Author Topic: SAPFM-ORV Spring 2014 Meeting Minutes  (Read 1342 times)

Dale Ausherman

  • Executive Council Member
  • Forum Journeyman
  • ***
  • Posts: 89
SAPFM-ORV Spring 2014 Meeting Minutes
« on: April 09, 2014, 10:05:11 AM »
Society of American Period Furniture Makers
Ohio River Valley Chapter
2014 Spring Meeting
University of Rio Grande

(As reported by Dale Ausherman)

The Ohio River Valley Chapter of SAPFM held another rewarding meeting 5-6 April 2014.  Organized by Chapter Lead David Conley, the meeting was held in the woodworking shops of the University of Rio Grande near Jackson, OH.  We had over 30 member attendees from Ohio and surrounding states.  All attendees greatly enjoyed the show and tell sessions, the deep-dive technique and project discussions, and the opportunity to socialize with other woodworkers over evening food and drink.  Attendees at these Ohio meetings generally return home with insight into new methods as well as inspiration for building of additional pieces. Special thanks to Eric Matson and his students and staff for hosting and facilitating the meeting at the Rio Grande facility.  This facility is a wonderful location for Chapter meetings, with workbench space for hands-on exercises. And it is always great to see the on-going student and staff projects in the shop.  Eric had made a wonderful set of sliding top candle-box-like boxes from scrap Mahogany.

James Sturgeon, newly elected Executive Council (EC) member from Charleston, WV started the meeting by describing his role in serving SAPFM (Head of Legal and Security; Financial), and presented his thoughts on future challenges facing a growing SAPFM.  The IRS and Government in general are increasing scrutiny of Not-for-Profit organizations to ensure they adhere in a documented way to the public service requirements of such organizations.  Steps Jim has undertaken include development of a new Conflict of Interest policy for SAPFM, and a review of the Society’s record-keeping processes.  He indicated the importance of participation in an upcoming member survey to provide a foundation of guidance for SAPFM as it continues to grow and mature.  Most attendees agreed with Jim’s assessment that chapter activities are the heart and soul of the organization, the elements from which most member value is derived.

This chapter meeting extended over a day and a half, with project show and tell sessions, an in-depth presentation by John Fitzpatrick on his Philadelphia Lowboy project, a lively information-filled discussion on wood finishes led by David Boeff, and saw sharpening instruction by Jim Crammond. The latter included hands-on sharpening by members of their own saws. Attendees who did not bring saws and sharpening tools found a ready source from several members who often provide a marketplace of excess tool treasures to tempt the wallets of less-tool-endowed members.  Photos from the meeting will be posted nearby in the SAPFM Forum, under Chapter News and Discussions, Ohio River Valley Chapter.
The show and tell sessions provided valuable insight into member projects and building methods. David Conley started off with his “Furlough” box, a project undertaken while he was home during the recent Government “shutdown.” Designed as a small box to contain a cell phone charger and cables, with a top “rack” to hold the phones, it was beautifully finished with inlaid banding made from scratch by David from his own banding design. Next Dave Boeff displayed his wonderful Turret Top Tea Table.  This is the table for which Dave posted construction videos on YouTube, with links from the SAPFM member site.  Made of Soft Maple with Mahogany stain, the table design was derived from a posted drawing by NBSS Lance Peterson (perhaps derived from a prior presentation to the SAPFM New England Chapter), an article in a book New England Furniture at Winterthur by Nancy Richards, drawings in Geoffrey Greene’s book, and prior magazine articles. The table required about 200 hours of work, with another 100 or so on the finishing. Dave also brought two planes he had made, a replica of a Sandusky Plough Plane with hardware he scavenged from an old plane, and a Coffin Smoother Plane made from a Caleb James plan (
Larry Bilderback exhibited a spectacular Mahogany Goddard Tea Table, made from designs scaled from the Keno brother’s book Hidden Treasures: Searching for Masterpieces of American Furniture. (This book is really great and readily available on Amazon at very good prices.) Larry deviated from these plans in that he veneered (1/16 in cut from same wood) the corner areas of the aprons to cover the leg post joinery, as was often done in other Newport pieces.  Larry scaled down the Newport open talon ball and claw feet to suit his liking, and beautifully executed the Goddard carvings on the leg knees.  Ed Vance followed Larry with display of a bench-on-bench carving table, derived from his experience at last summer’s Ohio River Valley Chapter meeting with Mary May, also held at Rio Grande.  Ed also showed a very useful thin strip ripping jig for use on a table saw, and a finely turned double chalice.

Hammer Veneering learned in a Rob Millard class was shown by John Herrel as marquetry on a “Kleenex” box.  He also showed four beautiful wooden trays with parquetry surface and hardwood edge boards with shaped handles, destined as Christmas presents.  The trays were veneered using cold press glue in a vacuum bag press.  Following John, David Upperman discussed his small beautifully dovetailed treasures chest, with little bracket feet, interior trays, an interior strip of Walrus ivory inscribed with the “owners” name, and well executed brass hinges, lock and handles.  The box contained high quality music works.  The bracket feet were all made from a single block of wood using efficient techniques of drilling and bandsawing.

Charles (Charlie) Watson brought his wonderful Queen Anne drop leaf table (sometimes called a breakfast table) made of Black Walnut from plans in the Norman Vandal book Queen Anne Furniture: History, Design and Construction. Charlie made his version with an oval top, rather than the original round top.  He made the swinging leg hinges on a table saw using a technique similar to making box joints, to ensure a good tight fit.  The table was finished with stain followed by several coats of shellac, and final coats of varnish on the top.

