President's Message

Fellow Members

How time flies by. It seems such a long time ago that we kept discussing if we should have our own BAWA Show or not and here we are in 2012 getting ready for our 3rd annual show.

The show serves several purposes. It promotes BAWA as an active, and creative, association. It provides a platform where members can show their work to other woodworkers and members of the public who are intrigued enough to come to Woodcraft for the show. This can provide valuable critiques to help improve our work. It provides us with an opportunity to recruit members as visitors to the show may be interested in becoming part of our Association. Another very important benefit of our show is the Friday evening reception where it is the only time of the year where we can all meet and socialize with our spouses or significant others.

One thing has been consistent in our shows so far. We get a very good turnout of fine pieces from our members for the show - but it always comes at a great surprise to our show team who, even the week before the show, are telling me "the Show will fail as we only have a few entry forms". So please help them by not waiting until the last minute to enter your work.

With all of our programming activities this year our very popular annual 2 x 4 contest got misplaced somewhere. However we are going to have it with all the judging and associated excitement (and sometimes pure amazement) during our November meeting.

But we want more. The 2 x 4 contest projects are always of interest at our annual Show therefore we are asking you to make your 2 x 4 entry and bring it to Woodcraft for our Show in October. Then you can bring it to the November meeting to explain to all of the members how you made it and have it judged in one of the 83 categories that Mark Rand tends to come up with.

Several times I have talked about is woodwork craft or art or .... sculpture!!

Many of the Bay Area cities have annual Open Studios where local artists show their work in their studio or some other suitable place. Last year only one woodworker, Scott Wynn, participated in the San Francisco Open Studios. I heard that many years ago there were many woodworkers used to participate so this year I am pleased to see there are three woodworkers participating. In addition to Scott Wynn there are BAWA members Bruce Powell and myself. Interestingly within the many categories of artists recognized by ArtSpan's Open Studios there is no category for "woodwork" or "furniture". So we are all participating under the banner of "sculpture" as that is where 3D objects reside. Maybe next year there will be enough woodworker participation to get a separate "furniture" category?

The ArtSpan San Francisco Open Studios runs over 4 weekends from weekend October 13/14 to weekend November 3/ 4 with over 800 artists participating. Bruce and Scot are showing on weekend 20/21 in their building on Yosemite Street along with over 20 other artists. I am showing on weekend 13/14 at Fort Mason with over 50 other artists.

You can get more information at:

Look forward to seeing you at our BAWA Show reception on October 19th.



Last Meeting

President Frank Ramsay called the meeting to order at 7 PM.

New Members and Guests:

The following people introduced themselves as new members or guests:

Bruce Berg, who is an architect and woodworker.

Bob Brauers, who is recently retired as an auto shop and woodworking shop teacher.


Claude described the status of the 3rd Annual Woodworking Show at Woodcraft on October 19-21. We are actively soliciting member submissions to the show with prizes in many categories as well as skill levels and also need volunteers to man the tables during the exhibit as well as with publicity, setup, and teardown and the reception on Friday night. Details on the website at

This year the 2x4 contest will be held in two phases. Members are encouraged to submit their entries to the show for display is a separate 2x4-contest area. The entries will then be judged at the November meeting in the usual way with members voting for the best entries in several categories.

Harold Patterson announced the next session of the Toy Workshop at Jamie Buxton's shop in Belmont from 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturday, September 29th

Frank announced that Bruce Wood's tools will be on sale in Livermore on October 6th. Bruce is a deceased former BAWA member. Details are on the website.

A large supply of air dried walnut was offered for sale on the website and a member has purchased it.

Frank also announced that the election of club officers would take place at the November meeting. If any members are interested in any Board positions or in any of the standing committees, please let Frank know.

Stan Booker announced the continuing raffle of $100 worth of figured maple. As soon as we have collected that amount in tickets, the pieces will be raffled off.

Per Madsen, our Program Director described the status of the Club's programs for the next year. The first 3 months and the last 3 months of 2013 are already booked with events, but we still need speakers for the meetings from April to September. Suggestions from members for meeting speakers as well as for additional workshops and seminars are welcomed.

The silent auction for tonight is a battery-powered circular saw with the proceeds to go to the Club treasury.


