Sunday, December 20, 2015

2015 is coming to a close ---- Happy New Year Everyone

Well, let's just start this end of the year blog with a series of pictures showing many of the members who came just mingling and enjoying the festivities.  Way to hard to get an accurate count but I tried anyway and we had somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 folks -- that's a lot!

The highlight of the meeting was to judge our members toys which was done anonymously.  We weren't close to any record of entries this year but the ones submitted were well done examples of woodworking.  First place went to Pete Hauser for this beautiful sled featuring bent laminations of Walnut -- Pete said it's never been on any snow and it would probably be a safe bet to say it never will!  Very nicely done!

In second place was this Lincoln log house made by Jim Chadbourne from plans he found in Wordsmith magazine.  When questioned whether he used a lathe to create the logs he told us there were all made using a roundover bit in a router table.  He showed the details of the joinery by removing part of the roof and we were surprised to see he had a visitor!

Third place went to Lupe Nielsen with this game of lathe turned disks that was keeping everyone at that table entertained and going crazy!!

Below are the other entries for this years contest:
Will's Lego Tie

Ron's Yellow Grader

Beth's Pull Toy Grasshopper

There were a few other business type items brought up.  One of them was about Pete Hauser and his affiliation with the Las Vegas Artists Guild.  Through what sounded like some political wrangling, he was elected president of the group.  All of that paid off though since one of his amazing cutting boards wont best of show and another took 1st. place in the 3D category!  That show is currently on display at the Summerlin Library and will be up until the first week of February.  My wife and I are planning to take it in as a break from the business of the Christmas season.

Aaron brought in his latest creation, this table with a built in fire pit.
 I did notice a couple of our members looking for coat hangers and marshmallows but luck for him, those were no where to be found!
     My news to share, other than taking a 6 months adventure trip to Scottsdale was that the armoire I designed and built that was featured at our August meeting will be shown in gallery section of Fine Woodworking Magazine issue #254 which I think is May/June.

Last; but certainly not least, Mike Shore wanted to extend his thanks to all of you that brought toys for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.  The Marine Corps has had this program for many years and is a wonderful charity, here's a LINK to our local chapter if you'd like to learn more about it.

For those of you that were lucky enough to have your name drawn for the raffle that may have been the highlight of the evening!  Since my name wasn't among the lucky ones I enjoyed the camaraderie, food, and drink.  Here is a list of winners for this year:
        Merchandise Winners: Lou, Pete, Rick, and Braxton

                       Ca$h Winners:  Ted, Wayson, Tom, Beth, Keen, Randy, Ken, Mike, and Bill

The evening ended with a really cool magic show by one of Lupe's friends Darren Race.  He was assisted by Pam and Julie and definitely wowed the audience with his skills.  

     Let me end this end of the year blog with pictures taken during the party.  Including those of the SawStop Hot Dog Challenge!  That function of the saw is pretty darn amazing.  Several members wanted to test it out with their own fingers and eat the hot dog but that didn't happen.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All:                   John

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

It's Time ----- End of the Year Party

Yep, it's that time and I hope you're all ready to have some fun at our annual event! The contest this year was to create and bring in a toy that you've made just for this event.  If you haven't done so already call Jamie at 702-631-1870 to arrange bringing it to her before the party.  She will assign them a number and display them anonymously around the shop so that we can vote on the winning entry.  Cash prizes will go to the best of the bunch!

There will be refreshments and raffles through out the evening.  Any one who gave a featured presentation during the year will have their name "in the hat" as well as all of our due paying members for cash and donated raffle prizes.  As always you can bring your significant other or friend who may wonder what this woodworking thing is all about.  Seating is limited so if you're so inclined, bring your chair if you'd like.

The festivities begin at 7:00 pm, the address is 2267 Gowan Road in North Las Vegas.  If you have any questions or need more info please call Jamie at the shop.

See you Tomorrow Night 

 John (my last official meeting announcement!)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

November 2015 Meeting

Our meeting opened with the customary round robin introductions and there were a number of new faces -- welcome!  I counted about 37 of us in attendance this month which is among our best attended meetings.  After the introductions we went right into the business portion of the meeting.  One important item that came up was that some of our members had difficulty with your orders placed during the recent Lie-Nielsen tool event.  Beth had ordered a number of chisels that were back-ordered.  Only problem is she was never informed about the delay so had been sitting on her front porch (in one of her own chairs I may add!) waiting for the UPS truck -- she ended up canceling the order.  Jamie too had a problem with being billed twice for the same item.  In their defense, L-N told Jamie they had a replacement crew going to Las Vegas that weekend and they weren't properly trained.

Christmas Party 

Our end of the year Christmas party is always a great event.  Many of you bring your spouses or significant others to share in the festivities.  With the money left over from the voluntary dues Jamie buys not only party goodies but also uses cold, hard cash for several drawings that we'll have.  Anyone who paid their dues is eligible for the drawing plus anyone who did a demonstration gets their name in again.  
The main focus will be on the anonymous, people's choice award for the best toy brought in for judging.  There is no limit on the amount or type of wood used for your toy project.  We will send out a notice telling you when to bring in your toy.  Jamie will display all of them during that Christmas meeting for voting.  Once the votes are tallied the winner will be announced.  If you choose to, Mike will take the toys for donation into the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.  He's active in that organization.  Mike also told us about a Poker Tournament that will be held at Santa Fe station, Sunday Dec. 6 at 12:00 noon.  All of the money generated there will go to the Toys for Tots program too, all the donations stay right here in Southern Nevada.

