Past Meeting Events

May 14, 2020 - Making a Michael Fortune Chair - By Patrick Daugherty

Patrick described his love of woodworking and the pleasure and knowledge he has gained from being a guild member over the past 13 years.  He has been a frequent student at Marc Adams School of Woodworking.  Marc recently came out with a book called the “Difference Makers”.  On the cover is the chair Michael Fortune designed and built.  Michael has made over 500 of the chairs and they require 38 jigs to make the chair.  The chair design is a work of art, very light but very structurally strong.  Strong hardwoods should be used with this chair.  
Patrick used walnut and curly maple.  Their are several templates that include every piece of the chair.  Many of the jigs allow for the complex joinery necessary for this chair.  As you can see from the shape of the chair, several pieces required steam bending or bent laminations.  Patrick used air dried walnut he purchased from Bob Gammage.  There are many details describing the construction process that were discussed during the slide presentation.  The entire meeting and Patrick’s presentation are available to watch again or the first time at

March 12, 2020 - Box making and the three part finish - By John Kennedy


John discussed some of the various things he does to customize the boxes he makes.  John uses several types of inlay designs and banding to incorporate into his boxes.  He likes to construct a cardboard mock-up of the box before starting the project in wood.  This way design features and proportions can be worked out.  some of the features he incorporates into some boxes are using beading to hide a tongue and groove joint.  Also he uses a narrow strip of material along the edge of box bottoms to hold the bottom in place. He also uses special latches and buttons to release drawers.

For the three part finish, similiar to what Sam Maloof popularized, consists of 1/3 mineral spirits, 1/3 linseed oil, and 1/3 polyureathane (e.g. Mimiwax).  All ingredients are placed in a mason jar and mixed.  The finish is applied with a rag and wiped off thoroughly using three sets of rags to remove as much as the finish as possible.  Each coat of finish is allowed to dry for 24 hours before the next coat is applied.  He’ll use up to five coats of the finish and does not need to sand in between coats.  He may use 600 grit paper to sand if the grain is raised on the first coat.

February 3, 2020 - What We Spray and How We Spray It - By Barry Reiter


Finishes that can be sprayed:

  • Solvent Based
    • Laquer
    • Shellac
  • Water Based – a good finish now
    • Laquer – 
    • Urethane

What we spray with:

  • Materials for construction of spray equipment
    • mild steel vs. stainless steel
  • Air-Less Equipment
    • Can be bulky – has large hose, turbine and has flexibility
    • Expensive
    • Uses hot air
  • Air-Powered Equipment
    • can have a pot, pot gun, cup gun, or air brush
    • Harbor Freight has an inexpensive gun that works for a short time
    • run 91% alcohol through gun to clean 
    • put regulator for pressure close to gun
    • 22-26 psi with trigger in – get at least 22 psi on gauge for correct pressure
  • When spraying – overlap last strip by half

January 9, 2020 - V Bit Carving with a CNC Machine - By Mike Kozikowski


October 10, 2019 - Electrical Essentials in the Wood Shop - By Joe Kunzman

Woodshop Electric Basics

Mains Voltage can kill you.   If you’re unsure of what your doing, then call a competent licensed electrician.
Unless your brother-in-law is a licensed electrician, don’t let him near your stuff.
Always work with the power disconnected (at the main breaker).
Don’t assume it was done correctly
Existing wiring can be plagued with issues, even if it works !!
Competent licensed electricians are often responsible for 30-40 house builds at a time and use “helpers”, some of whom are un-licensed, incompetent, and may deliberately hide their mistakes.
Any electrical work by the prior homeowner is suspect.
All electrical work must be done by a licensed electrician, however…
Local codes generally allow an homeowner to do his own work, but ….
An electrical permit must still be pulled, regardless.
Code and Certifications
The National Electrical Codes sets the standards nationally.   Local codes maybe more strict.
Always use UL listed devices.   Fail to do so may result in denial of a claim for fire damage.
Don’t rely on the meaningless CE mark.  Only good in a few European countries.   Self certification of conformity; no independent testing.    Jokingly referred to as “Chinese Export”. 
The CSA mark is for Canada.                                       
Wire gages and amperage

Wire gauge must match the anticipated load (measured in amps).
Wire gauge must match the rated circuit breaker.
In residential wiring 14 and 12 gauge wiring is the most common for lighting and outlets.
In the shop use 12 and 30 gauge wire for most stationary tools.
8 and 6 gauge is used for driers, ovens, etc.
Indoor Cable Types

Romex – Non-Metallic (NM) Cable
  Must be out of reach or protected by drywall
  Never put in EMT conduit
  12/2 means – two 12 gauge current carrying conductors + a ground
  Thermoplastic, high heat, Nylon coated (THHN)
  Separate strands installed in Electrical Metallic Tubing (EMT) conduit
Observe Fill Chart
Metal Clad (MC) Cable.   Also called BX,  armored, and Greenfield
  Wire is pre-installed
Test Instruments

Use a Voltage Detector for
  Non Contact Voltage (NCV) detector
  Presence of voltage without coming into contact with bare wires
Use a Receptacle Tester for
  Testing correct wiring of outlets
Use a Multimeter for testing:
  Amperage draw
  Continuity (measured in ohms)
Use an Amperage Meter for testing:
  Current (measured in amps)
Polarity & Color Code

DC – Direct Current (think battery) has a positive and negative terminal
  Red is +, Black is –
AC – Alternating Current (think household wiring) has a hot and neutral wire
  The hot wire is connected to a gold colored terminal (narrow blade)
  The neutral wire is connected to a silver terminal (wide blade)
  Black is “hot”, white is “neutral”, green is “ground”

