Ahchoo! Is that Sawdust or Pollen?
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From the President
Welcome to April! Spring has sprung and it seems that we're accelerating quickly into summer. Hope that you're able to spend productive time in the shop.
This month's meeting will be a Dovetail Extravaganza. Gary Stephens will demonstrate creating dovetails using a Porter Cable jig, and I'll demonstrate cutting dovetails by hand. The important point of this session is for you to realize that dovetails aren't a mystery, they're easy to create; and when things go south, there are efficient fixes that can be employed. The best reference I've seen on the subject is in Tage Frid's Book 1: Joinery; good sketches and descriptions.
In addition, we'll be given a short brief by the Friends of Norfolk Public Library on little free libraries, and their efforts to provide these libraries to Norfolk residents. This appears to be a great outreach opportunity for the Guild. See the link above for details on the libraries.
Final note: Though most of you have already heard, Steve Houmis passed away Saturday, April 14th. He taught alot of classes at Woodcraft and was a tremendous technical/historical resource. He'll be greatly missed.
At the Next Meeting - Dovetail Extravaganza
Don't miss Jim Francis and Gary Stephens presentations on dovetails, by hand and by machine. Here is a short blurb on what Gary has to offer on cutting perfect dovetails on a Porter Cable jig:
I will be demonstrating cutting PERFECT dovetails using a router and a dovetail jig. The dovetail jig that I will be using is the Porter Cable dovetail jig, model number 4212.
This dovetail jig kit lets you cut a wide variety of joinery for drawers, boxes, and furniture. This dovetail jig allows you to cut half-blind, rabbeted half-blind, and sliding dovetails, plus a template for through dovetails and box joints.
Due to time constraints this will be a hands on exercise for all who want to try their hand at cutting half blind dovetails and making drawers. I will explain how to cut the other types of dovetails on this dovetail jig but the setup time involved in making the changes does not fit in with our allotted TWWWG time frame.
Come on out and learn how to use this jig to make PERFECT dovetails (and to clean up its mess).
Last Meeting Notes - SketchUp and Challenges
Jim Francis reviewed the most current version of SketchUp, the free design package available from Google. He demonstrated, on screen, the versatility of he program.Give it a try.
Don't forget that there are open challenges for you, from beginner to master. Try your hand at the dovetail puzzle box, the corner shelf, the scrap wood coaster or the small box. And, of course, we look forward to a host of original six-pack caddies in June. Don't let the season go by without creating.
Tip of the Month - Let's talk Dovetails
No other woodworking joint carries the same mystique as the dovetail. It's beautiful to look at, it's as strong as oak and it's the signature by which fine craftspeople are known. But, it helps to look at this joint in its proper historical context.
Dovetail joints have been around for hundreds of years. They were concocted during an era when nails were expensive and screws were as rare as hens teeth. They were used to construct drawers that, without the aid of slides and glides, were subject to all manner of swelling, tugging and abuse. And, they were a sturdy, foolproof joint ideal for building a hope chest that might spend weeks in the cargo hold of a sailing ship, crashing across the Atlantic. Today, nails and screws cost pennies, ball-bearing glides allow us to open a drawer with the touch of a pinky finger and most of us roll our luggage around on wheels, when we journey overseas.
None of this makes the dovetail joint any less attractive or strong. It just makes it less essential. If you just need a functional joint that can survive in today's world, there are simpler alternatives. But, if you wish to make a classic dovetail joint, use one of the many jigs available or follow in the steps of those who have gone before, and hand cut your dovetails. In either event, you will have created a strong and beautiful joint.
Editors Notes - Seven Newsletters to Go!
This is YOUR Guild. It is a living breathing (so to speak) entity. The young must take over from those who've been here for years. Breath new life and excitement into woodworking and into your guild. It's time for new blood in the newsletter, and perhaps the website.
See you Monday - Karl
Tidewater Woodworking Guild
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