Author Topic: Bay Area SAPFM Chapter Meeting (March 22, 2014) - Are You Sharp?  (Read 2240 times)


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Think your chisels are sharp? Think again! Members Fred, Peter, and Jim have spent some real effort figuring out why "it just not cutting right".

Please join us for our Spring chapter meeting. It promises to be a fun one as we compare sharpening techniques and discover what Fred and Peter have learned from their comparison of relative sharpness using both high magnification photography and a home-made sharpening tester. Then Jim will present his "best" method for sharpening carving chisels. He says he's tried them all and he's got an approach that appears to be simple, quick and effective. Come and see it in action!

The Details:

When: Saturday, Mar 22

First Some Lunch

Then the Meeting

Please send an EMail to [email protected] if you would like to attend, and we'll respond with the meeting details.

·         Presentation by Peter and Fred on measuring and comparing effectiveness of various sharpening methods
·         Presentation by Jim on efficiently sharpening and maintaining carving chisels.
·         A short workshop where we will sharpen some bench chisels using various techniques and compare our methods and exchange what we know is true, what we fear, and what we believe - not all of which is true!

If you think you have a good approach to sharpening, then please bring it with you or be prepared to describe it to the group. Alternately, if you are having trouble sharpening something, then bring it along also and let the group help you with it.

Show and Tell
Please bring something for show and tell. It could be a project you are working on, a favorite book, a good story, a friend, some really beautiful wood, or a tool you'd like to show off.

Tool and Book Swap
If you have some WW'ing tools, books, DVD's, etc. you'd like to sell, trade or give away then bring them!

Wood Swap
Raid your scrap bin. Give or sell to someone who can use it.

Beginner/Intermediate Furniture Maker


  • Regional Chapter Coordinator
  • Forum Journeyman
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  • Posts: 76
Beginner/Intermediate Furniture Maker


  • Regional Chapter Coordinator
  • Forum Journeyman
  • ***
  • Posts: 76
Re: Bay Area SAPFM Chapter Meeting (March 22, 2014) - Are You Sharp?
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2014, 06:59:17 PM »
And here is a copy of the meeting minutes.

Dear Bay Area SAPFM Members and Guests:
A big round of thanks to everyone that made our March 22 meeting "Are You Sharp?" a big success. Special thanks to Alan Pound for the use of his shop!  Thanks to Fred, Peter and Jim for presenting, and thanks to all the members that contributed to show and tell. If you missed the meeting or simply want to reminisce or review pictures, then go here:
President’s Corner
·         JB mentioned the American Decorative Arts Forum associated with the De Young Museum is a great resource for monthly speakers.  While not always related to furniture making, they frequently do bring in speakers such as Phil Lowe and cover topics of special interest to SAPFM members.
·         JB also mentioned a great source of hand-on furniture inspection: Bonhams auctions in San Francisco.  These auctions always have furniture of interest and during the previews you are allowed to inspect the pieces (including handle, photograph, measure and draw).
·         JB mentioned some ideas for future meetings and tried to gauge interest in them.  They included hands-on workshops (1 day or weekend) and led by local or visiting instructor.  We do have experts within our chapter who can serve as instructors.  This is a resource that we haven’t really tapped yet.  Please don’t be shy.  You’re among friends and we would love for you to volunteer!!  We could also have smaller interest based groups/meetings (“splinter groups”?).  Examples of topics could be sawing and shaping of cabriole legs or spindle turning.
·         Finally, the topic of a library exchange was brought up.  Many of us have extensive collections of books that would be of interest to other members.  In the future we will discuss creating a listing of books that people have and might be willing to share/loan to other chapter members.
Show and Tell
·         Alan gave us a quick tour of his very well equipped, organized and impressive shop.  People were particularly impressed with his dust collection system.  Some lessons-learned he passed along included  thinking of dust collection as being similar to kitchen exhaust in the sense that it needs to move lots of air from near the source.  He emphasized planning is critical – he used full size templates prior to build.
·         Harold handed out some marquetry patterns and Joe P. passed out some pure beeswax that he “stole from his bees”.  Thanks!
·         Tim presented a beautiful lady’s writing desk that he made utilizing mahogany, big leaf maple burl, Monterey pine and silver maple.  Another beautiful piece to add to the many Tim has crafted.
·         JB showed us some great French design books including a very detailed text book from the Ecole Boulle (French school of Marquetry).
·         Joe J. presented a metal infill plane (bronze/Cocobolo) that he made as well as a multi-drawer cabinet made of recycled material (wine boxes).
·         Julien presented some photos of a demilune table he made.  We encouraged him to bring it to the next meeting.
·         Alan showed us the bench chisel rack he created.  He cleverly designed its height so when he grasps the chisel to pull it out of the rack his fingers are already perfectly placed for use.
·         Al showed how to inexpensively flattening sharpening stones using three sewer bricks.  After cutting grooves in 3 bricks, you use them to flatten each other.  Only water and about an hour is needed, but in the end you have three flat reference surfaces for flattening your water stones.  Bricks are available at most building supply stores.
·         Al also talked about using dry cleaners heat-resistant material to protect the finish/surface of veneered furniture.  Check your local fabric/craft store or ask your dry cleaner about it.  <after meeting note: Joe J’s wife recommends using a piece of muslin fabric.  She says this works for her to protect delicate lace and silk chiffon.  Different weights are available and run about $3/yd>
Presentation: How do you tell sharp from really sharp?
·         Fred presented a way of quantifying sharpness by amount of pressure (weight) required to cut masonry cord.  Average of 10 measurements.  A proposal to name the units of measurement “Freds” was considered and declined as that would result in a single Fred being the definition of dull.
·         Peter showed us his camera jig for taking the macro pictures of sharpened edges.
·         Honing makes edges sharper, but the effect doesn’t last and there doesn’t appear to be any advantage to sharpening beyond 8000 grit.
·         Results were quite interesting.  Please check Fred's presentation attached to this email for details.
Jim demonstrated how he sharpens his carving tools using JoolTool and a couple of JB’s gouges.
Jim was kind enough to work a special deal w/ the JoolTool maker for our club.
- Jooltool™ System The package is $349.95 and it includes:
- 6 x SEE-THRU Backpads
- 5 x  CUSHION Pads
- 1 x 3M™ Purple Ceramic abrasive: 220 Grit
- 8 x 3M™ Trizact™ abrasives: 35, 20, 10, 5 Micron    (2 of each grade)
- 1 x SEE-THRU felt disc
- 1 x Jooltool™ Polishing Compound Small Bar
- 1 x 2" peach 6 micron brush 4-ply
- 1 x Instructional DVD
- 1 x Jooltool Power Supply & Cord
This is a better deal than purchasing the parts separately. If you are interested, then please send an email to [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]].
One of our guests, Julien has shared some links that present his recent work. I am sure you will agree that he is very talented. Please encourage him to become a SAPFM member! Here are Julien's links:

Federal card table:[email protected]/sets/72157640641354104/ (Preview)
Construction of the federal card table:[email protected]/sets/72157639127604673/ (Preview)
Dovetail & marquetry box:[email protected]/sets/72157634595887883/ (Preview)
Pennsylvania spice box:[email protected]/sets/72157632598739984/ (Preview)

My fool-proof technique to build the apron of a demi-lune federal card table:

My technique to make the joint that connects the legs to the apron on the federal card table:

An introduction article about hot hide glue:
Please let us know if you have any ideas for future meetings.
JB and Joe J.
Beginner/Intermediate Furniture Maker