Always ground metal boxes
Never cut off the ground pin on a plug
Neutral and ground wires are bonded at the load center – Never anywhere else
  Only at first service disconnect point, AND the utility has only provided normally current carrying conductors (phase and neutral wires)
  Never at a sub-panel
Never use the Neutral wire as Ground, never use the Ground wire as Neutral
The Neutral should NEVER conduct current.  It is there for safety ONLY.
Ground should be connected to a 10’ copper clad rod driven into earth
Typical Panel Bus Bar Layout

Power supplied to house will be: Line (leg) 1 & 2, plus neutral
Circuit breakers must match the load center.   In our demo we’ll be using Square-D  “Homeline” products.  Do not modify a breaker to fit !
Loaded correctly, half of all breakers will be on bus A, half on bus B
220v breakers will be on busses A and B
Double breakers can be installed in some or all positions.  See instructions for load center
Never touch the bus bars !!  They are always energized and can kill you !!
Demo: Convert Machine from 110v to 220V

September 12, 2019 - Introduction to Building a CNC Machine - By Sean Bernath

Once you’ve decided to add a CNC router to your arsenal of woodworking tools, the question becomes whether to buy or build. Sean Bernath addressed this question at our September monthly meeting.  Sean is member of MakerFX, a maker group in Orlando offering workshop space and training in areas such as CNC routers and laser engraving, woodworking, electronics, textiles, etc.   They also host the annual “Maker Faire” show at the Central Florida Fairground.   This year it is November 9th-10th, see https://www.makerfaire   He is also a full time Web design and programming instructor at Full Sail University in Orlando.
Our last CNC presentation (2017, by Woodcraft) dealt with software, programming, and operation.   Sean’s focus was on hardware components and considerations that go into building a CNC router.   CNC in a broad sense can refer to: 2D and 3D printers, routers, lasers, water jets, and plasma devices.  CNC routers are the most common devices used by woodworkers.  They are often controlled with popular software such as vCarve, Fusion 360, Mach3, GRBL, etc.   Three pieces of software are used in CNC workflow are: CAD (for design), CAM (for producing g-code), and a g-code sender (for sending the g-code instructions to the CNC motors).   Some software combines one or more of these functions.
There are three options when choosing a CNC machine: buy a ready made machine, build from a kit, build from scratch.   There are several things to consider regardless of the route you take, such as: the machine structure, drive train, and spindle type.   The gantry of a CNC machine can be a stand alone structure or built into a machine enclosure, which provides the needed rigidity. 
Machine Structure – The structure of the CNC router must be rigid enough to withstand the forces of pushing an end mill through the work material.  Any deflection of the structure will greatly reduce the accuracy of the machine.   CNC routers are made of wood, aluminum, or steel.   Wood or aluminum are a popular choice for hobbyist builders and can offer sufficient accuracy for woodworking.   Steel is almost always used in commercial machines and is the most rigid.
Drive Train – This refers to the carriage that supports and moves the X,Y, and Z axis.  Two common approaches are common ball bearings riding on a rail, such as an inverted piece of angle aluminum.  This is the most affordable, but can introduce play, if the bearings are not held tightly against the rail.  A second option is to use linear motion bearing on a round rail.   This is more costly but very rigid and accurate.  Each axis is moved by some type of drive.   Drives can be: rubber belts, chain drives, lead screws, or rack and pinion.   Rubber belts are inexpensive, but can stretch and break.  Chain drives are more accurate, but can be noisy and will stretch over time.   Both belts and chains require a tension mechanism, being an idler wheel (or gear) connected to a spring or force supplied by the weight of the machine.   Lead screws (threaded Acme rods) are very accurate and have little backlash.  Rack and pinion are used on larger machines when higher speeds are required.
Motors – Two types of motors are commonly used on CNC routers.   Stepper and servo.  Stepper motors are extremely common and accept a series of pulses to move the motor forward or backward.   A servo motor is a DC motor with a closed loop feedback so the motor knows it’s position.  They are usually used on commercial machines to counteract missed steps that can sometimes occur with over driving a stepper motor.  
Spindles – Everyday wood routers are often used for a CNC spindle.  A popular choice is a Dewalt 611, but can burn out fast if used for long hours.   When choosing a wood router, find one that can be adjusted to between 5,000 to 8,000 RPM.   Dust often destroys the brushes.  A better choice is a dedicated CNC spindle.   Most have a speed control and automatic torque feed back.   They are also much quieter and have a higher duty cycle.   However, they must be air or water cooled.  Good ones require 220 volts.
Dust Collection – Running correctly, CNC routers will produce chips, not sawdust.  A vacuum boot mounted below the spindle and around the end mill is used to remove chips.
Sean fielded many questions during his Q&A that followed.   Reliable sources for quality hardware include:  and   CNC uses the “.svg” file type (vector graphics).  Google Images is a great source, see  and search for “SVG files” for ready-to-go designs.

August 8, 2019 - Furniture Makers - How Much Should You Charge? - By Kate Swann

Kate Swann

Kate came to the U.S.A. when she was 22 years old.  She first landed in Portland Oregon.  She had an old house there that needed renovation.  She decided she would make her own furniture.  In order to acquire some more skills to build furniture she went to the Portland State College of the Arts.  Kate eventually started building furniture for other people.  Some of her first creations she put a lot of work into it , but did not charge as much as she should have.  She learned a valuable lesson about how to price her furniture for clients. 

One of the toughest things a custom furniture maker has to do is to put a price on their work.  It’s a bit of fine line.  We are makers, and we like to make, but we need to do so profitably, or we won’t thrive if we are making a business out of our passion.

Making a handcrafted piece of furniture is an internal personal creative process, but pricing it for sale is about external business process.   The more you understand how the handcrafted furniture market works and where your work fits into the big picture of custom work by individual craftsmen and women, the better prepared you will be to price and sell your work confidently.

If your prices are too low – You won’t make enough money to stay in business. You risk running a loss because you don’t have enough money to pay for your marketing. You may also inadvertently give the perception that your products and brand are cheap, poor quality, low value, bargain buy.

