Copyright 2022 
Tidewater Woodworking  President: Fran Foster, Vice President: Greg Guertin, Treasurer: Chris Zuchristian, Secretary:  Larry Larue


TWWWG Heading imageman glitter
March 2022
 Woodworking - The Cure For Loose Stools
Web Links At the Meeting Last Meeting Notes Tip of the Month Editors Notes

What's In The Newsletter?

  • Presidents Report
  • Chippokes State Park Historic Saw Mill
  • Slab Flattening With A Router
  • S.A.P.F.M. Meeting
  • Guild Projects
  • March Meeting - Working With Irregular Shaped Curved Wood

Presidents Report ...

 Hello fellow woodworkers.  Our guild is alive and well and almost back to the pre-pandemic level.  We had an outstanding presentation by the former president of the guild last month that generated al lot of interest and Q and A.  We also had a guest who came to us asking for assistance with a community project.  We were educated on the need to create nesting towers for chimney swallows.  This conservation project creates an opportunity to build towers that resemble chimneys for swallows to use as a nesting place since their normal nesting locations, chimneys, are disappearing.  We agreed to research this further and hope to be able to help build a tower in the near future.  As you can see, the guild is more than a resource for education and information.  We also are willing to help with community projects.  We meet every fourth Monday of the month at 7:00 PM at Woodcraft.  If you are interested in seeing what we are all about, please feel free to join us at the next meeting.

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Fran Foster

President TWWWG

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Chippokes State Park Historic Saw Mill 

 In late February my wife and I were celebrating our birthdays and we stayed at Smithfield Station while touring Smithfield, Jamestown Settlement and Williamsburg.  On our way back to Smithfield from Williamsburg we took the ferry across the James River to10 South toward Smithfield.  Halfway between Surry and Smithfield is a Virginia State Park called Chippokes Plantation.  While the park was open there were no staff on site so we just drove around looking at the James River, the mansion, horse farms and the discovery of a historic saw mill.   Reaching out to the park I found out this information about the history of the saw mill.

It is a 1930's portable mill that was purchased and owned by Victor Stewart, the last private owner of Chippokes, and set up here on the property. Victor was co-owner of Colonial Pine Company in Petersburg, an early conservationist, and proponent of land stewardship practices. . Upon purchasing the property, he and his wife Evelen decided to restore many of the historic buildings on site. To do so, he needed plenty of lumber – most of which was harvested on site and run through this mill. Not exactly sure where he got the machinery from but one of the plaques on the building says American Saw Mill Machinery, Hackettstown, NJ.  The saw mill was steam and belt driven and at some point in the future it looks like they acquired a gas driven generator to run the belts and machinery. 


A View Of The Steam Powered Tractor (left) And The Two Sides Of The Cutting Mill (right)


A Look Down The Rail Road Style Conveyor That Brings The Logs Past The Saw Blade

This View Shows The Belt Drive System For The Saw Blade


Photo On The Left:  Detailed View Of The Saw Blade.  Note The Splitter Behind The Blade.

Photo On The Right:  If You Look Closely You Can See The Saw Blades Used For Ripping The Wood Planks


View Of A Belt Driven Surface Planner


Belt Driven Chop Saw?  Pushing The Handle Forward Raises The Board Into The Blade To Cross Cut The Board

A Look At The Gasoline Driven Power Plant For The Belt Drive

The mill is maintained by staff and volunteers from the Tidewater Engine Club, Hampton. This year at Harvest Festival, October 15, 2022 the saw mill will be operational. In addition to running and demonstrating the mill, volunteers will have displays open for visitors including cooking demos, antique tractor pulls and crafts relating to the time period. 

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Slab Flattening, Part 2, By Chris Zuchristian

 Last week I featured my slab flattening jig in the newsletter.  This month we are featuring a slab flattening jig by Chris Zuchristian.

This is an adjustable router leveling jig.  I followed the plan in Erich Lage article “Router Leveling Jig” found on Woodsmith website. 