Featured Speaker: John Blackmore

Dining Room Chairs with a Vacation in Mind
My Summer Vacation at the College of the Redwoods, Fine Woodworking Projects Class

The meeting was then turned over to our featured speaker, John Blackmore, who has provided the write-up for it below.

When I signed up the summer program Projects Class at the College of the Redwoods I knew I wanted to make a dining room chair to go with the new dining room table I had made earlier. And, because Fort Bragg, California is such a beautiful place, I wanted to be able to enjoy the sojourn as a vacation, too.

I traveled to Fort Bragg on a Sunday in early July, arriving in the early afternoon to a beautiful view of the ocean and coast. My expectations were high. I had prepared thoroughly for the class. I was arriving with full-scale drawings of the chair and a poplar full size prototype of the chair.

I knew there were issues with the design. My friends in BAWA had been observant enough to point out that the front stretcher below the seat was a cross-grain wood movement problem just waiting to happen. Because the legs were fixed into the seat, a horizontal front stretcher would become detached as the seat expanded laterally with changes in humidity. I came to C of RW looking for a solution. I also came with the expectation that I would find time to go mountain biking on the vast network of unused old logging roads.

I checked into the Zen Cottage I had rented for the month. Located in Inglenook, about 6 miles north of Fort Bragg, the cottage looks out over a small pond surrounded by a beautiful Japanese garden.

Just a short walk through the woods you find yourself looking over a wide expanse of sand dunes to the ocean about 1/2 mile away.
But would there be time to explore the dunes, I expected the program to be rigorous.

Week One began with student and staff introductions and short descriptions of the projects being undertaken by the 17 participants in the class. After some discussions with the instructors, we agreed that I should start with rear assembly of the chair. It would involve cutting out the rear legs and vacuum molding the curved back of the chair.

I started by marking out the rear legs on a maple beam measuring 4" x 6" x 5 feet. I could get two legs from one five-foot beam and I had two such beams. Now I would be working on two chairs. I took the beams to the band saw and cut the rough outline, leaving three edges square so that I could cut all my dados and mortises while I had an indexed flat surface.
Then I cut out the rest of the leg shape on the band saw and the result was the "wishbone" set of matched rear legs.
You should have seen the pile of scrap.

Yet the front leg dilemma remained. How to address the wood movement issue in the seat? One classmate had made several Maloof style rocking chairs and he suggested I look at the Maloof joint for joining the front leg to the chair seat.

It was the reverse of the joint I had devised and looked significantly stronger, probably strong enough to obviate the need for a stretcher between the front legs. After all, none of the Maloof chairs use front stretchers. Week one had drawn to a close with a solution to my nagging problem.

We had worked hard all week long, but where did we go to eat? At the top of the list is the North Coast Brewing Company with its excellent selection of crafted beers and a fine restaurant. And keep in mind: Tuesday is taco night and Thursday is pint night when everyone receives a free beer mug with the first beer purchase. Piace's pizzeria is something of a hole-in-wall place, but with a great selection of crafted draft beers and truly wonderful pizza, not to be missed. Taka's Grill is great for Sushi. If you want a fine dining experience, then journey to Cafe Beaujolais in Mendocino. They make wonderful bread.

The first weekend was for adventure. Claude Godcharles and Scott Bernica joined me for a road trip to Almquist lumber north to Arcata, about 150 miles up the coast. We drove over the coastal mountains, through the redwood forest and discovered Jimbo's fish shack and lumber mill.

We were on a mission to find remarkable wood, hence the Almquist Lumber destination. Then as we drove through the redwoods we glimpsed a one-man sawmill just off the road. Yes, let's stop and inquire. Up the dirt driveway, past the rustic house to what looked like a barn like shop. No one there...deserted. Then, came a yell from the house and a man in boxer shorts emerged. We returned to the house and inquired about wood. Jim introduced himself and offered us a tour, but only after he put on his pants. He used to work in the mills, but now cleared logging roads and salvaged trees that he processed using his on-site wood mill. He had redwood, acacia and tan bark oak, but none of it was really for sale. We thanked him and continue our journey.

