Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Fire up the bandsaw.....

Ninety-nine and counting....

Yes, we just met for the 99th Sin City Woodworkers gathering, and our group of wood-centric individuals couldn't be stronger.  

We had some very enthusiastic new faces join us this month, and our Show-and-Tell featured terrific pieces created by our members. Richard painstakingly laminated this 21 layer urn with walnut salvaged from the (under construction) UFC building here in town. He laminated each of the layers, flattening them on a disc sander, and adding each layer carefully. The lid features a graceful ebony knob, 

and Richard finished everything with Shine Juice, a recipe of 1/3 Boiled Linseed Oil, 1/3 Shellac, and 1/3 Denatured Alcohol.  This was truly a labor of love - Nice work, Richard! 

One of the new faces, Doug, joined us for his first meeting, and brought his bandsaw box to share with us. It was a gorgeous box made of laminated salvaged wood. 

This box had so many hidden details it was hard to keep track of them - small drawer runners to ensure that the drawers sit correctly in their openings,

 bumpers behind each drawer for proper front alignment, and a neatly applied liner in each drawer. This was really a sweet little piece!

 Since Easter just passed, Mike shared a basket filled with wooden eggs. While he left some of them natural, many were tinted with aniline dyes. 

These eggs were turned from mulberry, mesquite and apricot woods, with a few unidentified species, too. 

Ken shared a simple iPhone stand that he's been making from 2x4 lumber - saying that he's been selling a ton of these at work. They're simple to make, and a single 2x4 gives you enough wood for dozens of these. Not a bad return on your wood investment!

Beth's been busy in her shop, making baskets of fruit. 

Not just any basket, mind you - but a couple of dovetailed baskets, 

with gorgeous details like copper nails and sculptural handles.  The fruit she's been turning have details like delicate stems and a variety of dyes to color them. Gorgeous and fun!

Lupe's Federal inspired table was next, and once again - she knocked it out of the park. 

Her custom made bandings, dovetailed drawer, wooden drawer runner system, tapered legs with mitered inlay details all came together in one exquisite piece. 

She continues to wow us with her work; wait till you see a piece she's currently building - and be prepared to be dazzled. 

Finally, the man of the hour, Jim  shared his bandsaw techniques with our group. He collects small logs, and lets them dry so that wood movement is minimized.   

Inspired by this bandsaw book, Jim's been playing with these designs for a few years now. 

He starts by slicing off the back, and then laying out the drawers. 

These drawers cuts have to be done in one continuous smooth curved cut. 

After slicing off the front and back of each drawer, the "box" of the drawer is drawn and established. 

Jim flocks the interior of the drawers with this mini-flocking kit,  

first painting the adhesive, and then blowing the fibers onto the sticky surface. 

The result is perfect, as long as you're neat with the glue. These rustic boxes would be great gifts for someone's cabin!

Thanks to Jim for sharing his work with us...

looking forward to next month's meeting - number 100 and still going strong!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Night of Log Furniture ...

With around 28 members in attendance for our February meeting, we rolled into our EIGHTH! year of holding our monthly meetings - congrats to all of us for our passion for woodworking.

As usual, Jamie brought up some business related topics, like the upcoming AWFS show, which will be held July 19-22 at the Convention Center. It's truly an experience not to be missed, especially if you're a woodworker!

Next month, we'll again be collecting dues for our group, which are $20 for the year. While the dues are completely voluntary,  these monthly dues pay for various operational costs, like our Meet-Up membership, occasional guest speakers and associated costs with running the group. Even better - at the end of the year - after we award prizes for our end-of-the-year woodworking contest and pay for our Christmas party - everything that is left over is simply given back to our members. It's a win-win, so please consider joining us this year - it's the best $20 you'll spend on woodworking this year!

Jamie explained that she's been in need of a heavy duty wood bleach for a current project, and that commerical wood bleaches has not been very effective. She decided to conduct some research, and was able to find a recipe online, utilizing lye  (scary stuff!)

and a potent version of hydrogen peroxide, commonly found at pool stores. 

Having found a variety of recipes and suggestions, she tried three of them and experimented on a few pieces of African Mahogany. The best results came from mixing the two solutions together (the lye has to be dissolved in water first!) and then soaking the wood in the mixture for about 20 minutes. After a good rinsing, the boards continued to dry and lighten. The middle sample below shows just how light the wood became with the bleaching... pretty amazing!

Richard continues his quest of turning for relaxation - sharing some recent projects including these gorgeous Koa pens, and two Alumilite pens that he had started at our last meeting. 

He also brought along a cool wine bottle stopped he cast and turned, lamenting about the one that got away - he had one of these castings blow up while he was turning it. Yikes, good thing he wears a face shield! 

Next up, Len brought more fine examples of his work. 

With about twenty-four years experience carving, he recommends slow wood chip carving for therapy, and shared that anyone interested only needs two knifes; a basic knife and curved knife. 

His work is so intricate and thoughtful, it's a joy just to inspect his clean cuts and designs. 

 Len shared that he feels chip carving uses light and shadows, therefore less color is best. 

He also shared his method for using freezer parchment paper and a cheap ink-jet printer for transferring an image  to wood with a credit card, like he did fro this hummingbird design below. 

 Finally he shared that he often uses a compass and ruler to lay out the design.

Len is a member of the Woodcarvers of Las Vegas, who meet at Woodworkers’ Emporium on the 4th Saturday of each month. 

Check out their Facebook page here

Their meetings usually run from 8:30 - 11:30 AM.

As usual, Beth brought in another amazing piece that she built - a small (and very lightweight!) stool with mostly turned components and a woven seat. 

She completely nailed the joinery (not literally!!!) and experimented with the weaving materials, settling on macrame cord for the final product. 

In her spare time, she started turning apples on the lathe, and shared her progression of apples as her skill level grew. She envisions a whole bowl full of apples in her house someday, and there's no reason to doubt that she will accomplish that! 

Finally, on to the featured speaker - Neal Grossman and his cool rustic log furniture.  He brought in some great examples of his work, 

and explained that his process starts with stripping the bark from the logs. 

He usually has a rough idea of what he'll be building, with some dimensions and a sketch of the finished product. 

With a drawknife, he'll reduce the diameter of the ends, so that his tenon cutter will fit over the end of the logs. 

These tenon cutters are pricey, but allow him to quickly machine tenons on the ends of his components. 

A heavy-duty drill is pretty much a given, this is hard work! 

Once the logs are cut to length and tenoned, he'll start assembling the piece, using a variety of adhesives. LocTite's PL375 is his go-to adhesive, as it has an extremely slow set time, allowing him to rotate logs and get everything adjusted properly. 

Remember - this is a whole new ballgame, as far as furniture building, and there aren't are strict rules about it. 

Logs can be crooked, there are no straight edges, so flexibility in building is a must. 

Luckily, Neal is very adept at working with these imperfect materials, and his work shows a gracefulness and is the picture of throughtful design. 

These dog beds are a fabulous use of smaller logs! His best advice if you want to get started is to start hoarding logs, so that when you have a design in mind, you'll have enough of the log components to choose whatever you want to work with - it's not like you can bring a cut list to Mother Nature and order the materials!

 A big THANK YOU to Neal for lugging all of this gear and furniture to the shop, and sharing his building philosophy - it was a very enlightening night of woodworking talk!