Saturday, December 21, 2013

2013 Christmas Party & Challenge

Well, I think it goes without saying that our end of the year Christmas Party and the culmination of Jamie's 2 x 4 x 8 Challenge was a huge success.  There were over 40 members and guests in attendance and I must admit I was slack in my counting -- probably closer to 50+ people there!  For starters, we had some great, freebie door prizes in the form of these tape measures.  Steve M. donated the labels for them so Sin City Woodworkers group now has our own, private label tape measures.  There they are, hope you were able to get your own in your favorite color.
The festivities started as many of our meetings do, people catching up with whatever happened during the month and just talking and sharing some good times together.  There were three, huge differences though --- Food, Wine, and Sangria!  Thanks to all who either brought in the goodies for us to share and also to those who set it all up.  We had quite a spread which really added to the festive mood of the night.  There were fourteen entries in the challenge which were placed around the room on tables.  Each entry had a numbered tag on it to identify the project.  Great selection of pieces and I think the quality of the projects indicate the talents we have in our group.  After about an hour, Jamie announced that it was time for the voting to begin.  This was done on the honor system with a clip board showing the numbers of the projects.  We all put one tally mark next to the number of the project of our choice …………… and the winner is:

Pete, his table and gift certificate -- Congrats!!

Pete Hauser with his beautiful table.  He decided to use a construction grade piece of Redwood.  He won a $100.00 gift card from Lee Valley.

Mike Cook, Second Place Carving --- Congrats!!
Mike Cook came in second place after the votes were tallied.  He created this beautiful carving and used Redwood too.  The small easel on the table was made and carved from the remnants of his 2 x 4.
John Eugster,  Third Place Stool  -- Congrats !!


The project that came in third place was my stool.  This was made from a 2x4 of Douglas Fir.  The top was woven from Hong Kong Seagrass and the mortise and tenon joints are pegged with Chakte Kok dowels.

All of the work was so nicely done that everyone wanted to get a bit of the "back story" on their creation.

Nutcracker:  2x4 was resawn into thirds, features movable jaw, lighted eyes, and dowel arms.

Ned's hand cut Dovetailed box featuring a wooden hinge.

Ken with his dog bed, notice the dog bone posts!
Jim's Lantern, he used Vellum as a substitute for  traditional rice paper
Jamie made these during a "hungry moment"  The platter was laminated, force dried, and turned within 2 hours!

Neal's' candle holders with a Christmas/winter motif

Set of puzzle blocks made by Ed
Lupe's wooden gourmet kitchen assortment

Lupe, being the overachiever that she is, also made a second project which Norm created the decals for.  The dead flat black flocking generated a lot of interest so here is a LINK to her supplier.
Richard's Wine Presentation Box

This wine presentation box that features finger joints and a sliding lid brought quite a few positive comments from Jamie who coerced him, eh I mean suggested that it should be added to the raffle table.  Being a good sport Richard added it to the already full table of donated items.

Donated Items for the Raffle which brought about $150.00 to the club.
Seems like whenever we have a raffle during one of our meetings one person is the lucky one and their tickets get drawn several times.  Russ was the "chosen one" that night and not only did he win the wine box, his numbers were called several times.  With a nod to the season, he re-donated items so that others of us had an opportunity to take home something.  His attitude was contagious and several others followed suit.  Makes our group great doesn't it?

Happy New Year
The formal meeting ended with our members drawings for Lee Valley gift cards.  Kris Hagon received a $25.00 one and Richard Daugherty, Ted Warren, and me lucked out with a $50.00.  Do I look happy? you bet!  Great way to start 2014 with a purchase of something special from Lee Valley.

This ended the formal part of the party and people started to filter out.  I was among those so I have no idea how long others may have stayed but there was plenty of food and libations to keep you there for quite some time!  Thanks to all of you that attended, brought food, and created a project for the challenge.  Sounds as if some are already planning what to do for next year so my guess is that this will become a tradition with the club.

