Minutes of the August Meeting

Tennessee Valley Woodworkers


The meeting was brought to order by Tom Gillard. 


We are all saddened by the death on July 25 of our friend and fellow woodworker, Jim Wright.  He will be very much missed.


We had a lot of visitors tonight!  Welcome!


 *Bob and Karen Desui from the Ross community of Bedford county

 *Shirley Lusk from Tullahoma

 *Tom Crouch from McMinnville

 *Michael Broadrick from Summitville

 *Fred Apple from Estill Springs

 *Alan Hale, his wife, Julie and son, Joseph from Normandy


Dates to Remember:


September 15-20—Coffee County Fair

Doyle McConnell passed around a sign-up sheet for help in setting up and manning the exhibits.  Our club built its own building in the wooded section of the fair grounds and members make tops, puzzles, do carving and turning, sit and visit, and answer questions about various aspects of woodworking.  It’s always a lot of fun.  Doyle will post the hours on the web site per Tom Cowan’s request.  Look for it there!


October 18-Fall Workshop (Still in the planning stages!)


Friday and Saturday, November 7-8—Foothills Craft Show

This will be the first “mini” exhibition before the big woodworking exhibition in May, 2009.  Our club has a room set aside at the craft show to exhibit various types of woodworking.  Loyd Ackerman has forms to enter work for display.  Loyd passed around a sign-up sheet for helpers to man the exhibit. 

WE NEED MORE PEOPLE TO AGREE TO SIMPLY STAY WITH THE EXHIBIT!!!  NO WORK IS REQUIRED, JUST A FRIENDLY FACE TO GREET GUESTS.  This is a really fun way to get to know your fellow woodworkers.  Free passes to the craft show will be given to the folks who watch the exhibit for the club.  If you can help out for an hour or two either day, call Loyd (931-728-9952) or email him at ackerman1@charter.net


December 5—Club Christmas party.  Mark your calendars now!!


New Business:

*No shop tours will be scheduled until after the Coffee County Fair.  The Saturday after the fair we will tour Tom Gillard’s shop and then Ralph Hand’s shop. Tom has a professional woodworker’s shop, and Ralph says his is “unique.”  Doyle McConnell will give more details at our next meeting, September 16.


*Scott Short told us about the Franklin County Fair coming up September 9-13.  They will have a woodworking exhibit in the Franklin County Extension office.  He put entry forms on the table for interested folks.


*There will be a seminar in carving a bust directed by Vic Hood held at the Woodcraft store of September 6 & 7.  Tuition is $225 plus materials.  Doyle aptly said it makes us appreciate the low fees charged by our club’s seminars!!



September 6 will be the next meeting.  It will be at Phil Bishop’s shop.  They will be carving walking sticks with an eagle on top to give to disabled veterans.



*Ross Roepke said Jim Carden felled a Catalpa tree in Lynchburg with huge limbs that are yours for the taking.



Show and Tell


1.   Henry Davis brought a shadow box frame he had made.  He held the glass in with a separate small walnut “frame” inside the box.  It had an opening back to fill it.

2.   Ross Roepke had two beautiful jewelry boxes.  One was made out of poplar crown molding stained to look like cherry.  He has about 100 more pieces of it 42” long he will share.  The second box had a double book faced top of walnut.  Inside was a divided tray.

3.   Bob Molloy brought a hand-made jig for making sunbursts or fans with a router.  It let the router slide down at 60 degrees, and rotate 15 degrees.  To work best, he set the bit at 3/16” depth.  He had made a box with a sun medallion on top, and contrasting walnut ties on the corners.  He recommended a sharpening tool called a “work sharp.”

4.   Doyle McConnell brought the third in a series of vases he turned out of maple and then dyed by squirting the dye inside the vase and letting it bleed through the grain.  No two are ever alike.  He also had a beautiful large vessel with a threaded lid.  Somehow he used a carbide bit and hand turned the vase to make the screw-on lid. Both were finished with a lacquer high-gloss finish.

5.   Loyd Ackerman showed us examples of bonding veneer first with glue and the vacuum press, and then with Titebond III and an iron.  He put the glue on thinly and evenly, let it dry, and then ironed the two pieces together. It seemed to do an excellent job for less work than setting up the vacuum press.

6.   Dave White had made three curvy band-saw boxes with drawers.  They were made of quarter-sawn oak and had contrasting walnut handles.  He said although he uses the same pattern, no two are ever alike because the wood is always different.

7.   Scott Short had two bowls turned out of walnut.  One was round, and the other was square, fashioned after a Sushi plate. Both were finished with paste wax and had round bottoms.

