October 2008


President's corner

Next meeting

Last meeting


This 'n That

Last Meeting

Quite a few announcements including the upcoming Woodcraft Open House where BAWA has a free booth, and the Yeung Chan toolmaking week-end class on October 4 & 5. Stan Booker expressed thanks for all the contributions to help the several trade schools in East Africa and re-explained that books are welcome but need to be hand tools, NOT power tool oriented -- so pre-WWII books are the best. Stan went on to explain that shipping the donated hand tools has been simplified by the USPS but is still about $48 to send an unlimited weight but volume-limited box...should you wish to contribute $50 to the non-profit he and his wife have formed.

Manny Hernandez was our guest speaker discussing the many aspects of Japanese woodworking chisels. Manny covered the several manners that chisels (Japanese style or otherwise) are attached to handles. Besides an excellent review of the variations and subtleties of Japanese chisels the great aspect was that Manny brought two specialized boxes of chisels so that (at least it seemed) no matter what variation he mentioned there was a chisel in the box to show us a sample. Manny discussed sharpening including what to do if and when a large chip occurs at the cutting edge. Cost became an issue of discussion after someone asked what was the difference in Japanese style chisels based on cost. The answer is mostly pedigree -- that is who in Japan actually made the blades and how are they viewed by the buying public. Speaking of makers -- many are dying with no offspring continuing the tradition so if you are wanting a good collection of quality Japanese chisels get shopping and perhaps contact Manny for some contact names as he is now buying directly from Japan. Apparently in middle range chisels there is still a wide selection available from sources in the Bay Area. Manny's collection provided a central discussion point for members during the break as they reviewed and handled Manny's extensive collection of paring, mortising and bench chisels.

Yeung Chan followed the break with first some mention of how he turned to making his own small chisels -- essentially it was need -- he was making small dovetails and did not have what he considered to be properly-sized tools so he made them. And then he made other tools and he showed us an entire toolbox with all but one or two tools which he made himself (and of course the tool box which itself has been covered in woodworking magazines). Yeung then went on to discuss a piece he made for a competition a few years back. The theme was inspired by Chinese design and Yeung submitted the table he brought to the meeting. Yeung used lines from traditional Chinese furniture and the legs were pretty much following those lines. However the top, which would have been frame-and-panel in traditional Chinese furniture, including inclusion in the reproduction Chinese chair Yeung made and demonstrated to BAWA over 5 years ago, was NOT done in frame and panel. Instead the top on the demonstrated end table was made of veneer with a substrate glued to the framed edge yielding a table surface that is flat, smooth and without the drawbacks of a horizontal frame-and-panel component. Yeung felt that both comfort (chair applications) and utility (table tops) are factors that can be solved with new approaches yet maintain traditional look. Yeung has made some valid design changes that seem worthy of further consideration by furniture designers wishing to maintain design integrity.

Thanks Manny Hernandez and Yeung Chan for an informative evening of tool and woodworking techniques.

Jay Perrine

A week after the last meeting, we hosted a booth at the Woodcraft San Carlos Open House. The booth was well organized and quite impressive. Kudos to the folks who put it together and manned it: Mark Rand, Fred Reicher, Mark Ferraro, John Blackmore, Jamie Buxton, Neal White, Tony Fanning, Frank Ramsay, George Bosworth, Mike Cooper, Harold Patterson, Dan Goodman, John Wilson, Claude Godcharles, Jay Perrine, Bob Young and Ron Gerard.

Jamie Buxton