Newsletter October 2019

Presidents Message

Fellow woodworkers

This month I thought we would devote the President's Message to our Toy Workshop.

I do not know when the Toy Workshops started but they go back to at least the being of the century when they were known as Toys for Tots.

In my early days at BAWA they were made in Per Madsen's workshop and in recant years Jamie Buxton has hosted the meetings in his workshop.

Harold Paterson was the organiser for many years and when he moved back east a couple of years ago Harry Filer took over the task.

Many BAWA members are regular volunteers at the workshop sessions and Frank Taylor is the master (creative) jig designer and maker who makes it suitable for the them to make many copies of each year's design.

The first toys I remember were the boxes of assorted size wooden blocks stamped with their length; 1 or 2 or 3 ...up to 6 (my first job for BAWA was stamping the numbers on them, I do not think I was trusted with a saw.

There was a period where they made pull-along ducks then racing cars, model aeroplanes, Gas tanker trucks to the treasure Boxes that are being made this year

I would like to thank all the volunteers who have worked at the Toy Workshops who have made so many toys for young children in our area over the lest 20+ years.

Here is a selection of some of the toys that have been made along with the volunteers:

Frank Taylor and Harry Filer with a bench full of Treasure Chests.

Frank Taylor, Jon Kaplan,?,Harry and John Wilson

Jamie Buxtonand John Blackmore

Harold Paterson sanding

?, Fred Reicher, Per Madsen, Harry Filer, Jamie Buxton, Steve Rosenburg, John Wilson and ? Pull-along Cricket, Big Trucks and Racing Cars

Pull-along Cricket

Jamie Buxton drying a Periscope

Frank Taylor's Personal Toy

Enjoy your woodwork
(Contact at:


Last Meeting

The meeting was called to order by President Frank Ramsay at 6:30 PM due to problems with our computer projection connection with the speaker's computer. It was finally decided to use Frank's computer even though his battery would not last the entire meeting so we started with the speaker's presentation first even though our Newsletter headings are in their normal order.

New Members and Guests:

After a 15-minute break, guests were introduced. Andrew Mitchell from Oakland, former member Neal White visiting from the East Coast, and Bill from Daly City.

Upcoming Meetings:

October 20th: Robert Beauchamp who will talk about his barn in Winters that is full of interesting walnut. There will also be a box contest.

November: Michael Wallace who will talk about Greene and Greene furniture.


Harry Filer announced that the next toy workshop will take place on Saturday 9/21 at Jamie Buxton's shop. Please sign up if you plan to attend. 50 boxes will be made and donated to the Pomeroy Center and the St. Patrick Center.

Frank and John Blackmore asked for suggestions for future workshops as well as suggestions for speakers and topics for next year. We would also like to restart the wood raffle previously run by Stan Booker. The volunteer would need to buy the wood and bring it to the meeting as well as sell raffle tickets. In November we will have election of officers. We also need volunteers to manage the meeting refreshments and to help with the program committee


Featured Speaker: Dennis Sullivan: "Architecture, with focus on how / where wood is being used"

Per introduced our speaker, architect Dennis Sullivan.

Dennis studied architecture in Boston and Cambridge and practiced in San Francisco in the 60's. He specialized in designing buildings that heal. He also worked in Mississippi and New York City. He was strongly influenced by the architecture of Japan and began by showing the large torii gates in Kyoto Japan which have a black top and are painted crimson otherwise. They are usually made of cedar and are the gates to a Shinto shrine.

He then went on to show the Museum of Wood Culture in Kobe which was designed by Today Ando. The museum is focused on wood forests in Japanese and international culture. It has a circular shaped wall surrounding a circular building. The building has cedar plank ribs, and the floors and walls are covered with unfinished cedar planks. The building surrounds a pool that is open to the sky. Jets in the pool create a fog.

He then showed a café in Nara Japan which had bamboo blinds, floors and counter tops. Wood is also used extensively in the Japanese tea ceremony. The participants sit on tatami mats on a continuous floor plane surrounded by shoji screens.

Dennis then showed some of his own work. First was the Department of Medicine's administration offices at the NYU hospital. There he used maple framed cabinets and borrowed light to illuminate the corridor. His intention is to make healing spaces for people dealing with illness. The next example was the Cardiovascular Center at the Presbyterian Hospital in New York. Here he designed a curve wooden nurses station that invites patients to walk around it.

He then showed a reception center for Silicon Graphics in Mountain View which was centered around a curved desk. He then showed a design for the Piazza St. Francis in San Francisco which he designed in collaboration with Lawrence Ferlinghetti. It has not yet been built. He then showed the entry portal of the UCSF Connie Frank Transplant Center. He made use of a maple wall and smooth plaster.

Dennis designs by drawing sketches first and then building simple models out of shredded paper. He uses these models to get feedback from clients early in the design process. He showed the model of a house he designed in Mississippi that was built by the owners. Finally, he showed a mental health facility he designed with a large outdoor patio surrounding a huge stone sculpture with cherry benches that is used as a healing space by patients and visitors.

Other examples of Dennis's work:

VA Palo Alto Mental Health Center


Apple Computer Break Room

Jon Kaplan showed a set of damaged torah scroll spindles that need to be replaced
during the time that the scrolls are being refurbished
and asked for suggestions on how to do the job.

Bruce Powell described a project he is working on to make 3 small tables out of a cut down backyard walnut tree. Any wood left over will be auctioned at BAWA as a fundraiser.

Yeung Chen showed a small workbench that he designed and built to sit on top of his bench to hold pieces while cutting dovetail joinery.

Yeung also showed a marquetry box that he built as a challenge to his aging skills. He plans to make a tray to fit inside.
Although Yeung claims "it is not perfect", the faults are hard to find.

John Wilson showed his first (and last) marquetry checker board.

Meeting adjourned at 8:40 PM

Steve Rosenblum, Secretary