Sunday, November 20, 2016

A captivating evening with Reclaimed Secrets

Any mention of live edge logs and most of our members start salivating!  

We had a log-a-licious November meeting - very nicely attended with over thirty people, who were thoroughly fascinated by Andrew and Nic Moore of Reclaimed Secrets. They bought a very nice selection of slabs and reclaimed lumber, but before they could start on their presentation, we took care of a little business, and then held our monthly "Show and Tell." 

Of course, high on the list of topics was the reminder about our Holiday meeting being held next month - with hope that members will enter this years' Boxmaking contest. Depending on the number of entries, we may have a few different categories this year.  (BTW - the box entries can be dropped off a week ahead of time - call the woodshop to make sure there's someone there to accept your entry... 702) 631-1870.

One of our members bought up lumber yard buying experiences, which was a topic of discussion on a recent podcast - Dusty Life. In that podcast, three California Woodworkers covered the topic of going to the lumber yard and spoke about the different range of prices that buyers are given. They specifically brought up Peterman Lumber in Fontana, but many of our members voiced concerns about having some frustrating experiences at Peterman's here, too. An important thing to remember is that number is a commodity, and thus subject to pricing fluctuations. But we all agreed - the best way to approach a lumberyard is to call ahead for pricing, learn how to calculate the board footage of your own stack of boards at the lumberyard, and definitely  - measure your own stack of lumber, so that you don't get over charged. 

(We may schedule a discussion of this in the future, since so many members expressed their confusion and frustration about this!) 

On to our Show and Tell - Ken shared that he really liked Lupe's Malloof table that she brought to a previous meeting, and ended up building one for a client. This table featured redwood construction, and was finished with Watco Medium Walnut stain/oil and a final coat of General Finishes Arm-R-Seal. This was one sweet table!

Beth (once again!) amazed us with another gorgeous handmade chair, inspired from the book - A Catalogue and History of Cottage Chairs in Australia by Peter Cuffley and Kevin Carney. 

Beth explained that while reading this book, she was captivated by this Jimmy Possum chair, which features very complex interlocking joinery, and a Shou Sugi Ban (charred wood) finish. 

As usual - she knocked it out of the park! 

The chair was amazingly light, yet strong, and very comfortable. 

Beth turned most of the parts on the lathe, and drilled all of the angled holes that held everything together. Only the back spindles were hand formed, using a variety of hand tools like draw knives and spokeshaves. 

She used a stepped tenon and wedge to tie the arms into the front legs, 

and the contrast between the Cherry seat and the charred components was BEYOND striking. This was one terrific piece, and Beth continues to flourish in her quest of mastering  chair building. 

She also mentioned this Australian woodworking magazine that she's started reading, here's a link in case you're interested in subscribing. 

And finally - Andrew Moore took the floor to discuss live edge logs that he mills and sell at this shop - Reclaimed Secrets, located at 2912 S. Highland Dr. #6 just a few doors down from Tool Supply. Along with his wife Nic, they offer very unique lumber milling services - anything from selling you the logs, to building a piece of furniture made from the logs you choose. 

The samples he brought in includes this amazing Red Heart Juniper slab, which he suggested might be 500 years old.  

The color was intense, and though it has some rotting and bad spots, he was able to fill it with epoxy and sawdust. 

These alligator Juniper slabs get their name from the amazing likeness the bark has to gator skin - and these trees must have experienced a fire in order for the lumber to be harvested. 

We applied some denatured alcohol to the surface of one of the logs, to see what it might look like once finish is applied.... amazing!

Some of the other pieces he brought included this Bait Barge salvaged timber, with its gorgeous patina from years of soaking in the sea.  

Andrew purchased 100,000 pounds of this lumber that was headed for the dump, and although the risk of hitting nails, hardware and sand in the wood while milling it was high, there are gorgeous colors to be had from working with these timbers. He explained that this wood finishes well with spar varnish, and is particularly effective in steam punk design. 

The beetle kill Ponderosa Pine logs and slabs that he bought really caught the attention of our members -  with good reason! 

