Eastern Massachussetts Guild of Woodworkers

Upcoming Guild Events

February 12, 2022 9:00 AM • Virtual on Zoom - Link to be posted 10 days in advance
May 14, 2022 9:00 AM • Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge MA
September 10, 2022 9:00 AM • Millis, MA at a Guild member's shop

Upcoming Non-Guild Events

No upcoming events

Dan Sichel's Research: Economic History of Nails

Did you know that in 1810, the use of nails in the US was comparable, as a measure of nominal GDP, to household purchases of personal computers and peripherals or air travel in our modern times?  That's just one nugget in guild member Dan Sichel's recent paper that caught the eye of NPR's Planet Monkey program for an interview. 

You may remember Dan's mahogany dining table featured as Piece of the Month last year.  So you might think the interview was about woodworking -- but, only peripherally.  You see, under the guise of an accomplished woodworker, Dan has a full-time job - Professor of Economics at Wellesley College.  Dan recently wrote "The Price of Nails Since 1695: A Window into Economic Change" that was the basis of the interview.  Presented in a ten minute podcast, Dan discusses his research on what we can learn about the US economy from the economic history of nails. 

Look forward to a light treatment of a serious paper by clicking Dan's Podcast. Also look forward to another featured piece by Dan later this year.

Bevel Cut

Is Your Project a By-Product?

by Andrew Davis

One thing leads to another and in this issue most woodworking projects lead to sawdust.  Big surprise!  But Andrew thinks about this kind of stuff.  And that leads to using the sawdust or any other seemingly useless by-product into something that can be monetized above the level of trashing it.

I collect hand plane shavings for kindling for my outdoor wood-fueled pizza oven.  The company I bought the pizza oven actually sells hardwood wood shavings and small blocks for just that purpose.  I admit I've actually thought of mechanizing a cutter to produce shavings of my hardwood scrap.  Now there's a by-product that could be worth something.

Have you considered a project or business turning trash into gold?  In his January 2022 article Is Your Project a By-Product?, Andrew amusingly goes through the mental process of what to consider to evaluate a price for a by-product.  Andrew lays out a compelling list of accounting variables that will have you feeling that sawdust, wood shavings, wood blocks, or other woodworking by-products might be best left for the trash.  See for yourself.

Andrew welcomes your feedback.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Read the Grain 

by Rob Carver

Woodworking for most of us is a singular enterprise. Our workshops are sized mostly for tools, not other humans.  Using woodworking as a metaphor for social relationships, Rob informs us to think about the bigger picture.  As we toil among our joinery, almost invisible reliefs, and grain direction, we also toil in our communities, small and large, to improve our interaction, to understand the direction of our grain and others.  Rob brings this article at a time of new year, which often is a time of reflection and introspection.  Here's to a Happy New Year and Happy Woodworking in 2022.  And here's to a Healthy New Year physically, mentally, and socially.

For a must read, click Rob's Read the Grain.

You can reach Rob for comments and additional information, click Rob Carver.

Featured Piece of the Month

Dual Top Oak Cherry Table

by Dick Belanger

When a daughter comes calling, what father is going to decline the request?  So empowered, Dick Belanger took on the request for "something different."  Dick takes you along his design and build technique to create a remarkable one-of-a-kind table using two table tops separated by arched supports for that different look he was appealed to take.  I dare say he accomplished his objective and workmanship.  See for yourself by clicking Dual Top Oak Cherry Table

To send your comments, click Dick Belanger.

Contribute to the Featured Piece of the Month column.  Click my email address to send your draft anytime and I'll begin to schedule its publication.  I can assist your organizing, formatting, and picture insertions so don't let those issues stop you from documenting your projects and revealing your work.  Content can be as detailed (or not) as you like.

Remember this column is not necessarily dedicated to furniture pieces.  Tools, jigs, processes, and other woodworking related themes are also relevant.

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.

Social Media

To view and access EMGW social media sites click Instagram and Facebook.  You don't need to be a member for a quick view.

Board of Directors 2021 - 2022

At the June, 2021 annual meeting the following were elected to the EMGW Board of Directors:

Tim Holiner, President (re-elected)

Ken Zoller, Vice President (re-elected)

Don Cole, Treasurer (re-elected)

Tom Shirley, Secretary (re-elected)

All candidates were elected unanimously.

EMGW Woodworking Exhibit at Old Sturbridge Village

As part of the 75th Anniversary celebrations at Old Sturbridge Village, EMGW participated in the OSV Woodworking Weekend on October 9 & 10, 2021 (see slideshoew below).  The Village held a Grand Opening Ceremony for the new Cabinetmaking Shop on the Common, and EMGW had a front-row seat for the festivities, under a tent where we displayed members’ work and did some demonstrations for visitors. Members may recall that our September field trip was initially scheduled to get a preview of the new shop with Master Cabinetmaker Chris Nassise. Due to COVID, we postponed that visit until the spring, but Chris invited us to show how the methods of the early nineteenth century have evolved and live on.

A variety of objects were on loan from Guild members Michael Bossin, Rob Carver, Ann Dinsmoor, Steve Hoffman, Bob McKee, Ed O’Neil, Mike Roughan, Tom Shirley, Rick Silva, Jim Tartaglia, Jim Thompson, and Ken Zoller. Most of these folks also spent time in the Village during the event, chatting with visitors and Village staff about the Guild and woodworking, distributing Guild postcards, and doing some demonstrations. Thanks to numerous members and the editing of Tom Shirley, we had a slide show running continuously to showcase some eye-catching furniture pieces. Among the visitors we met several local woodworkers and possibly recruited a few new members for EMGW.

In addition to the display items, Ann had brought a two-board sample illustrating a dovetail joint. Kids and adults delighted in exploring how the joint works. Steve supplied toys from the Toys for Tots program from a few years back. The cars and articulated creatures were a big hit, attracting children, parents, and grandparents.  

Tom demonstrated the use of handsaws, shooting boards, and hand planes to construct small boxes with perfect mitered corners, and Rob used a shaving horse, drawknife, and spokeshaves to make a Paul Sellers milking stool. All the display pieces drew praise, especially Ken Zoller’s Machinist’s Tool Chest, Jim Tartaglia’s segmented bowl and mahogany tilt-top table with its inlaid veneer top, Bob McKee’s Krenov-inspired curved-front display cabinet, Ed O’Neil’s Morris ottoman, Rob Carver’s sackback Windsor chair, and Mike Bossin’s mantle clock. We had two shaker stepstools, by Ann and Tom, and people found the comparison vey interesting as well. More than a few visitors asked about purchasing or commissioning items!

The featured speaker at the shop dedication was Brock Jobe, renowned authority on early American furniture now retired from Winterthur, and on the board at OSV. Brock has spoken to the Guild in the past. One additional surprise was a sighting and brief encounter with Norm Abram, who also played a role in the creation of the new shop.

We had a lot of fun, met many people, extolled the virtues of woodworking and our Guild, and strengthened our own bonds while meeting people from around the country and several nations.  Our OVS hosts could not have been more gracious, and (as they say) a good time was had by all. We look forward to on-going relationship with the Village.

Rob Carver

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