Society of American Period Furniture Makers
Great Lakes Chapter
2009 Spring Meeting
Livonia Senior Center, Livonia, MI
We had another great meeting which 26 members attended from MI, OH, and Canada. A special thanks to all the presenters for a wonderful job well done. We always learn something new no matter how long we have been building period furniture.
Ed Stuckey and Bob Koyton, a professional photographer, who was a guest at the meeting, gave a presentation on photographing furniture. Bob brought has pro equipment and Ed brought homemade props for the shoot. There was a PowerPoint presentation on the basics of photography, including shooting using natural light, flash, and studio lighting. Ed set up lights, diffusing screens and a backdrop to photograph some of the pieces of furniture members were encouraged to bring. Rich Eschebach brought a tilt top table he recently completed and Dan Reahard brought a Queen Anne chair. Members also brought their own cameras so they could practice. There will be pictures posted of these pieces.
The next presentation was by Rich Eschebach on creating a molded profile using molding planes. The profile consisted of a step, radius, flat, ogee, and a flat. The end result was a well formed profile that showed the versatility of molding planes. Rich is quite adept in the use of them and gave a thorough explanation. Thanks to Rich we all learned techniques of using molding planes.
Jim Crammond demonstrated how to hand plane a rough sawn board to the required thickness. Jim started the process with a scrub plane and leveling sticks. He worked out the warp in the board by placing the leveling sticks across the board to find the high points, which he then removed with his scrub plane. Once he had the board fairly level he then used a jack plane to remove all the marks left by the scrub. Once this process was done he used a smoothing plane to get an extremely smooth, flat surface. Next, using a jointer plane, he jointed one edge of the board to use as a reference. He then set his marking gauge to the required thickness and marked the perimeter of the board. He then used the same steps to flatten and smooth the board as he had done on the initial face. When finished, a jointer and thickness planner could not have done any better.
The last demonstration of the day was on making a rule joint by Jim Scarasella. Jim began by stating, the principle of a rule joint is very simple: The tabletop has a shouldered roundover cut along its edge, and the hinged leaf has a corresponding cove cut along its edge. When the leaf is raised, the
cove rests directly on the roundover so the weight of the leaf, plus serving dishes, elbows or any other objects that might get placed near the joint, is carried by the joint itself and not just the hinge screws. When the leaf is down, the rule joint forms a decorative ovolo molding along the edge of the table. A cross section of this molded edge resembles the brass joint on a traditional carpenter's rule, hence the name rule joint. Jim emphasized the importance of laying out the joint correctly. The placement of the hinge is critical for the smooth operation of the joint. Jim used matched round over and cove bits to cut the joint. He showed some an example of the rule joint that he had made in his workshop.
Jim gave an insightful presentation and we all appreciated his efforts.
Bruce Beck as usual, gave a summary of the meeting in January at Williamsburg. Bruce seems to have landed this job at all our meetings and his summaries are very thorough and bring the group up to date as what is happening in the organization.
On Saturday night members and their spouses meet at Bennigan’s for dinner. About 20 people attended and we had a great dinner and conversation.
Sunday, Ed Stuckey had videotaped Dan Reahard’s furniture. Dan is an excellent craftsman and has built a large number of exquisite pieces. We all enjoyed watching the video. This is the 3rd time we have filmed various members’ furniture and it is quite inspirational. Thanks to Dan and his wife for allowing us into his house to do the filming.
The last session on Sunday is our group discussion. Members bring ideas, plans, books, etc. and discuss their projects they are currently working on. They ask questions and how to approach various aspects in the building process. This forum serves as an education to all those present.
We discussed topics for our next meeting on October 24-25, 2009. Members volunteered to give presentation and I am happy to report we will have a full agenda.
Again, thanks to all the members who attended and those who gave the presentations. There is a tremendous amount of knowledge to be shared and everyone contributes freely. We have a very cohesive and friendly group and enjoy getting together at these times.