These fabulous slabs featured rich blue staining from the beetle infestation, and he explained that this tree was probably close to 100 feet tall, and highly regulated when being forested.  Prior to cutting these trees, all trees in this area must be dead in a one square mile area, thus avoiding further infestation. 

These beetles can cause all sorts of staining pigmentation (reds, blues, black and purples) and the will only occur in the sap wood, not the heart wood. 

Some of the other pieces that Andrew and Nic brought included Arizona dried cactus, and ribs from saguaro cactus. He suggested that since these cactus pieces have voids and openings within the wood, they make amazing firefly lights. 

And finally - after a robust round of questions by everyone, Andrew closed the night by showing his wife's handmade drawer pulls, featuring river rock. These rustic pulls are perfect for complimenting cabinetry built with their lumber.

We hope you'll visit their shop and check out their inventory (over 10,000 board feet) of slabs. Their kiln dried stock is the perfect material for artisans all over the valley, and they'll offer construction and finishing tips, as well as custom milling, should you need it. 

Wrapping up this amazing meeting - Andrew expressed some interest in teaching a class in the Spring on working with live edge lumber, and his years of experience are sure to make this class of real interest to woodworkers hungry to learn this technique. Keep an eye on this schedule to see when his class will open up for registration. 

Thanks to both of them for educating and entertaining us - that was one terrific discussion!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Pull up a chair!.. it's our October meeting re-cap!

We had a cozy meeting this past month - an intimate gathering where there was good discussions on a wide variety of topics. 

And even better - a few new faces in the crowd!

Longtime member - Neal brought in a few projects he's been working on. He's been bitten by the carving bug, and constructed a carving bench to raise the height of his work when carving on a traditional-height bench. You can get a PDF plan for it by clicking here. 

This Bench on Bench plan has been copied and re-engineerd a zillion times, but its original design by Jeff Miller is a true masterpiece in functionality.  Neal added a Veritas clamping system that works well with 3/4" bench dog holes that came from Rockler, and says this bench perfectly suits his needs. He designed it to sit at elbow height, for comfortable ergonomic use.  

He also brought in this wall cabinet, made of oak with handmade molding. It features adjustable shelves, a

 raised panel door,

and a drawer below. He's been dabbling and practice a lot of techniques in his retirement, and those talents are certainly reflected in these pieces. He deserves an "attaboy" for these!

Next up, Beth brought in yet another one of her complex chairs, this time a two-board chair inspired from a 1600-1700 design. As she explained what went into this piece, we marveled at her tapered sliding-dovetailed seat, 

and the ability for this chair to break down via dovetails and removable tusk tenons.  

The legs were splays out at an 11 1/2 degree angle, and slide into place. 

On top of that, she darkened them with her torch and scorch method, providing some fabulous contrast to the rest of the chair. 

 The through-tenons really added some visual interest, and

the double-heart design cut into the back provided a whimsical touch to this traditional-styled chair,

 As always - great job Beth! 

Her enthusiasm and sheer determination to become a better woodworker should inspire all of us! The chair was finished with her favorite - Tried and True oil, and glowed with rich color.  This was one very sweet chair. 

On to the main presentation - changing jointer blades. As I explained - when I first started changing jointer blades, it was an all-afternoon ordeal, often taking hours to get the knives set at the correct height. There a countless methods for installing knives, and just about that many jigs that you can buy or make, to hasten the process. But it really doesn't have to be that complicated! Just these simple tools and a straight block of wood will allow you to switch out your blades with a fairly high degree of accuracy.  

In this case, I needed an allen wrench and a box wrench. 

When I first learned to switch out the blades, I'd follow the tool manual's advice and remove the guard and back fence. I've learned that's not really necessary - both slide out of the way to give full access to the cutterhead.

But first, I like to check the indeed and outfield table with a straightedge, to ensure that both are parallel.  

