The North Jersey Woodworkers Association or NJWA for short is a community of woodworkers of all types and levels of experience. We have some professionals, some beginners and every skill level in between. Our goal is to share our experience with one another and to support and grow the woodworking community in the Northern New Jersey area. Regardless of woodworking interest or level of experience, we invite you to join us. For directions, membership information and club activities follow this link: About NJWA.
For this month’s meeting, we had a virtual tour of the Stickley Museum in Fayetteville NY. The museum which opened in 2007 explores over a century of furniture making excellence. It highlights the inspiration and craftsmanship that made Stickley America’s foremost fine furniture maker and the craftspeople whose commitment to quality led to Stickley’s reputation for manufacturing heirloom quality furniture. Many thanks to the museum’s head Amanda C., who gave a wonderful tour despite the fact that her only connection to her audience was via faces on an iPad.
In addition to our regular monthly meeting, we held a swap meet in the early part of the month. Approximately 20 members (and a few non-members) set up tables to sell a variety of tools. Another 20 or so participated as buyers only. The event was held outdoors and masks were required. After being quarantined for a good part of the year, it was a good way to catch up with our fellow NJWA members.
October’s guest speaker was Mary May, a master carver who works out of her workshop on John’s Island South Carolina. During her two hour presentation, Mary took us through an overview of the basics of carving. The topics included the various types of tools, the convention for identifying the various shapes and sizes and how to sharpen them; the types of wood that are appropriate for carving and some basic techniques. Mary is also a teacher who has taught at such places as the Marc Adams School of Woodworking in Indiana, Roy Underhill’s Woodwright School and the Connecticut Valley School. She recently finished her first book, “Carving the Acanthus Leaf”, which is published by Lost Art Press. To find out more about Mary, visit her website at https://www.marymaycarving.com/carvingschool/
In early October we had a second event at John M’s saw mill where we began the process of milling the witness tree. Also, as some of John’s property was being sold off, members helped to clear lumber off that portion of his yard.
Chuck Bender, a well known period furniture maker and the founder of the Acanthus Workshop, a woodworking school in Jim Thorpe Pa., was September’s presenter. His topic was modern methods for making federal style furniture. Chuck spoke about jigs and machine use among other things. A large part of the presentation was spent exploring the reasons that period furniture failed due to wood movement and the techniques that he uses to ensure that this doesn’t happen in the reproductions that he builds. Several examples from his portfolio are below. To learn more about Chuck’s work and school, you can visit acanthus.com.
This month’s featured presenter was artist, sculptor and furniture maker Scott Grove. His topic was advanced veneering. You can use his link to Scott’s website to learn more about his work: scottgrove.com
July’s meeting featured 4 member presentations.
- Ben’s presentation covered the various construction elements and techniques involved in building an interesting workbench.
- Roy’s flag box – which described the build process including his approach to cutting the angled components for the triangular form
- David’s row boat rocker – built for his grand daughter, there were a number of challenging angled components that needed to be cut.
- Cliff’s segmented vase – a short review of how he cut the angled components for the segments that were used to create the vase.
In addition to our regular July meeting, we’ll have an informal get together where we’ll view a portion of Ron Herman’s “Woodworkers Guide to Wood” dvd. Check your email for an invitation.
Tis month’s guest presenter was Steve Latta. A teacher, writer, craftsman and contributing editor to Fine Woodworking magazine, Steve’s main job is developing the furniture makers of tomorrow at the Thaddeus Steven’s College in Lancaster Pennsylvania. His topic for our meeting was creating and adding inlays to furniture. You can view some of his FWW articles at: https://www.finewoodworking.com/author/steve-latta
In addition to our regular June meeting, we’ll have an informal get together on Monday June 1st where we’ll view a portion of Ron Herman’s “Woodworkers Guide to Wood” dvd. Check your email for an invitation.
