Eastern Massachussetts Guild of Woodworkers

Upcoming Guild Events

March 10, 2018 9:00 AM • First Unitarian Church of Worcester 90 Main St
March 19, 2018 7:00 PM • Home of Vince Valvo, 7 Latisquama Rd., Southboro
April 14, 2018 9:00 AM • Woodcraft Walpole, 3 Walpole Park, South Walpole
April 16, 2018 7:00 PM • Home of Ken Zoller, 3 Manning Way, Sharon
May 12, 2018 9:00 AM • Woodcraft Walpole, 3 Walpole Park, South Walpole

Upcoming Non-Guild Events

February 03, 2018 12:00 PM • Fruitlands Museum, Harvard, MA
March 24, 2018 • Saratoga Springs, NY
April 20, 2018 12:00 PM • Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center, Southbridge, MA

Featured Piece of the Month

The February issue offers another exquisite piece by a Guild member for your perusal.  This month Jim Russell discusses his tilt-top table modeled after one made by Early American John Seymour.  For more pictures and commentary written by the woodworker himself click Seymour Tilt Top Table.

Message from the President

February Meeting

Revisiting Fitting Drawers with Phil Lowe

Once again Phil Lowe has demonstrated why he is one of our favorite presenters.  I came away with any number of hints and inspirations to improve my hand tool work and better fit drawers, one of the more precise tasks for a furniture builder.  And now, through the patient and steady hand held camera work of our videographer Allen Ganser, we can review the video of this meeting is now available online only to our members.

Fixing Woodworking Mistakes

We all have stories of woodworking mistakes we were able to recover from and others not so much.   As director of the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, Bob Van Dyke has the benefit of learning not only from his own but also from the mistakes and fixes of his many students.  This is an area where there are always new tricks to learn and Bob is the guy to teach them.  Aside from the technical fixes I have learned the simple, but for some reason difficult to apply, is the lesson of keeping my mouth shut.  If someone compliments one of my pieces I just say “thank you” and fight down the impulse to confess how that piece of trim was added as an afterthought to cover a gaping crack that was the result of mis-measurement.

EMGW in the 21st Century

I was reading through a print newsletter the guild published in the last century, in fact it was in the last millennium, and came across an article chiding one of our founding members for refusing to use this new-fangled email thing to communicate.  Well, that member now does use email but technology marches on and now the latest is this thing called Instagram.  Luckily I still have a teenager at home and so could get instruction in how to use it.  I even managed to post a couple of pictures.  If you are more up-to-date than I am, which is not hard, you probably don’t think that’s any big accomplishment but you may now know that, thanks to Tom Shirley, we now have an Instagram account.  Check it out at: @emgw_org on Instagram and post some of your stuff.  If you have questions about it ask a teenager or email Tom at: emgwsec@gmail.com.

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


When choosing a joinery type how often have you settled on merely using dowels?  Andrew Davis has found that they work perfectly well for the joint strength he seeks.  In fact, he has found this simple approach has been a time saver.  Now rather than start considering joinery with tried and try mortise and tenon, biscuits, or other approaches, Andrew has settled on dowel joinery as his go to approach.  His opinion has developed after perfecting his use of dowels.  Read about it here.

Perpetual Novice

When Is An Inch Not An Inch?

All of us know the key to a structurally sound construction.  And all of us know that if you don't adhere to this key woodworking step, you run into all kinds of problems.  So why do we often take proper measuring for granted?  We all do it but the Perpetual Novice describes his recent experience it in an amusing way that resonates with us.  Don't miss the February issue of the Perpetual Novice here.

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

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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