Newsletter February 2020

Presidents Message

Fellow woodworkers

Last October we had a presentation by Robert Beauchamp, who gathers and sells old California Black Walnut along with other native trees.

I have a commission to make a Japanese-influenced bed from old growth wood and, after looking around, decided old-growth Californian Black Walnut would be best. The bed is to be pegged mortis and tenon construction with no screws or other hardware used.

All the wood used will be 1.75 inch thick and I need just 5 lengths of "plain" wood for the base and 8 lengths of "figured" wood for the top.

I arranged to meet with Robert at his showroom where he stores his wood on a small farm about 20 miles north of Sacramento.

The drive is along Hwy 5 then east on Country Road 13 – long, flat and straight with nothing but very large fields either side of the road. After 2.5 miles you come to the small coppice of trees with a farm house and a large, very old-looking barn. It is hard to describe the barn as it consisted of many sections that have been added on at different time in its history.

Inside is full of more vertically stacked, rough sawn planks of wood than I have ever seen. (Robert says he has 15,000 – 20,000 bf of timber in the storeroom.) The boards were all had a reference number. ie SA 56 12 means the tree was number 56 board 12 from Sacramento County. One of my set of boards is marked YC for Yuba County.

Most boards were 8 ft. - 10 ft. range but some were up to 20 ft. long and 4 or 5 ft. wide.

The planks were vertical in stacks sticking out 2 – 3 foot from the wall.

I gave him my cutting list and he walked around the barn for 1.75 hours pulling out boards to look at and measure before he finally had the 13 boards that were right for my project.`

Robert wanted to sell me boards that were close to the sizes I wanted. I think he did not want to waste wood by selling me planks many inches wider than I needed. Many of the planks were complete book matched sets of whole trees, too valuable to split up for a few odd planks. Near the end he was looking for a few figured planks I needed at only 5 in wide.

He started moving big wide planks from the stack; eventually when he moved the last plank there behind were the 3 narrow planks that were just right for my needs.

Walking through so much old growth timber that will end up being shipped to projects all over the USA was a great experience.

When I got this wood into my workshop and started working on the "plain" boards I decided "plain" was not the right word; these boards are very hard, very heavy and full of burl and knotted grain – they look beautiful, just have to be worked.

You can find Robert's websites at:

Enjoy your woodwork
(Contact at:


Last Meeting

The meeting was called to order by President Frank Ramsay at 6:05 PM.


Joe, who was a Tech Shop user.

Paul Norton who retired in October and wants to return to woodworking which he did as a hobby in his youth.

Lloyd Levy a hobbyist who likes to construct furniture reproductions.

Upcoming Meetings:

February 16th: Class on the use of card scrapers (see Paul's comments below)

March 15th: Jay van Arsdale speaking about Japanese joinery

Weekend May 30th: BAWA Biannual Bay Area Fine Woodwoking Show


Membership dues need to be paid now for 2020. Cost is just $48 per year

Paul Krenitsky announced the results of the membership survey.

About half of the membership responded. 60% are hobbyists. The most popular topics for technical training are hand tool techniques, finishing, furniture design, joinery, and jigs and fixtures. Proposed field trip subjects are technique demonstrations, virtual member shop tours, and getting involved with other organizations. Members were also interested in seeing other members' shops. To start this out Paul asked members to send him photos of their workbench for the next meeting. For that meeting we will have a class on the use of card scrapers. Attendees are asked to bring their card scrapers and tuning tools.

We will have our Biannual Bay Area Fine Woodworking Show at Woodcraft, San Carlos on May 29-31 again this year. Mike Tracy will chair the event. The May 17 meeting will be dedicated to show coordination.

Bruce Powell announced the continuing raffle of the Kirk walnut wood. Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. When the kitty reaches $100 the next 3 pieces will be raffled off.

Frank Taylor announced that he has 2 handcrafted turning chisel holders to give away.

Yeung Chan announced that the Fort Bragg Krenov School (former College of the Redwood fine woodworking Program) student mid-winter show is from Feb. 1st. to 12th, Party is on the 7th. Saturday afternoon 8th. Yeung is invited to give a talk to the current class,the topic is Furniture Joinery and construction, BAWA members are welcome to the show and to Yeung's presentation.

Bruce Powell described making a queen bed frame out of elm to match existing bedroom furniture. It is to be a Chinese style similar to that in the book by Gustav Ecke. The wood was purchased from Robert Beauchamp. The taper joint on the headboard was done with a power plane. The pictures show setup to cut mortises in long rails using the porch railings as a bench

Jon Kaplan showed pictures he took at the Artistry in Wood Show by the Sonoma County Woodworkers. There were many interesting cabinets, an unusual rocking chair, 2 coffee tables with live edges, a carved Gaboon viper, and a sculpture by Michael Cooper entitled "The Calculated and Systematic Dis-mantling of Blue-Collar Workers"

Frank Ramsay went out to Robert Beauchamp's wood yard to select walnut lumber for a bed he plans to build. With Robert's help they took 2 hours to select 13 pieces of suitable lumber. The wood has been air-dried for over 10 years.

After the break, Chris Pribe described a planing bench he built to hand plane rough lumber outside. It is a modified English style bench based on a design he saw in Popular Woodworking by Christopher Schwartz. It is made of redwood heartwood with the longest pieces starting out at 2"x 12" by 16 feet long. The bench weighs about 260 pounds and can be disassembled.

Aaron Blohowiack described some jigs he built to construct Kumiko screen pieces. He also described a table that he made out of a garden tree that Fog City Sawyers cut down for him. Because the wood has a strong odor, he thinks it is a camphor laurel. The table is 8 feet long and has 6-1/2 inch breadboard ends on the table top. The base joinery is through mortise and tenon. The finish is Rubio Monocoat.

Laura Rhodes is doing all her woodworking in a bedroom using only hand tools. She constructed a turning saw from a kit from Gramercy Tools.

We were shown projects designed for middle school classes. They are rectangular boxes with mitered, splined corners. They are done at the Miramonte Christian School by 8th grade students. (unfortuatley we missed this gentleman's name so please can he let us know)

Burt Rosenzweig showed a heart shaped box he made from purple heart. A short discussion ensued about how to prevent Purpleheart from changing color.

Yeung Chan described a table he built with a circular MDF top sheathed in Formica. The base is constructed with triple lap joints. The choice of Formica for the top was questioned by several members of the group.

Meeting adjourned at 8:45

Steve Rosenblum, secretary