Newsletter September 2019

Presidents Message

Fellow woodworkers,

Acacia also known as Australian Blackwood, Tasmanian Blackwood, Blackwood.

In the picture the lady appears to be holding a hat, but it is a flat, wooden cutting board we saw in Sur-La-Table a few weeks ago.

It appeared to be a thin cross-section of a tree, but had none of the cracks that normally appear when drying. The surface looked like it was a type of bamboo or other grass-type wood with a normal, but thin, bark which may have been the original or from a different type of tree and glued on.

I found the board on the web described as "RoRo Hand Crafted End Grain Cutting Board with Bark Made From Sustainable Wood." Further searching found it was an "Acacia cutting board".

I found that Acacia is a very interesting tree with over 1300 species; it is from the Fabaceae or Leguminosae, the pea family.

Quoting from the Wikipedia:

Acacia wood cross section.

"The Aboriginal Australians have traditionally harvested the seeds of some species, to be ground into flour and eaten as a paste or baked into a cake. The seeds contain as much as 25% more protein than common cereals, and they store well for long periods due to the hard seed coats. In addition to utilizing the edible seed and gum, the people employed the timber for implements, weapons, fuel and musical instruments. In ancient Egypt, an ointment made from the ground leaves of the plant was used to treat hemorrhoids A number of species, …. are widely planted globally for wood products, tannin, firewood and fodder….Bark .. supported the tanning industries of several countries, and may supply tannins for production of waterproof adhesives…..

The hardened sap of various species are known as acacia gum which is used as an emulsifier in food, a binder for watercolour painting, an additive to ceramic glazes, a binding in gum bichromate photography, a protective layer in the lithographic processes and as a binder to bind together fireworks.

It is a dense wood, harder than Oak or Maple.

"Drying is easy, 1 inch thick boards are easily dried with no degrade, checking or cupping." Quote from Keim Lumber Company.

It grows in the mountain districts of southern New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and is also found in Tasmania where it normally reaches heights of 30 to 60 feet with a diameter of up to 20 inches.

I learned a lot from a Sur-La-Table cutting board.

Enjoy your woodwork
(Contact at:


Last Meeting

New members and Guests:

Jochen Horn, Lynn (visiting from China), Mike Halanek


Dennis Yamamoto is buying a jointer and shaper from a seller in Oregon. He'll be moving the tools in a rented box truck. He asked for recommendations on where to get a forklift to move the jointer and shaper from box truck, to the ground. He said the two heavy cast iron tools each weigh over 2000 pounds.

John Wilson who showed some of the Frank Taylor jigs used in the making of this year's Treasure Box toys

The next Toy Workshop will be on Saturday, September 21 at Jamie Buxton's shop in Belmont. Frank sent out an Eventbrite invitation to all members on behalf of Harry Filer.

Upcoming Meetings:

September: Dennis Sullivan: taking about how wood is used in Architecture.

October: Speaker to be announced
Plus Annual Box Contest

November: Michael Wallace: "Greene brothers and how they've become the Masters of Arts and Crafts furniture"


Featured Speaker

Tom Vogel
Kumiko Zaiku

Tom gave a talk about Kumiko Zaiku, the Japanese woodworking art. He is a member of the Sonoma County Woodworkers Association:

He has been a cabinet maker for 26 years.

Some of Tom's panels

It takes Tom 40 hours to make one Kumiko panel, and there are four panels on his lamps. He does not make them for a living; he makes them for the challenge. He said it took him 3 years to become proficient at making the panels. There are a number of different patterns including Asanoha, Goma, and Sakura. Tom brought in examples of a few of the patterns and some of the jigs he uses to make the cuts.

One of Tom's lamps with panels made in the Asanoha style.

Tom uses a cabinet tablesaw and pointed out that a contractor's tablesaw would not be accurate enough for the work. He used a dial indicator to set the tablesaw blade and fence parallel to the miter slot within a few thousandths of an inch. The tablesaw blade cost a few hundred dollars. Accuracy is essential. He bought a universal bevel protractor from Harbor Freight and found it was not accurate enough, so he bought one made by Mitutoyo. The Mitutoyo is commonly used by machinists.

Tom uses poplar, boxwood, and maple to make the panels. He stacks five 1/16" thick saw blades, with 3/16" spacers between each blade, on his tablesaw and rips 5 pieces at once, and then runs the wood through his Dewalt planer to get them to .118 thick.

Small bar from one of the grills.

One of the cross assemblies from a grill.

He said the Sakura style is the most complex one that he makes – with 6 pieces per cell. Washi paper goes on the back of the panels. Tom uses Titebond applied with a needle tip applicator to bond all the joints in the panels.

Tom brought in the book: Shoji and Kumiko Design by Desmond King.
It is a good book for those interested in learning more about Kumiko.

Tom also brought in some Sashimono boxes with hand-cut hidden dovetails
and several other boxes of various shapes including: rectangular, hexagonal and octagonal.

He also showed a 3 way joint similar to the joint we see in Chinese joinery

Bruce Powell showed us his triangular "Wine Glass" tables. He made a run of twelve. He brought in a matching pair with inlaid man and woman heads looking toward one another. The guy is a true artist – the design is superb. He plans to sell them all.

Ed Shoenstein showed off his partially completed model of a building that was part of the 1939 World's Fair on Treasure Island. The model will be donated to the museum on the island.

We adjourned.

Minutes by Burt Rosensweig