As I write this the week before Christmas, it seems like a good time to reflect on the past year and make plans for the New Year. We had a year full of entertaining and educational speakers and workshops, and finished with a nice holiday party. Once again, the members exceeded our wildest expectations with the toy generosity. Seven tables were overflowing with toys that will be greatly appreciated by the boys and girls. Special thanks to Liz Rhode and Mary Anderson for organizing the party and to all the people that delivered the toys. And last but not least, congratulations to Jerry Tackes on receiving the Woodworker of the Year award. It is well deserved.
In looking to the New Year, I think one of my New Years resolutions should be to finish the projects I start. Although that may be difficult with how fast my wife Kay is adding to the project list! The latest additions are a desk for our eldest daughter and end tables for our family room. # Our January meeting will be a busy one. In addition to Mike Miller’s presentation, we will also be having our board election and a review of the guild status. I am pleased to say that we now have volunteers for the secretary and program/workshop chairs positions.
|Date||Wednesday, January 4th, 2006|
|Event||Regular Guild Meeting|
|Topic||ToolSteel, Heat Treating and Making Edge Tools for the Shop|
|Location|| Faith United Church of Christ |
4240 N. 78th St. Milwaukee WI
|Time||6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.|
|Fee||None. First time guests welcome.|
|Comments||Mike Miller is an avid amateur woodworker with a background that includes steels, metallurgy and heat treating. One of his early hobbies included knife collecting. Making knives was an early pursuit and Mike completed his first knife at the age of 10. As the interest in woodworking started to grow, so did the interest in making woodworking tools. He is in the process of completing, or has completed, plane blades and flush-cutting knives. |
In this program, Mike will provide a basic review of different types of steels, particularly plain carbon steel, stainless steel, high-speed steels and tool steels. He will then explain the basics of heat treating and what you are trying to accomplish when heat treating and tempering different steels. He will review some basic metalworking skills required to shape steel. He will review your choice of steels for basic woodworking tools and where to buy those raw materials. Most of the program will be based on how to make knives from O-1 tool steel because it is very easy to use, although A2 and other steels may be discussed. He will review the torches and quenching media for heat treating as well as the simple ways to temper the heat-treated blade to your desired hardness. At the end of the program you will have a good idea of the relatively simple steps for making your own tools including knives, plane blades and molding cutter heads.
December 15, 2005
Attendees were John Johnson, President; Dick Yezek, Vice President; Ken Bahr, Programs/Workshop Director; Leila Crandall-Frink, Publications Director; Jerry Tackes, Acting Secretary. Absent due to the weather was Liz Rohde, Treasurer; Mary Anderson, Membership; Jerry Kashmerick, Exhibits and Publicity Director; and Mark Bronkalla, Director at Large.
A discussion took place regarding the Woodworking Show on February 24 thru 26 and the preparation of trifolds for the show. An invitation type card was discussed outlining the March meeting to be used as handouts for prospective members.# The January meeting format will be modified in the following manner. The featured speaker will be first on the agenda, then the break, followed by Announcements, Election of Officers, and a review of 2005 by John Johnson.# A discussion took place regarding special guild needs for 2006. It was agreed that the Guild should purchase a projector for presentations rather than continue the practice of borrowing one from the members. Additional books and DVD’s should be purchased for the library, a practice that has not been carried out for some time.# John Johnson agreed to present to the general membership in January some of the guidelines that have been used in the past regarding Guild funds. He also planned to show a comparison of fund use for the past several years, including special circumstances in past years, which resulted in unusual high/low balances.
A short orientation took place for Jerry Tackes on the duties of guild secretary.
The Guild Roundtable
For centuries furniture was made using only primitive hand tools. After all, when measured against the millennia of time, electricity, hand held power tools, table saws, jointers, planers, carbide, and even tool steel have existed for mere fractions of seconds. In Revolutionary times it took hours of work using a pit saw to produce a simple flat board and still more hours of work to make the wood fit for furniture, ships, wagons, trim, and doors for a log cabin. Today we see examples of early furniture in historical villages, museums, and on television programs like “Antiques Roadshow,” most of it valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars. Metal parts, if used at all, were generally limited to hand forged nails, hand cut screws, and hand hammered hinges, all of which were terribly expensive by today’s standards. Yet millions of drawers opened and closed without the help of nylon-coated ball bearing wheels riding in stamped steel drawer glides. Antiquities experts extol the patina of hand rubbed oil or shellac finish which accentuates the figure found in the chestnut, maple, walnut, cherry, oak, and other native woods commonly found in high valued antiques. They also point to details like pie crust edging formed using scrapers, symmetric carving, and inlay work made with hundreds of individual wood pieces, all of it held together with hide glue. Imported woods like mahogany were purvey of the rich; pine and fir were the order of the day for the average American, much of it coated with milk paint. But have you looked closely at a high valued example of early American furniture?