Our virtual presenter at May’s meeting was Tom McLaughlin who is a frequent contributor to Fine Woodworking Magazine and the host of PBS’ Classic Woodworking show. In addition, Tom is the founder of Epic Woodworking, which is a high end furniture maker and woodworking school in Canterbury New Hampshire. There were 45 members in attendance. Tom’s topic was the uses for and methods of creating mortise and tenon joints. Many thanks to Tom for an interesting and engaging night. If you missed the presentation, the link embedded in the meeting invitation is still active so that you can watch it at your leisure.
April’s online meeting was composed of a number of short member presentations. There were 22 members in attendance. Although that’s about half of our normal attendance and we were all remote, the discussion was as very lively. The members who presented were:
- Brian described the Pekovich bench jig that he made for working with small parts
- Abe gave us a tour of his Pekovich hanging tool cabinet and also did a brief shop tour
- Verne gave us a complete tour of his shop
- Alan showed a sliding table that enables him to cut small logs on his band saw and toured some of his shop and equipment
- Charlie showed us some carvings including a beautiful carved banana and some carved swans that he’s making as holiday gifts
- Gordon spoke about test pieces he was making for veneered drawer fronts
- John showed two pieces, a three legged stool and a saw horse. He also talked about the stool project which he’s facilitating
- Sri is building a large dresser with sliding dovetails. He had pictures of the jigs he built to cut them as well as his method for handling large pieces on his router table
- Tal completed his music stand, which he displayed and spoke about some of the techniques he used to build it.
- Several pictures from the evening are below. To see more member work from the evening, please use this link.
Sadly our March meeting was cancelled due to the Corona virus. Although we were looking forward to our guest speaker, Joel Moskowitz of Tools for Working Wood, the club made a decision which respected the health of our members and the community in which we meet.
March was also the annual woodworking show. NJWA had a booth where, over the 3 days of the event, 15 members supported our effort to promote the club and recruit new members. The show also conducted a Project Challenge, which provided an opportunity for craftspeople to display their work and for attendees to vote on their favorite piece. NJWA member Jay Siegelaub’s natural edge side table was the 2020 winner. Congratulations to Jay. If you’d like to see more of Jay’s work, use this link to check out his website.
December 2019 Meeting
December was our annual friends and family holiday get together. Pat A. organized the meeting and arranged a catered dinner for the nearly 80 people who attended. This annual event is a chance for members to meet, greet and display some of their work from the last year. This year’s meeting was the best to date. Pat’s Italian spread was enjoyed by a group which included spouses, family and friends. Roughly 20 members brought over 100 pieces of their work to display. In addition to the pictures below, this link will take you to more work from the night.
November 2019 Meeting
November’s meeting was our biennial swap meet, which presented an opportunity for members to take their under utilized and surplus tools and make them available for other members to purchase. In addition to the swap meet, Jay gave a talk on the ins and outs of using butterflies in furniture. Having built a number of natural edge pieces he shared the experience he’s gained using this technique for both aesthetic and structural purposes.
October 2019 Meeting
Our featured speaker for the month was Paul Sisko, a contemporary sculptor and furniture maker know for using metal, wood, stone and glass in his designs. Paul took us through his life’s journey from training in the industrial arts and starting his professional life as a shop teacher all the way to his present day occupation as a full time sculptor. He shared with us the story of how he built several houses, learned to operate heavy equipment and designed and built sculptures large enough that they require the employment of industrial contractors. Along the way he developed a unique style which he applies to both his furniture and sculpture. Click here to be taken to Paul’s website where you can more of his work.
September 2019 Meeting
Our featured speaker for the month was B. R. Delaney of Fieldstone Artistry. Although his formal educations is in theatrical design and construction, B. R. has been honing his woodworking skills from an early age. Several years back he decided to leave theatrical construction in order to pursue the development of his own design aesthetic. His pieces are contemporary but have a the warmth of a traditional style. Club members were especially interested in the techniques that he used to construct his Fulcrum Table. The building of that table presented a number of challenges and he was generous enough to share the solutions used to produce this unique piece of furniture. Thanks to B. R. for spending the evening with us.