     Last but not least; as always Lupe does a great job of taking photographs and videos at our meetings.  We've tried several different ways to get them from her camera, to my computer, and then on to the blog.  I usually edit them to illustrate the content of the blog.  Since there were so many interesting, random shots taken throughout  the party here's is a link to the "contact sheet" of all the pictures.  I'm pretty sure you'll be able to view it via this LINK.  I won't guarantee it though, you may need to have a Dropbox account which is how we share the files now.

Merry Christmas to You and Yours,
Have a Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Do You Really Need a Reminder?

Time to take a Break!


     It's time for our annual end of the year Christmas party and Extravaganza!  This will be a time of food and fun as we end the year with the judging of our first ever Jamie's Challenge.  I'm sure you're all as excited as I am to see what our members came up with for this event.  Voting will be done by all of the members and the winning projects' creator will receive a gift card.  If you haven't brought your entry in yet try to come a little early so your project will remain anonymous.

     We will also be having a raffle of items that have been donated from other members and things that Jamie has received through out the year.  If you have tools, books, videos, etc. that are just collecting dust in your shop perhaps someone else would like to have a chance to win it in the raffle.  Raffle tickets will be sold at the meeting and proceeds go to the club.  I'm pretty sure they'll be $1.00 each or 6 for $5.00.  

     If that isn't  enough,  Jamie has a number of gift cards and has promised some surprise items for another drawing that every dues paying member has been entered into.  Sounds like if you need them you better remember to bring your reading glasses!

     This is a time to bring a guest to share in the food and festivities.  As always, seating is limited so bring a chair or stool if you'd like and be prepared to have a good time.  The meeting place is the same, Wood It Is located at 2267 West Gowan in North Las Vegas.  The unit number is 106 but you shouldn't have any problem finding it since it will probably be the only one with lots of cars and trucks parked in front of it.  

See you then; Wednesday, 
December 18th. 
Starting at 7:00 pm  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Now Hear This !!!!

Your Time is Up!

     The Challenge is over!

You can bring your completed project to Jamie's shop this Thursday (12/12)  afternoon from 5:30pm until 9:30pm  and again during Saturday's (12/14) open shop which goes from 11am until 3pm.

Of course, you can bring it to the regular meeting time next Wednesday but if possible these times will give Jamie time to label and set them up for the voting which will take place during the Christmas party/meeting.

If you have anything you'd like to bring for raffling off you can bring that in during either of those times as well.  Sounds like a great way to end the year with Sin City Woodworkers, look forward to seeing all of you there and your projects.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

And; The Winning Number is ……………….

     As a teacher (now RETIRED!) my reviews from principals, department heads, etc. usually mentioned that my teaching style incorporated lots of student interactions and questioning to get them involved in whatever was being taught.  At times I'd drive my family crazy because this was such a habit with me I continued with it in my daily life so, let me continue to drive folks crazy and ask you all some questions! 

  1. Are there tools in your shop that you rarely or never use?
  2. Are you a lucky person that tends to win random drawings or contests?
  3. Would you like to have presenters at our meetings that have a skill set our members don't have?
     Here's why I'm asking these questions.  At the last meeting a list was passed around asking what types of presentations or demonstrations you would be interested in.  As Ted was looking over the list he realized that some of the things were beyond the scope of our members expertise and would require a paid speaker -- not everyone is willing to share their skills free gratis!  He was quite involved in the San Diego woodworking group and what they did to raise funds was to have a raffle at each meeting. 

