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!

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