If your pricing is in the middle, you won’t make enough money to grow. You will always be creating, selling, creating, selling, but never breaking out of it to create more and sell more because you don’t have enough money for more.

If your price too high, you risk alienating customers. You might get a sale now and then, but you are always thinking about when your next sale is going to be, because your work is not priced for your market.

Many factors go into the final price, and you have to be able to demonstrate that your prices are fair and reasonable.  – which is what makes it difficult – but there are tools, like this custom furniture calculator, that can help you do a better job.

Your first task is straightforward information gathering.   Here are the things you will need to know to use the furniture pricing calculator.

1. What is your hourly overhead cost?

If you don’t know what your overhead rate, is you might want to take a look at some general definitions plus there are also plenty of online tools available for you. Like this one Overhead Calculator from Prime Estimating and Software

2. What is your hourly rate (what do you pay yourself or your helpers per hour)?

3. What is the board foot price of the lumber you will be using?

4. How many board feet of lumber will you need?

5. How many square feet will you need to finish and the price of the finishing products?

6. How many hinges, handles, drawer glides, etc. will you need and how much do they cost and how much do you need to mark them up.

You will also need to have a good understanding of how long it takes you to do particular tasks – like milling a linear foot.  If you don’t know, set up a series of time trials for yourself, or at least start timing yourself on jobs you are doing now.  You will need to have a good understanding of:

–  How many linear feet can you mill per hour?

– How long does it take you to set up and test cut each type of joint (a dovetail might take you longer than a lap joint)?

– How many linear feet can you sand and finish per hour?

How Much Profit Do You Need/Want?

After you have paid your tangible costs, helpers, overhead, and paid yourself:  the business (even if it is just you) still needs to make a profit.   When you are just starting out, this is difficult to do.  Initially, the goal may be just to break even.  Over time, you should be growing enough to pay yourself a salary.  However, remember that a  salary does not equal a profitable business.

Get Ready to Use The Calculator (blog post)
Download The Calculator

July 11, 2019 - Making a Decorative Epoxy Filled Project - By Michael Gove

Michael Gove – Has collected wood from neighbors trees and air dried the logs. Inevitably, the logs crack and need to be filled. One of the best way to fill the cracks for these projects is by using decorative epoxies. For smaller projects with cracks that are not too big, you can use an inexpensive epoxy you can get from a home center. The problem with these epoxies is that they will discolor if left in the heat for too long and may crack if the size of the fill is too large. A better two part system is recommended for things like table tops.

Dyes and metallic fillers (like Inlace) can be used to change the color of the epoxy and add effects to it. Just a few drops of the dye will add a lot of color so you have to be careful and experiment with the amount of color you want.

To prepare the work-piece it is important to wrap the project with packing tape and shrink wrap to seal the wood so that epoxy will not run all over the place. Otherwise, you may have a big mess to clean up. After adding color to the hardener, you can mix equal parts of the resin and hardener together. It is important to mix both parts thoroughly until you feel the mixture getting hot. The epoxy creates an exothermic reaction when it is ready to be poured.

After it is poured into the cracks you can use sander to vibrate the sides to settle and distribute the epoxy through all the cracks. It may be necessary to fill in areas on the opposite side later after the initial pour has set. A flame from a blowtorch lightly placed over the epoxy will remove air bubbles as they form.

After the epoxy is set it can be surfaced with a planer and sanded. It is wise to leave your piece over-sized to allow for surfacing and finishing.

June 13, 2019 - Making a Quarter Turned Column - By Gary West

Gary West – Also a member of the Woodturners Guild. CFWG members are welcome to attend their meetings on the third Thursday of the month here at Woodcraft.

  • To make a quarter turned column or a half column you need to start with square blanks that are exactly the same dimension in size, Four pieces are glued together with PVA glue separated by brown paper bag material. This allows the pieces to be separated later. The blank needs to be perfectly square so that it will turn evenly and when it is separated the quarter pieces will be the same size. Gary also like to make the blanks longer than needed so he can screw the pieces together to insure they will not come apart.
  • Mount the blank in your lathe and turn the column into the shape you desire.
  • Gary likes to use a skew chisel to turn the shape and to get a super smooth surface.
  • Using a skew turning chisel requires some practice, because it can catch easily if angled improperly against the wood.
  • Getting a flat 90 degree surface is the most challenging because it is difficult the get it straight without damaging the corners. A skew is the best tool to with which to make it.
  • After the column is turned to the shape you like, you can remove it from the lathe and separate the pieces using a knife.