      Here's how that would work;  typically many of use will buy a tool that we think we need but as time goes on we find out differently!  So now this tool sits in our shop gathering dust so maybe we'll go through the hassle of listing it on eBay or Craigslist.  Here's an option for you -- bring it to the meetings and Ted will set them aside until later in the meeting.  He will have raffle tickets which will sell for $1.00 each or 6 for $5.00 to increase your chances.  Some of you (who'll remain nameless Jim) probably don't need to spring for five bucks but that's an option for you.  This would be a great strategy if someone brought in just the tool you think you'd need.  Another source for  items to be raffled is that Ted will go to businesses and ask them to donate or reduce the cost of a new tool or other item that can be included in the raffle.  This would be purchased with funds from previous ticket sales.  By the way, I'm saying tool but it could be anything related to woodworking.  I can think of purchased items like books, plans, instructional DVD's etc. that we may have bought or received in the past as a present that we don't need but may work great for someone else in the club.

     Let's do an inaugural Raffle at our Christmas meeting!  Look around your house and shop area; is there something you just don't need or use anymore?  Bring it in during the meeting or else to Jamie's shop when you bring in your 2" x 4" x 8' Challenge piece and we'll go from there.  If you decide it's easiest to bring it before the meeting be sure to call Jamie first to make sure she's available and not in the middle of a class.  The school phone number is 702-672-8981.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

All About Shaping with a Router: November Meeting

     We had an outstanding turnout for the meeting this month, I counted several times but folks just kept on trickling in!  Latest count was 37 and there were 3 people added to this blog mailing list.  We had a little bit of business to attend to before Ted's presentation.  After our round robin introductions Jamie mentioned that Steve had donated our business cards and encouraged us to pick some up to continue inviting others to our group.  Thanks to the cards he's printed, the group seems to be growing with every passing month!  Jamie has mentioned how many she has on her mailing list and this blog now goes out to 76 members every month.
Next month is our end of the year Christmas party so it will be a different type of meeting.  The focus will be on food, shooting the breeze, a bit of spirits, and the culmination of the 2 x 4 x 8 Challenge.

     For those of you that were new and unfamiliar but want to get in on this here's the requirements.  The challenge is to build anything you want out of one, 2"x4"x8' construction grade stick of lumber from Lowe's or Home Depot.  The only thing you can add would be fasteners, upholstery, dowels, biscuits, domino's, and finish.  No additional wood is allowed.  We'll send out an announcement as to when to bring them to Wooditis anonymously so that Jamie can tag them with a number only.  All of the projects will be displayed when the meeting starts and judging will take place.  The project with the most votes will obviously win and that person will get the prize --- probably a Lee Valley gift certificate.  Jamie mentioned some other type of surprise but refuses to divulge any information about that so I guess we'll have to enter to see what she has up her sleeve!

As far as other business went, one of the members brought in a post office mail box door that he is selling.  I don't have a picture of the actual style he has but this is an image of a similar style.  They make wonderful project parts, especially banks but can be used for whatever you can imagine.  He's selling them for $7.00 each, here's the contact information:
Larry Van Winkle:  702-876-6376
Tom Bobo:   702-877-9460

Ted's Router Presentation

     First of all, I want to thank Ted for bringing his humongous router table in plus all of the bits, molding examples, and historical pieces to make his presentation as interesting as it was.  Lots of preparation went into this and I'm sure we all appreciate that ---- Thanks Ted!!

     He started the presentation with a brief history of the router and it's use in the woodshop.  One of the earliest was referred to as "old woman's tooth" and since it seemed to bring a lot of interest to the group, here's a LINK showing you how you can make your own.  In our modern shop we think of routers more as edging tools but they were originally intended for joinery work.  Stanley and Record developed their own style of router planes, Stanley numbered theirs as a #71 (two handled) and a smaller version #271.  Lie-Nielsen and Veritas are making versions of these but you can still find them used on ebay.  Then, in the early 1900's there was a 60 pound, so called "portable router" which I'm sure was nothing like what we have in our shop today.  Onsur had an air powered version around 1915 and then in the late 1940's, Elu came up with the first plunge router.  All of this led up to the development  of the router we're familiar with today which took place in the 1960's.  Have to admit I remember those and they weren't on par with the modern offerings we have now.

