Friday, August 19, 2011

Business Cards, Name tags(?), & Dovetails

     At our meeting last Wednesday, we had quite a good attendance with several new faces.  As is customary, we went around the room and introduced ourselves with a 15 second bio to make our new folks feel invited and jar the memory of some of the "old" folks who can't remember names!  The remark was made, somewhat tongue in cheek, that we should use name tags.  Mixed response to that but ........... another suggestion was offered that we could all make our own name tags out of wood to wear at the meetings.  What do you think?  Maybe an informal competition as to who makes the most unique, talented, craftsmanship like, silly, serious, whatever!  Give it some thought.
     The next order of business had to do with the generous donation of time and resources made by Steve Mongrain to provide the club with business cards.  We can use these to invite other woodworkers to the group, I doubt that many in the Las Vegas valley really know who we are but we are growing.  Hopefully everyone of you picked up a few to put in your wallet and keep with you to pass out.  I forgot!, I'm sure Jamie has them so if you're like me you'll have to get them from her.  If any of us in the group need business cards, flyers, announcements, etc. here is a LINK to Steve's business website.  If you want to contact him directly his email is
     Next up was the demonstration on making half blind dovetails and I appreciate the interest everyone showed as I did this for you.  It's one of those woodworking process that either goes well or else can go terribly wrong!  Come to think of it, most every step involved with woodworking could end in disaster couldn't it?  Who hasn't cut a board on the wrong side of the line or split it as you drive in a screw, that's what makes it so intriguing, the challenge of it all.  Probably isn't hard to tell that I love the handwork aspect of woodworking, quiet and relatively dust free.  My nature is to pit myself against an obstacle and then figure out how to overcome it.  The method I used is not the only way to go about it, just what works for me.  Thanks to Allison for her fine photography, here is a photo essay of the process:

Using a dovetail marker (1:6) and marking knife to lay out the tails
Making the initial cuts for the tails
Paring the shoulder to the scribed line
Transferring the tails to the drawer front (pin board) 
Initial cuts with the backsaw for the socket the tail will fit into
Using a piece of a hand scraper to sever the fibers inside of the socket
Chopping out the sockets, leaving the pins

Removing socket waste

Much trial and error to get the fit -- patience required

Ahhhh -- Success!
Close up of completed joint, no glue yet

Monday, August 15, 2011

Surf & Turf: no way -- How about: Chisel & Tooth?

That's What We're Talking About !!
      If you received the Meet-Up announcement from Jamie she mentioned that John (that's me) would be a guest instructor at WoodItIs! and teaching a class next month.  The focus of the class will be making a wall cabinet utilizing dovetail joinery.  The example of the cabinet that will be built in that class can be seen in the showroom at Jamie's so be sure to check it out.  I think there are 2-3 spots still available for the class.  Since I'm the co-writer of this blog let me tell you what I plan to demonstrate at our next meeting which is in two days, Wednesday the 17th.
     The dovetail joint has a certain mystique about it among woodworkers.  Heck, even Fine Woodworking uses it as part of their logo and has since the magazine was first published in the early 70's.  There are other joints that can be used but the mystique continues and many of us get intrigued with making this particular joint.  It's the ideal joint for a drawer front and if you have a desk or entry hall table with a single drawer that project would be a good one to work with this joint.  If I have a bunch of drawers to make for dressers or cabinets I'll be the first to whip out my old Craftsman router and dovetail jig, cut up some Baltic Birch plywood and go to town.  At the meeting I'll show you the techniques and methods I use that usually give me some degree of success.
     If you were at last month's meeting you may recall that the subject of having business cards promoting the club came up again.  Cost, of course, is always an issue but one of our members happens to have a printing business!  His name is Steve Mongrain and Jamie tells me he has them ready.  I believe he'll be bringing them to the meeting so be sure to come to the meeting and be the first to see them:

                             See you Wednesday!