Author Topic: SAPFM-ORV Spring 2015 Meeting Minutes - Part I  (Read 2096 times)

Dale Ausherman

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SAPFM-ORV Spring 2015 Meeting Minutes - Part I
« on: April 27, 2015, 12:18:02 PM »
Society of American Period Furniture Makers
Ohio River Valley Chapter
2015 Spring Meeting
University of Rio Grande
(As reported by Dale Ausherman)

The Ohio River Valley (ORV) chapter held their spring 2015 meeting 11-12 April at Rio Grande University in Rio Grande, Ohio. The ORV Chapter continues the great collaborative relationship with Rio Grande, benefiting from great shop facilities for the meeting, and helpful meeting facilitation. Special thanks again to Eric Matson and his students for meeting set up and support. For the first day Chapter lead David Conley organized the meeting around our usual format, starting with informal socializing, moving into show and tell presentations of member’s fabulous projects, followed by group discussion of banding tools and techniques, and ending with hands-on demonstration of V-chisel sharpening. The half day Sunday session started with a discussion and demonstration of profiling and sharpening of complex curve molding planes and concluded with a wrap up session on additional banding and inlay techniques. Throughout the meeting several members had various and tempting tools for sale. My wallet managed to escape the temptation – I must have been out of my right mind or something.

Bob Compton kicked off the meeting with an announcement of the need for volunteer member demonstrations and display projects at the subsequent weekend’s Lie Nielsen hand tool event in Cincinnati. He also gave an overview of the wonderful programs planned for the 11-15 June Knoxville Midyear and encouraged members to attend this first ever Midwest-location event. Dale Ausherman, as newly elected President of SAPFM, then gave an overview of priorities for SAPFM going forward, including strong local chapter support, along with taking steps to address some critical governance issues associated with our growth as a 501 3C charitable organization. And as follow up to a prior meeting’s discussion of sand shading, David Conley showed inexpensive model railroad sand to be very fine and an excellent media for the shading.

Charlie Watson started the Show and Tell with his recently completed Regency/Empire lyre-back side chair. Basing the overall design on several period chairs, he specifically designed the lyre-shaped splat, including the classic brass rods as the “strings.” Charlie also did the decorative carvings and the upholstery. Based on a John Fitzpatrick tip from a prior ORV meeting, to remove lower the red color of the Mahogany he first applied a green-tint dye, followed by other darker dyes, prior to final finish. Charlie also brought several “wooden wall lanterns” he made following pictures in a 1973 Williamsburg Reproductions catalog. He brought a Poplar mockup which illustrated the value of such exercises, as the mockup showed the need for design changes for easier installation of the glass sides. He also displayed a Mahogany Chippendale wall mirror frame. He brought the patterns for this, along with cardboard so that attendees could trace and make their own templates.

John Herrel followed with discussion of a marquetry chessboard, to gain advice on means of improving the current shellac finish to get better grain fill and a smoother overall outcome. Various solutions were suggested by attendees, including adding more shellac with sanding between coats (leaving the sanding dust which will dissolve in the new coatings), and a Rob Millard suggestion to add pumice to the shellac. The pumice dust becomes clear when immersed in the shellac, so serves as pore filler. The marquetry pieces for this project were cut by laser. Jim Myers then discussed his tall clock project, which is following the Lonnie Bird Fine Woodworking Magazine (FWM) articles Pennsylvania Tall Clock (Part 1: Jul/Aug 2004 #171 and Part 2: Sep/Oct 2004 #172). Jim is building the piece from Tiger Maple and showed partial construction of the hood with its arched door.

