Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Sunday, August 13, 2017
Sunday, July 16, 2017
Thursday, July 13, 2017
First of all - many apologies for the delay in getting this blog posted! I could write a bunch of excuses, but the bottom line is - I should have attended to it earlier.
We had a small but informative meeting this month, despite our heat wave. We switched rooms, heading all the way back into the last warehouse unit, to beat the heat. Our first topic of discussion was the AWFS conference, which is a month away. If you've never been to this event, you're really missing something.
We started off talking about our Christmas project, and decided that this year we will go back to having a 2 x 4 challenge. This was one of the best contests we've had, and since it was five years ago, we decided to revisit it. There are a lot of new faces in the crowd, which means we should be getting some interesting entries.
The rules of this contest are that everyone who enters it must build something out of a 2 x 4 x 8. No additional wood is allowed, but you can add other things like hardware, metal, and other materials.
Our meetings always include a show-and-tell, and Beth's chair in Cherry, Ash, and Hickory was another winner.
Her steam bent pieces, turned legs,
ebonized seat slats, and turned buttons made this an amazing example of her talents.
It was comfortable, which is always a plus!
Beth continues to knock it out of the park with her designs!
John brought in one of the live edge tables that he recently built in Andrew Moore's class, held at the shop. This table, complete with alligator juniper top and walnut legs, was a challenge for John. Working with slabs for the first time, he explained his process for epoxy-ing the voids and sculpting the edges.
The leg design and the shelf below also posed quite a challenge for him - that's what woodworking is about– stepping outside of your comfort zone, solving problems in wood. It's amazing to watch his progress as a woodworker.
Very nice work, John!
Lupe also finished her live edge project - this massive desk maid of Claro walnut. It featured a waterfall edge on one hand, and a beautifully built drawer pedestal on the other.
Her Maloof influenced leg snuggled up against the drawer box, added a wonderful addition to this desk,
not to mention all of the dovetailed drawers and amazing details.
It seems as if every month, we feature one of her pieces. Her energy (and voice) in wood is nothing short of remarkable.
And finally it was on to the lecture of the night–machining dovetails using a Leigh dovetail jig. This jig is the Cadillac of all dovetail jigs, and quite difficult to master.
Lupe handled it without any problem!
The first step is labeling all of your drawer parts, and knowing how to set up both the the router bits and the jig itself.
Luckily, the Leigh jig comes with a decent amount of instructions, and there are even videos you can purchase, if you get stuck. Lupe took us through all the steps -
setting up the fingers in the jig, positioning the wood in place,
and setting the correct height of the router bit - all critical steps for ensuring that you'll get a perfect dovetailed box.
And really - once you get everything dialed in - you can create perfect boxes, time after time. This demo box was tight and a good example of what you can accomplish with the Leigh jig.
But there is so much more - like angled dovetails that Lupe used in her Walnut desk. Here's her practice drawer.
That's where the true value of this tool comes into play - and yes, there is a learning curve to hurdle, but damn, once you master this tool, there's no limit to the great dovetails you can produce!
Thanks to Lupe for the great demo!
Sunday, June 18, 2017
Sin City Woodworkers, a Vegas valley social and networking group committed to serious (and not so serious!) woodworking discussions, meet on the third Wednesday of each month to share everything from techniques and ideas to information about local suppliers and much more. Our next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 21 at 7:00 where machined dovetails will be the topic of the night. Lupe Nielsen will bring her Leigh Dovetail jig to the shop, showing us how to cut this complex joint.
The dovetail joint is one on the most widely used joints in woodworking, traditionally used in drawers and casework. There are a number of ways to cut a dovetail, and while using hand tools is popular, many hobbyists and professional shops rely on dovetail jigs to hasten the process. Typically, lower end dovetail jigs don’t offer adjustable pin spacing, but the Cadillac of all jigs - The Leigh Dovetail jig will be the focus of this meeting, with Lupe simplifying this complex technique for our group.
Leigh Dovetail jigs are universally recognized as the best on the market, and the Leigh D4R Pro is the most versatile and user-friendly dovetail joinery jig available. Lupe modified her older D4 with an upgrade kit to give it D4R capabilities, and she’ll be sharing some tips as she creates flawless joinery. They jig can create perfect joinery of all kinds — through dovetails, half-blind dovetails, sliding dovetails and box joints (finger joints). In just minutes, rout equally or variably spaced through and half-blind dovetails, not possible with template jigs.
