Presidents Message

Fellow Members

I hope you all enjoyed your Holiday festivities and are now able to focus on enjoying your woodwork in this new year.

Just before Christmas I visited Gumps, the home decor and gift store in San Francisco. They always have some very nice, but very expensive, bits of woodwork and turning to look at.

They had a "Palermo Oyster Dining Table" on display for $3,995. I had no interest in buying it, or really buying any table at that price, but I looked at it very carefully as the write up stated:

"The golden age of fine furniture making, the 18th century in England produced exceptional craftsmen and extraordinary furniture like our Oyster Veneer table. Modeled after a Queen Anne piece of the period, this table preserves the integrity of the original by employing Old World techniques to create inlaid surfaces handcrafted from walnut veneers and placed to suggest oyster shells. A hand-rubbed finish accentuated the beautiful warmth of the wood and the figure of the oyster burls. Made with an eye to authenticity in every detail"

Well the table did indeed look magnificent and with a write up like that who would not examine it in great detail?

On looking closer I was surprised to see the walnut veneer pieces, which were probably about 2.5 in sq., were not perfectly aligned! The veneering was good and way beyond anything I could do - but just not perfect. There were gaps between some of the squares that looked about 1/64in with one maybe 1/32in wide that had been filled in with the surface coat. There were also a few corners where the veneers did not quite line up correctly, again maybe errors of 1/64in to 1/32in.

Now I have seen misalignment and gaps on Queen Anne furniture before but these were on pieces 200 years old and I always attributed them to age. To see them on new "craftsman-made" pieces was a surprised to me. After all the 200-year-old pieces probably spent most of their life in the cold damp of English houses except for the few hours when they were too near a flaming open fireplace. I had assumed that when new they would have been perfect.

Today most new veneered furniture is made on precision machines; so we get used to seeing "perfect" work.

Am I expecting a level of perfection beyond what existed in the old days? Is it another myth that the craftsmen of old where perfect, or is this the level of reality that it has always been?

On a totally different topic I am working on how to cut and inlay "perfect" segmented ovals into a table top I am designing. I have been working through the problems, or difficulties, related to cutting the ovals OK but have a question on wood movement and stability that I cannot decide will be a problem or not. I have posted it on our Ask BAWA section and would apreachiate any comments you can provide.

Enjoy your woodworking.

Frank R Ramsay


Last Meeting

'Twas the night of the giant annual potluck dessert meeting and the members were assembled with glee and ravenous appetites. Fred Reicher easily won the best dessert with his chilled Oreo cookie recipe, but the Hello Dolly bars from John Blackmore were not far behind. Of course the selection was nothing short of spectacular and the herd of members was restless and unrelenting in pursuit of the full plate.

Only with reluctance was Jay Perrine able to call the meeting to order at 7:00pm announcing a busy agenda for the evening. Members who had been grazing at the hors d'oeuvres table quickly re-filled their plates and found chairs.


We had three guests in attendance.

Richard Pryor is visiting from North Carolina.

Don Segale and Tim Kennedy, both past members of BAWA now run commercial woodworking enterprises in the Bay Area. Don recalls his days as chairman of the refreshments committee specializing in stale donuts and fresh beer. His company employs 30 people, making mostly cabinets. His sons, Daniel and Robert joined him at the meeting this evening. As professional woodworkers, both Don and Tim lamented the lack of a local organization to help them to network with vendors in the area.


Per Madsen briefly introduced the upcoming monthly meetings for the next year. A detailed listing is available on the BAWA web site. Highlights include Bill Holloway and Mauro Hernandez, makers of a wooden bicycle, in January, Kevin Fryer a harpsichord builder in February, our own Claude Godcharles on marquetry in March and Jon Economaki of Bridge City Tools in June.

Marcus Miller assumed the financial throne from the retiring Mark Rand and immediately issued a call for annual dues. Rumor has it that Igor the Enforcer has agreed to assist Marcus during a transition period. Pay early, guys. We don't want Igor stomping around.

Stan Booker promised that the maple board raffle would be drawn tonight. Jumping ahead to the end of the meeting, the boards were won by Bob Hulgan who could not be found. In the spirit of Christmas, Stan promised to deliver the prize.

Woodcraft in San Carlos put up a small Christmas tree for BAWA to decorate. Frank Taylor and Harold Patterson are allocating some Toy Workshop toys and racing cars to put under the tree.

