Eastern Massachussetts Guild of Woodworkers

Upcoming Guild Events

May 14, 2016 9:00 AM (EDT) • Woodcraft of Woburn, 185 New Boston St, Woburn, MA
May 16, 2016 7:00 PM (EDT) • Home of Jonathan Leavy, 4 Eden Ave, Newton, MA
June 11, 2016 10:00 AM (EDT) • 6 Old Colony Rd., Worcester, Ma
June 20, 2016 7:00 PM (EDT) • Home of Paul Shultz, 75 Warner St, Hudson, MA

3GWW - A Mentoring Odyssey

 by Jim Russell

One of the benefits of being a member of the Guild is the mentoring activity. About a year ago, Don Michael decided that if he didn't schedule specific workshop time, he would never get any workshop time. So we agreed to meet one morning a week to make sawdust. After a few weeks, it became clear that we needed a specific project and decided to make a early 19th Century Portsmouth Table. Neither of us actually wanted a Portsmouth table but we didn't want to learn all of the different woodworking and embellishment techniques required to build one. Jeff Clunie decided to join us and so began the weekly meetings of 3GWW (Three Guys Woodworking).   We like to think of 3GWW is a mutual mentoring organization. We finally finished the project a few months ago and Jeff decided to document his mentoring experience.  You can read Jeff's full article by clicking on this link..

Jim Tartaglia is responsible for shepherding the mentoring activity for the Guild and is coordinating the release of a series of articles on mentoring activity. This is the first of those articles. For future articles in the space.

Message from the President

I recently had a discussion about form versus function. Being an engineer and having written many functional specifications, function is kind of hard-wired into my thinking. I think the first time I remember being presented with this dialectic was after reading “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. This book is about many things, but the one takeaway I had was that some people are “form” people and other are “function” people. The form person looks at the motorcycle and sees the form, the shape, the color, the visual design, the aesthetic. The function person looks at the motorcycle and “sees” the pistons, the rods, the crankshaft, the cam, and the gears. He sees how they are integrated into a system that performs a function.

I once went at night to look at a used car. It was a German made Ford Capri with a 3.0 liter engine. After viewing and driving it, I decided to buy it. When I returned home my wife asked what color it was. I said I wasn’t sure – blue, I think. “OK, as long as it’s not red”, she said. “I’m sure it’s not red”, I replied. It was red.

So, when it comes to designing furniture, which are you? Do you start with form? Or do you list the functional requirements? Perhaps it depends on what you’re building. A set of kitchen cabinets must be functional; with form to follow. James Krenov instructed his students to look at the wood, let it speak to you; the form follows from the wood. His cabinets were beautiful works of art. I think that for most of us, as we design, we try to put both tent pegs in: form and function. One or the other may move as the project evolves. As for me, I usually do a rough sketch, look for the form initially. But the function may obviate some design possibilities. So, it is a give and take. And eventually, the form is decided with joinery and other specifics to follow. I think there is an excitement that lives in the tension of resolving the form and the function. Of course, the greatest woodworkers have found the perfect intersection of form and function. Happy woodworking!

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. 

Upcoming Non-Guild Events

May 16, 2016 (EDT) • Wingate Gallery, North Bennett St. School, 150 North St., Boston

New Stuff

February 11, 2016 11:26 AM • James Russell
October 02, 2015 11:49 AM • James Russell

Set Up Your Bandsaw

I thought I had a defective band saw (it couldn't possibly have been me) until I set up my saw EXACTLY the way Alex said. It is all in where the blade sits on the wheel.


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