Friday, March 29, 2013

Question for Next Meeting

Hello All, Need Your Input

In a few of our meetings the subject of selling our work and using the Etsy website has come up.  I'd appreciate hearing from you as to whether or not you'd like to focus on that for our next meeting.  Check out this LINK to Etsy and see what it's all about.
Another thing Jamie and I would like to know is if you have an Etsy store would you share your experience with the group?

Also, if you've bought anything from Etsy, again share your experiences.

Marketing and selling the things we make for enjoyment is difficult at best.  The way the economy took a dive in 2008 has really stopped many people from "opening their checkbooks" so we need to be creative and active in promoting what we do.

Let us know if this sounds like a good subject for the next meeting.  A round table discussion on marketing and selling work.  To respond, leave a comment on the blog.

Thanks in advance --- John

Friday, March 22, 2013

Meeting for March (Madness?)

Opening Remarks by Jamie
     Our March meeting started with about 20+ people and included at least 5 new members -- welcome to our group!  After our mandatory round robin introductions the meeting got under way.  I noticed that Jamie had an envelope full of $20.00 bills from all of you that remembered to bring in the optional dues.  We'll be collecting them for the next month or so -- it's money well invested and will earn you a ticket for the end of the year raffle drawing.  A way to increase your chances is to also do a demonstration or share an experience like Richard did at this meeting, more on that later.
     Couple of items that came up.  First of all, Woodworkers Emporium which is located at 5461 Arville just north of Russell Rd. will be having a swap meet from 9-12 this Saturday.  Might be a good time to get rid of a tool you don't need or maybe find something you do need.  It's a good chance to see what's out there.  Also, Dennis will be doing a carving demonstration there as well.
    There are a couple of conventions coming to town that you may be interested in.  One is the National Hardware show that will be here May 7 to May 9.  Here's a LINK for that show.  I personally went to one of these a few years ago and it's pretty interesting.  Check the website to see what it takes to go there, I went with a friend who was inventing some kind of gizmo and wanted to see what the competition would be like.
     Another show that's a definite must see for any one interested in woodworking is the Association of Woodworking and Furnishings Suppliers, commonly known as the AWFS Fair.  If you've never gone to this one you owe it to yourself to check it out.  There is an unbelievable amount of machinery set up and operating on the convention center floor.  Everything from hand tools to the most sophisticated, computerized equipment is there for you to see.  They also offer various educational seminars/classes that have included everything from design, tool use, sales, marketing, etc.  Here's a LINK to that, it'll be in town on July 24 to July 27.

Aarons Wall Hanging
     Next up was our show and tell segment.  Aaron brought in a picture of a project he recently completed.  Many times the inspiration for a project comes from seeing something you'd like, looking at the price tag, and then figuring that you can make it yourself!  That was the case for this really cool, contemporary wall hanging he made after seeing the $600.00 price tag!  This project is made of Alder and metallic tiles.  Assembly was made using biscuit joinery.

     I came across this product called Kaizen Foam.  It's available from Fastcap and although I mail ordered it you might want to check out our local suppliers.  Peterman Lumber and Woodworkers Emporium are two that were mentioned that carry Fastcap products so maybe they can order it for you and save the cost.
Kaizen Foam

     Basically this stuff is great for organizing your tools and especially protecting them when you're transporting them.  It comes in three different thicknesses and is a 2' x 4' slab.  You trace the tool or item you want to put there and cut through the layers.  It'll then peel away so you have a recessed area that perfectly matches your tool.  If you're interested in it, I did a blog post on it which includes links to the video from Fastcap, here's the LINK to that.

Stanley #101
     I didn't mean for the little block plane I brought in to demonstrate the foam to be a show & tell item but it generated a lot of attention!  It's a genuine Stanley product, #101 that was made from 1877-1962. There is a website I'll share with you that is a cult site for anything Stanley and a great resource if you're out buying used tools. Why it's called  Patricks Blood & Gore I have no idea but here's a LINK to it.

     Now on to the main event, Richard W. shared his experiences from a class he took from William Ng on joinery.  Here is the collection of his work that he brought in.  I'll go into detail as much as I can but suffice to say, he blew us all away with what he accomplished during the week he spent there.

