Copyright 2020 
Tidewater Woodworking GuildSite by President:Fran Foster, Vice President: Greg Guertin, Treasurer:Chris Zuchristian, Secretary:  Don Newsome

TWWWG Heading imageman glitter
March 2020
My workshop is my happy place!
Web Links At the Meeting Last Meeting Notes Tip of the Month Editors Notes
Product Reviews

What's In The Newsletter?

  • Presidents Report & Program Info
  • The Woodworking Show - Chantilly, VA Recap
  • The Woodworking Shows 2020 Finishing Notes
  • Walnut Tree Log Update

From the President ...

 Just when you think that the weather has broken and our thoughts were turning to getting back into the workshop to let our creative juices flow, we get news that life as we have known it is about to change.  The Coronavirus has spread to this country and the impacts are affecting how all of us go about our daily routines.  We are being asked to quarantine ourselves to help prevent the community spread of the virus.  Many people are very concerned and are attempting to prepare for what is the unknown for all of us.  We do not know how long this will be affecting us, but the people in the know are saying that the worse is yet to come.  We all need to do what is necessary to keep everyone safe and hopefully this crisis will ease in the near future. 

As a FYI, in case you have not already heard, our March Guild meeting has been cancelled.  We actually made the call last Saturday before the state restricted large group gatherings.  We will let everyone know if the April meeting is a go.

Now for the good news.  If we have to be house-bound for an extended period of time, we will not have any excuse for not taking care of those honey-do projects around the house we have been promising to do for a long time.  We can also tackle the yard work and winter clean up that will not happen without our help.  We can also either start or finish those woodworking projects that have been on our to do lists for a long time. 

There are other things you can do when sequestered in your home.  You can binge watch some of the very good shows that are on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc which will prove to be something that will keep your mind off of what the news channels are continuing to tell us.  Good books are available on line and can help to calm you down and make the time go by.  YouTube has many videos that show you how to do just about anything.  Google a topic and you are sure to find something interesting.  Pinterest is also a great resource.  I just saw on Facebook that there are free online classes that are available from Ivy League schools if you desire to further your education.  I am providing the link below:

Well, I have said enough.  Take care and be safe.  Do not hoard things that may be needed by others.  We will make it through this interesting time in our lives. 

Keep It Within the Grain


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The Woodworking Shows - Chantilly, VA Recap

 I was able to spend two days at The Woodworking Show in Chantilly in late February before the Corona virus shut down the big gatherings.  If I had a way to look into the future a few week ahead this probably would not have been a good choice but I am happy to report that I am feeling fine and it has been over two weeks since attending the event.  I was able to attend 6 seminars over the two day period all for the cost of a $12 ticket plus gas and a motel room but the educational experience was well worth the time I invested.  I would urge you to attend this show next year when it comes back to the Dulles Convention Center. 


                Woodpeckers Booth                                  Lee Valley Booth

Most of the seminars I selected were on finish techniques by Jim Heavy of Wood Magazine and Roland Johnson, instructor and author of several woodworking books.  A summary of the notes taken at these finish seminars is also being published in this month’s newsletter.  Two other interesting seminars were on modern milling techniques and ways to clamp your project without screwing it up.  Charles Binder had a very interesting discussion on how to start getting the flattest, straightest, most accurately dimensioned lumber possible.  He approached the process from the way it was done in the past with hand planes all the way up to the modern surface planer, joiner and table saw.  It was a very good review of how wood behaves and how you need to look at a piece of wood.  Ron Herman had a very interesting talk on the basics such as clamps, glues and fasteners. He discussed why your pin nails won’t hold well in end grain, why your glue didn’t stick or why your screw suddenly moved out of line when you tightened it?


  Noah's Ark - 1/40th Scale Plus Interior View.  Even Had A Unicorn In The Ark.


        Interior View Of The Vendors                     Charles Binder Seminar

If the opportunity exists for you to attend this show, take it.


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The Woodworking Shows 2020 Notes On Finishes

 Jim Heavy – Wood Magazine

There are two principal methods of laying down a smooth finish. Both brushing and spraying can each provide a satisfying surface when you know some of the tricks and techniques of applying the finish. Using these ideas is sure to bring some impressive results.

MSDS – Material Safety Data Sheet – look up on the web to see what is in your can of of finish.

3 Reasons For Applying A Top Coat

            Controlling the speed at which moisture enters the wood.

            Enhancing the natural beauty of the wood.

            Providing protection against abuse.

Oil based finishes turn white woods yellow.

Lacquer keeps white woods white and dark woods bright.

A few Fast Facts

Drying curing time is usually based on 70 degrees and 50-70 humidity.

            Finish does not stop moisture movement.

            Apply the same number of coats on all sides of the project.

            Finish dries and cures faster when the product is fresh.

            Cured finish is non-toxic.

            You can use water based products over oil based products.

Polyurethane and lacquer don’t like each other.

Shellac is the only product that can go bad in an unopened can.

If keeping the product in its can, punch drain holes in the can ring to get the best seal.


            Natural bristle brush is the best choice for this product.

            Nylon brush is the second best choice for applying this product.

            A foam brush also works for applying shellac.

Before applying shellac with a brush soak the brush in the correct solvent (denatured alcohol) all the way up to the top of the tang.  This keeps the bristles which overlap at the top of the tang from getting hard.

Shellac is a natural material.

Waxed vs unwaxed flakes.  Shellac in its natural form has wax in it (about 4% content, IIRC). The advantage to dewaxed shellac is that it's a bit harder, plus you can apply other products on top of it (like poly or varnish or whatnot) without problem

Cuts determine how thick the coat will be.