May 9, 2019 - Making a Windsor Chair - By Pete Savickas

Pete Savickas – guild member since the 1990’s

Windsor Chair style is determined by all pieces being attached to the seat. The Stretchers – Push legs apart – they do not pull legs together. They splay out to give form grip. When measuring for stretcher length, measure leg distance and add 1/4 inch so that when put together the stretcher will push legs apart.
Joining legs or spindles to seat is the second worse joint type. Worst is glued end grain to end grain. This is second worst because drilling through long grain with only a small part on the bottom and top causes 90% to be end grain. To get around this problem, the holes are tapered with a reamer – sitting in the chair causes the tapered piece to tighten into the seat. Tapered end is split with a chisel and wedged to provide additional holding. Three methods are used to hold joint together – glue, taper, and split wedge
Front spindle is called a stump.
4 short spindles
7 long spindles
The back bow is curved
The arms are curved
Suggest Mike Dunnbar movies on YouTube for placement
Only the six spindles on the sides are glued
Center 7 spindles float through the center arm
Complete chair is painted, so a mix of woods can be used
Chair is started with the seat
Requires a 4 inch thick piece of wood
Use a template – can be purchased or make your own
Hollow center of seat – Used circular saw set at 3/4 inch to plunge a depth mark
Pete used adz to remove most material
Mark bottom into 5ths – at 2/5ths mark, cut 45 degree angle the at next 2/5ths another 45 degree angle
Pete created his own compass plane to use to smooth seat, then used spoke shave to smooth seat. Used grinder with 100 grit paper to smooth. Relieve the edges of the top and bottom of the seat – used draw knife to remove hard edges & where legs go over the seat
Drilling holes for legs is at a compound angle – used “Bamometer” (?) for diameter and taper
Place first hole for the stump – used brace and spoon bit
Since the seat has been hollowed, use a compound square set to 16 degrees set on top of a carpenter’s square
9/16 inch bit for stump and legs
Used a reamer in brace – can do in cordless, but not the same
Mark seat top to avoid mistaking which side is top.
Once all the legs are assembled to the seat, the back is put on.
Arm is 7/8 x 5/8. Bow is 7/8 x 7/8
Pete found it hard to find green wood to steam. He used pallet wood left in attic to dry.
He steamed the wood for 1 hour in homemade PVC steamer using a 4 inch PVC pipe. One end a glued tin can to close. The other end is plywood – removable. There is a drain in bottom of PVC.
Two holes with liner to keep metal from touching wood (to prevent discoloration) during steaming
Used old truck radiator hose. Used propane burner
Created a jig for forming the steamed wood. Pin and wedge to hold wood in place to dry
Once dried, tie ends to hold shape until ready to use
Doesn’t have to dry completely before removing from jig
Must dry completely before using
In steam bending you have more time than you think – per Michael Fortune, you can still bend as long as it is still warm
Once the arm is bent, glue slightly over-sized block to each end for decorative area – make sure the arm is flat before gluing as steaming may have distorted it – plane to finished smoothness
To form the round bow back – made a rounder plane
2nd stump placement needs to be sighted to insure concentric arch
Use the template for drilling for spindles at specific positions or they won’t fit into arched top
Center spindle is straight as an arrow then to each side the spindles are positioned
Finished with two coats of milk paint
Originally the chairs were painted a bright green – Verdigris
Oxidation over time darkened the color

April 14, 2019 - Gandfather Clocks - by Randy Jaye

Randy Jaye is the president of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC) He described the process of building a tall case clock entirely from cedar wood. He gave a a brief history of tall case clocks. Early development of these clocks started in Europe around 1660. American tall case clocks started to appear in in this country after 1695. Most tall case clocks were made in Pennsylvania. Boston and New York also were centers of clock making. Many styles and forms of clocks were developed. Modern tall case clocks can take a variety of styles. Very few companies manufacture grandfather clocks today. Amana Clock Company in Iowa and Howard Miller are some the the only companies doing so.

Randy built his tall case clock from cedar and incorporated several styles based on clocks from Lebanon County, PA. Below is an article from the Lebanon Daily Newspaper that describes more about the clock.

Custom-made grandfather clock brings Lebanon County history to life
Standing tall in a corner of the bedroom of Randy Jaye’s home is a grandfather clock — a clock telling perfect time, made of 100-percent red cedar wood, and constructed as an homage to Lebanon County.

Jaye, a Lebanon native now living in Flagler Beach, Florida, decorated the clock to commemorate several historical landmarks in Lebanon County.

“I had this idea in my head a long time, maybe 15 years,” to build the clock, said Jaye, an avid clock and watch collector and a 20-year member of the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors, based in Columbia. “I grew up in the area. There are hundreds of historical buildings in the area.”

Jaye specifically used the red cedar wood as a tribute to Lebanon County. He laid out a custom hand-painted design for the clock dial that features existing historic landmarks from the county after purchasing a brass English bell movement with a combination of hand-made pieces and factory-produced parts.

The top arch area illustrates workers hanging Lebanon Bologna in a wooden smoke house in preparation for its curing process. Ornate branches, leaves and flower motifs border the circular design to its right and left. The caption reads, “Lebanon Bologna – Since 1700s.”

Also featured on the clock are tributes to the Union Canal Tunnel, Lights Fort during the summer season, the Cornwall & Lebanon Railroad Station, circa 1885, and the Cornwall Iron Furnace.

The central section of the clock includes Roman numeral hour markers, a round 60 minutes track, a round 60 seconds sub-dial with a straight blued steel hand, two winding holes, a semi-circular calendar aperture window, colorful pheasant birds perched on tree branches adorned with leaves and flowers on the right and left of the central arbor, ornate blued steel minute and hour hands. It is signed “Randy Jaye, Lebanon, PA.”

While Jaye enjoys having the clock in his bedroom, he said he is considering lending it for display to the Lebanon County Historical Society.

Jaye builds clocks as a hobby. The Lebanon clock is the first grandfather clock he constructed from scratch. It took him about 150 hours of work to construct, he said.

The complete cedar wood clock case measures 8 feet, 1-inch tall, 19.5 inches wide and 11 inches deep.

All wood parts of the case, including the back, floor, finials and glue blocks are made from red cedar. The outside sections of the case were finished with five coats of clear shellac, and the interior sections and back are unfinished.

Jay said he plans to build another clock, this one from Pennsylvania cherry wood.

The central section of the clock includes Roman numeral hour markers, a round 60 minutes track, a round 60 seconds sub-dial with a straight blued steel hand, two winding holes, a semi-circular calendar aperture window, colorful pheasant birds perched on tree branches adorned with leaves and flowers on the right and left of the central arbor, ornate blued steel minute and hour hands. It is signed “Randy Jaye, Lebanon, PA.”

The custom-made arch dial of the Lebanon County grandfather
The custom-made arch dial of the Lebanon County grandfather clock built by Randy Jaye.

While Jaye enjoys having the clock in his bedroom, he said he is considering lending it for display to the Lebanon County Historical Society.

Jaye builds clocks as a hobby. The Lebanon clock is the first grandfather clock he constructed from scratch. It took him about 150 hours of work to construct, he said.

The complete cedar wood clock case measures 8 feet, 1-inch tall, 19.5 inches wide and 11 inches deep.
All wood parts of the case, including the back, floor, finials and glue blocks are made from red cedar. The outside sections of the case were finished with five coats of clear shellac, and the interior sections and back are unfinished.