Driving up Highway 101 north, we entered the Avenue of the Giants, a vast and protected forest of old growth redwoods. We toured the museum, and we went to see the Giant itself. On the walk to the Giant we tried in vain to straighten a tree, gave up and contented ourselves by trying to embrace Giant.

We eventually made it to Arcata, found some wood at Almquist, but below the expectation of our dreams and then returned to Fort Bragg. Time to get ready for Week 2.

Week 2 at the school began with practice making the Maloof joint:

, and then beginning to smooth the band saw marks off the cut back legs of my chair. The instructors gave all the students a quick lesson in scraper sharpening and use, then turned me loose. I spent days on the legs, first with a small block plane, followed by final smoothing with the scraper. Why, I was asked at the BAWA meeting, did I not simply use a belt sander? And the answer is simple: There are no belt sanders at the College of the Redwoods.

Carving the seat for my chair could have been a daunting task with hand tools, the spokeshave and scraper. But classmates came to the rescue once again. "Use my hand held angle grinder with a flap sanding pad, I'll bring it from home."

Now I had the rear legs, the back lower stretcher, the top crown rail and the seat. I could do a trial fit of the rear assembly.

It worked. I would be ready to begin vacuum forming the back panels on Monday of the third week.

Weekend Two - Now it was time to enjoy the north coast. Sheila, my wife arrived Friday afternoon. We went to the Elephant, a potluck BBQ held at the school every Friday after class finishes. It is a time for relaxation, camaraderie and beer. The next day we biked the haul road to Ten Mile Beach. Incomparable!

Week Three in the shop began with vacuum forming the back panels of the chair.

I used Unibond to join four layers of veneer, each 3/32" thick to created three 3/8" panels. I had to cut angled tenons on the top and bottom of each panel to fit into the crown rail at the top and bottom stretcher located just below the seat. The angle at the top was 20 degrees and 10 degrees at the bottom. This problem was vexing, until I finally recognized I would have to make a jig - a cutting sled to be used on the table saw. I made one for the top tenons and one for the bottom tenons.
It worked to cut the convex side of the tenon, but I had to use the shoulder plane to extend the tenon to the concave side of the panel.

The last weekend was coming up and the project still had a long ways to go. Just about all my classmates were planning to come in and work on Saturday.

I would join them. It was crunch time.

Sunday came and I was off on my mountain bike to explore the old logging roads. I choose the Ten Mile Camp area, where one hundred years earlier, before automobiles, roads were cut for logging trucks and camps erected for the loggers and their families, even schools for the children. My ride began on a paved road, after three miles encountering a metal gate that I easily lifted my bike over, but effectively preventing any confrontation with automobiles. I went another 10 miles, the road losing its pavement to gravel, then to two parallel dirt tracks, crossing bridges, climbing hills, and always becoming more desolate. I went another five miles, then the thoughts began to creep in: no cell phone service, no one around, what if something happened to me?, pot growers?, even mountain lions. It was time to turn around and head back. This area is a mountain biker's mecca waiting for discovery.

Week Four was for trial assembly of the almost finished chair. I began by fitting the angled compound joints together. First, I worked on the back panels, then on the side stretchers. Boy, this gets tedious. On Friday morning we all showed and talked about our projects:

No one had finished completely, although some had come close. I still had to glue up my chairs and then do the detailed work with planes, rasps, and files. It would wait until I got home. I would finish coat with shellac.

The motley crew had thrived and enjoyed. We had one last Elephant to attend. Many are destined to come back again.

John Blackmore


Show and Tell

Arnie Champagne talked about built-in cabinetry that he constructed for a house using rift sawn and quarter sawn lumber. The pieces were made in the shop and assembled onsite. There was tile work in addition to wood. The panel doors and tabletops were bookmatched.

Frank Ramsay talked about the upcoming Artists Open Houses in San Francisco at the Yosemite Building in Fort Mason on October 20-21 from 11 AM to 6 PM.

Member Bruce Powell will be showing his work, which will include furniture as well as 35 cutting boards that he made from wood scraps using waterproof glue to join the edges and coated with food grade oil finish.

Harold Patterson won the silent auction and the meeting ended with the drawing of the door prizes.

Stephen Rosenblum