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Mid Year 2016

Mid-Year 2016
Thursday, June 23rd - Monday, June 27th
Lancaster, PA

Detailed Agenda


Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology

The location for the 2016 Mid-Year will be the Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.  Sign in begins on Thursday, June 23rd.  Be sure to sign in early!

Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology was founded in 1905 and named for Thaddeus Stevens, who represented Pennsylvania in the US House of Representatives from 1849-1853 and from 1859 until his death in 1868.  

His legislative legacy includes the 13th, 14th and 15th Ammendments to the US Constitution.  

His educational legacy includes the $50,000 bequest in his will which provided the financial foundation for the establishment of the College.


Saturday Workshop Rotations

 Mary May Carving Techniques
MaryMayHighboy  Mary May will demonstrate various decorative details that are often seen on the pediment of a Period Philadelphia High Chest. She will show techniques on how to safely hold delicate carvings (both for the carving and for the carver), how to think through the carving process, and touch on specific details such as finials, rosettes, acanthus leaves, C-scrolls, cartouches and overlapping elements in the design.


 Will Neptune  Period Casework Construction

Basic case construction often starts with a basic dovetailed box, but there are many variations. Something as basic as drawer dividers present many dovetailed alternatives, each with its own strengths and techniques.  Decorative effects such as quarter columns and shaped drawer fronts have specialized construction problems, often with regional solutions.

By examining a series of mockups, you will learn the reasoning and techniques used for these types of case constructions.

Understand the differences between Boston and Newport blockfronts.

Techniques will be demonstrated using hand tools, such as plow, fillister and dado planes.


Mike Pekovich Woodworkers Guide to Fine Finishing
 Pekovich Finishing  

Finishing isn’t the hardest part of building a piece of furniture, but it can be the most stressful. After investing so much time in building a piece, the thought of ruining it with the wrong finish can be frightening, but it doesn't need to be.

A basic understanding of finish types can go a long way towards giving you the knowledge and confidence you need to tackle the job.

This demonstration will cover the basic types of finishes and how to choose the one that’s right for the job. After that you’ll learn a foolproof method for applying a varnish finish suitable for most furniture pieces.

In addition we’ll cover the fundamentals of shellac and put it to use in a fast finish technique that’s great for small projects.



Sunday morning Keynote Speakers

 Joshua Lane The History of High Chests in American Furniture

Our keynote speaker will be Winterthur’s Curator of Furniture, Joshua Lane.  Josh will give a talk on the history of high chests in American furniture.

In his former position as curator of furniture at Historic Deerfield, he was involved in the 2013 - 2014 celebration of Massachusetts furniture from 1620 to the present, entitled Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture. 

 Mike Pekovich Photographing Your Furniture
Pekovich Photography  

The truth is that more people will see photos of your work than see the real thing. A bad photo won’t do justice to the work and effort you put into a piece, and if you’re out to impress a client, you’re probably missing the mark.

The good news is that digital photography has made it far easier for the average woodworker to get great shots of their work. Mike Pekovich, Fine Woodworking Magazine’s art director will share the basic techniques he uses when shooting some of the world’s finest furniture.

This demonstration will cover the fundamentals of composition, lighting, and how to get the most from your camera. Mike will also walk through an actual photo shoot step-by-step (technology permitting!!), to show how to use a simple process to dial in a successful shot.



After the Conference Workshops (optional)

Each participant must select two offerings, one from each session.

Each workshop is limited to 12 participants.

Session One: Sunday, 1:15pm  – 2:45pm

Will Neptune  Stack Lamination, Bricking and Coopering
Underneath most 18th Century curved veneer work is a built up core. Bow front drawers, Demi-lune Tables and Sideboard doors are good examples of these techniques. Understanding the geometry of these forms is important for both pattern development and efficient cutting.
An easily overlooked issue is relating the apron or drawer front to projecting moldings and overhangs. Learn traditional approaches as well as modern methods using power tools.
We will start with simple arcs and then cover ogee, serpentine, ox-bow and oval forms. Once you understand these forms and methods, a wide variety of veneer work is possible.
Mike Pekovich Photoshop Made Easy

Correcting digital images once required expensive software and a lot of training. Today inexpensive, or even free, apps and software allow you to tackle the job almost effortlessly. Still, it's important to know which tools to use and which to avoid in order to show off your photographs to best effect.

