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NCW Woodworking Guild
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 this
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.
And there’s more …
and more …
Tools of the trade
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:
While everybody else was talking slabs, Chris Church and Jeff Dilks were scrutinizing the Maloof joints in the rocker.
Using an unfinished rocker, Steve explained how he created and shaped the joint.
Graceful touches on a finished rocker:
The headrest made out of a beautifully grained piece of walnut root:
And we tried one out:
Steve’s tractor-seat bar stool
And a new version he is working on:
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.
All in all, a great meeting. Thank you, Steve, for hosting us.
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.
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.
Chris also explained how he makes his loose tenons.
And what’s a meeting without a few glamour shots?