A Weeks Worth of Work

     Did you catch how many times he mentioned that the instructor, William Ng, is nuts?  It wasn't said to be negative but his background is in engineering so everything is measured in 100's of an inch using micrometers instead of us maybe going to 32's of an inch with a precise ruler like we do.  Take the time to check out his website, especially his video on making a crosscut sled and you too will agree with Richard that he's nuts!  Here is a LINK to the video's and school he has.  The cost of the 5 day course was $795.00 which includes  the material costs.
     For starters, the tools Richard brought in were not up to the standards William expects.

Japanese Duzuku Saw
     This Japanese style razor saw is used rather than a traditional back or dovetail saw.  The cut on the pull stroke and make a super narrow cut.  Also, instead of a pencil he used a marking knife and a marking gauge made by Glenn Drake.  It's a very precise, wheel type that has micrometer adjustments -- none of that bang it on the table nonsense to get the size with this one!

   The first day was spent just with hand tools and of course, the sharpening that goes along with it.  Richard mentioned that they probably spent at least an hour daily honing their tools.  Another requirement was to cut to a line to meet Williams standards before any work could be done on the assignments.  The first projects were dovetails (both through and half blind) and also this mitered mortise and tenon joint.

Mitered Mortise & Tenon
     If just looking at this joint isn't confusing enough, all the students were given is this sketch and they were expected to create it from it!  All of this work was done with hand tools only.
Yeah Right Boss!
     The second day he created this really interesting scarf and pegged joint:

Scarf Joint
It's actually one used for construction and allows some movement in the building in the event of the many earthquakes Japan has.  After the first, all hand tool day, they were able to use machinery as well.  Most of the work was accomplished with the table saw and router.  One joint that really blew everyone away was this one:

3-Way Miter
     This joint is a three way miter joint that locks together without any glue!  Richard said that William has a three tiered shelf made with this joint.  Here's a look at it disassembled, if I remember correctly it's made with a combination of hand work and a hollow chisel mortiser.

Wooden Puzzle of Joint?

Needless to say, Richard walked away from this class with a real appreciation of cutting these joints.  However, he ended his presentation showing a jig he made to cut dovetails on the bandsaw.  Some of the joinery was referred to as "show off" joints but we all like the challenge of doing something just to prove we can accomplish it.  Let me end this blog with some pictures of the other joints he was able to make.

Mitered Lap Joint -- Tablesaw, typical of window  parts

Mitered Mortise & Tenon

Forgot the Name Joint but pretty Awesome!  Sliding Dovetails

And then there was this joint that I also forgot the name of but was created with routers and is the joint used to join the seat to a Sam Maloof chair.

To sum it all up, I think we'd agree that this was a highly educational class and Richard walked away from it with a wealth of knowledge he probably couldn't have gotten any other way.  Glad he shared it with us and maybe inspired us to also look for opportunities to increase our skills too.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It's That Time of the Year

     Hello fellow sawdust makers, our next meeting will be tomorrow (3/20) at 7pm in Jamie's shop.  What time of year is it? …… time to collect the optional, non-mandatory dues.  Dues are $20.00 per year and go towards maintaining the Meet-Up pages and other business related fees.  That's the boring part.  The exciting part is that these dues help with refreshments for our traditional Christmas meeting and all who have paid up dues are entered into a drawing.  This drawing has various things but the highlight is the gift certificates from Lee Valley.  If I remember correctly, last year there were two for $25.00, one for $50.00, and the grand prize was the one for $100.00.  One way to increase your odds of your name being drawn is to also do a featured presentation at a meeting, then Jamie will put your name in twice.
     Tomorrow nights' meeting will feature Richard Whitson who recently took a class from William Ng who has a school in Southern California.  Here's a LINK to the schools website.  It's pretty amazing, the amount of precision that Ng (pronounced ing) puts into his work.  When you realize that it's the joinery that makes the piece stay together you'll appreciate the class Richard took.  Five days of intense work making various types of both Western and Eastern style joinery, here's LINK to that class.  If you have a minute, click on it and just look at the pictures.  This isn't a quick and dirty Kreg pocket jig, biscuit joiner, or even the Domino joinery --- these take some serious planning and skill building!
     The meeting will start at 7pm and I'm betting we'll get a chance to do our round robin introductions and have an informal show and tell session to share something with the rest of the group.  These should be quick items so that Richard will be able to cover all he has to.  I don't know about you, but as someone who enjoys the challenges (and frustrations) of doing hand work I'm looking forward to our meeting ---- See you then, John