If they're not parallel, it's a pretty simple adjustment to get them into alignment.  But there is one HUGE thing to know... when adjusting that bushing (the round thing on the left of that handle) there are TWO set screws locking it into place. The first time I tried to get the table planes into adjustment, I couldn't figure out what loosening the set screw didn't allow for adjustment. Imagine my surprise when I found a second set screw underneath the first one! 

So - remove the top one, and then loosen the second and you'll be able to adjust your two tables into perfect alignment by rotating that bushing. The manual recommends using a spanner wrench, but I just use Channel-locks and they work fine. 

Onto the blade replacement -  I've learned to take each blade out and replace it immediately, lest I run the risk of dropping the small parts into the jointer black hole of death.  

Loosen four small bolts that apply pressure to the gib and the blade pops out easily.

 I usually blow out the sawdust and debris, and re-insert a blade. All that's left is adjusting it to the proper height, and for that, I use a straight piece of wood, which is kinder to the newly sharpened knife than using a metal or magnetic jig.  

Here's a little video to show this technique much better than I could write about it! (As always - thanks to Lupe for being our staff photographer and videographer!)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Holy Mola!... this was a terrific meeting!

There was a gorgeous rainbow over the woodshop - perhaps it portended what a great meeting we had in store for September. Everyone settled in as we discussed a few things on the agenda - the Christmas party project,

 and a few show-and-tell pieces that members brought in to share. 

Neal made it a point of saying that he has given up working on cars, and moved into carving.  From what we saw, he made a great decision; his work is delicate and gorgeous.

John brought in a few bowls that he was giving to Lupe, who discussed her new online business adventure  - the Artisan Wood Market.  Her plans include featuring work by many local artists, and then branching into marketing these wares to local buyers. She has a talented and diverse group of woodworkers within our group, that's for sure. 

These bowls will join a growing inventory of pieces, both large and small, that will hopefully sell well during the holiday season. 

Our featured speakers were Cindy and Marylou, who started LazerLadies in North Las Vegas and offer full service layering engraving services.  

After eight years in the Air Force, MaryLou was inspired to start a full service company after seeing a need for military gifts, trophies and mementos in our town.  Along with their "secret weapon" - Papa (AKA, their father Ramon), these sisters offer laser engraving, screen printing, embroidery and custom woodworking, selling their wares worldwide. 

They brought a variety of their products, explaining that their four Epilog laser engravers  create a variety of military pieces, serving a much needed niche in the military community. 

About 90% of their sales come from the Department of Defense, and the fact that their company is veteran owned and operated is a huge advantage when working with the military community. 

And although they started with the idea of serving this community, they've branched out into many more areas, creating personalized pieces for the general community including schools and corporations. 

This jet was way cool! 

And the detail on this piece was amazing. 

Papa came up with this sweet little wooden base which holds a lasered flask and two shot glasses. It's precisely custom gifts like this that give the LazerLadies a great reputation for being able to come up with the perfect gift for anyone, regardless of their interests or status. 

This coin holder opens up to reveal a (lasered!) bio for the recipient, 

and one of his military coins. 

And YES.... 

they can even do baseball bats!

The main purpose of having them as our featured guests was to introduce their services to our woodworking community, and as our meeting came to a close, we all checked out Lupe's latest creation - her massive "Mola" Bookcase made of Cherry.  

As always, she wowed us with her impressive furniture making, but what made this piece particularly special was how she personalized it with laser engraved panels in the lower doors. 

Inspired by Panamanian Mola quilted designs, 

she hired the LazerLadies to engrave her door panels.  

As Lupe explained in a detailed write-up of her piece, "Molas are pieces of embroidered artwork made by the Kuna Indians of Panama. These depict themes from nature - mostly animals and plants. I picked two elements that would look graceful on the doors: a fish and a sea turtle."

Our Sin City Woodworkers group has been around going on eight years, and Lupe is certainly one of our more inspired and motivated members. And this meeting embodied what we're all about - sharing talents and techniques, and networking with other woodworkers. A big thanks to Cindy and Marylou (and Lupe too!) for bringing this all together.