Following Jim, David Boeff reviewed his recent Queen Anne Block Front Dressing Table project. As is the case with most of his projects, this one is documented in detail with photos and videos on his blog ( Dave based the design on pieces he found in New England Furniture at Winterthur: Queen Anne and Chippendale Periods, by Nancy E. Richards, and The Cabinetmaker and the Carver: Boston Furniture from Private Collections, by Gerald W. R. Ward, which provided pictures and dimensions, from which Dave drew up full scale plans. The piece is of Mahogany, with Sugar Pine drawer sides and bottoms. Dave used a router for the top edge profile, and hand carved the four “baby butt” corners using trial and error on shape radius. The hardware is brass from Ball and Ball, but the pulls and their bails had to be bent to conform to the block front shapes. Dave omitted the pulls on the original apron as they appeared to be overkill. Encourage by a friend from the UK Dave used potassium dichromate (a dangerous carcinogen, requiring respirator and skin covering to apply and sand) to dye the wood, followed with a single coat of shellac, and then applied a shop made antique dark wax finish. The recipe for this finish came from Classic Finishing Techniques by Sam Allen. He polished the finish using a broom-grass burnisher made from an old broom. Dave says it was fun to learn this finish, but that it was very much hard hand work and that he would not likely use this finish in the future.

Jeff Headley’s design of a 1798 Winchester Virginia slant front desk formed the basis of a piece shared by Bob Compton. Bob began this piece as a class at Headley’s and Steve Hamilton’s Woodworking Workshops of the Shenandoah Valley ( Made of Walnut with Pine secondary wood, the quarter columns blanks are shaped with a plane, rather than turned, and the fluting/reeding is applied with scratch blocks designed by Jeff. Bob informed us that several DVDs exist of this desk, one of which is available on Amazon: A Winchester Desk: Joinery Inside & Out, DVD, $25. The final desk will have 13 secret compartments. Bob will eventually be adding a matching bookcase on top of the desk.

Moving from large pieces to small, Paul Sanow (up from KY) shared a fabulous Federal tea chest he has been building for some time. Structure is a mix of Sugar Pine and Poplar, but all visible exterior surfaces are veneered with Rosewood, Holly and Black Walnut. The chest internal compartments were lined with tin, which Paul aged by soaking in CLR stain remover. The interior lid paper came from Italy, and the brass hinges and latch were from Horton Brass. He carved the escutcheon from Holly. This project is not a re-creation of an actual chest, but rather a combination of several challenging features from several examples of the form. Because of the variety of the designs, Paul calls this his “bling box.” A highlight of the piece were the two large “Conch” Paterea inlays, each one a different size to maintain design proportion in the lid and front of the box.

Brian Neeley had a very interesting story to tell about the beautiful wood utensils he displayed. The utensils were spatulas with turned handles, made from wood scraps Brian had been saving in his shop. (I assume many of us are drowning in those little scraps that we just cannot bring ourselves to discard!) The Curly Maple spatula was made from a scrap which Brian had been saving from his stint at Rio Grande nearly 20 years ago! He was making these utensils as part of a open shop day in his own shop, held to reward some youngsters which have been helping on Brian’s farm.

A Seymour Table Top Dressing Mirror was displayed by Dick Reese. This wonderful small Federal piece was re-created from plate 58 in Robert Mussey’s The Furniture Masterworks of John and Thomas Seymour. (If you want to own this book expect to pay about $400 used! I sure wish I bought one when it came out.) This small piece is full of beautiful “Seymour” bandings, including Lunette on the top edges and dart on the mirror frame. The small chest base has a slightly bowed front and cute little French bracket feet. Dick use grocery store variety pickling lime (calcium hydroxide) to “dye” the Mahogany (with no effect on the lighter wood inlays). He experimented with two ways to make the lunette banding, first making thin slices from a block of drilled and heat shaded plugs, and then making each lunette cut and glued by hand from thin  1/32 in stock. He preferred the results of the arduous latter, but later in the meeting Dick Kammerer showed that the block method can be made to work as well. The brass pulls are from Londonderry Brasses, and the mirror frame shaft mounts are from Whitechapel Ltd. The small drawer construction has a design unique to the Seymour’s, using a special rabbitted “through” strip of wood which both holds the drawer bottom flat and serves as the runner for the drawer. With this piece under his belt, Dick has embarked on a project to make the Seymour Federal Dressing Chest with Mirror pictured on the front jacket of Massey’s book. That will be great to see at a future meeting!

(See nearby posting for Part II)