Harold Patterson detailed the output from the Toy Workshops: 18 race cars, 29 crickets and a stock of miscellaneous parts for the next batch.

Claude Godcharles is once again donating the persimmon harvest from his front yard to BAWA for all to take some home.

Jay Perrine has upgraded to a new sliding table saw and has his Powermatic saw available for sale.


Featured Speaker

Dave Biggert
The Original Touch Up Company

Mohawk was founded in 1948 in Amsterdam, NY, and then later moved to Hickory, North Carolina. It is a division of RPM Wood Finishes Group, Inc. Mohawk Finishing Products is the leading manufacturer and distributor of professional wood and leather touch-up, repair and finishing products.

Dave joined Mohawk 30 years ago in New York, and then moved with the company to North Carolina. As a leading sales professional for the company he moved to Southern California to develop the rapidly expanding western markets. He now covers Northern California, Hawaii and Reno, Nevada. Joining Dave at the meeting tonight was Greg Smith of City Paints in San Francisco, the local distributor for Mohawk. It is also possible to buy direct from Mohawk. As small customers, we would qualify for level four pricing. Got to start somewhere.

Dave brought a wide sampling of products and literature for us. Available to take home were: the Color Guide, the Product Catalog, the Finishing Guide and a distributor list. Cans of Tone Finish, a fine furniture carnuba wax, were made available to the BAWA members to take home with them.

Dave started his presentation by explaining that as small users, less than 30 gallons per year of a paint product, we as users are exempt from the state VOC regulations. There is some advantage to this exemption. VOC (volatile organic compounds) generally are easier to apply, produce a better result and are cheaper than water based products.

The Mohawk Ultra Penetrating Stain is a metallic dye with an acetone base. It is their best selling stain. It can be mixed into lacquers. Dave recommends that for the first coat, it be diluted 50% with acetone. It is available in 30 colors, in either quarts or gallons. The color stays in solution and does not require agitation. It is translucent and can be applied with a spray gun. It can be glazed and finished with a clear topcoat.

The Seal N' Stain is a wiping stain well suited for use on maple since it will produce a uniform color without blotching that is characteristic of this wood.

Glazes are simply a thinned pigmented paint. They are applied to sealed wood, then must be top coated.

Several touch up products are offered: Pigmented spray lacquer comes in 30 different colors. Touch Up Pens contain a pigmented stain lacquer that is useful for fine touchup work. Touch Up Markers in a wide assortment of colors can be used to fix bigger areas. These markers offer seal, stain and finish in one application.

Product information is available in the catalogs given out tonight and additional technical information can be obtained from the Mohawk website:

Mohawk does offer training workshops periodically. Finishing is complicated not only in process but in the wide variety of products offered. This discussion tonight was an excellent introduction. We thank Dave for joining us tonight and for giving us a very informative presentation.


Show and Tell

Paul Sedan, who before coming to BAWA was a homebuilder in North Carolina, prepared a Power Point presentation on a remodeling project he recently completed in Arden Wood, Marin county.

As a woodworker, Paul believes in bringing the aesthetic of woodworking to home building whenever possible. This project gave him that opportunity. Within a homeowners association complex there was a common use out building that had fallen into disrepair and disuse. Nestled into the side of a hill, the soil land vegetation had settled against the building causing moisture and rotting problems. The first step was to remove the overgrowth and stabilize the hillside, only then could Paul begin the reconstruction. Walls were removed, new roof support posts and sill plate installed. New insulated walls, mortised windowsills, new subfloor, French Doors and new windows would follow. Hardboard was used on the outside walls. As a concrete based product it is impervious to moisture degradation. The fireplace was refurbished and refitted with an electric heater. Faux wood flooring was installed with the look of real wood, but with added durability. The pictures bore testament to the magnificent transformation from dilapidated shack to beautiful rustic sanctuary.

Bill Henzel has been putting his new shop to the test.

His latest project is to make a set of walnut dining room chairs for Annie, his wife. After considerable research and planning, Bill felt confident enough of the design, a Maloof/Windsor hybrid, to make the prototype chair out of walnut instead of poplar. The prototype will be used as a spare, once the set is made. The chair has the classic Maloof look but without the arms. This design change makes the chairs smaller and thus more manageable around a table. We look forward to seeing the finished chair set.