8.   Bob Reese took the lessons learned at Ronnie Young’s seminar on inlay and made a walnut jewelry box with string inlay of holly and sycamore fans.  He had used lizard sand (has to be this type) and scorching to make the fans look 3-D. He also used a dovetail jig he bought years ago at a club auction to make dove-tail joints for the box.  The box had a sliding tray inside.  Now, he has to make about 10 more before Christmas!

9.   Gary Runyon brought a bowl he turned out of osage orange to help with his wife’s spinning.  He said the bowl started out 3 times that size, and he had learned how to turn a big piece of wood into a tiny bowl! J He also had two shuttles he had carved out of walnut for her weaving.  Gary also brought along 2 DVDs from Japanesetools.com on hand planes and sharpening.

10.                Stephen Savelle made a glass-enclosed display table from a walnut bread box they had bought in Europe.  He replaced the sides of the box with glass, and made a walnut base for it to sit on.  The base had a fancy stretcher near the base.  The lid was hinged to place items in the box.  The dark walnut was river bottom grown and finished with linseed oil and wax.

11.                Bob Addingtonbrought a many-armed plant stand that he thinks could be also used for the exhibition, putting smaller items on each arm.  It was made opf oak with a polyurethane finish.

12.                Will Gaetjens had made a meat plunger for his Grandmother’s meat grinder.  It was made of layered oak and walnut laminated with Elmer’s wood glue, then turned.

13.                Felix Rees brought a quilt stand he made for his daughter from wood his Dad had saved.  He tried to turn 3/4” dowels, but ran into various problems and ended up turning 7/8” dowels instead.  He had mortise and tenoned the stretcher at the bottom.  On each side, he had cut a star quilt pattern out of various woods and made a pretty medallion for decoration.  Felix had also turned a bushing out of wood to replace one that broke on his router which they no longer made.

14.                Paul Jalbert had done a relief carving of a caricature moose surrounded by a rope.  He got the inspiration from a coaster he had collected.

15.                Dick Wollam brought a box of chisels to give away.



The Craft of Tree Felling

A program by Alan Hale


Anthony Watts introduced our speaker tonight, Alan Hale. 


Alan presented a very well planned and informative program on felling trees.  Even for those who have taken down many trees, there was much to learn from tonight’s program.  Alan emphasized that only part of the tree is cut, and the part that is not cut is used to hold the tree for a while to make it fall exactly where you want it to.  He showed us through slides and demonstration logs he had cut and brought in how to safely go through the steps for various types of situations.


1.   After looking overhead to check for debris or dead trees in the area (1/2 of felling deaths is caused by falling debris) and getting rid of them first, you should face the tree to assess the lean of the tree and where to cut.  A rope tied around the tree will help to mark horizontal cut lines.  Mark all cuts with spray paint.

2.   Swamp the base, which means to clear out rocks, sticks, etc. that could trip you as you make the cuts or as you run to safety while the tree is falling.  By the way, never run away directly behind the tree, but off to the back diagonal sides.

3.   Usually 3 cuts will be made, with a section of “holding wood” left inside of the tree.  It should be 2”-5” high.

4.   Cut the horizontal gunning cut first, cutting 1/3 of the way through the tree.  This cut is made on the side of the tree that the tree will fall.

5.   Next cut a face cut at about a 45 degree angle to the gunning cut, trying to make the end of this cut line up exactly at the back of the gunning cut.  A straight stick stuck in the gunning cut on the opposite side of the tree from where you are standing to make the face cut will help to line your eye up so the cuts will end at the same place.  There are three basic types of face cuts, depending on the situation.

6.   The 3rd cut is the back cut, which is parallel to, and 2-5 inches above the gunning cut but on the opposite side of the tree.  After making part of the cut, wedges (2 for stability) can be placed in the cut to keep the tree from leaning back on your saw and pinching it.  When you hear the wood first begin to pop, run, but not directly behind the tree, because the tree can shoot back as it falls.  Alan showed us ways to make this cut if the saw size and tree size don’t match, and even how to cut a place to put a bottle jack for difficult heavy opposite lean situations.


Why make face cuts?  If no face cut is made, the wood in the tree will split as it falls, sometimes the entire length of the tree, which renders the wood virtually unusable.  If the face cut is too small (less than 1/3 the diameter of the tree), the tree will “barber chair,” again ruining the wood and posing a dangerous situation.


4 important conclusions:

**Always be willing to walk away from a dangerous cutting situation.

**Choose a back cut suited to your saw blade size.

**Mark a tree with paint in accordance with its lean and desired fall direction before cutting.

**Understand the principles!


Alan presented so much detailed, useful information. This report is just a summary.  Therefore, his slides from the program will be available on the club web site so you can study them in more detail.  His last slide gives places to go for more information.


Thanks to Alan and his family for taking their time to share with us these important lessons!