Shellac is an evaporative finish.

Brush on shellac has been treated with an inhibitor to keep it from drying so fast.


Lacquer is an evaporative finish.

You should use a face mask when working with lacquer.

Because lacquer dries so fast a product labeled as brush on will have a retardant put into it.

Lacquer can be tinted.

Don’t apply lacquer when it is humid.

Lacquer does not like heat.

Oil based products can be covered by water based products.

Solvent Based Finishes

            Polyurethane is the best choice.

            Polyurethane is a reactive finish.

Thin polyurethane with mineral spirits.  When you buy this product it has already been cut 50% with mineral spirits.  Cut your own polyurethane.

            Blemishes are hard to fix with a polyurethane finish.

Wipe on polyurethane finishes are the most popular finish being used in woodworking today.

Danish Oil finish is a wipe on poly.  It was not invented by the Danes and has nothing to do with them.  It is just a marketing name.  It was thinned from 30% to 50% with mineral spirits and the price is marked up.  Cut your own polyurethane.

Water Based Finishes

Don’t use natural bristle brushes.

Pre-wet surface before applying the finish.

Sand with 400 grit sandpaper between coats.

Apply a full coat to the project and quit.


Roland Johnson – Fine Woodworking

Chromophobia is defined as a persistent, irrational aversion to colors and is usually a conditioned response. Sounds like a woodworking problem! Too many woodworkers are terrified of adding color to their woodworking, falling back on the hackneyed phrase “I would never ruin the natural beauty of wood by changing it’s color”. What they’re really saying is “I’m afraid of color, I might ruin the piece” and unfortunately in many cases that’s exactly what happens. Rollie will show us how to change our conditioned response by learning how to correctly use color to bring out the best in a piece, no more bland! There are many factors that will determine the outcome of using color and we will make a grand tour of them, from grain direction to glazing we will find out why color works with wood the way it does. We will learn how to avoid the pitfalls of blotching and uneven coloring. Glazing can add to the allure of color and give a piece added depth and texture. We will also learn how to cover the color with an easy-to-apply long lasting finish that will bring out the brilliance. Color, it’s what makes the world beautiful.

When gluing up wood panels be aware of the direction that the grain runs to get a uniform finish.  On flat sawn wood this is generally straight forward, make sure the cathedrals all point the same way.  On quarter sawn and rift sawn wood this can be more complicated.  Your selection of the matching wood pieces, even if out of the same board, can look bad under a finish if all of the boards do not have the grain running in the same direction.  For example, if you are gluing up say 4 board side by side and the grain is not going the same direction you might get a finish that might look like shiny, dull, shiny, dull when the finish is applied because each board will reflect light differently.

Coloring wood:

Stains – the pigment is held in a solution.  It is usually made from ground earth products and mixed with mineral spirits.  Roland calls the pigments large bowling balls.

It is the easiest product to work with when coloring wood.

Stains work with the scratches in the wood.


If you use dyes on your coloring process, once the dye is in the wood it stays in the wood.

Types of dyes:



            J.F. Mosley

Types of dyes:

            Powder (water, alcohol or oil soluble), premixed, or concentrate.

            React with chromates in the wood.  Potassium Dichromate is in this list.

Ferris Acetate gives Maple a silver look.  It would look great on the wine rack or other projects that you want to make look old.

Ebonizing wood - .  Iron staining, or ebonizing, generally uses a reaction between iron oxide and the natural tannins in wood to create a natural- looking black that is actually created in the fibers of the wood rather than a stain sitting on top.

Paint thinner is a better grade than mineral spirits.

Book – Adventures in Wood Finishing by George Frank is Rowland’s go to book finishes.

Go to and download cut chart on how shellac cuts work and what they mean.

Rabbit Skin Glue - Stronger than most modern adhesives, rabbit skin glue is used in traditional woodworking, gilding and painting techniques. First soaked in water and then heated in a water bath, it is applied warm, and gels when left to cool. In woodworking, rabbit skin glue’s solubility in water makes it reversible, while its “open time” allows for repositioning.

Roland only sands his projects to 150 grit if he is going to stain it because this gives the stain pigments a place to lodge.

Sand the end grain with twice the grit as you sand the surface because the end grain is more porous than face grain and that will make them stain the same shade.

Don’t use steel wool on your projects because it has oil in it to keep it from rusting.  If you are going to use steel wool on your project, get stainless steel wool.

Grain Fillers

            Danish Oil

            Woodgrain Filler

            Aqua Coat

Put Danish oil on and sand with the grain using 220 wet/dry grit sand paper and then wipe off with a rag against the grain.


            Dyes have very small pigments or small bowling balls

For inexpensive dyes, pick up Easter egg colors during the Easter season.  They make great dyes.

You can make a great faux finish look on MDF by purchasing an inexpensive ($3) faux tool at the big box stores.

This finish will fade with time but you can extend its look by sealing it with external finishes that have UV protection like marine spar varnish.

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Walnut Tree Log Update

Back in October of 2019 I wrote an article on some black walnut trees that would be coming down and that the owner would be donating them to the guild if they were interested.  I have been working on this opportunity for 11 months but I am happy to report that the trees have finally come down and are ready for Paul Garrity to slice up.  Paul estimates that there should be somewhere around 300 board feet of lumber coming out of the logs.  Currently the ground is too soft to get the saw mill into the back yard but once it dries up the logs will be cut up.  Look for more information in an e-mail blast from Fran on when this will occur.


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