Feel free to bring a project to present at Show and Tell, and as always - you’re welcome to bring a friend! Speaking of Show and Tell, we're tying the dovetail presentation together with Lupe's latest creation - her massive and gorgeous live edge Walnut desk, with angled dovetailed drawers, a waterfall edge and a fantastic cabinet pedestal. If you thought her Maloof rockers were amazing, wait until you see this piece! Andrew Moore of Reclaimed Secrets recently taught a "Working with Live Edge Slabs" class at the school, where Lupe created this masterpiece. (It's for sale, BTW....)
FInally, this is the last month we’ll be collecting dues for our 2017 season, and like every year - dues are completely voluntary. We’ll never twist your arm for the $20 it takes to call yourself a bona fide Sin City Woodworker, but it sure helps us defray the costs of running our group year round. And the best part - any monies left over go right back into the pockets of our members, so please consider joining our ranks this year.
This meeting will be held at Studio: Wood It Is!, 2267 West Gowan, unit 106 in North Las Vegas. As always, the public is welcome to attend the meeting, so members - please feel free to bring a guest along. But remember that there are a limited number of chairs in the woodshop. Attendees might want to bring a folding chair if they wish to sit during the meeting. If you have questions or need directions, call the studio at 702- 631-1870.
Thursday, May 25, 2017
So it happened - we hit a milestone!
This month's May meeting was our 100th gathering, something to be proud of, no doubt. Congratulations to all of us weekend (and some weekday) warriors, hell bent on getting our wood-fix on.
Although we had a rather smallish group this month,
we enjoyed one of the most interesting conversations about woodworking - the perennial debate about makers marks, and what to leave as our mark on a piece of furniture. Beth started off our show and tell by sharing a walnut top that she made, using her signature glue-up of scrap wood.
As usual, it was spot-on in its craftsmanship. On the underside, there were a few marks left from her hand planing, which brought up the subject of what to leave, and what to clean up. As always, get 20 woodworkers in a room and you'll hear 25 opinions, and this conversation was no different!
Some enjoyed the fact that leaving pencil markings or traces of hand work on a piece gives tell-tale signs of being handmade, while others felt that leaving a piece "sterile" and clean-up was a true sign of ultimate craftsmanship.
There really isn't a clear cut answer here, but we had a nice and lively conversation about it!
For example, this bandsaw box (another Beth creation!) was inspired by last month's demo, with drawer interiors that she intentionally left roughsawn. When the interior of the drawers were flocked, there was nary a rough surface to feel, and what was visible on the interior of the drawer openings lent more credence to the hand-made, crafty feel to this piece.
It's one of those - you say "to-MAY-to" and I say 'to-MAH-to" discussions, where there isn't a right or wrong way to do it.
Although this isn't woodworking, Kate brought in one of her metal pieces - a lovely pendant that she made.
It was beautiful, and we encouraged her to begin making custom hardware, like drawer pulls or cabinet knobs, using her jewelry making skills. I hope she takes up that challenge!
On to the speaker of the night, Jim Chadbourne, who did double-duty, presenting at both last month's AND this month's meeting. We had a last minute cancellation of the regularly scheduled presenter, and Jim stepped up big-time to help us out!
(A huge thanks to Jim for that!)
Jim had been telling us about a sharpening jig that he purchased, explaining its simplicity and how well it performs. It was a Deulen Jig, a simple low tech method for sharpening both jointer and planer blades using sandpaper.
The jig securely holds two blades at a perfect honing angle,
via some set screws.
About a dozen swipes on each of these sandpaper grits does the trick.
Working up from 80 grit to 500, Jim quickly honed these blades into shape.
It's a little hard to see,
but the edges of these blades were pristine and ready to re-install back into the jointer.
For about $90, this jig is a true woodshop wonder, allowing you to hone a variety of knives around your shop.
So there you have it - this is what our group is all about. We share tips and techniques, and the pieces we build with each other. We don't always agree, but that's what makes the world go round!
See you next month for the start of our next 100 meetings!