John Fitzpatrick conducted one of the two first-day main topic sessions as a review of his design and construction processes for his Mahogany Philadelphia Lowboy.  John brought the fabulous piece to display, along with several prototype legs, joints and carving to illustrate how he learned the building processes.  He gave an in-depth PowerPoint slideshow covering his lessons learned, lessons applied, and challenges encountered along the path to completion. He also documented his design requirements and how he evolved a unique design meeting project requirements, but one based on adaptation of actual period pieces while adhering to classical design proportions.  He also displayed his full-size drawings and how he made overlays on these to guide implementation of adornments such as corner columns, and drawer, apron and leg carvings, including the ball and claw feet.  Especially noteworthy was his development of a process to perform the column flutings on a router table with a unique angular indexing approach.  John concluded by noting how he used a green base stain with a medium brown 2nd stain to get the end result on the piece.

Mike Holden, Great Lakes Chapter Lead, completed the morning session with a slide presentation of the recent (March 29 & 30) Detroit Institute of Arts Artist Demonstration program.  Organized by the Great Lakes chapter, with heavy participation from other chapters, this two-day exhibition, Working Wood in the 18th Century, was conducted in the great hall of the Museum and included demonstrations in furniture construction, member’s furniture on display, and guided tours of the Museum’s 18th century furniture. Links to a video and photos of this event are currently posted on the home page of the SAPFM site.  Stay tuned for more in-depth reporting on this successful event in the summer 2014 Newsletter.

To complete the first day, Dave Boeff kicked off an in-depth open discussion of finishing methods, including successes and war stories from across the attendees. Dave started the discussion with information gleaned from an earlier Jeff Jewitt class, referencing Jeff’s Homestead Finishing Products TransTint dyes and many alternative products.  Attendees contributed to a lively give and take discussion of wood surface preparation, dyes, various finishes (including the growing reliance on water-based products), and rubbing out methods.  In no particular order, and sans attendee attribution the following finishing tips were discussed:  Wood colorant discussion included TransTint and Lockwood dyes, as well as discussion of pickling lime for coloring of mahogany, white oak, and some other woods, without need to pre-seal light colored inlays. Comparison of garden variety 0000 steel wool (contains some oil) versus Liberon brand 0000 (oil free and finer cut), the need to rub with the steel strands perpendicular to the wood grain. For removing dust after sanding contamination can be caused by tack rags, so it is best to vacuum or use lint-free rag with some light mineral spirits.  Shellac powder residue can be left on furniture between coats, as it then serves to help fill the grain.  Shellac “gold dust” can be purchased to enable this effect. When mixing small trial batches of liquid form TransTint, think 20 drops per milliliter, where 30 ml makes up one ounce.  For powered dyes use a gun powder scale to measure small trial samples, then scale up for full batches.  The product Charles Neil’s Pre-Color Conditioner works well against dye and stain blotching, often without the final color lightening of shellac wash coats. Simply pre-wetting with water immediately before dye application reduces blotching. Tried and True Polymerized Linseed Oil (equated with “Danish Oil”) absorbs (dissolves) liquid TransTint dye better than boiled linseed oil, for use as a coloring undercoat to final finish.  Clorox (double concentrated form better) works to instantly “un-color” undesirable water dye outcomes, and can then be neutralized with water/baking soda.  For de-fuzzing after water based dyes, sand flat areas with 320 grit sandpaper, and carved areas with 0000 steel wool. Harbor Freight touch up and full load HVLP spray guns are great performers, and incredibly inexpensive.  Water Lox Original is a great wipe on finish product, but squeeze the can to remove most air after use to minimize product degradation between uses.  The Qualasole product from Behlen is a good wipe on finish product, makes a great final coat over shellac, and is claimed to permit “instant” French polishing. Catalyzed lacquer or varnish cannot be thinned or wiped off with solvents after it has started to “set up.” EverClear, the 190 proof grain alcohol sold in liquor stores only in certain states (including KY and IN) makes for a superior alcohol for mixing shellac from flakes.  Most any wax containing carnauba wax makes a good final finish, and also a British product Renaissance Wax.

Hands on saw sharpening and instruction by Jim Crammond comprised the last half day of the meeting.  Jim says that with proper technique and tools, hand saw sharpening is easier than sharpening chisels.  Needed tools include a saw vise, several triangular metal files, file handles, a saw jointer, a saw set, file guide blocks for guiding sharpening rake and fleam angles, plus some means of blackening more recently surfaced saw teeth for tracking progress.  Good light is a requirement. Jim taught us handsaw anatomy, quality saw brands, and means of cleaning up old saws.  Then he demonstrated the sharpening steps and techniques for both rip and crosscut saws.  Many attendees brought tools and neglected saws with which to try these techniques, while Jim and more experienced members answered questions and advised on technique.

Overall the meeting was very successful, with many techniques and processes shared. It was also a great way to catch up with the happening and experiences of our good wood working friends.  - DAA


  • Forum Apprentice
  • *
  • Posts: 22
    • P Sanow Cabinetmaker
Re: SAPFM-ORV Spring 2014 Meeting Minutes
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2014, 05:45:08 PM »
Now I'm REALLY regretting missing this meeting!