Category: Newsletters
Hits: 1651

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

TWWWG Heading imageman glitter
July 2020
I'm A Woodworker
I Can't Fix Stupid
But I Can Fix What Stupid Does
Web Links At the Meeting Last Meeting Notes Tip of the Month Editors Notes

What's In The Newsletter?

  • Editors Report
  • What Type Of Wood Is It Continued?
  • TWWWG Newsletter Editor Almost Bites The Dust
  • Grizzly Industrial Tools
  • TWWWG Face Masks

Editors Report ...

In the absence of president Fran’s monthly comments (he is on vacation) I thought I would fill in his monthly space.

From the lack of any response to show and tell articles for this month’s newsletter it seems like everyone, including myself, has taken off the month of July.  I am not sure why, it may be the excessive heat that we have been experiencing, (my shop is air-condition so that is not an excuse), the dull drums of summer or maybe just from being sequestered for so long from the coronavirus.  I has only been in the last few days that I have gone out to my shop and actually started working on a project.  We have been under this new normal for 5 months and maybe we are adapting to it for the first times in our life.

I note this new change in the way people are changing by observing the changes in our weekly on-line church services.  My church of about 1,700 has been under very strict reopening procedures from the bishop that makes our governors rules seem tame.  You must wear a mask, no singing, no passing the collection plate, no pens, pencils or weekly offering envelopes, no hymnals.  Social distancing, military like maneuvers to enter and exit the sanctuary and even to asking for a seat assignment at Sunday service.  There are some in the church that say enough is enough and let’s get back together.  Two weeks ago was the first time that the church was open for Sunday worship.  58 people came, sat in the fellowship hall and watched the service stream on the big screen from our Facebook feed.  The following week only 23 people came to the live service.  I prefer to stay at home and watch the service stream live on my laptop, it’s safer but not as satisfying as being there in person.  Right now I prefer to be healthy and safe rather than being exposed to a potentially deadly virus.  Yes, I miss our monthly meetings but I enjoy being healthy and well.

I live out in the Great Bridge section of Chesapeake, off the first exit after crossing the inter-coastal bridge.  Every Saturday morning there is a stream of cars exiting the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  You can spot them from a mile away.  They have their headlights on and the license plates read New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania.  On the backs of their cars are 3 or 4 bicycles, coolers, lawn chairs and more.  On top of the cars is a cargo carrier.  They stream like this for 4 or 5 hours.  Going the other direction toward the Outer Banks you see the same thing.  With North Carolina having a big spike in virus cases I see these tourists taking the virus back to their home states and helping start round two of another lock down. 

My thought to the guild members is stay safe, get used to this new normal for the long haul and get back into the shop!  I want to see projects for the next newsletter.


Gary Stephens

Return to Top

What Type Of Wood Is It Continued?

Back in the May and June newsletter I ran articles on what type of wood is it?  We say we made our project out of oak, walnut or cherry but these three words are generic terms for the woods.  There were 6 different species of “walnut” available in the US, 12 trees that made up the “white oak” lumber group and 10 trees that define the “red oak” group.  This month the discussion will continue with “cherry” wood.

It turns out that when you said I made it out of “cherry” wood that you were correct.  While there are thousands of flowering cherry trees around the world, there is only one cherry tree used for woodworking and it’s called by its scientific name of Prunus Serotina.  If you call it Cherry, Black Cherry, American Cherry, Choke Cherry, Rum Cherry, Whiskey Cherry or Wild Cherry you are correct.  These names are all correct names for Prunus Serotina.

Colonial furniture makers called “cherry” “New England Mahogany” because of its tendency to turn dark red-brown after exposure to sunlight.  They often used it side by side with real mahogany wood.

When first cut, cherry looks like a pale, pinkish brown, but it gradually darkens to a mahogany-like red. Often, the very light-colored sapwood, as well as resin or gum pockets, will be present in boards. FAS (firsts and seconds) grading standards accept their presence, but woodworkers shouldn't.  Cherry wood has a straight, satiny grain, often with a ripple figure. Heavy and hard, stiff and strong, the wood resists knocks and other abuse.

Cherry works well with all hand and machine tools, although it will burn if cutting edges aren't extremely sharp. Carvers and wood turners find that cherry adapts well to the knife and lathe, too.  It takes a radiant finish, and its rich, natural color most often goes unstained.

The big thing to look out for when working with cherry wood is exposure to ultra violet light.  The UV light darkens the wood over time.  You can see it in your own shop if you if you have a cherry board covered partly with another board.  In as little of an hour you can see the effect of where the board covering the cherry board was placed.  It will be light in color and the exposed part of the board will be darker in color.  This is even noticeable with a finished project.  Set something on it and remove it later and you will see its shadow.

Cherry can also be aged to its final color with the addition of potassium dichromate to the raw wood.  Potassium dichromate brings out the tannins in just a few hours.  The down side to using potassium dichromate is that it is a cancer causing agent.  If you use it to age the wood you need to wear gloves and a respirator while mixing up the solution, applying the solution and through the initial finishing stages of the project.  The airborne particles from sanding in-between coats of finish are bad to breathe. Editor

Return to Top

TWWWG Newsletter Editor Almost Bites The Dust ...

It was Wednesday, July 7, 2020, just starting to rain and thunder in the distance.  I was in the driveway just about to get into the mini-van when lightning struck the pine tree right behind me.  It is only about 50’ from the car to the tree.  Scared the **** out of me!  I saw the tree shake, pine cones and pine straw rain from the sky.  We found bark from the tree in the street, on top of the house and even in the back yard.

The arborist says tree has about a 50/50 chance of making it but it could also be dead in 30 days or take a couple of years to die.  You can see the damage in the attached photos.


        Street Side Photo Of Lightning Blast        Back Side Of Tree.  More Blow Out Higher Up

The blast also did a number on some of the electronic devices in the house.  I had to get a new router, HDMI splitter, antenna to HDMI converter box, power strips, wireless telephone system and more.  I was surprised to see how many of the little black bricks that power our electronic devices did not survive.

Gary Stephens      

Return to Top

Grizzly Industrial Tools

The last couple of days I have spent cleaning up my Elon oscillating vertical drum sander.  You have never heard of this unit because they went out of business some time ago but they were bought up by Grizzly Industrial Tools out of Bellingham, WA.  I decided to change the gear oil in the unit since it had never been replaced since I purchased it years ago from a friend.  Their model G-1071 is the same model as my Elon unit and I was able to get the information from its manual to help me replace the gear oil in my unit.  While I was downloading the manual I stumbled across a video on their web site that talks about this family owned business and how it got started and how it grew.  Very interesting.  I have included the link to this video in the newsletter in case you would like to see how they got started and how it turned into a multi-billion dollar company.  If you decide to watch the video please note that it is 25 minutes long but it is from the founder of the business.

Gary Stephens

Return to Top


TWWWG Face Masks

A couple of weeks ago I sent out an e-mail blast about a retired teacher friend of my wife’s who sews and was willing to make masks for the group.  I don’t have the final figures from Fran (he said 1 from his last e-mail) and Andy said he would take 2 masks but I had her make up 10 face masks.  If you are interested in one of these masks please drop me a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  They are $5.00 each.