Jay said he plans to build another clock, this one from Pennsylvania cherry wood.

March 13, 2019 - Downdraft Table - by David Veach

The main question in how do we prepare wood for finishing comes down to sanding versus planing.  Which is the best way to achieve a smooth surface without blemishes.  As some of us saw with Garrett Hack’s presentation, he was skilled at doing the final preparation of the wood using a hand plane to achieve a super smooth glass-like finish.  Unless you are good with setting up a hand plane and skilled at using it, you may not get the same results as Garrett Hack.  It is harder to plane figured woods.  You need a sharp blade.  As a result, must of us resort to sanding.  However, unless you are careful you can sand away fine details or round over edges.
A scraper might be able to be used, but it does not leave a smooth surface.  Can you achieve a smooth surface without sandpaper?  It may be possible, but can be difficult to achieve.  So sanding is the next best way the smooth wood.  David found that sanding without a downdraft table led to he and his wife finding dust infiltrating all of their house.

Sandpaper may go back in history since the time of the Egyptians who used sharkskin to prepare wood.  It wasn’t until the 1600’s that small shards of glass was attached to a paper backing and used as glasspaper to sand wood.  It was around the 1830’s that sand was used on a paper substrate to smooth wood.

Today we have all kinds and grades of sandpaper with different particles used as the abrasive agent.  There is stearated and non-stearated paper.  Stearated sandpaper is also known as self-lubricating sandpaper. It is used primarily for sanding wood and paint finishes as well as metal. The applied lubricant or soap prevents clogging and extends the life of the sandpaper. Garnet and Aluminum oxide can be used as the abrasive substrates on the paper.  Garnet paper is inexpensive and fine for sanding bare wood but open coat stearated paper are cheaper in the long run because they cut faster and last longer.

Not all sandpapers are equal, and you tend to get what you pay for. Experience has shown that it is cheaper to buy a more expensive sandpaper because it cuts faster and lasts longer. Yes sandpaper is a cutting tool: a great number of small cutting tools actually. These cutting tools are the abrasive particles and better sandpaper has stronger, sharper particles that are arranged better.

Sandpaper made in North America is graded under the Coated Abrasives Manufacturers Institute (CAMI) while European papers are rated under the P scale dictated by the Federation of European Producers Association (FEPA). The later always has a P in front of the grit number so it is easy to tell. A grit size in one system does not exactly equal a grit size in the other, so you may want to be careful to pay attention to what system you are using.

The most important first step is to start with coarse enough paper. This is the biggest mistake beginners make. If there are major imperfections in the wood surface or the surface needs to be leveled a bit, as when a rail meets a rail on a face frame, then start with 60-grit.  Sand longer than you think you need to in order to remove all of the surface imperfections.  If hand sanding, using a padded block for your paper gives better results as does making the final strokes with the grain as much as possible.
The second important factor is to make small jumps in abrasive coarseness.  If we take 60, 80, 100, 120, 150, 180 and 220 as being grits that are readily available, make no more than a two grit jump as you move to finer grits. Under this rule you would move from 60 to 100, 150 and 220. If you started with 80, you can go to 120, 180 and 220 grits. For power sanding you can use hook and loop backed paper because it can save partially expended sheets for later use.  When using a random orbital sander, you may find it helpful to use a padded glove to prevent too much vibration being transferred to your hand.

The third important factor is sanding to a grit that is appropriate to the finish you are using.   For most film forming finishes, shellac included, sanding finer than 180-grit can be counterproductive.  Some like to sand to 320 or higher with some woods and if you are using an oil finish.  John Kennedy will sand to 400 or 600 grit with his oil/varnish/mineral spirits finish and you cannot argue with his results.  Sanding with 220 and finer between coats is helpful if you want a glossy finish. Stearated paper is much superior for sanding finishes and using waterproof paper with some soapy water or mineral spirits is a great time- and money-saving trick.
David’s downdraft table is constructed with an angled bottom with the vacuum port at the wide end.  The top has chamfered holes in the pegboard to facilitate dust extraction.  The downdraft table works well and really cuts down on sanding dust being spread all over your shop.

February 14, 2019 - Precision Woodworking with Jigs - by Sylvan Wells

Our February meeting included a presentation by Sylvan Wells on Precision Woodworking.   Sylvan is a luthier who specialized in guitar building.  Although this is a highly specialized aspect of woodworking, many of the precision methods he uses are transferable to general woodworking.  Sylvan showed us several jigs that he built and uses in his profession.

A principal that guides his jig making is that you must know the “cut line”.   Most of his jigs reveal where the cut will be made directly on the jig.  This way the piece can be positioned on the jig and aligned with the cut line for accuracy.  

He demonstrated this concept with a tablesaw jig used to cut curves in thin strips of wood for bracing.  The jig rides in the T-Slot of the tablesaw.  It was built oversized at first, then placed in the T-Slot and trimmed to size.   This revealed the exact placement of the saw blade on the jig.   In use, the strip of wood is placed on the cutline of the jig, ends clamped, and the centered bowed out into the path of the blade.  After the cut, the braced is removed, and springs into its original position resulting in a concave curve.   Stops on the jig ensure that this process is repeatable for all the braces.

The next jig was an adaptation of the familiar cross cut sled.  His was a dedicated miniature version for cutting a 82-degree angle for “X” braces on the tablesaw.   Again, the “cut line” clearly visible on the jig.

His next jig is placed directly on the guitar body with the edge of the jig, the “cut line”, perfectly aligned in reference to the guitar body.  This jig guides a router for inlay work.  