Blog Writer Needed

We are looking for someone to take over my position as the blog writer --- here's your chance to hone your literary skills!  Diane and I will be moving to Scottsdale, AZ at the beginning of the year and will live there for the next 6 months.  She was awarded a scholarship at the Scottsdale Artists School and we decided to take this as an opportunity to celebrate our 20th. anniversary.  Although I think she's a fantastic artist already, you know it will never hurt to improve our skills by learning and observing what others in our field do already.  If you'd like to see some of her work here is a LINK to her gallery site.  I plan on working more on carving and gilding frames; hopefully to find a market there to sell them.  I've enjoyed writing the blog all these years and perhaps it's time to get someone else to step up and put their own spin on it.  Contact Jamie or myself if you're interested. 

Show & Tell

Show and tell began with Randy thanking all of the members who came to the cottonwood bark event that was held during the Woodcarvers of Las Vegas meeting at Woodworkers Emporium.  During his presentation last month he brought up the event, here is a LINK to their blog about it.  The woodcarvers meet every fourth Saturday of the month.  Several members went to the woodcarvers meeting and accomplished making what we started to call "Gnome Homes".
John's with firewood for winter

Wills example

Pam's work

Mom's with paint

One of Will's Puzzles
Will mentioned that he has his own on-line Etsy shop called PuzzlingLife.  Here's a LINK so you can check out his work.

Beth brought in one of a set of chairs she's been working on and, in keeping with her theme; you can see how she laminates various pieces of material for the seat and back.
John showed off this bowl which is currently in the process of drying so it'll "distort" to its final shape.  This was made from the Mesquite that Mike brought to the meeting a month or two ago so is an example of turning green wood.

Keeping with the theme of bowl turning, Lupe decided to "repurpose" a cutting board she'd made previously and turned them to produce these great looking bowls.

Another example of carving was brought in by Persi.  These are parts of a door frame he is currently working on that measures approximately 80" tall by 43" wide.  To be able to handle them in his shop they are made up of sections which will eventually be joined together.

Adam brought in some examples of an antique piece that he needed to cut up for a display at his work.  It was really interesting to see how the joinery was cut exact and held together by dowels.  No pocket screws or biscuits back then!

Show & Tell

Our featured presenter was Mike Cook who brought in his amazing Celtic designed work.   He's really developed a distinctive style of carving --- when you see it you immediately recognize it as his work.  He's only been pursuing this particular style for about 4 years but as you can see, he's perfected it!  To get to the skill level he's achieved Mike has taken classes from Dennis Patchett, enrolled in on-line classes offered by Mary May and Chris Pye, but basically spent many hours in his shop carving away!  
Questions that always come up when we see work of this caliber relate to tools, sharpening, and finishing.  Mike has amassed quite a collection of tools as these pictures show -- and there are even more in his shop!
When you carve it's important to have the proper sized gouge in every sweep possible to achieve the consistent curves and cuts that Mikes' work shows.  To keep them sharp he started with out using stones but they have been supplemented with a buffer fitted with a hard, wool wheel and also a formed leather wheel.  These use a buffing compound/rouge made by Formax and available from Lee Valley. Here's a LINK to a page from them but you can find much of these supplies locally as well.  He also makes a slip from Basswood cut by V-tools.  This is then coated with a compound and becomes the exact size required to hone that particular tool.
His patterns come from a number of sources but one he mentioned was tattoo images from the internet.  He copies them on his phone then goes to Staples where they are able to enlarge them to whatever size he wants.  Patterns are cut using chisels and gouges of various size to match the curvature.  FYI: gouges are sized with two numbers; size is expressed in millimeters and the amount of curvature is called sweep.  These number from 1 (flat) to 12 (almost a U).  He'll annotate his pattern with the chisel number to make his work easier.  A tool he has found to be very helpful in removing some of the small bits and pieces in corners is a Porter Cable 450 compact router fitted with a solid carbide bit.  Getting the background of the carvings perfectly flat is really difficult.  To disguise the discrepancies,  Mike uses punches to texture and even it out.  These brought lots of comments so here is a LINK where you can buy your own set.  Being a Dutchman, I need to point out that you can make your own using mild steel and filing the ends to suit your own needs.

He has developed a beautiful finish for his work.  Just like many other things in our craft, it has been a process of trial and error to find the finish that suits him.  Much of Mike's work is done in Basswood.  It's used because it has uniform grain, holds details well, and is relatively easy to carve, however; it tends to be a nondescript wood.  He gets his finishing materials primarily from Tri-Color Paints on Valley View here in Las Vegas.  Here's a LINK to their website.  Basically, he begins with 2 coats of thin shellac followed by a vinyl sanding sealer.  These are sprayed on.  After that they will be stained and glazed to get the desired finish.  As I mentioned, finishes are the results of trial and error.  Mike uses burgundy scotch pads between finishes and also various brushing techniques to get what he wants.  Finishing is an area many of us struggle with because after all of our hard work to complete the project the finish can totally screw things up!!  Looks like Mike has conquered that as these pictures of his work prove.

Thanks Mike for a great presentation -- I have the feeling that many of our members will be  trying their hand and carving and picking up some chisels soon.