Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A Bittersweet Farewell to John...

It was a warm night, but some of our dedicated members met to give John Eugster a proper send off. John's been a long time member of our group, and he's moving to Arizona to start a second chapter in his life. 

As always, we started the meeting with our introductions, and a few members shared some things they brought. Eric brought some samples granite, explaining how he sharpens on the stone for a perfectly flat bevel on his chisels.

With just some simple wet or dry sand paper, you can sharpen chisels quite efficiently. One of our new members, Michael, walked away with a piece of the stone, and I'm sure he's already gotten a pretty good edge on his chisels.

As always, you never know who's going to pop up at one of our meetings, and we were delighted to have the owners of California Pacific Specialty Woods, who came by to talk about their products and services. Their mill is located in Red Bluff, California and they sell a variety of slab and log products. 

Need a claro walnut live edge slab? 
Or some Oak for a live edge table?
No problem!  Their website has a huge selection of slabs, lumber, turning blanks, gunstock and more. Check out their lumber page here.

On to more business... we talked a bit about the Christmas party, and what we would be choosing for our woodworking contest. From the sounds of things, the theme of this year's holiday contest will be BoxMaking. I'm sure that will work out much better than last year's toy making contest.  (That was a dud.)

It was fitting that John brought his Canarywood chair that he'd built many years ago - for it was this exact chair that we was working on when we first got to know him. 
John began the discussion on reinventing himself as a woodworker in Arizona talking about his older work - like this chair,

 but explained that transitioning to a smaller woodshop meant that he's now working on smaller pieces - mainly picture frames. As most know, his wife Diane is a fine artist, specializing in painting, and John is her main frame-maker. 

John explained that "A frame is just a frame; the painting is the star" but I'd have to disagree - John's frames are works of art in their own right.  In most cases, John starts with poplar or basswood, machining the stock into a frame profile, and then carving a variety of motifs into the wood. 

Celtic knots and bougainvillea leaves are popular, but he tries to match the frame to each painting. He starts by making some basic design template, 

and then transfers it to the wood using dividers.  The BIG trick is owning enough chisels that one needs to make each cut! 

This Art Deco frame, and many others, feature gilding, in which gold leaf is applied to the wood. John explained the differences between real gold leaf and composition gold leaf, which was much cheaper, but had a very different appearance.

 His gilding techniques is laborious - and includes sizing with a clay base, gilding the actual metal to the wood, and then a variety of finishing layers that include shellac, steel wool, wax and a final rottenstone polish.

 No wonder some of John's frames sell for what they do!

As always, it's sad to see people leave our woodworking community - but we wish John and Diane all the best in their next chapter of life. Thanks for the memories, and all the enriching discussions that you shared with us - we'll miss you!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Jamie for your write up. Since its inception almost 8 years ago Sin City Woodworkers has been a big part of my time. I've really enjoyed the time I devoted to the club with by writing the blog and doing numerous demonstrations. The best way we learn is by sharing whatever we can with others. I'll miss our meetings but will stop by whenever Diane and I are visiting back to Las Vegas -- John