Jigs are not only for precision, but for speed and repeatability.  Six holes need to be drilled in a guitar headstock for the tuning pins.    The position is the same for every guitar.   Sylvan made a jig from PaperStone (a popular material for countertops) which holds the headstock on top in the correct position.   On the underside of the jig are six registration holes.  A drill press is setup with a waste board clamped to it.   Using an “F” drill bit, a hole is drilled into the waste board, then a registration pin of the same diameter is inserted into this hole.  Each registration hole on the underside of the jig, is placed over the registration pin, one at a time, and the hole is drilled for each tuning pin.

Other tips Sylvan gave us include:

  • Using Draftsman’s proportional dividers for finding the center of any number of divisions.  His was an eBay find of a German made steel unit.  
  • Also, he avoids using pencils for marking because they introduce errors.  
  • Some of his jigs use a screw for fine adjustments.  He standardized on ¼”-20 threads because (at 20 threads per inch) one full revolution is equal to .050” and one-half revolution is .025”.
  • When needing a rectangular hole in a jig, rather than trying to cut it out, Sylvan will laminate 3 pieces of wood together, edge to edge, leaving the proper size hole in the middle.  The middle board is cut to the width of the rectangle, cut in half, and spaced to the length of the rectangle.   This is far easier and more accurate.
  • Another eBay find was a set of metalworking transfer punches used to find the center of any hole.
  • Shrink tubing is used on drill bits of any size to act as depth stops
  • Using 3M brand #233 green masking tape for some clamping jobs.
  • Using hide glue for visible joints and PVA for all other joints.

Sylvan wrapped up his presentation showing us a prototype of a guitar.   This guitar is unique in that it has a slanted bridge and frets making each string is a different length.   Hence, tuning is not wholly dependent on the tension of the strings.   He got this idea from looking at pianos.  Picture the shape of a grand piano.  The case is physically larger in the lower octaves to accommodate the longer strings needed for base notes.

January 10, 2019 - Sharpening of Chisels and Plane Irons - by Mike Lonergan

At our first meeting of 2019, Mike Lonergan  started the year off right with his presentation on sharpening chisels and plane irons.

First, he discussed some terms.  

  • Primary Bevel – Most chisels and plane irons have a primary and a secondary bevel on one side and a flat surface on the other side.    The primary bevel can be either hollow ground or flat ground, either are acceptable.  Most new chisels that come from the manufacturer are ‘flat ground’.  This is also true of chisels re-sharpened on a horizontal grinding stone.   Bevels sharpened on a conventional grinder with a vertical grinding stone are said to be ‘hollow ground’ since the stone leaves a slight concave curvature to the overall shape of the bevel.   When sharpening the primary bevel, it is okay to switch between the two depending on the type of grinder you have available.
  • Secondary Bevel – A secondary bevel is ground at the tip of the tool with a sharpening stone.  It is usually just a few degrees greater that the primary bevel.   Mike favors 5-degrees additional.   For instance, it the primary bevel is 25-degrees, then the secondary bevel is 30-degrees. 
  • Backs – It is especially critical the backs of chisels be flat as these are use as a reference for working.   Depending on the quality and manufacturer, chisels may need some work for flattening the back.   Mike used a surface plate and sandpaper to flatten the backs. 

Chisels are categorized into three groups: pairing chisels, bench chisels, and mortise chisels.  Each have a different primary and secondary bevel per the chart below. 

Next, Mike defines 4 levels of sharpening.   Each level is more aggressive than the next

Level 1: Stropping

  • Used when a chisel is sharp, but just need a minor touch-up of it’s edge.  This is done periodically as the tool is being used.   A piece if leather is glued onto a flat substrate, such as MDF, and loaded with an abrasive.   Some use jewelers rouge or Mikes favorite, which is 1-micron diamond paste.   Finally, the burr on the back of the chisel is removed by honing and stropping.

Level 2: Honing

  • Used when the secondary bevel needs to be sharpened.  There are many types of stones that are can be used: water stones, oil stones, dry diamond stones.   Mike used the later for his demonstration.   Two grades are usually necessary: Course (325 gr) and fine (1200gr).  A honing guide is used to assure the angle set correctly and maintained while it is worked back and forth on the stone.   For each of his honing guides, Mike created a simple jig to set back the edge of the iron from the honing guide for each of the angles on his chart.   This eliminates the tedious measuring or setting by eye.

Level 3: Moderate Grinding

  • Used when there is moderate damage to the edge of the chisel such as small nicks.   This is done on a slow speed grinder.   Mike prefers that the grinding wheel is dressed almost flat and perpendicular to the sides of the wheel.

Level 4: Major Grinding

  • Used when damage to the edge is significant.   This will almost require the edge be re-squared to the chisel’s parallel sides at 90 degrees.  Mike uses a Sharpe felt tipped pen (substitute for machinist’s layout fluid), a miniature square, and the back of an X‑Acto knife (substitute for a machines’ marking awl) to mark where to grind the edge flat to start.  Then, a new primary bevel is ground conforming to the newly established edge.   Mike demonstrated this with a really abused chisel that looked like it was used for a pry bar. 

Prior to sharpening, the chisel is evaluated by parring the end grain of soft wood, then placed into one of categories above.  Sharpening begins with that category and proceed upward through each category until the tool is finally stropped.

Plane Irons

  • Generally, plain Irons are just like a wide chisel.  Hence the same sharpening steps are used.   The back needs special attention as it must firmly contact the bed of the plane and not rock.   Other that that, it does not require a high polish. 
  • Also, when removing the burr on the back of plane irons, they don’t have to be touched off perfectly flat to the back of the iron.   This is because the back of plane irons are not used for a reference, the sole of the plane is.   When bedded, the tip of plane iron is hanging out in the wind, see the lower left illustration on the above chart.   Mike showed us the “ruler trick”.  A very thin 6-inch metal ruler is placed on one end of the sharpening stone. Then the plane iron is placed back down on the stone and over the ruler.  As the burr is removed a micro back-bevel is created.   This should only be done for plane irons, and never chisels.
  • The tip of the chip breaker must contact the back of the plane iron when installed.   There can be no gaps between the plane iron and the chip breaker, or wood chips will become trapped.   Sometimes the chip breaker must be re-fetteled, similar to sharpening, the  tip of the chip breaker is  honed to fit flat on the back of the plane iron.
  • Lastly, some plane irons benefit from a small camber to the edges, see the lower right illustration on the above chart.   This prevents the corner edge of the blade from scoring the work surface.   Mike showed us a trick like the “ruler trick’ to accomplish this.  A thin metal ruler is placed on each side of the sharpening stone, and the one side of the plane iron rides on top of it when honing.   The process is repeated for the other side.   This technique kicks the angle just slightly to accomplish the camber.  This is done on the secondary bevel only.

