Eastern Massachussetts Guild of Woodworkers

Upcoming Guild Events

May 12, 2018 9:00 AM • Woodcraft Walpole, 3 Walpole Park, South Walpole
May 21, 2018 7:00 PM • Home of Steve Hoffmann, 113 Flanagan Hill Road, Sterling MA
June 09, 2018 10:00 AM • Tartaglia residence 6 Old Colony Rd Worcester
June 18, 2018 7:00 PM • Home of Andy Davis, 112 Sumner Rd, Brookline, MA

Upcoming Non-Guild Events

February 24, 2018 12:00 PM • Fruitlands Museum, Harvard, MA
May 12, 2018 8:00 AM • Pinkerton Academy, Derry NH
July 19, 2018 • Old Sturbridge Village

Featured Piece of the Month

Swinging Cradle

This April we are featuring a piece built by Steve McKenna back in 2015.  You may remember Steve is famous for his rocking chairs.  Steve seems to specialize is restful, creative pieces.  From the picture you can see why it is being showcased. For a brief description click the Swinging Cradle.

Message from the President

April Meeting
Marquetry with Silas Kopf

In addition to inspiration, I frequently pick up specific tips at our monthly meetings and our March meeting was no exception.  I have been doing marquetry with 1/16th inch shop-made veneer and it has two advantages: I can make the veneer myself using a band saw and drum sander and the thicker pieces hold together a lot better when sawing.  On the minus side I was limited to using veneer from species I could find to saw up.  Seeing how Silas used tape, glue and a filler veneer to make up what he calls “packages” of several smaller pieces of thin commercial veneer encouraged me to try this technique and it is coming along.  Viewing the slides of his presentation of his finished pieces can be intimidating but I was able to see it as motivating by keeping in mind that his is the work of someone who has been at it for forty years and I don’t have to have his artistic ability to make some beautiful things.  And as he said, doing any marquetry puts your work in the category of “Gee, how in the world did you do that?”

Turning for Cabinetmakers

The last two major projects I did required some turning.  Two pillars on an Eli Terry clock and the column on a tilt top table.  If you are going to get serious about building furniture sooner or later turning is a skill you need.  Sure, I’ve bought turned legs and incorporated them into pieces I’ve built but after a while that seems too much like cheating.  If you have never turned and want a clear thorough introduction and an opportunity to ask questions our April meeting with Mickey Callahan is not to be missed.  You can learn a lot from a Youtube video but you can’t ask it any questions.  And if you’re like me and turn only occasionally Mickey’s demonstration will be a great refresher and a chance to pick up some tips.

Here we are deep into summer, but as we approach the end of July, I know you are all wondering “What does the coming year for the Guild involve”. Well, behind the scenes, folks have been hard at work putting together the events for the coming year. 

Bevel Cut


I have a friend who is famous for stating "Excess is never enough."  As I build up my workshop, I know I can use more and different types.   Andrew Davis' April submission provides a survey of different clamps and even organized a clamp family tree for your perusal.  Get the "squeeze" and take a look it here.

Perpetual Novice

Order of Work

The ability to follow steps serially is something we do quite admirably in woodworking.  Except when we don't.  That's because we've inadvertently left out important steps.  And sometimes it's too late.  This creates additional work and workarounds.  The Perpetual Novice tells a humorous story of one example of a once small project gone bigger and reveals the consequences in the April's submission.

Funiture Interest Group Meetings

Meetings of the Guild's Furniture Interest Group (FIG) are held every third Monday of the month.  All members are welcome.  Members meet at a different member's house every month where they attend to discuss all things furniture building, including designs, jigs, wood species, joinery, tools, etc.  Members have a chance to seek advice from a varied, friendly, and experienced assembly of woodworkers or add to this body of collective knowledge.  Keep an eye on FIG meetings for time and place in the Upcoming Guild Events at the top of the page. 

Mentoring in the EMGW

Mentoring in the Guild takes many forms.  Everything from a brief conversation or email on a particular technique to a full-blown cooperative effort to build an entire piece.  Most mentoring occurs informally among members.  However, the Mentor Program provides an easy way, especially for new members, to get involved in mentoring.  Members listed on the Mentor Program page of this website have expressed a willingness to help other members in a variety of ways.

To read more about the Mentor Program, click here or navigate to About Us then Mentor Program.  To see the list of Mentor members with their interests and contact information, click here or navigate to Members then Mentors.

Steve McKenna at 2017 Philadelphia Furniture Show. The 2018 Show is April 13 - 15.

Steve McKenna, professional woodworker and member of the Guild, provided some insight into his observations at the Philadelphia Furniture Show last year.  Although he was limited to spending time at his booth (pictured above), he is able to share the following:
  • A lot of woodworkers from all over the country were there, a lot of questions and discussions.  George Nakashima's daughter was there.
  • The Wharton Esherick Museum people were there and sat with me in the booth for a few hours. 
  •  A woodworker's school from Vermont showed up and occupied my time for hours. 
  • I talked at great length with a guy named Dave Moneypenny (davidleemoneypenny/crashed-furniture) who makes furniture from crashed vehicles.  Clearly, these pieces are heavy.
  • There were also two woodworkers I'd met before at the Northampton Paradise City show - Peter Handler (handlerstudio.com) and Dave Talley (dharmadesignfurniture.com).  Dave M., Peter, and Dave T. do great work.  It was entertaining for me.

The next Philadelphia Furniture show is scheduled for April 13-15, 2018.  For more interest click philadelphiafurnitureshow.org.

For more information about Steve's work click www.stevemckennawoodworking.com

Toy Making Project

Back in the fall of 2017 the Guild decided to sponsor another toy making project for local children this holiday season.  As a result, several Guild members volunteered their time and expertise to build articulated pull toys and puzzles.  The successful project was completed a few weeks ago.  Toys were delivered to Woodcraft in Walpole before the grand give away.

The project began back in September under the direction of member Steve Hoffman, who tirelessly and without any stone unturned, organized and led the following volunteers Brian Chandley, Don Michael, Jeff Clunie, Jim Russell, Ken Zoller, Richard Silva, Tim Harrigan, and Vincent Valvo on this productive, enjoyable, and rewarding project.  All volunteers assembled and worked in Steve's workshop on a weekly basis.

For a slide show of pictures during various stages of toy production click here.  Happy Holidays to all, young and experienced!

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