August 2019 Meeting
For August’s meeting we were lucky to have the folks from Fine Woodworking come down from Connecticut to record their Shop Talk Live podcast. The FWW crew began the night by giving us an overview of the magazine. They described the process and staff that puts the magazine together each month, how it has evolved over the years and what they look for from contributors. During the podcast they took questions from the audience and discussed numerous topics of interest to the members. We’re grateful to Tom, Mike and Ben for coming down to our meeting and giving us insight into what most members would consider the premier woodworking publication in the market today.
July 2019 Meeting
This month’s meeting featured presentations by three members. Cliff spoke about a Morris chair that he recently built. Sri presented on a small modern mahogany dining table that he just finished. David shared an interactive shellac mixing table that he developed. One of the benefits of the mixing table is that it provides formulas for mixing small amounts of shellac. This allows one to create small batches and avoid tossing out extra finish that’s created when using the commonly available mixing instructions.
June 2019 Meeting
For this month’s meeting, our featured speaker was club member Jay Siegalaub. For the first of his two topics, he reviewed the construction of a natural edge waterfall table, which included how he went about creating the waterfall edge and the parallelogram legs. Also discussed were how he attached legs and waterfall support to the top as well as his design considerations. For the second part of his presentation, Jay reviewed a three day workshop that he took at the Sam Maloof Foundation in Alto Loma, California. The workshop centered around the construction of a Maloof style table/bench, which was built using methods commonly used by Sam Maloof. Jay contrasted that approach with the typical way that most of us would go about building such an item.
May 2019 Meeting
This month’s meeting featured a presentation by Tal Sklar on his Queen Anne Low Boy project. Very appropriately, he built the piece following plans and a video by Phil Lowe who was April’s presenter. Tal took us through the his process starting with a prototype he built using construction lumber all the way through to the finish that he applied to the piece. Highlights included purchasing the hard to find genuine mahogany, sculpting the curved legs and feet, gluing on the finials ( he used painter’s tape and rubber bands for clamps) and applying the hardware. Tal also described the various joinery techniques used for the carcass, the steps he followed to carve the shell decoration and how he fixed several unfortunate dings that he put in the mahogany. Thanks to Tal for putting the same detail into his presentation that he put into the Low Boy.
April 2019 Meeting and Activities
April was a busy month for the club. In addition to our regular monthly meeting, we had Phil Lowe teach two classes on-site, one on carving and the other on hand plane skills. Phil was also the featured presenter for April’s meeting.
For those not familiar with Phil Lowe, he is the founder of the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts and is known for his museum quality reproductions, a body of notable conservation work, top notch carving skills and his extensive teaching. His presentation at our April meeting was an overview of the work and experiences obtained in a 50 year career in the furniture field.
March 2019 Meeting
Our featured speaker for this month was Andrew Hunter who spoke about his woodworking journey. A frequent contributor to Fine Woodworking, Andrew’s is known for his use of Japanese tools and techniques as well as his design sensibilities which run from early American country furniture to modern pieces with an Asian flair. He explained how he first became a woodworker, how he developed his skills, his approach to design and his overall woodworking philosophy. A craftsman who mixes hand and machine work, Andrew spoke of his respect for the wood he works with and the artists who’ve influenced his work and life. While most people who see his work would consider him to be quite accomplished, Andrew believes that he has some way to go before he’ll consider himself a master. Here’s a link to some of his Fine Woodworking articles.
February 2019 Meeting
This month’s meeting featured 3 member presentations. Sri discussed the construction methods for a dovetail stool with a hollowed out seat that he just completed. Dave presented on the features and uses of his new adjustable rabbeting plan. Gordon presented two of his recent projects. The first was a large white oak wine rack. The second project was a bench top Moxon vise that he plans to use in up coming Phil Lowe carving class. The meeting also included reports by the various committees that are preparing for two on site classes to be taught by Phil Lowe in April.
January 2019 Meeting
Our featured speaker this month was Glen Guarino. An artist who’s work is displayed in a number of museums, Glen creates free flowing organic work containing few 90 degree intersections. Because of this, his furniture presents many construction challenges. Glen’s talk centered on his approach to design, craftsmanship and the various construction methods that he’s developed to build his furniture. You can follow this link to view more of Glen’s work.