2019 Spring Symposium
The Guild held its 2019 Spring Symposium on April 6th and 7th featuring Bob Van Dyke, Director of the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. On Saturday morning (April 6th), Bob introduced his unique method of cutting dovetails by sharing his thoughts on tool steels for chisels, preferring the new PMV11 tool steel from Veritas as his top choice. He also prefers O1 tool steel to A2. He shared his tip for using 5 minute epoxy to attach the wooden handle to the steel for a socket style chisel, as well as the use of 5 and 12 micron lapping film on ¼” plate glass for flattening the back of a chisel. For bevel sharpening, he prefers 1000 and 8000 grit Sharpening stones. Bob then shared a technique that involves the use of a Ridgid 18V trim router with a ‘bat house’ to remove the tail waste and ensure a flat bottom for the dovetail. Glues recommended for dovetails include Titebond for loose joints and Old Brown Glue for tight joints.
The Saturday afternoon session focused hand planes. The use of both bevel down and bevel up planes (Stanley or Lie-Nielsen #62) was discussed, and sharpening advice was provided for both types of irons. He demonstrated the use of a small 1/8” thick pine block of wood to verify camber in the plane iron and to confirm that the iron was correctly seated in the plane. The correct technique for holding the plane was shown, and he exerts pressure to push down on the knob, not grasping around the knob with your fingers. He recommends using paraffin ‘canning’ wax to lubricate the sole of the plane, and ended the day with the creation of some very wispy shavings with his Stanley #4 smoother.
Sunday focused on the use of the table saw and some shop-built accessories that can make a table saw even more effective. He recommends the SawStop Industrial model because of the better cabinet access, and making zero clearance throat plates, referencing his article on that topic in Fine Woodworking. Another useful trick is wiping your saw surface, and other cast iron tools, with wax paper to reduce friction and provide greater control of the work piece. Bob demonstrated the use of an L fence, again referencing his Fine Woodworking article on the subject. Mark Duginske’s book regarding the table saw was highly recommended.
The Symposium concluded on Sunday afternoon with a quick tutorial on sand shading, a technique often used to develop paterae typically seen on Federal style furniture. ‘Sugar sand’ from Sanibel Island was placed in a small cast iron skillet and heated by a propane burner. Small pieces of veneer were placed in the sand to scorch one edge, and when assembled into a fan, presents as a shadow, giving the illusion of a 3-D work of art.
The two-day symposium was viewed by all as highly educational.