October 11, 2018 - Automated Dust Collector System by Joe Kunzman

At our October meeting Joe Kunzman presented an automated dust collector system which he built earlier this year for his own shop.   A conventional dust collection system was already in place and consisted of 4” PVC pipe and plastic blast gates connected to a 4-bag Jet dust collector.   

The dust collector has a switch at the base of the motor tucked in back out of sight.  Finding the on/off switch required reaching around the motor and blindly fumbling around until it was located.   Keeping track of which blast gates were open or closed on several tools was becoming inconvenient   There were no commonly available products to address this situation. 

Joe’s solution integrates three components.   At each tool is a current sensor and a pneumatic actuated blast gate.  He purchased the current sensors from Amazon and attached them to the outlet that the tool is plugged into.   He built the pneumatic blast gates from Parker air cylinders, 12-volt 3-way solenoid air valves, and plastic blast gates from Woodcraft.   There are 4 tools outfitted with these sensors and gates.  Everything is controlled with an Arduino microprocessor and some specialized code that he wrote.

The logic behind the system is quite simple.   When any machine is turned on the current sensor sends a signal to the controller which opens the blast gate and turns on the dust collector.   When any machine is turned off the blast gate is closed after 10 seconds allowing wood chips to fully clear.  When the last machine is turn off, then the dust collector will shut down after 3 minutes.  This is to avoid cycling the dust collector unnecessarily.   

Joe has deposited the PowerPoint slide deck and the Arduino code on our web site for anyone interested.   See the following blog Post: 

September 11, 2018 - Spray Finishing with Lacquer by Barry Reiter

Our friend and long-time member, Barry Reiter spoke to the Guild about spraying lacquer finishes.   Here are some of the key points he covered.

About Lacquers

  • A ‘top coat’ is use for durability. For this presentation we will work with the assumption that all top coats fall into two categories: Lacquer and Polyurethane.   Note that polyurethane will yellow over time, lacquer will not.   Yellowing can be desirable for woods such as cherry, but unattractive for others such as blond curly maple.  Choose your finish appropriately.
  • The rules have changed significantly in the last 5 years. Hence, discount much of your prior notions regarding lacquer.   The California South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) now “drives the bus” for the rest of the country.  See:   They are the “800 pound gorilla sitting quietly in the corner” now that the EPA is lazy with some of their industrial rule making. 
  • Today’s water-based lacquers are much improved from years ago. However, unlike VOC based lacquers, subsequent coats do not dissolve into prior coats.   If you sand away a sag or run, or simply need to flatten the surface prior to the next application, a consequential “witness line” will be left and will not be eliminated by additional coats.   Hence, good surface preparation is a must.  On the positive side, water-based lacquers require reduced respiratory protection and the price of the products are coming down.
  • Barry prefers solvent based lacquers. Gemini is the product that he uses.  See:
  • When choosing a lacquer product, there are three types to select from: catalyzed (2 parts mixed and then sprayed), pre-catalyzed (better flow-out and drying characteristics), and conversion (which are sometimes marketed as varnishes). When choosing the manufacturer, look to see what their target market is (such as cabinet shops, or furniture repair) and align that with your needs as formulations vary based on the needs of the user.
  • He recommends buying a 90 sheen (maximum gloss) product. Satins and matt finishes all contain ground glass or sand to diffract the light.   The sand can be difficult to stir into suspension and therefore difficult to match.   A gloss sheen is easily reduced with steel wood and high-grit sandpaper.
  • Always buy the recommended lacquer thinner from the same manufacturer of the lacquer you are using. These lacquer thinners contain the same formulation as the lacquer and will help prevent defects such as fish-eye appearing in the surface.

Surface Preparation

  • Lacquer finishes require good surface preparation. Barry recommends sanding through all the grits, with the grain, to a to a minimum of 220 grit.
  • To check your sanding prior to finishing, wipe naphtha onto the surface with a rag. Any defects will show and should be corrected prior to applying the finish.   Remember, all finishes look good wet.


  • Contrary to rumor, lacquers can be applied with a brush on small pieces. However, use a high-quality brush such as a Taklon brush.
  • Turbine base spray systems (e.g. HVLP) are the preferred choice for water-based and two-part lacquers, but a bad choice for pre-catalyzed lacquer because they use hot air which causes dry spray (premature drying).
  • For pre-catalyzed or conventional nitrocellulose lacquers use a spray gun with a compressor. This can be either a pot gun or a cup gun (gravity feed).   The latter being good for holding the gun at odd angles.   The gun you choose doesn’t have to be expensive, as the Chinese have gotten very good at copying German and Italian designs with their CNC machines; the air horn being the most critical part of a gun.
  • Conventional spray guns have two critical adjustments. The needle adjustment is for regulating how much fluid is delivered by the gun.  The other fan width adjustment regulates the amount of air that is mixed with the fluid to atomize it.
  • All conventional guns operate best at 22-25psi “flow” pressure. Flow pressure is when fluid (not just air) is flowing through the gun.  Not “static” pressure.   Barry uses a miniature pressure gauge mounted on the inlet of his gun to make it convenient to set this optimal pressure.
  • The technique for using a gun is important. Start and finish each row “off the piece”, overlap each pass of the gun, and maintain a wet line.  For practice, use alcohol with a few drops of trans-tint dye on a piece of cardboard.
  • Humidity is a concern when spraying lacquer, especially here in Florida. Too much humidity can cause a haze to appear in the finish.  If this becomes a problem, Barry recommends using more lacquer thinner and using more coats to compensate for the thinning of the material.  Manufactures recommendation of thinning no more that 10% is just a guideline, not a hard rule.   Barry usually thins at 30% thinner to 70% lacquer.


