Sunday, June 18, 2017

Head over to our June meeting - Dovetails are on the menu!

Sin City Woodworkers, a Vegas valley social and networking group committed to serious (and not so serious!) woodworking discussions, meet on the third Wednesday of each month to share everything from techniques and ideas to information about local suppliers and much more. Our next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 21 at 7:00 where machined dovetails will be the  topic of the night. Lupe Nielsen will bring her Leigh Dovetail jig to the shop, showing us how to cut this complex joint.
The dovetail joint is one on the most widely used joints in woodworking, traditionally used in drawers and casework. There are a number of ways to cut a dovetail, and while using hand tools is popular, many hobbyists and professional shops rely on dovetail jigs to hasten the process. Typically, lower end dovetail jigs don’t offer adjustable pin spacing, but the Cadillac of all jigs - The Leigh Dovetail jig will be the focus of this meeting, with Lupe simplifying this complex technique for our group. 

Leigh Dovetail jigs are universally recognized as the best on the market, and the Leigh D4R Pro is the most versatile and user-friendly dovetail joinery jig available. Lupe modified her older D4 with an upgrade kit to give it D4R capabilities, and she’ll be sharing some tips as she creates flawless joinery. They jig can create perfect joinery of all kinds — through dovetails, half-blind dovetails, sliding dovetails and box joints (finger joints). In just minutes, rout equally or variably spaced through and half-blind dovetails, not possible with template jigs.

Feel free to bring a project to present at Show and Tell, and as always - you’re welcome to bring a friend! Speaking of Show and Tell, we're tying the dovetail presentation together with Lupe's latest creation - her massive and gorgeous live edge Walnut desk, with angled dovetailed drawers, a waterfall edge and a fantastic cabinet pedestal. If you thought her Maloof rockers were amazing, wait until you see this piece! Andrew Moore of Reclaimed Secrets recently taught a "Working with Live Edge Slabs" class at the school, where Lupe created this masterpiece. (It's for sale, BTW....) 
FInally, this is the last month we’ll be collecting dues for our 2017 season, and like every year - dues are completely voluntary. We’ll never twist your arm for the $20 it takes to call yourself a bona fide Sin City Woodworker, but it sure helps us defray the costs of running our group year round. And the best part - any monies left over go right back into the pockets of our members, so please consider joining our ranks this year.
This meeting will be held at Studio: Wood It Is!, 2267 West Gowan, unit 106 in North Las Vegas. As always, the public is welcome to attend the meeting, so members - please feel free to bring a guest along. But remember that there are a limited number of chairs in the woodshop. Attendees might want to bring a folding chair if they wish to sit during the meeting. If you have questions or need directions, call the studio at 702- 631-1870.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

You say "to-MAY-to" and I say 'to-MAH-to" ... this month's woodworking discussion!

So it happened - we hit a milestone! 

This month's May meeting was our 100th gathering, something to be proud of, no doubt. Congratulations to all of us weekend (and some weekday) warriors, hell bent on getting our wood-fix on.  

Although we had a rather smallish group this month, 

we enjoyed one of the most interesting conversations about woodworking - the perennial debate about makers marks, and what to leave as our mark on a piece of furniture. Beth started off our show and tell by sharing a walnut top that she made, using her signature glue-up of scrap wood. 

As usual, it was spot-on in its craftsmanship. On the underside, there were a few marks left from her hand planing, which brought up the subject of what to leave, and what to clean up. As always, get 20 woodworkers in a room and you'll hear 25 opinions, and this conversation was no different!

 Some enjoyed the fact that leaving pencil markings or traces of hand work on a piece gives tell-tale signs of being handmade, while others felt that leaving a piece "sterile" and clean-up was a true sign of ultimate craftsmanship. 

There really isn't a clear cut answer here, but we had a nice and lively conversation about it!

For example, this bandsaw box (another Beth creation!) was inspired by last month's demo, with drawer interiors that she intentionally left roughsawn. When the interior of the drawers were flocked, there was nary a rough surface to feel, and what was visible on the interior of the drawer openings lent more credence to the hand-made, crafty feel to this piece. 

It's one of those - you say "to-MAY-to" and I say 'to-MAH-to" discussions, where there isn't a right or wrong way to do it. 

