Newsletter May 2023

BAWA Meeting May 21st. 2023
Combined in person & Zoom meeting

The meeting was called to order by President Frank Ramsay.

Guests: Dave Burkett – Los Gatos

Program Announcements – Paul Krenitsky

Paul gave a quick recap of the Bay Maples milling operation tour in April.

Tonight's speaker, Robert Beauchamp, mills and sells walnut at The Walnut Place in Woodland, northwest of Sacramento. On Saturday, June 17, 9 am, there will be a BAWA field trip there to get a tour of his operation.

At the June meeting, members can present their entries in the 2x4 challenge. The June meeting main speaker is yet to be determined.

BAWA will be holding a hand-cut dovetail class on Saturday, July 15 at the Palo Alto Adult School. Jon Kaplan and Tom Gaston will be teaching. The cost will be $100. The project is a box.

Bruce Powell will be teaching a 2-day marquetry ("painting with wood veneer") class for 3-4 people in August (exact dates to be determined) in his San Francisco shop.

Bruce reminded us of an alternative marquetry class being taught by Matthew Werner in Scott's Valley in June. An email announcement of that class went out to BAWA members earlier this month.

The group expressed their well-wishes to Burt Rosensweig, at home recovering from surgery.

The September meeting will be our annual picnic. The exact date is yet to be determined, but it will be on a Sunday at Twin Pines Park. Paul is proposing we have a planing contest and requests sturdy portable trestles/sawhorses to support the board being planed.

The speaker for our October meeting will be ex-\member Neal White - details to follow (probably on 18th century furniture)

Last March, BAWA had a field trip to Arborica. Evan Shively's surfacer (which was under construction during our visit) is now operational. A tentative September/October 2023 field trip to see the new facility is being planned.

If anyone hears of possible woodworking jobs that they are unwilling/unable to fulfill, please email BAWA President, Frank Ramsay, and he will forward the information on to the group.

Final Announcements

Next month's meeting will be on Sunday, June 25 – the 4th rather than the 3rd Sunday of the month to avoid Father's Day conflict.


Tonight' Speaker

Robert Beauchamp
Melrina's Wall Unit

Robert is a furniture maker and proprietor of The Walnut Place in Woodland, CA, which specializes in Claro Walnut and Paradox Walnut.

Melrina's Wall Unit

The story of Melrina's Wall Unit began six years ago when Robert was first approached about constructing a wall unit. Time went by and he and the client finally reconnected last year. He was asked to make a massive wall unit, 9 feet wide by 8 feet tall. Robert presented a series of hand sketched designs to the client to determine the final configuration of drawers, shelves, doors, and cupboards.

Paradox Walnut counter top

Counter top in frame

The wall unit was constructed entirely of solid hardwood. The back of the unit consisted of continuous book matched pairs cut from 6 boards from the same Claro Walnut tree. The frame pieces were Claro Walnut. Drawer fronts, door panels, and counter top were Paradox Walnut (also known as Bastogne walnut – a cross between California Black walnut with English walnut, used as the preferred stock for walnut orchards). The drawer sides, bottoms, and internal components were made from California Black Oak. The wall unit consists of 6 individual cabinets – 3 top and 3 bottom. There was extensive use of mortise and tenon and frame and panel construction. The bottom units were 23.25" deep, 30" tall. The top units were 12" deep and 52" tall. The middle units were 4' wide. Each of the top units had one 1" thick fixed shelf and shelf pin holes to support the adjustable shelves. Panels were held together and in place using tongue and groove. Levelers were installed on the bottom of the feet to adjust for a non-level floor.

Some of the 380 individual pieces

Frame assembled

This was a massive project, with more than 380 individual pieces of wood. While milling parts, boards were labeled to keep track. After milling to size, each piece went through a wide belt sander to 150 grit and was sanded to 220 – 400 grit for the final preparation. Mortises were rough chopped using a router with final squaring up on the bench using Japanese style chisels. Tenons were cut on the table saw with cleanup by hand with chisels. Each tenon was carefully fitted together with its matching mortise. He used a block dot (in an inconspicuous spot on both the mort ice and tenon) as a visual aid to show when a mortise/tenon pair had been fitted. Robert noted that the fitting of tenons takes hours. Once the components had been fitted and labeled, they were wrapped in plastic to avoid cupping from contact with moisture.

Robert indicated that he doesn't do a full CAD drawing of his projects. He relies on his hand sketched designs and a very detailed cut list. The cut list shows the length/width of each piece as well as the information about whether there is a tenon at one or both ends and the length of the tenon(s).

Components were pre-oiled before assembly. Robert used 2 coats of Osmo satin finish on each of the interior corners and up to 8 coats of Osmo on exterior panels. After oiling, surfaces were buffed using #000 steel wool. The glue up was done in stages using Titebond II glue. Glue was cleaned up as they went along.

There are a total of 10 drawers in this project. Eight show from the outside, one is a tray inside a door, and the last is a hidden drawer. (Robert declined to tell us the hidden drawer location). Dovetails were cut with a Japanese saw. Most of the waste was removed with a bandsaw or router. And then there was lots of chopping by hand. Robert used a sandpaper backed block of wood to act as a fence for chopping out the back of the dovetails.

Paradox Walnut drawer panels

Hand cut drawer and door pulls

The Paradox Walnut for the door panels and drawer fronts were spectacular, but the real showstopper was the central panel on the bottom unit – a book matched crotch figure. The door and drawer handles were Robert's design, made to look (abstractly) like hands folded over each other. Each handle took more than an hour to make.

All told, this project took approximately 645 hours to complete – 4 months' time for Robert and his assistant, Taylor. It contained more than $8000 in materials and sold for approximately $62,000.

At the end of his presentation, Robert told us a bit more about his shop and milling operation. He has been cutting his own wood for 40 years and has 20,000 board feet of wood to choose from. The drying room in the shop holds about 2000 board feet of lumber. His kiln holds 10,000 board feet. The drying area off the mill has storage for about 10,000 board feet. He air dries the lumber for about 8 months before it goes into the kiln. He cuts most lumber at either 2.25 in. thick or 1.25 in. thick. The thinner stock is usually air dried only.


Show and Tell

Max Goldstein

Max cutout, and mortices. He cut the tenons on the table saw. He finished the purple heart with shellac and lacquer.

Picture to be added

Laura Rhodes

Picture to be added

Laura Rhodes presented a Danish stool made of ash, based on a design by Richard Maguire (a.k.a. The English Woodworker). The stool was constructed using hand tools with tricky mortice and tenon joinery to accommodate the rake and splay angles of the four legs. The seat is woven Danish paper cord.

Jamie Buxton

Jamie showed a 2x4 challenge entry from a previous year
A 3-legged chair.
He achieved the curvature of the back legs and chair back using a bent lamination technique.

Jon Kaplan

Jon also presented a 2x4 challenge from a previous year – Wood Art.
He had taken the 2x4, cut it in half and glued together the two four-foot lengths to make a 4x4.
He then cut it into segments at a compound angle and glued the segments together to form the sculpture.

Burt Rosensweig

At last month's meeting Burts aeroplane disappeared before he could take it home.
If anyone has information about its whereabouts,
Burt would be very happy to get it back

Minutes taken by Laura Rhodes