Here's Ted, holding up one of the more popular routers in use today.  It's a Porter Cable, 1 1/2 hp model that will accept 1/4" and 1/2" bits.  It's a workhorse that has been around since the 1970's and I'm sure I'm not the only one to have one of that age in my shop, same as Ted mentioned.  This model was available with either two knobs for handles or a D-shaped handle for more control.  It's size makes it an extremely versatile tool.  You can use hand held or mount it in a table if you want.  Routers are rated by horsepower and go from a 1/2 hp trim router all the way to those with 5-6 hp or more!  Once you get into those large machines it's best to mount them into a table.

Ted brought in his router table to share with us.  It's quite the set-up as you can see!  It features a very large table made of MDF that has been covered with a plastic laminate.  Ted pointed out that the laminate is on both surfaces to keep it dead flat.  It's edged with Maple for durability and has an adjustable fence made of aluminum angle iron and sacrificial fences of MDF as needed.  It's powered by a 3 1/4 hp router and to make adjusting the bit height as easy as possible he's also included a router lift by Jessem -- saves having to get on your hands and knees to adjust the bit!
Router and Lift Mechanism

Something else you'll notice with his set up that you won't find in too many shops is a power feed.  His is an older Delta model, it's the grey machine mounted on the post.  The safety advantage here is that you never have your fingers near the bit but as far as the quality of the cut goes, it's much improved.  You know when you run a board by hand you tend to stop and start which can create ridges or burn marks.  With the power feeder that's never a problem.

Here are some of the samples of various moldings that he brought in.  Ted pointed out that it's always a good idea to keep a piece of moldings you make to help you set the machine up if you need to run that profile again.
Miscellaneous Profiles

Large Molding for a Column

    During the presentation Ted gave many tips to keep in mind while using routers to create moldings: 
  • One sample he showed was one stacked of more than one board, it's smart to rabbet one piece into the other prior to glueing and pinning them together.  Makes perfect sense if you think how difficult it is to align wood with slippery glue in between -- the rabbet ensures that the pieces stay aligned their entire length. 
  • If material being shaped has a bow you should run the convex side against your fence.
  • Sand as you go, don't wait until all of the profiling is done because you'll run the risk of flattening the profiles.
  • When pattern routing (something he showed towards the end of the demo) always use a pin as a starting point.  This acts as a pivot point so you can safely introduce your work into the cutter.
  • If possible, use a spiral cutter especially for pattern routing.  It'll give you a much cleaner cut than a straight bit since it shears the grain.
There was a lot of valuable information covered in Ted's presentation.  Lupe came up with a video besides her usual pictures!  That video can be found on YouTube with this LINK.  You'll get more information than I have given out here so check it out!

Show & Tell

     It was a good thing we had a limited show & tell portion this week as Ted had more information then he could cover in one meeting.  It's great to have a wealth of knowledge and being in a group like this allows us to share.  I'm sure it's happened that a member has a question about something they're doing and contact other members to help them solve it.  
Aaron brought in the photo's of his recently completed, built in, fourteen foot entertainment wall.  For the plywood parts of it he used MDO which is a medium density overlay product.  Since this was a new product for most of us here is a LINK to what it's all about.  Originally made for concrete forms I recall it being used in boat building as well -- available from Peterman lumber.  It's a 7 layer product and has a paper finish that takes paint extremely well. Something he mentioned that was a fantastic idea for built ins like this is that the back area of each opening had a piece of masonite velcro'd to it.  The purpose was so that if the wall would ever need to be re-painted all he has to do is pull that panel out, paint, and replace.  None of that next to impossible masking tape nonsense for him -- Smart!
Another item he mentioned was a product called HitLight and it also caused a lot of interest.  He mentioned that it comes in different intensities and colors and that he got it from Amazon.  Here's a LINK to one of the type from Amazon.  From what Aaron said it's probably wise to do some investigation before you order it for your next project.  The subject of what he used for all of his doors came up and he mentioned this company, Raw Doors so here's a LINK to them as well.