Even though the hand planed boards in table tops may be 20” wide or wider, they are quarter sawn - regardless of wood species - with no knots anywhere! While the tops show the slight uneven “character” of hand planing, they are not cupped or twisted nor are shrinkage cracks visible at the ends. Stretches and legs are also solid wood sawn from 8/4”, 12/4”, or even 16/4” straight grain timber - also without knots. Exquisite handwork was reserved for visible wood only. Wood pieces not visible - backs, drawer bottoms, corner blocks, etc. are generally of inferior species and left in a rough state, with little or no finish at all.
Countless Guild programs have described how to deal with cupping and twists inherent with flat sawn lumber. All presenters state only oak quarter sawn lumber is available today because local mills make far more by selling choice logs to veneer mills overseas. But some recognized master craftsmen also told us they buy truckloads of lumber only from select east coast mills - and reject the whole truckload if it doesn’t meet their demanding standards. Their tables and chests show wide, knot free, quarter-sawn lumber in of walnut, cherry, and other fine woods. I subscribe to the British magazine “Furniture F & C” which is their equivalent of our “Fine Woodworking.” A recent article described making a dining room table seating eight on commission made of SOLID zebrano (zebrawood), all 8/4” or 6/4” quarter sawn, wide, and knot free! The chairs were also of solid, steam bent, zebrano. Like his American counterparts, the British woodworker worked directly with a mill willing to supply that grade of zebrano. (I was surprised it was available in 10+” widths.) So knot free quarter sawn furniture grade lumber is available, but at very high cost. Many years ago, at a workshop taught by Randy Johnson, Randy told us how he handled the unavailability of straight grain, knot free lumber. He would buy two or three TIMES the wood required for a project and cut out all defects. Randy also asked Kettle Moraine Hardwoods to set aside choice pieces of lumber, again in large quantities, for him. Randy ended up with a lot of wood he considered scrap but the pieces he made were all of heirloom quality. Randy pointed out the cost of wood is small when compared to discovering a single piece of a door or table tap doesn’t match anything else.
Recently I re-discovered this when I built some cherry doors for a small chest. I thought that one piece of knot free straight-grained cherry was a bit different than the rest but I was sure I could “adjust” its tone using stains or dyes. However, I found that one piece of cherry blotched terribly with the application of anything except clear finish. I can make that door look acceptable to most people, but I will always know that one door stile is just not right! I would have had to buy double the amount of cherry to avoid the problem. I did not but now I know it would have been worth it!
Woodworker of the Year
At the Holiday Season Dinner Party in December, Jerry Tackes was honored as the Woodworker of the Year. This award is not given for a specific year, but rather the sum total of the contributions that this individual has made to the Guild.
Jerry joined the Wisconsin Woodworkers Guild in March of 1985...twenty long years ago. His Guild number is 008 (awful close to 007!) He is a skilled wood craftsman and has exhibited his works at many Guild functions. Jerry is also generous with his time and talent, responding to any and all requests for information and instruction. His students are numerous and very appreciative.
Jerry recently moved from a rather constricted, yet very productive shop in Milwaukee to a masterful woodworking studio in North Prairie. He is the envy of many of his friends who work in less than adequate shops. He has received many Guild individuals for one-on-one tutoring and hosted several workshops at his new facility.
The Guild is honored to recognize Jerry as the Woodworker of the Year, 2005.
Submitted by Ed Cessna
Have you ever thought, “I’d like to be able to do that?” or, “Learning that skill would really help me.” Well, then you might be interested in taking a weeklong class at the American Sycamore Woodworkers’ Retreat (ASWR), located in Cloverdale, Indiana.
Several guild members are exploring the possibility of attending a class at the ASWR in 2006. We are completely open as to the class we would attend. But, since most classes fill up by January or February, speed is of the essence. If you have any interest in attending the ASWR in 2006, please contact Ed Cessna 414-764-3870, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
If you go to the ASWR web site www.americansycamoreretreat.com you can get information on previous classes and the accommodations. To look at the tentative class schedule for 2006, click on ASWR’s Woodworking Forum and then click on The Workbench. Read the Peek at 2006 Workshops posted Nov. 4. It contains the tentative 2006 class schedule. During his presentation to the Guild in September, Glen Huey spoke highly of the ASWR. He taught a course at the Retreat this year, and will be a featured instructor there during 2006.
Woodworkers Dana and Michael Van Pelt run the Retreat. Classes are very small, 6 – 10 people. Provided enough people are interested, our Guild could fill an entire class. Cost of the classes is between $700 and $1,200. The ASWR is a true retreat, since they have accommodations on site for attendees. The estimated cost of a class and accommodations is $1,500.
I am making a public apology to Ed Cessna for not including this article in the December RIPSAW. In my haste to get the issue out before I left town, I overlooked this article. If anyone ever has a complaint about the contents of the RIPSAW or how it looks, please feel free to contact me.