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

TWWWG Heading imageman glitter
November 2020
Weekend Forecast:  Woodworking With A Chance Of Wine!
Web Links At the Meeting Last Meeting Notes Tip of the Month Editors Notes

What's In The Newsletter?

  • Presidents Report
  • Election Results
  • Working With Red And Black Palm Wood
  • Guild Woodworking Projects
  • Branding And Customizing Your Projects

Presidents Report ...

 I must admit that 2020 has been a very strange year.  Our guild started off last January as business as usual.  Life was good and the members enjoyed gathering to see fellow woodworkers and continue to learn about what happening in the world of woodworking.  Demonstrations provided new information and techniques or refreshed existing knowledge.  The February meeting was to be more of the same, but things quickly changed due to the pandemic.  A decision was made to not meet the following month and stayed the same until October.  We decided that enough was enough and we held our first Zoom meeting that month.  The first one was more of a good to see you than an informational one, but we did have some show and tell and a sharing of ideas. Now that the first one is under our belt, we want to make it more interactive and informative.

 We meet every 4th Monday except December at 7:00 PM and if you are interested in joining the guild, you can contact us and we will add you to the group.  Business cards are located in the Woodcraft store in the JANAF Shopping Center. We have even stopped charging dues until things return back to normal.  Hope to see you, virtually, and join in with a group of talented fellow woodworkers.


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Election Results

 At Monday’s nights TWWWG Zoom meeting the following officers were elected for the 2021 calendar year.

President – Fran Foster

V. President – Greg Guertin

Treasurer – Chris Zuchristian

Secretary – Larry Larue

If you see them thank them for their service.

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Working With Red And Black Palm Wood

 A few years ago when Chris Vickers was cleaning out his wood show room he had a sale on some exotic woods and I ended up buying two pieces of red palm and two pieces of black palm.  I had no idea of what I would use the wood for but I liked the look of the wood.  Now fast forward to November of 2020, a very unusual year but it has kept me in the shop much more than in previous years and I have finally found a use for the “wood” for this year’s Christmas presents.

The first thing I discovered while trying to flatten one side to get it through the planner is that this stuff is HARD.  If you have ever worked with Osage Orange wood then you can relate to its hardness.  Both woods are very equivalent in hardness.  I had extreme difficulty trying to flatten the wood on the jointer and ended up flattening the wood on the belt disk sander because the longest piece is only about 19” long.  After getting one side flattened my surface planer with a spiral cutter head made easy work on the other side.

What I have discovered since working with the black and red palm “wood” is that it is neither a hardwood or softwood but a monocot (grass).  When compared with other woods in your shop the only similarity one can claim is that red and black palm comes from a tree.  It displays no growth rings, has zero knots, shows no medullary rays, and exhibits absolutely no figure variations such as curly or quilted.  If you look at the end grain it will look like a piece of bamboo with hundreds of tiny like straws making up end grain.  The best black palm boards come from trunk’s hardened outer layer and contain no sapwood.


   Black Palm End Grain View                                        Black Palm Wood

Because the wood only comes from the outer part of the tree you will not find many boards wider than 3 or 4 inches.  The black palm used in my future project was about 4” wide and 6’ long.  Red and black palm is planted as a crop.  You can find it throughout south and Southeast Asia, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

When working with red and black palm you need to visualize the vascular structure of black palm.  A good analogy would be extremely brittle red or black toothpicks tightly bundled together and encased with a relatively soft tan glue.  The tan plant tissue (parenchyma) doesn’t provide great support, so the hard dark fibers erupt in splintery tear-out or can pull out, producing a pock-marked surface. This defect may appear on surfaces that are rip cut, jointed, or surface-planed. A sharp chisel cutting at an angle can produce a clean face, and crosscuts with an 80-tooth, 10" blade in a miter saw should yield smooth, clean ends. The wood sands cleanly, but use a sanding block to ensure a flat surface.

All in all it is a very beautiful “wood” and I will show you the end product in the January newsletter

Gary Stephens

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Guild Woodworking Projects

  Our first project for this month’s newsletter was pictured in last month’s newsletter but awaiting on information from Bret Landcaster.

 Pocket Watch Display Case

The photo of the Pocket Watch Display case Jim sent you last month came about for a friend of mine I use to work with at the shipyard.  He’s got a collection of old pocket watches and he was keeping them in a drawer in his bedroom.  He’s wanted to show them off, but never found the right way to display them until he came upon a photo of a display case on line.  After he found the photo, he sent me a picture and asked if I would make it for him.  He stated he would povide the air dried Walnut for the piece (bought from another friend of his).  Meeting with him, we discussed dimensions and I did a rough drawing and picked up the lumber.  The walnut was about 3/4 inch in the rough when I got it, and I milled it down to about 5/8 inch.  I used Watco Black Walnut for the finish.  I didn’t need to use any dye because the wood was air dried and not kiln dried (walnut has a tendency to grey some when it is kiln dried).


Decorative Gift Box


Greg Guertin supplied me with some pictures of a small gift box he recently finished.  The box is made of Cherry and Walnut with Hawaiian Koa wood accent.

Future Projects

We do not publish a newsletter in December so I am expecting LOTS of entries from Christmas gifts you made this December to include them in the January newsletter.


 Branding And Customizing Your Projects


Back in the August newsletter I wrote an article on how to use your laser printer to generate material to brand the projects you build.  A few days ago I was looking at all of e-mails I get wanting to sell me woodworking tools.  While looking at the branding iron being offered I stumbled across another way to brand your work using signature medallions.  The person who made the medallions was a member of a woodworking guild out west.


The medallions can be totally customized to your needs.  Your signature medallion can be done in any font and any logo can be used.  Finishes available include shiny gold, antique gold, copper, silver and more.  The medallions are 1” in diameter so just use a Forstner bit to make a shallow hole and secure them with a touch of epoxy or super glue

The biggest drawback to the medallions is the minimum order of 100 pieces at $199 but that makes the cost of the medallion just $1.99 each to brand your work.  For more information go to