     I had the final show and tell of the night which I'm holding up in this picture.  It's a little difficult to tell but I was inspired to try making some simple relief carving of tools used by the trades.  My objective is to showcase what is now considered to be "old school" tools and market them as wall art or decor.  The first bunch completed so far are the wooden plane I brought in plus carving chisel, carver"s mallet, and a monkey wrench.  They're made out of 5/4 Alder and finished with wax to maintain a traditional appearance.  It's a good opportunity to stay out in the shop between other projects and students.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Wednesday, November 20th. Meeting

     Hard to imagine but this will be the final so called "Normal Meeting" of our Sin City Woodworkers Group.  Now you're thinking, wait a minute -- what happened to December!  Did John join the rest of the commercial world and push Thanksgiving and Black Friday to gain more sales, heck is his house decorated for Christmas already too?  NO, NO, NO I just want to remind all of you that December is the time for our Christmas Party which usually isn't a "Normal Meeting" and will have our first ever:
This will be the final time to be reminded about it and hopefully your project is well on the way.  I've heard that some of you have more than one in the works and that's a good thing.  Me? I have all my eggs in one basket so if this fails I'll have to hustle to come up with something else.

     Since this will be your last opportunity of the year to bring in something for show and tell take advantage of that.  It's always a treat to see what everyone is up to in their shops.  Save your large projects and shareable ideas for our feature presentations.  I'm sure that Ted and Dennis would be happy to schedule you for next year -- the demonstrations and featured presentations by the group members is what makes the group grow and learn about our woodworking craft.

     Speaking of demonstrations, the presentation this month will be made by Ted.  You've no doubt seen his portfolio of work and have noticed that his moldings match the wood of the project.  Knowing that most moldings are available in Pine, Oak, Cherry, and maybe Walnut you may wonder where he's able to find them!  Well, unless you're buying a couple hundred feet of a specific profile in your choice of wood you're left to making them on your own.  If you're "old school" you may use something like this:

Rockwell 43-120 circa 1960's
     Yep, you guessed it that's my machine and it does what I need it to do without any bells and whistles!  With the advent of powerful, hand held routers that you can mount into sturdy router tables the old school shaper is a thing of the past for the home  or small scale shop.  Ted will be showing us how he sets up and uses his router table to create the one of a kind moldings needed for his work.  
     As always, the meeting starts at 7:00 pm and the location is Jamie's shop; Wooditis.  Here is the address if you need to plug it into your GPS or smart phone:

2267 West Gowan   Ste. 106/107   North Las Vegas   89032

Seating is limited so feel free to bring your own chair if you'd like --- see you tomorrow, John

Saturday, October 19, 2013

October Meeting at John's House

Alright, we had a field trip this month and all met in the garage/workshop of John Rickle's.  He makes a whole slew of custom pens and sells them at various craft fairs and on his website.  Here's a LINK to his site so you can see all that he does.  Before the meeting though, here are the 20+ of our members gathered in his garage waiting for his presentation.
Before getting under way though there were a few items of business that were brought up.  First off there is an employment opportunity for someone who can do work on the table saw and glue ups of this companies projects.  They are located in the general area of China Town and are making wall paneling and other items from wine barrels and grape stakes.  Contact Jamie if you're interested to get the full details.

Speaking of Jamie, we have only two months to go to come up with our project for the 2 x 4 x 8 Challenge.  This will be judged anonymously during our Christmas party and everyone who's interested should bring their creation to that meeting.  What can you create from one construction grade stick of lumber, that's the challenge.  You may add paint, hardware, dowels, biscuits, upholstery, dominos, fasteners, etc. but not any more wood material than what you can obtain from that initial stick of wood.

