Friday, May 18, 2012

May's Monthly Meeting

   We had another, well attended, and interesting meeting this Wednesday.  Of course, the monthly tradition of saying who you are and what you do was the opening ceremony:

My Name is .......

It does seem that some of us are less than enthusiastic about this tradition but it's a good opener.  Especially for some of us/you that are enjoying those "senior moments"!  There were a couple of new faces which is always good to see.  It is pretty amazing that we are now starting on the fourth year of Sin City Woodworkers.  What's even more amazing is that there are quite a few of us that have been members since the very first meeting at the library.  One of the new faces, Jonathan, is a member of the Air Force who has just returned from duty in Japan.

Jonathan introduces Himself

A new couple came in but they timed things right and didn't have to make as much of an introduction.

      Our featured presenter of the night was Steve Joliat and he shared a beautiful, Mission inspired Hall Table with us.  The approximate size of it is 35" long x 19" wide and 30" tall.

Steve's Table
      You can see the influence of the Mission style but he worked at thinning down the legs to lighten the overall look.  When he began working on this design he made a full size mockup out of cardboard to see how it would fit in its' intended space.  That's a really good design practice and will help visualize the piece in three dimensions.  Really interesting how the shelf is supported between the legs, somewhat wedged in place but floating to allow for expansion and contraction of the wood.

Close up of Shelf and Serpentine Tiles

     In this close up shot, you can see how he worked an off colored piece of Cherry as a design element in that bottom shelf.  By laminating it between two strips of Walnut it makes it appear to be an intentional design feature.
     Steve is a retired geologist and had a technical name for the tile work. They are about 8mm (3/8") and 12" square.  Since I'm not sure how to spell that name I recall that it's found in the mountains of California and is actually a piece of ancient oceanic crust that has been uplifted to dry land.  They are set on Hardy board and blending just the needed shade of grout sounds like a small project of its' own.  The finish is many coats of Watco Danish Oil, a process he began as soon as the top was built to protect it from the grout.  The top was assembled with a Domino Joiner system which gives floating tenons.  The rest of it utilizes mortise and tenon joinery -- a time proven furniture technique.  The thinner legs required mitered tenons for strength.
     As far as time invested in this beautiful piece he estimates about 160 hours spread over the course of many weekends in Jamie's' school/studio.  At the end of his presentation we were invited to feel the finish and of course, we did:

Oh wow -- Feel the Wood!

     There's nothing quite like the feel of a hand finished piece of furniture.  When I taught it was a struggle at times to convince the kids to take the time to sand and prepare the wood.  Usually by that time we tend to be in a rush to get the project over and done with but it's the first thing most folks do when they are buying furniture -- how does it feel?  IKEA ain't got nothing on that!!
     After Steve finished his presentation and we all had the chance to inspect it up close the question of pricing came up.  What followed was a pretty spirited discussion on the value of this piece on the open market.  Pricing is always an issue and now that the economy is where it is it's even thornier than before!  There's that fine line, you don't want to price yourself out of the market but then again, you don't want to devalue your work and give R.C. Wiley prices either.  Many strategies to figure this one out but it probably boils down to whatever the market will bear.  Sometimes you might be approached to do a job and it just doesn't appeal to you so you throw out a ridiculous number and they take your bid!  It's worked the other way too, you like the client; like the project so offer a low figure so you can get that job and they turn your bid down -- crazy huh?
     The final order of business was the show and tell segment.  This has become a great time to share the work you've completed, tool you've bought, information you've learned, etc.  I brought in a carving but the photo of me and it didn't show much so you'll just have to jog your memory.
     Our resident carving master, Dennis, brought in one of 12 claw foot legs he's working on:

Claw Foot Leg

     He will add an Acanthus leaf to the top of these and claims "it's fairly simple".  Any of us that have attempted to carve know there's a bit more to it.  The detail is amazing on the claw, you can see the segments where it bends around the ball and each claw is complete with a toe nail -- beautiful!

     Since there are a number of the group that are currently building workbenches, Ted brought in a new book from Taunton Press devoted to them.

Best Workbenches

     Another member, Ann, has been working with the smoked Poplar.  After some difficulties with splitting  of the wood and a bit of a go-around with the supplier she made some beautiful raised panel & frame doors:

Nicely Matched, Raised Panel Doors

These doors will go on a pair of cabinets that will nestle underneath a pop out window on her patio.  They will hold odd's and end's for the barbecue.  Many of you will remember the tiled fire pit table she had been working on for quite some time.  It's now finished and she passed around a picture of it.  Sounds like she's ready for a SCWW field trip and picnic at her place!

     Jamie, who's always creating interesting projects showed us these six sided, tapered planters:

Planters: Six Sides and Tapered

These are made from a sheet of Maple plywood she finagled from McKillican!  Their intended use is for her presumably male Banana Tree that is having babies.  The finish will be done with Milk Paint and then protected with a clear finish.  She made them different heights to give them visual interest and will use the bottom of glue buckets as liners.  Really nice project, six sided miter joints and a 5 degree taper call for accurate set up to make them fit together as nicely as these do.

     See all of you next month, if you have ideas of making a presentation and sharing your work with the rest of us let Jamie know.  I'm sure she'll be able to fit it into the schedule.

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