Although this isn't woodworking, Kate brought in one of her metal pieces - a lovely pendant that she made. 

It was beautiful, and we encouraged her to begin making custom hardware, like drawer pulls or cabinet knobs, using her jewelry making skills. I hope she takes up that challenge!

On to the speaker of the night, Jim Chadbourne, who did double-duty, presenting at both last month's AND this month's meeting.  We had a last minute cancellation of the regularly scheduled presenter, and Jim stepped up big-time to help us out! 

(A huge thanks to Jim for that!)  

Jim had been telling us about a sharpening jig that he purchased, explaining its simplicity and how well it performs. It was a Deulen Jig, a simple low tech method for sharpening both jointer and planer blades using sandpaper. 

The jig securely holds two blades at a perfect honing angle,

 via some set screws.

About a dozen swipes on each of these sandpaper grits does the trick. 

Working up from 80 grit to 500, Jim quickly honed these blades into shape. 

It's a little hard to see, 

but the edges of these blades were pristine and ready to re-install back into the jointer. 

For about $90, this jig is a true woodshop wonder, allowing you to hone a variety of knives around your shop. 

 So there you have it - this is what our group is all about. We share tips and techniques, and  the pieces we build with each other.  We don't always agree, but that's what makes the world go round! 

 See you next month for the start of our next 100 meetings!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Fire up the bandsaw.....

Ninety-nine and counting....

Yes, we just met for the 99th Sin City Woodworkers gathering, and our group of wood-centric individuals couldn't be stronger.  

We had some very enthusiastic new faces join us this month, and our Show-and-Tell featured terrific pieces created by our members. Richard painstakingly laminated this 21 layer urn with walnut salvaged from the (under construction) UFC building here in town. He laminated each of the layers, flattening them on a disc sander, and adding each layer carefully. The lid features a graceful ebony knob, 

and Richard finished everything with Shine Juice, a recipe of 1/3 Boiled Linseed Oil, 1/3 Shellac, and 1/3 Denatured Alcohol.  This was truly a labor of love - Nice work, Richard! 

One of the new faces, Doug, joined us for his first meeting, and brought his bandsaw box to share with us. It was a gorgeous box made of laminated salvaged wood. 

This box had so many hidden details it was hard to keep track of them - small drawer runners to ensure that the drawers sit correctly in their openings,

 bumpers behind each drawer for proper front alignment, and a neatly applied liner in each drawer. This was really a sweet little piece!

 Since Easter just passed, Mike shared a basket filled with wooden eggs. While he left some of them natural, many were tinted with aniline dyes. 

These eggs were turned from mulberry, mesquite and apricot woods, with a few unidentified species, too. 

Ken shared a simple iPhone stand that he's been making from 2x4 lumber - saying that he's been selling a ton of these at work. They're simple to make, and a single 2x4 gives you enough wood for dozens of these. Not a bad return on your wood investment!

Beth's been busy in her shop, making baskets of fruit. 

Not just any basket, mind you - but a couple of dovetailed baskets, 

with gorgeous details like copper nails and sculptural handles.  The fruit she's been turning have details like delicate stems and a variety of dyes to color them. Gorgeous and fun!

Lupe's Federal inspired table was next, and once again - she knocked it out of the park. 

Her custom made bandings, dovetailed drawer, wooden drawer runner system, tapered legs with mitered inlay details all came together in one exquisite piece. 

She continues to wow us with her work; wait till you see a piece she's currently building - and be prepared to be dazzled. 

Finally, the man of the hour, Jim  shared his bandsaw techniques with our group. He collects small logs, and lets them dry so that wood movement is minimized.   

Inspired by this bandsaw book, Jim's been playing with these designs for a few years now. 

He starts by slicing off the back, and then laying out the drawers. 

These drawers cuts have to be done in one continuous smooth curved cut. 

After slicing off the front and back of each drawer, the "box" of the drawer is drawn and established. 

Jim flocks the interior of the drawers with this mini-flocking kit,  

first painting the adhesive, and then blowing the fibers onto the sticky surface. 

The result is perfect, as long as you're neat with the glue. These rustic boxes would be great gifts for someone's cabin!

Thanks to Jim for sharing his work with us...

looking forward to next month's meeting - number 100 and still going strong!