Author Topic: Summary: Inaugural Meeting of the Chesapeake Chapter  (Read 4899 times)

Mark Maleski

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Summary: Inaugural Meeting of the Chesapeake Chapter
« on: April 10, 2011, 07:43:57 PM »
The Chesapeake chapter held our inaugural meeting yesterday, 9 April 2011, at Woodworkers Club in Rockville, MD.  Over 40 people attended, including about a dozen non-members (8 of whom chose to join during the meeting). We had members from MD, VA, PA, DE, and NJ, and had 2 members of the Executive Council in attendance: Bob Mustain (President) and Don Williams (Outreach Committee).  Bert Bleckwenn organized this first meeting and led/facilitated the presentations.  Our agenda was divided into four areas: (1) socializing (I got to do too little of this), (2) chapter business, (3) show and tell, and (4) our featured presentation from Kaare Loftheim, Journeyman Cabinetmaker from Colonial Williamsburg.  We also ran a silent auction tool sale throughout the meeting.

Bert kicked off the meeting with a discussion of chapter business.  During this portion of the meeting we:
- Agreed on chapter name.  We are now the Chesapeake chapter, and are intended to primarily serve members from the geography between the Delaware River Valley and Virginia chapters (though any SAPFM member will be welcomed enthusiastically at any chapter meeting).
- Adopted the chapter charter.
- Elected chapter leads: Bert Bleckwenn (President, responsible for setting direction, oversight, and coordinating with National), Fred Walker (Coordinator, sets direction and agenda for chapter meetings), and Mark Maleski (Secretary/Treasurer, including chapter communications).
- Discussed preferred time/location for our next full chapter meeting.  Chapter meetings will be at least 2x per year (spring and fall), so our next full chapter meeting is being tentatively planned for September or October 2011.  In the spirit of moving locations to equalize travel requirements, we'll investigate locations in the northern area of Maryland or near Harrisburg, PA for the next meeting.
- Discussed options for smaller/more focused gatherings throughout the year, including Road Trips.  As Senior Furniture Conservator at the Smithsonian Institute's Center for Materials Research and Education, Don Williams suggested he could likely organize a tour of the facility in Suitland Maryland to learn about the conservation techniques employed on some of our civilization's most important and most rare furnishings.  As evidence that Don is not your typical woodworker, he was heard to say the following later in the day: "I only build stuff to get to the finishing!"  No date has been set for this Chesapeake chapter Road Trip, though Don was investigating dates in June (weekdays only).
- Other suggestions for Road Trips: Winterthur (current exhibition on Southeastern PA Furniture 1725-1850), Baltimore Museum of Art (current exhibition on Frederick & Baltimore Furniture), Philly Museum of Art Warehouse (their conservator is a former student of Don's), and the State Department (coordination needed, and also must be done on a weekday).
- We also discussed the concept of Special Interest Groups (focused on tools, techniques, skills enhancement) and Mentorship Groups (small, weekly gatherings providing opportunity for senior SAPFM members to share their expertise with more junior members). Don and Bob emphasized the Executive Committee's interest in fostering mentorship as an investment in the next generation of period furniture makers.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2011, 10:37:34 AM by Mark Maleski »

Mark Maleski

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Re: Summary: Inaugural Meeting of the Chesapeake Chapter
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2011, 08:21:50 PM »
The Woodworkers Club arranged for Ron Collier, from Forest Products, to talk to us about saw blades.  He discussed setting the blade height at an optimal level to avoid heat build-up for cleaner cuts.

Mark Maleski

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Re: Summary: Inaugural Meeting of the Chesapeake Chapter
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2011, 08:23:10 PM »
Bert kicked-off the Show & Tell with his bench-top vise (a-la Moxon by way of Schwarz) and showed a Powerpoint of his benchtop toolrack.

Mark Maleski

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Re: Summary: Inaugural Meeting of the Chesapeake Chapter
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2011, 08:32:15 PM »
Kari Hultman presented her spirit level (1/8" brass top plate with cherry base) and carved sharpening stone box (relieve carving of antique tools carved into Swiss Pear in a Cocobolo base).  Both of these have been featured on Kari's blog: http://villagecarpenter.blogspot.com/

« Last Edit: April 11, 2011, 10:42:55 AM by Mark Maleski »

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Re: Summary: Inaugural Meeting of the Chesapeake Chapter
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2011, 08:40:47 PM »
Jamie Bacon presented a dovetail saw and striking knives that he made.  He made the striking knives from O-1 tool steel, shaped with files and heat treated on the chisel end.  The saw was made from 1095 spring steel with a back made from angle iron from Lowe's.  It has a shaped and polished walnut handle.  He hand filed the teeth into the blank with saw files.  Very cool, Jamie.

Mark Maleski

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Re: Summary: Inaugural Meeting of the Chesapeake Chapter
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2011, 08:53:09 PM »
Fred Walker presented his Chippendale Mahogany side chair, measured from a set of 6 in the U.S. State Department Diplomatic Rooms.  Like most furniture makers, Fred couldn't help pointing out the errors he made - we never would've found them otherwise.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2011, 10:43:27 AM by Mark Maleski »

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Re: Summary: Inaugural Meeting of the Chesapeake Chapter
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2011, 09:03:40 PM »
Jim Stevens showed us his continuous arm windsor chair.  This is a Connecticut/New York example, built the traditional way with green, hand-split timber and finished with Lexington Green milkpaint and wax.  The group asked about Jim's approach to bending the arms.  He indicated it was difficult to avoid split-out, but that steaming for at least 20 minutes helped.  When asked if profanity also helped, he didn't deny it.

