by Frank Ramsay. He has kindly been doing the refreshments since we can't seem to interest anybody in taking the Refreshment position.

After the break, we started the Yeung Chan Fixture Presentations.

A number of BAWA members attended a two day class given by Yeung Chan on how to build the table saw fixtures he uses to make the joints in his furniture building efforts. Three members brought in the fixtures they had made. They discussed how the fixtures were made and how they plan to use them.

Eric McCrystal improved upon the Yeung Chan design by constructing the fixtures from phenolic plywood. Coincidentally, this plywood is available at Woodcraft. The outer surface of this plywood is a layer of plastic that improves durability, enhances appearance and facilitates sliding the fixture across the table saw. Eric made two fixtures: the table saw sled and the tenon cutter that mounts to the sled. He used a UHMW (ultra high molecular weight) plastic runner strip precisely cut to match the groove in the table saw. When making the fixtures, Eric used a 24 tooth, flat, 1/8" blade to cut the plywood.

The tenon cutter was joined together with biscuits and glued. It is critical to get this fixture absolutely square. An engineer's square is a valuable tool. Eric did not think it would be necessary to mount a measuring tape on the top of the tenon cutter. Eric also made a right angle jig and used it to cut multiple tenons in one pass on the saw. Eric used the fixtures to make a Craftsman style end table in White Oak. He cut the leg tenons with his new Yeung Chan fixtures. The joints were clean and precise. He also cut the spindle tenons in the same fashion. The table was an excellent example of a good design that is constructed well using fixtures that are both easy to use and precise.

Frank Ramsey also used the phenolic plywood to build his Yeung Chan fixtures. Yes, he bought it at Woodcraft. The runner on his table saw sled fixture is made of oak and he made several so that he has a future supply. He modified the design by adding a blade protector extending over the back rail of the sled. He too used a flat tooth blade and because he has a SawStop table saw, he had to adjust the distance of the cartridge to the blade so that the saw would work properly.

Frank is making a 72" wide highboy piece of furniture for his home. He showed us photographs of the dry fit frame. So far it has 45 mortise and tenon joints in it. Frank has made both the 45 and 30 degree angle jigs to mount to the table saw sled. He had to have separate mounting holes for each jig. His tenon cutter jig was very similar to the one made by Eric. However, Frank found that the vertical guide piece is not thick enough and he would make this piece at least 11/4" in thickness next time.

Both Eric and Frank emphasized that a slot mortiser is a necessary piece of equipment. The Multico is no longer sold in the USA, but can sometimes be found on eBay or at garage sales. They do have a web site that gives their UK phone number.

Maury Ostroff brought in his Yeung Chan fixtures. He made two table saw sleds. His first sled was made with conventional ¾" plywood and used a Maple runner strip. It was too loose in the saw groove so he remade it and it works perfectly. His second sled was made with the phenolic plywood. Yes, you guessed it -- Woodcraft. He used an adjustable aluminum runner on this sled. Both sleds were made large enough to accommodate cabinet panels. Maury figured out how to adapt the Incra jig stop block for use on his sleds. He hasn't made the tenon jig yet, preferring to use his Delta knock off tenon sled.

It was evident from the three presentations that the seminar had been a great success. The fixtures made were elegant, well made and very useful in practice. Yeung Chan's fixture system is an excellent alternative to the MultiRouter and costs considerably less.

Next was Show & Tell:

Jamie Buxton shares an affliction common to all of us oldsters. He too is becoming presbyopic and can't see as well close up. His solution for furniture making -- use a binocular loupe. Surgeons use them all the time and they cost upwards of $1200. Ouch. But wait, Jamie found one from a nail salon supplier for $60. It is not autoclavable, but it works the same way and offers 3X magnification. Its compound lens system means you have a longer focal length and don't have to hold the object next to your eyes, but can work at arms length.

Jamie also showed us a component to an entertainment system he has designed and is building. A unique feature is the solid wood corrugated bottom of the drawers. The corrugated surface prevents things from sliding around in the drawer. The corrugated pattern is made on the table saw using a jig system similar to making box joints. The drawer set also included a square grommet cover Jamie made of Cherry to match the cabinet itself. It was a much more elegant than a plastic grommet cap.

Fred Reicher showed us his first successfully turned bowl, out of Maple, he thinks. The wood turners had given him the block of wood. Fred explained that he is still mastering the techniques and sometimes gets close to finished only to have the bowl explode on him as it approaches thinness. Keep practicing Fred, there is excellence ahead of you.

Dear Abby Woodworker:

Frank Ramsey wrote to DAW: I am making this 72" wide highboy and I don"t want to put in a center leg. How am I going to span this width so that it doesn"t sag in the middle? I"ve considered a steel beam hidden behind the lower rail, but would prefer solid wood construction. I may make a laminated arch stretching between the two legs under the bottom rail. What can I do?

DAW Replies: You can glue in the rear plywood panel and that will strengthen the back of the high boy, but you're still left with a potential sag in the front. Perhaps a torsion box can be placed between the two bottom rails. Short of that, you might try a sky hook or perhaps a Johnson rod, just to remember some fanciful childhood solutions or just forget it. Use the wood in your fireplace and go to IKEA, Karl Felperin's favorite place after Harbor Freight.

And then we had the door prize drawings and three members went home happy. There was no raffle for the Jatoba board, not fully subscribed yet.

The Silent Auction of a battery charger was won by Jay Perrine after frantic bidding for $5. A nice infusion into the Mark Rand fund.

John Blackmore & Mark Rand