August 9, 2018 - Laser Engraving by Tim of Woodcraft

Tim from Woodcraft discussed some of the applications the laser can do with engraving and design.  If you have something you would like to have engraved, it is best to bring a sample board to test the laser cutting on that substrate.  The laser at Woodcraft can cut up to 3/4″ thick.  Thicker materials just may take longer.  They can engrave almost any material.   Acrylic and glass will work, even the stainless steel insulated cups.
The laser can engrave some very fine detail.  Photographs need some contrast to work well.
Tim gave a demonstration of the laser which is behind the library in Woodcraft.

July 12, 2018 -- The Arts and Crafts Movement by Nancy Hiller

We were delighted to have Nancy Hiller back for a second time to speak to the Guild.  You may recall her presentation last year when she demonstrated milk paint finishes.   This time around we saw a very different side of her.  Rather than yet another ‘how-to’ demo, as is the common fare at most of our meetings, Nancy treated us to glimpse inside the thinking behind the Arts and Crafts movement that occurred at the turn of the last century.  As background, this movement was an international rebellion against the industrialization of furniture, decorative and fine arts that began in the UK, then spread to Europe and North America between about 1880 and 1920, and Asia (the Mingei movement) in the 1920’s.

Nancy’s new book on the subject “English Arts & Crafts Furniture: Projects & Techniques for the Modern Maker” was release on June 26, 2018.  So, we were privileged to see it just 2 weeks hence.  This richly illustrated hardcover book features 3 construction project complete with: measured drawings, construction details, and photographs (Voysen Two Heart Chair, Harris Lebus Sideboard, and Gimson Hayrake Table).  But, it was Chapter One that was the subject of her talk; that is to answer the question “Is Arts and Crafts a Style?”

Here in the US, we associate the Arts and Crafts movement with Gustav Stickley, but the movement really starts in the UK with John Ruskin (a social thinker and leading art critic of the Victorian Industrial Age) and his contemporary William Morris (a writer, lecturer, and designer who is most often associated with the movement).   Nancy explained the conditions of the Victorian era that lead to up to the Arts and Crafts movement.   The Victorian Era which was a societal sea change.  The era starts in 1837 when most people lived in villages and worked on farms and concludes by 1901, where most people lived in towns and worked in offices, shops, and factories.

Founders of the movement saw a system that exploited both makers and consumers.   They were dishonest to consumer by producing furniture that was fancy (often ornate and gaudy) and looked good (at first), but didn’t last.   Factories subjected workers to horrible conditions.  They were dangerous (amputations were common), exploited workers (including children), and the work was repetitive and soul sucking.   This transformed work from “life affirming” to hell.    Leaders of the movement believed that makers should be able to strive for perfection, hone their skills, and have the freedom to do their best work.  What unifies all the examples is the philosophy underlying the movement which places emphasis on the people who built the items.

“John Ruskin saw Gothic as the ‘Antidote’ to the evils of the industrial revolution.”

Arts and Crafts as a style looked to the “moral” elements of the Gothic period, that is nostalgia for medieval culture, nature and material artifacts were “enchanted”, simpler and more transparent times, longing to re-enact or re-create nature in art, a reaction against mechanization.  Nancy also pointed out that the return to simpler times and longing for nature is very cyclical – as seen again in the 1960’s, and millennials (while not forgoing technology that keeps them connected) are bringing back the “crafts” movement.

Nancy went on to explain Ruskin’s “Moral Elements of Gothic”.   He listed them in order of importance:

In Buildings: In People:
Savageness Rudeness
Changefulness Love of Change
Naturalism Love of Nature
Grotesqueness Disturbed Imagination
Rigidity Obstinacy
Redundance Generosity
These terms (as understood in the day) may not mean what you think.   For example, don’t you find it really odd that “Savageness” or “Rudeness” is listed as the most important element, if at all.  She explains the word savageness is related to the Italian work selvaggio which simply means untamed.  Rudeness is derived from the Latin word rus, which simply means countryside.  Now, untamed and country are better fit our impression of the Arts and Crafts style.  The Hayrake Table project in the book is a good example of countryside.  Likewise, she went on to explain the other elements in her talk.

June 14, 2018 -- Mike Kozikowski

At our June 14 regular meeting Mike Kozikowski showed us a china cabinet that he built for his daughter. The inspiration was a photograph supplied by his daughter. Owing to the size and complexity of the cabinet, the construction took some time; even spanning a house move. 

The cabinet was built from walnut solids and veneers. It was built in two parts, a base cabinet and upper glass display, which sits on top without mechanical attachment. Mike used SketchUp to model the cabinet from the photograph. He started by importing the photo into SketchUp, allowing him to gauge the proportions. Then, SketchUp allowed him to work out dimensions and joinery prior to cutting the actual wood. By selectively hiding components, the software allowed him to isolated individual components for detailed cut drawings he could then use in the shop.

Other points Mike discussed included:
  • Used frame and panel construction for cabinet sides
  • 1/4″ walnut ply veneer for door panels and sides
  • Joinery included double tenons
  • Dovetails hold the front top rail into the posts
  • Curved center door and drawer
  • Used a template to band saw curved rails on carcass, drawers, and doors
  • Glass upper door and curved rails glued up from stack of veneer with gorilla glue
  • Shelves are adjustable with standard shelf pins
  • Ordered his walnut for the project from Niagara Lumber and had a good experience, part of the order arrived not like he was expecting and their customer service department helped him get what he needed.