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NCW Woodworking Guild

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Updated: 1 hour 1 min ago

June 21, 2017

Sun, 06/25/2017 - 8:24pm

If you missed the June meeting, you missed a lot: a drive into the mountains and seeing more walnut slabs than you’ll see in a lifetime. Guild member Steve Noyes has the vision to look at a tree and know what forms it can take. After our visit to Steve’s place, we left with an understanding of what is involved in obtaining trees, processing them, converting them into usable lumber and, finally, turning that lumber into beautiful furniture.

Steve sees the potential of a log like thisWalnut log to be milled

becoming this

the Clockum Desk

The Clockum Desk, named after the original location of the  tree

Steve “harvests” trees before they meet the fate of the chipper, often scouting them out in and around the valley. When he spots one he knows will not be long in this life, he waits – sometime years – for that moment when a new home owner or a contractor decides it needs to go. During our meeting, we learned about Steve’s process in a reverse order: first, seeing his shop, then learning how he designs and makes furniture, and finally the process of harvesting and processing the wood.

The Wow Factor

The first thing evident to anyone walking into Steve’s 2,206 sq. ft. shop is that he loves wood, especially walnut. Seeing the lumber and slabs he’s processed is stunning to those accustomed to lumberyard fare.

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Taking up almost two-stories of wall space, this slab will likely become a bar counter.

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And there’s more …

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and more …

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Tools of the trade

12-inch jointer with spiral cutter head

Spiral-head jointer

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A sander wide enough to handle massive slabs

 

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Dust collection system

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dust collection

Spray room

Spray room

Inside the kiln

Inside the kiln (yes, he has a kiln!)

 

From logs to luxury

Whether it’s making desks, counter tops, or chairs, Steve considers all aspects of a piece of wood – the curve of an edge, the nuance of the grain, the color – and seeks to blend those characteristics into an eye-pleasing piece of handmade furniture. While at his shop, we studied the first two of the following forms:

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Bar stool, Maloof-inspired rocker, chair

While everybody else was talking slabs, Chris Church and Jeff Dilks were scrutinizing the Maloof joints in the rocker.

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Maloof joint

Using an unfinished rocker, Steve explained how he created and shaped the joint.

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Graceful touches on a finished rocker:

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The headrest made out of a beautifully grained piece of walnut root:

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And we tried one out:

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Steve’s tractor-seat bar stool

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And a new version he is working on:

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Bent laminations

bent laminations

Acquisition and milling

Before darkness settled in, we went outside, and Steve showed us his two mills – the Lucas Mill and the Brand X. We talked about how he acquires trees and the process and expenses involved in taking a tree from its place of origin to a completed piece of furniture.

Brand X

Brand X

Lucas mill

Lucas mill

All in all, a great meeting. Thank you, Steve, for hosting us.

 

May 17, 2017

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 5:44pm
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Autumn demonstrating the use of English mortise chisels. In the foreground are the numerous guides and jigs Chris once required in  order to cut mortises with a router.

In May, we gathered at the shop of Chris Church of Wenatchee. On the agenda was how to cut mortise and tenons, both by hand and with power tools. Autumn Doucet led the demonstrations by showing how to chop a mortise with English mortise chisels, also known to some as “pig stickers.”

Since chopping a well-fitted mortise by hand with English mortising chisels is fast and uncomplicated, the demonstration didn’t take long. For those interested in the process, here is a good video by Peter Follansbee.

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Willy giving the mortise chisel a spin.

Next, Chris Church showed us how he used to make mortise and tenons using a table full of jigs, then he sauntered right over to his Stanfield horizontal mortiser, made exclusively by Tom Dolese at Terra Firma Design in Bellevue. This is the mortiser he used to cut all of the joinery – angled and straight – on ten dining room chairs. Once he set all of the stops and adjustments, the execution was smooth, accurate and quick. These mortisers run about $2000, but Chris purchased his used for around $800.

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The Stanfield horizontal mortiser

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Chris showing how it’s done.

Chris also explained how he makes his loose tenons.

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Making a snug fit with loose tenons.

And what’s a meeting without a few glamour shots?

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Jon Dominguez, originally from Detroit. You’ve got it going there, Jon.

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L-R: Mark Lombard and Jeff Dilks

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James Gibson from Newport

 

April 19, 2017 Meeting

Fri, 05/12/2017 - 9:29pm
Steve Voorhies/Wall cabinet

Wall cabinet made of mahogany, ebony and padauk by Steve Voorhies, our host. The Japanese characters come from a calligraphy by Soetsu Yanagi and means “absolute compassion.” Published in his book The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight into Beauty, Yanagi challenges the conventional ideas of art and beauty, the value of things made by an anonymous craftsman, and the value of handwork. Steve touts Yanagi’s book as “a wonderful book on aesthetics.”

Steve hosted our April 2017 meeting at his home in Wenatchee. The turn-out was better than expected, and because it was one of the first fine spring days, we all gathered outside Steve and Sally’s house for conversation and introductions. If you would, please help us identify those attendees listed as unknown by dropping a note to Chris at church.chris@gmail.com.

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L-R: Stan Simmons, Tom Ross, Roger Volkmann, unknown

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L – R: Dan Kerr, Esther Zimmerman, Lynn Palmer, Maryanne Patton, and Willy Joslin.

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Steve Voorhies, Willy Joslin, unknown, unknown

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Sally Voorhies and Clyde Markey

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Steve Noyes

 

Once introductions were over, we were treated to a tour of the furniture Steve has made for he and his wife, Sal. Included here are only a few.

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Dining room table and chairs made in the Greene and Greene style

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Framed mirror

This will be Steve’s pièce de résistance: this nearly completed Federal-style serpentine sideboard designed by Steve Latta.  Fine Woodworking did a multi-part article on building this beauty, and the making of it has tested Steve’s skills. He’s done a terrific job.

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Federal serpentine sideboard made of mahogany, with holly inlay and stringing

 

After we made our way into the shop, Autumn gave a presentation on how to sharpen scrapers using diamond stones, and Chris Church explained how to tune-up a table saw so it will cut straight and square.

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Chris Church demonstrating how to align the miter slot to the blade.

We would like to thank all of the guild members who attended and look forward to seeing you again in the near future.