Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Let me get the ball rolling!

    Well, at the last meeting I asked if as many of you as possible would sign up on our blog site and also that you would send me some pictures of a recent project you had completed.
  I'm still waiting ...........!
   Let's see if I can get the ball rolling by showing my latest project.  Recognize what it is?  It's a pizza peel that I made for my friend for his  seventieth birthday present.  There will be a party for him in a week or so and that's when I'll give it to him.  It's made of alder with accents of purple heart.  His initials are carved into the handle and then gilded.  Other than honoring him and his pizza making passion I also want to make sure I stay on his taster list because he really makes some wonderful tasting pizzas.
    By the way, I'm also waiting on input from you regarding the yearly dues and what you feel is a fair amount.  Don't forget the push stick competition at our next meeting.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dovetails Illustrated

At the meeting last Wednesday we had an outstanding demonstration by Rich Daugherty on how to lay out and cut dovetails.  Woodworkers, especially those that enjoy the challenge of hand tool work view the dovetail as a benchmark and continually strive to reach it.  The first step is the laying out of the joint.  As you can see, Rich has a formidable collection of tools to do his work.  There is an ongoing debate among woodworkers as to what to cut first -- the pin or the tail?  He does the pin first method.  The angle of the joint is usually 1:6 or 1:8 depending on whether it is a hard wood or a soft wood.

After laying them out and cutting down to his line with a dovetail saw the next step was to remove the waste in between the pins with chisels.  Since he wasn't in his own shop, he needed to improvise on ways to hold his board steady -- notice the Eugster Hold Fast (glad he didn't slip!)

The next step is to transfer the pins to the tail board.  Notice that he's using a marking knife which is much more accurate than using a pencil. It also gives a slit that makes it easier to start the saw.

Here you see a holding device Rich made for this demo, it's a torsion box.  Larry Yule gave a demonstration on how to make them and several members of the club have made them since then.  At this point it's apparent why dovetails are called "dovetails".  If this were a drawer this board would be the sides.  You can visualize the strength this gives, there's no way the pin board (which would be the front of the drawer) can separate from the drawer sides.  Careful paring with a sharp chisel is required to make these pieces fit.

After a bit of paring and fine tuning it all went together.  After a round of applause we had a discussion as to whether or not the time you spend doing these by hand is worth it.
       What was our collective answer?  DEPENDS!!  
The main thing to consider is the time factor and what the piece will be used for.  Some of the members decided there was too much time involved plus to do a quality dovetail you need quality tools which Rich had in abundance.  The quietness of working with hand tools is a pleasure when compared with the noise and dust of the routers.  However, unless you're a quick worker the time spent on these will eat into your profits.  So I guess that leaves us with making up your own mind.  Try doing a couple of dovetails with whatever tools you have.  Get them as sharp as possible and go to work.  If you get stumped put a shout out on the blog or Meet Up page and I'm sure you'll get someone to help you out.

Last of all, do sign up and join this blog by becoming a follower and also sign up for the Meet Up site.  I'm still waiting for more responses regarding the clubs dues.  How's your push stick coming along?  That's for our next meeting.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rich Daugherty and Dovetails

   At last Wednesday's meeting Rich gave an excellent demonstration on cutting dovetails and the 20 or so other woodworkers at the meeting had an up close and personal look at the mystique of the dovetail. To illustrate what and how a dovetail does and looks like he brought in his Shaker Step stool he used for his practice piece.  The dovetails fit nicely and provided the strength they're known for.  There's just something about the dovetail -- it's the hallmark of fine craftsmanship so those woodworkers who enjoy using hand tools view it as a goal to shoot for.  Jamie and I are having technical difficulties transferring the pictures she took while Rich was doing his demonstration but they'll be posted as soon as we work it out.
    By the way, don't forget about the Push Stick Competition at our next meeting.  Only one member has sent me an email and given me input on what a fair, yearly dues should be.  I left my email on the slip of paper I handed out with the Meet Up information on it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hello and a Challenge

  I've been recruited to help Jamie out by taking over the blog.  Something I'm glad to do since she's done all of the organizing and writing for one year now.  Here's an altered picture of what I look like as a  60's era poster art.  Here's the challenge -- find me and tell me you saw this on our Sin City Woodworkers Blog.  I'm going to challenge all of the members further by encouraging them to use the blog and communicate with each other at times other than the meeting.
   If you've ever talked to me you probably realize that I'm among those computer challenged and resistant, ever since the school district decided to shut down my woodshop and put in a computer oriented, so-called, Technology Lab ---- YUCK!
  See you at the next  meeting, Wednesday, the 17th. Make it your goal to encourage at least one other person to start using this blog.