Mark Maleski

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Re: Summary: Inaugural Meeting of the Chesapeake Chapter
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2011, 09:11:01 PM »
Martin Silber discussed his experience taking a 7-day class from Woodworking Workshops of the Shenandoah Valley (http://www.WWOTSV.com) on a Winchester Virginia Desk Class.  Personally, I'm envious.  I've also taken a class at WWOTSV, and the desk class is the one I next want to take (if only I could find the time).
« Last Edit: April 10, 2011, 09:39:34 PM by Mark Maleski »

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Re: Summary: Inaugural Meeting of the Chesapeake Chapter
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2011, 09:30:55 PM »
Don Williams shared several (5?) chapters of the upcoming translation of Andre Roubo's 'L'Art du Menusier' (read more about that project here: http://lostartpress.wordpress.com/2010/01/10/coming-in-2011-andre-roubos-lart-du-menusier/).  Before putting that text out, he explained he wanted to reproduce the veneer saw used.  He described his as a "little bitty one" using a blade that's only 28" (Kaare offered that CW's version is nearly 4 ft long).  He also showed several options for toothing the veneer for glue-up, including a small block made in ~5 minutes using scrap timber and hacksaw blade.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2011, 10:27:34 PM by Mark Maleski »

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Re: Summary: Inaugural Meeting of the Chesapeake Chapter
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2011, 09:41:25 PM »
Kaare Loftheim provided the featured presentation of the day.  He discussed a sack bottom bed that he helped reproduce in the Anthony Hay Cabinet Shop.  A sack-bottom bed had pegs attached to the rails, with canvas attached and stretched between the rails to hold the mattress.  The picture below shows the original rail.  For further reference, you can see plate 27 of "Harbor & Home" (by Brock Jobe &tc) which shows the canvas stretched between the rails:  http://books.google.com/books?id=f73DOPoRibIC&pg=PA99&lpg=PA99&dq=%22sack+bottom%22+bed&source=bl&ots=bgtdJ55n-A&sig=Nr44oVe4VF_8So7DxONRswqJjCU&hl=en&ei=XWakTYpmp7fSAYiChfUI&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CFQQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=%22sack%20bottom%22%20bed&f=false  

The bed that Kaare reproduced was based on an original from 1760-1790 and included a Philadelphia-style leg and foot.  He presented several photographs of the original post, rails, pegs, and headboard, and a few photos of the reproduction (on sale at the CW Craft House for a low, low price).  From there, it was onto demo pieces of the leg and foot.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2011, 10:12:04 PM by Mark Maleski »

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Re: Summary: Inaugural Meeting of the Chesapeake Chapter
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2011, 10:10:17 PM »
Kaare next presented the template that he used for the leg.  He made a couple of important points before going forward:
- The template (any template, really) can be divided into 5ths and 10ths.  For the most pleasing effect, the lines should fall on points of interest.  For example, the top of the foot falls 3 points up from the bottom of the foot; the curve of the ankle falls 2/5th from the bottom.  The curve of the knee is at 4/5ths.
- If you look closely at the template, you'll see there are too many points to define the talons.  That's because the knuckles on the side talons are lower than the knuckles on the front talon, and the template defines all 4 points.  This difference helps contribute to the animation of this example of a B&C foot.  This was an "a-ha" moment for me.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 08:25:57 AM by Mark Maleski »

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Re: Summary: Inaugural Meeting of the Chesapeake Chapter
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2011, 10:27:02 PM »
From there, it was onto the carving.  He demonstrated several means of holding the leg, including a simple stop on the bench (minimizing the need to clamp & unclamp) and a specialty vise used at CW.  He also described how he uses specific sweeps to define the profile of various elements of the leg/foot.

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Re: Summary: Inaugural Meeting of the Chesapeake Chapter
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2011, 10:32:52 PM »
More carving...

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Re: Summary: Inaugural Meeting of the Chesapeake Chapter
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2011, 09:17:19 AM »
This will be my last post for this summary - I hope this approach has not hammered your RSS feeds.  I've received suggestions on posting multiple photos in a single post & will try to figure that out before the next meeting (I only have ~6 months!)

Our meeting concluded with robust applause for Kaare's prelection (I grew weary of writing "presentation").  I have necessarily skipped over a myriad of small but enlightening details, such as the application of the mathematical division approach to acanthus leaves, or the approach of "filling up" a carving gouge.  My inability to convey the full measure of the clinic gives testament to the richness of the tutorial. 

Following the meeting we dispersed quickly, with a few generous folk staying behind to put the workshop back in good order.  We left with confidence that the Chesapeake chapter had been soundly established with great benefit to all SAPFM members.  This is so because of sound planning (kudos to Bert), willingness to engage (kudos to those who promised to help lift the burden from Bert's shoulders for future meetings), and strong, active support from the Executive Council.  A special debt of gratitude is owed to those willing to share their experience, those who participated in Show & Tell as well as Kaare who traveled a great distance to share his expertise with us all.

Mark Maleski

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Re: Summary: Inaugural Meeting of the Chesapeake Chapter
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2011, 11:30:22 AM »
Kaare Loftheim provided the featured presentation of the day.  He discussed a sack bottom bed that he helped reproduce in the Anthony Hay Cabinet Shop.  

FYI, I recently visited Colonial Williamsburg and found the reproduction that Kaare discussed in the Prentis shop.  It's not setup, but you can see the headboard and footboard hung for display on the back wall.