The past weekend found Diane and I testing the waters with our first ever craft fair.  Quite an experience to say the least.  This is what our tent/booth looked like at the beginning of the fair. It was a great experience,  financially we broke even and showed a profit after the start up costs.  We needed to get the tent, make the displays, banners, table coverings, booth fees, etc.   Diane has already picked up two custom orders for her work and I'm still hopeful that some of those that expressed an interest in my work will contact me.  Couldn't ask for better public exposure and feedback from the fair goers.  Thanks to those of you that were able to stop by and visit.  The fair ended about an hour earlier then scheduled with an unexpected downpour!

The last bit of business dealt with the woodturners club exhibition at the Summerlin Library located at 1771 Inner Circle Drive.  Diane and I visited it today and there are some really good looking examples of turned wood including some from our own Ed Thiesson.  The show runs until the 9th. of November so be sure to stop by and see it.

 Now, on to the main topic of the meeting: John Rickles and his woodturning skills at making pens.  Here he is holding the large gouge he prefers to use when he's working on them.  At first glance you may think to yourself why in the world would you use this massive tool to turn something as small as a pen?  Well, his explanation made perfect sense; with a large cutting edge like that he's able to have a lot of sharpened surface to use before he has to re-sharpen the tool.  He simply rotates to an unused part of it as the edge dulls from wear.  And wear it will, the material of the pen blanks he uses range from plain old wood to resins impregnated with bits of metal and stone.  Prices for the blanks run the gamut from $10.00 to $50.00 and more.  It's pretty delicate and precise work and he's set up his shop so the majority of the work is done at this station:

This work station, along with most of his other tools are mobile so he can actually park a car in the garage --- something most of us probably can't do!
     Once he selects the blank for the pen he wants to make, the first step is to take it and drill it out for the pen mechanism to fit into.  For that, he uses a 2 jaw chuck in his lathe with a drill bit mounted in the tailstock.  This insures that the hole is exactly centered.  

After cutting the blank to the required length it is then mounted on this special mandrel for turning.  This was the pen he started his demonstration with when we first arrived.
After all of the cutting and shaping was complete it's time to sand and finish the barrel for his show quality shine.  For this operation the tool rest is moved aside and works through various grits of abrasives to smooth things out.  To clean and remove any residue from the process he uses a rag dampened with boiled linseed oil.  Now comes the finish which is either CA adhesive by itself or used in combination with some boiled linseed oil.  CA is a type of adhesive most of us know as Crazy Glue but it has been developed to be much more than that today.  It comes in different thicknesses and is used not only as an adhesive but also to stabilize "punky" wood and finish as John demonstrated.  Here's a LINK to the Wikipedia listing on it if you'd like to know more about it.  After multiple coats of this fast drying finish he will sand and polish the pen using micro mesh sponges that range any where from 1500 to 12000 grit.  John mentioned that these are available from Woodworkers Emporium and although I couldn't find them on their website here's an Amazon LINK to what they are.  There seemed to be a lot of interest in them so all I'm going to say is please buy local.
     Okay, back to the demo.  The next step was to mount this mandrel with 3 buffing wheels between centers on his lathe.

A combination of different rouges including tripoli were used here.  John mentioned several times that you really need to be careful to not let the heat build up as you work these on pens.  The resins used will break down if you allow the work to get too hot.  Obviously he knows what he's doing as this completed barrel shows:

After some careful smoothing of the barrels edges what remains was to press the innards into the barrel.  He used a special press for this as you can see here:
 It's pretty apparent that John loves making these pens and has really developed his skills.  They are an outstanding example of woodwork and works of art as well.  Great combination -- beauty and functionality.  If you want to review and see again the various steps needed to make these pens you're in luck!  Here's a link to the video that our intrepid photographer, Lupe,  took while John worked his magic on the lathe:

Last but not least, I'd like to thank John's wife Mary for making all of the wonderful refreshments for out meeting at their home.  Hopefully all of you got your sweet tooth satisfied and also saw the amazing train set that John built.  Here's a few photos of that --- see you next month!
Suspended from the ceiling!

Going through the wall!

Track details, I believe he told me it's Poplar.