Join Fine Woodworking's art director, Mike Pekovich for a hands-on crash course on image correction. He'll walk you through a five-minute routine that he uses to address exposure, color, distortion and cropping on all of his work. Stop by and learn how to make your photos shine.

Mary May  Sharpening Carving Gouges

Carving with dull gouges can be so frustrating! Mary May will demonstrate the traditional technique of sharpening curved gouges and v-chisels by hand. The methodical process of using sharpening stones, slip stones, and leather strops has been used successfully for centuries in getting carving tools to a razor sharp edge.

Even if you are already successful at carving you will be sure to pick up some tricks and techniques that will improve or speed up your sharpening routine. Mary is a great instructor and the limited enrollment in this workshop will make it a great opportunity.



Bob Van Dyke Yes Folks- There really are more than 10 ways to cut Dovetails!

The dovetail is a basic essential joint that must be mastered in order to make any period furniture.  Two hundred years ago there were really no other ways to make a corner joint so the ability to cut dovetails was no great accomplishment- it was just expected! Fast forward to the present time and there are many ways to accomplish a corner joint. In a group like SAPFM there are people who can cut dovetails in their sleep and others who might be a little shaky.

This demonstration is designed for all. It assumes you already know how to cut dovetails but you might be limited to only one or two techniques. Van Dyke has been running a nationally recognized school for over 23 years and in that time countless instructors have demonstrated a huge variety of dovetail techniques. He will demonstrate a number of tricks and techniques picked up over the years, including ways to let machines assist in the process.


Session Two:  Sunday, 3:00pm – 4:30pm  

 Will Neptune  Installing Furniture Hardware

If I could make this a required class before making any piece of furniture, I would! How many times have you spent weeks or months on a project only to come to the end and hit a roadblock installing the hardware? A simple mortised butt hinge installed badly can ruin a whole project and more complex hardware like half mortise locks, drop leaf table hinges and card table hinges can be much more challenging than most people expect.

Understanding the mechanics of the hardware and understanding exactly how it works along with having a systematic approach to installing it is key to success and this class with Will Neptune will give you the confidence and techniques you need. The next time you have to start drilling and chopping into a finished piece, you’ll be glad you took this workshop.

 Mike Pekovich Fast, accurate router method for hinges and locks

High-quality hardware can be just the thing to finish off a nice project, but the thought of botching installation so close to the finish line can be nerve wracking.

Mike Pekovich has a very simple method for making router jigs that offer fast accurate results with no measuring involved. Mike will show you how to build jigs to fit your hardware and demonstrate how easy it is to put them to use. The technique not only makes quick work of hinges, but makes the often difficult task of half-mortise lock installation a breeze as well.

 Mary May Laying Out and Carving Moldings 

Mary will demonstrate how to carve a variety of decorative moldings typically seen on period furniture. Bead molding, rope molding, egg and dart and gadrooning are just a few of the styles that she will cover.

An important part of the workshop will feature layout systems and making and using templates.  Because of the repetitive nature of any molding, working efficiently is the key to success. Mary will demonstrate the techniques that she has found to be the most helpful when making these types carvings.

 Bob Van Dyke Making Sand-Shaded Fans 

Shaded fans were a common decorative motif in the Federal furniture of the late 18th century. They were often inlaid into the corners of table tops and drawer fronts but you end up seeing them and the many variations all over the place!

Ct Valley School of Woodworking Director, Bob Van Dyke will demonstrate the simple corner fan but then we will quickly go into other more complex variations like ovals, half circles and medallions featuring both straight and curved lobes. These techniques are a lot of fun and completely “doable” in any shop.

Day Trips (optional, not included in the conference fee)


Friday, June 24th:  Philadelphia Museum of Art

 PMA Affleck  

The Philadelphia Museum of Art was chartered in 1876 for the Centennial Exposition.