It was constructed using 3/4” Plywood and MDF (1/4” & 1/2”).  I used 1/2” MDF for the base and 3/4” for the fence for the two router guides. The shim stacks have a solid top and bottom made of 3/4” plywood.   The sims are easily added/removed to the middle of the stacks to achieve the desire height.  The shims are made of MDF (1/4” & 1/2”) and 3/4” plywood. The slots in the shims are 3/8” wide and 2 1/4” deep.  I used 4 1/2” carriage bolts and 1/4”-20 knobs. 


Chris Zuchristian's Slab Flatting Jig

Fence and Base:  36” long with a 27 1/2” gap between the shim stacks.

Shim stack is 3/4” x 4 1/4” x 16”

I used a non-skid pad to prevent my project from moving while I was routing and slid the Jig to cover to make each cut.   The technique worked well because I have a deep workbench. 

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Upcoming S.A.P.F.M. Meeting

 The Society of American Periodic Furniture Makers, S.A.P.F.M, will be holding its next Zoom on-line presentation out of the Woodcraft facility on April 9, 2022.  TWWWG will be hosting this event and members are invited to attend this meeting free of charge.  The meeting will be from 10:00 AM till 12:00 PM.  This year’s topic is everything you ever wanted to know about clocks.  Speakers for the meeting will include:

Rick Robinson ( and Jeff Ade ( - National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, who can talk endlessly about clock collecting, clocks/movements/repairs.

Aspen Golann who will host a question and answer session on her Eli Terry style shelf clock featured in the article "The Art and Application of Clock Imagery" - 2019 American Period Furniture. 

Ronnie Young (SAPFM 2016 Cartouche award winner) who will talk about his Massachusetts dwarf clock and Willard shelf clock.

Ben Hobbs (SAPFM 2011 Cartouche award winner) who will discuss the Thomas White tall clock.

If you want to know more about the meeting, below is a suggested reading list:

"The Art and Application of Clock Imagery" in the 2019 American Period Furniture journal, and come to our meeting prepared with questions.

*  Looking for a good clock reference?  Check out American Clocks, An Introduction by Tom Spittler.

*  Need some inspiration?  Take a look at Colonial Williamsburg's collection.

A Zoom link will be sent out to TWWWG members around April 1, 2022.  For additional questions, please contact Jim Francis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Guild Projects

 Our first projects come from Gary Stephens.

 Not sure if this is a woodworking project or art project.  The elements are made of wood but it is a lot of artsy crafty work.  The pictures below are of a spindle tree that I made for some friends.  Having never heard of a spindle tree, she gave me photographs from the internet and said be creative, which I did.  Our friends cut up three old chairs that had sentimental value to them and brought the parts over to me in a box and said these are the spindles I want you to use.


I used the backs of two of the chairs for the base with a scrap piece of 4" x 4" sandwiched in the middle.  A hole was drilled in the block of wood and a wooden closet pole was inserted into the hole to become the trunk of the tree.  A star was fashioned out of some of the chair parts to to top the tree off.  Stained it and sprayed it with lacquer.  Anyway she loved it and gave me $25 plus a very nice bottle of McCallan scotch for being so creative!

 Our next project come to us from Chris Zuchristian


Curved centerpiece made from Mahogany

This CNC table was built mainly from 3/4” plywood and pine.  I painted it fire engine red and black and added a space up front for my laptop.  

Our next project comes from Greg Guertin.


Greg's shoe rack he built for a client.

Working With Irregular Shaped Curved Wood

This month's program will be presented by Gary Stephens and is tilled "Working With Irregular Shaped Curved Wood".  Back in 2019 Gary showed an American Flag made of wood waving in the breeze.  There has been much request through the guild to see how he created the flag shown below.  In this presentation you will see how he created the wooden flag and getting you to think outside of the normal X, Y, and Z box of coordinates and instead think of curved wood pieces in terms of Sine, Cosine, and Tangent (think High School Trig?).  No math is required to build this project, just your imagination.


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