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June 2017
Humidity? What Humidity?
Web Links At the Meeting Last Meeting Notes Tip of the Month Editors Notes
Product Reviews

Just a Note in Passing from Karl

Slave WoodworkingHey there. I just returned from New Orleans. Aside from indulging in beignetes, jambalaya and chickory-laced coffee, I had the opportunity to see some very good architecture in the Garden District of New Orleans and in the Historical River Road plantation houses. I visited the Whitney Plantation Museum in Wallace, Louisiana and took this picture. Now, the museum is dedicated to presenting the ante-bellum (before the Civil War) South from the slave viewpoint … but that's for another conversation. I bring this picture to your attention because this fluted mantle piece and the dentil work of the crown moldings were created entirely by hand and with rudimentary hand tools in the 1830s. It is all long leaf yellow pine, cut with a straight blade pit saw and then hand milled. I saw joinery in the slave quarters that was carefully kerfed and jointed with hand turned trunnels (treenail dowels made from a harder wood). My point, here,is that we in the Guild are the historical and logical guardians of these same skills. Let's not let them lapse. Yes, we have power tools, better metals, superior sharpening technology and access to better substrates and woods. But, we have no more creativity nor less love for the art and our craft than the enslaved men (and they were all men) who, despite being deprived of liberty, choice or personal identity, built the magnificent and historical edifices that are our historical legacy. It is incumbent upon us, as woodworkers and craftsment, to keep the woodworking arts alive. Create. Teach. Mentor.

From the President

Woodshop Tweet

Welcome to June, and the many uncompleted (drawers; many, many drawers) and upcoming tasks (thinning timber, clearing creeping juniper, new construction bureau) piling up into the remaining months of the year.  

One realization I came to recently was that customers (i.e. family, friends) take it as a given that a piece of furniture will be well-designed/built.  However, they judge the piece by its finish.  As a result, I've begun the task of improving finishing practices/processes in the shop.  With that said, if you have issues applying finishes with a brush (i.e. brush marks and other defects in each layer), the root cause may just be your brush.  Mitch Kohanek of recommends the following:

  • Solvent-based finishes:  Use brushes with bristles having flagged ends (each bristle looks like it has a split end).  Blond china bristles, badger hair, and blond china bristles with a 15% oxhair blend are recommended.

  • Water-based finishes and shellac should be applied with brushes made of synthetic material and that do not have flagged end bristles. Taklon (synthetic bristle) brushes are popular.

Expect to pay more for a good brush, but with proper care it should last a long time.  For more information, check out Fine Woodworking's May/June 2010's article "The Best Brushes".

Best Wishes,


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At the Next Meeting - Milling Rough Lumber

Bret Lancaster will be teaching and demonstrating the milling of rough cut lumber both by hand and machine. Don't miss this intro to how that really smoooth wood gets into our hands.

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Last Meeting Notes - We know a lot more about hand saw sharpening?

Scott Fell gave us the lowdown on the tools, jigs and processes needed to sharpen your handsaws.

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Tip of the Month - A Simple Block to Make Crosscuts Safer

Thanks to Gary Stephens for sending this one to the Guild

If you try to use the rip fence as a stop block when crosscutting on the tablesaw, the trapped, unsupported cutoff can turn into a missile. The safe method is to clamp a block to the rip fence well in front of the blade, so the freed piece is not trapped. However, this can be awkward, particularly on a shallow Biesemeyer-style fence where the clamp can interfere with the work. In this video, Fine WoodWorking editor Tom McKenna shows you how to avoid clamping altogether with a clever, magnetized stop block in this video. Click this Link to view.

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Editors Notes

My apologies for the late newsletter. I returned from my vacation late Sunday to find that my house had suffered a nearby ground strike of lightning. I lost Internet, Phone and Cable connections, including (and how does that happen?) my fiberoptic connection. At any rate, it took a few days to recover. This is the third occurence, so lightning rods will be appearing in residential Virginia Beach.

For the security of our website, pictures from meetings and other adventures in woodworking are now available on Instagram. Instagram is, primarily, an app for your smart phone and can be found in the appStore for your phone. Our Instagram group is 'twwwgboard'. That's all you should need to view our pictures.For those with pictures they wish to share, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I'll guide you through the simple process. I hope to keep our Instagram focused on our woodworking events and accomplishments. So, please work with me here. - Karl

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Tidewater Woodworking Guild
Site by President:Jim Francis Vice President:Gary Stephens Treasurer: Scott Paris


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