Philadelphia's rich history and contributions to American decorative arts are emphasized in the American collection of Philadelphia's Museum of Art. The Germanic influence evident in the "Dutch" handiwork of surrounding counties is also highlighted.

Alexandra Kirtley, Curator of American Decorative Arts, and Behrooz Salimnejad, Senior Conservator, will share their insights on this extensive collection of American period furniture and related artifacts.

Buses for this trip will leave the Thaddeus Stevens campus around 8 am on Friday, June 24 and return to the college at approximately 5pm.  Participants supply their own lunch.

Photography Policy:
  • Handheld cameras without flash may be used in the permanent collection galleries.
  • Photographs cannot be commercially published, sold, reproduced, transferred or distributed.
  • All photography in exhibition galleries or of works of art on loan is prohibited.

Monday, June 27th:  Chester County Historical Society

CCHS SpiceBox

The Chester County Historical Society is the most comprehensive regional source for documenting and understanding the history and people of Chester County and the Delaware Valley.

This collection, from European settlement in the late 1600s to the present, has been assembled since 1893. Individual artifacts represent aspects of the lives of county residents. Collectively, objects illustrate the tastes, means and occupations of the county's population throughout the past 300 years.

British and northern European settlers are well-represented in the furniture and household accessories collections. Regional wainscot furniture from the early 1700s reflects the English influence and line-and-berry inlay on drawers and document boxes reveal designs brought by the Welsh. There are also numerous examples of signed furniture by later Chester County cabinetmakers and clockmakers through the 1800s.

This year the Chester County Historical Society will open their doors especially for us on Monday, June 27.  Attendees will meet at the outside the Society's building, located at 225 N High St, West Chester, PA 

Photography Policy:   

  • The CCHS will not be charging their normal camera licensing fee and will allow photography for the SAPFM tour.
  • Photos are allowed for personal use only and flash is not permitted.  The CCHS may request that members sign their licensing form.

Spouse Program

There will be no formal Saturday Spouse program which would require prior registration. On Friday evening, we will have several suggestions for activities, and those interested can make arrangements at that point.  Amish quilting tours and other sites to visit will be included.

There will be no Sunday program, in part because many Amish attractions and stores will be closed.


Note:  Mention you are with SAPFM to obtain a favorable rate.
2045 Lincoln Highway East
$99 per night, with continental breakfast.
Located off Route 30, near Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park.
TripAdvisor Rating:  4 out of 5 
Rated #10 of 36 hotels in Lancaster
2100 Lincoln Highway East
Lancaster, PA
$89.99 per night, plus tax.
Located off Route 30, and home to the Caribbean Indoor Water Park.
TripAdvisor Rating:  3 ½  out of 5
Rated #21 of 36 hotels in Lancaster
1931 Hospitality Dr
Lancaster, PA 
$139 per night,  plus tax.
Breakfast is not included, but there is a Bistro on premise.
Located off Route 30, near Franklin and Marshall College.
Trip Advisor Rating:  4 ½ out of 5
Rated #12 of 36  hotels in Lancaster
2300 Lincoln Highway East
Lancaster, PA
Single Occupancy: $110; Double Occupancy $122.
Rates include full hot breakfast buffet, all taxes/gratuities.
Located off Route 30, just East of historic Lancaster.
TripAdvisor Rating:  3 out of 5
Rated #31 of 36 in hotels in Lancaster



Members: $295
Includes Friday and Saturday cocktails, Saturday lunch, Saturday dinner  
Members' Spouse or guest: $70
Includes Friday and Saturday cocktails, Saturday lunch, Saturday dinner  
Non-Members*: $355
Includes Friday and Saturday cocktails, Saturday dinner  
*Includes a one-year SAPFM membership
After the conference workshops (optional)
Two mini-demonstration sessions:   $50
Day Trips (optional)
Philadelphia Museum of Art:   $60
Chester County Historical Society:   $15



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Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
750 E King St
 Lancaster, PA 17602
The Society of American
Period Furniture Makers
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P.O. Box 379, Williamsburg, VA 23187

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