Tennessee Valley Woodworkers

Vol. 15/ Issue 3                                                March 2000                                       Editor: Tom Gillard


Meeting Notice:

The next meeting of the TN Valley Woodworkers

Will be held, March 21,2000 at 7:00 p.m. in the

Duck River Electric Building, Dechard, TN

All interested woodworkers are invited!







Dear Fellow Woodworkers,

I want to take this method to encourage each of you to participate in the show, "CREATIONS IN WOOD" that is planned for the 3 week period of April 17 through May 6 in Winchester, Tullahoma, and Manchester, in turn. We would like full participation, as an exhibitor, as host (ess), or to help with moving the exhibits. The last show, two years ago, was a tremendous success because of the support from the members. Since we have many new members, we want to make you aware of the need to participate to again make the show a success. The response from the Club members at the 17 February meeting was not adequate to support the effort. If you are willing to exhibit your projects or help in any way, please email me (rgroepke@cafes.net) and/or Henry Davis (hdavis@cafes.net), right away.

Our first priority is to create an incentive to get involved in woodworking and to get each of you to exhibit some of your work. We realize that some haven't been at it as long as others, but our goal is to show our member's achievements. Many of you have brought your projects to "Show & Tell" so we know you have projects deserving to be in the show. We hope you will also bring the project you made in one of the several workshop sessions this past year, for example. And we haven't heard from even those with known talents, including Bill, James, Don, Tom, John, Phil, Ben, Ruth, Steve, Tim, etc. I hate to name people because I have not included some of you, but we don't want this show to be a failure. If you have something to show, please let us know. It depends on YOU!!

At the last show, items continued to come in during the three weeks. You do need to get your projects completed by 17 April for the opening day in Winchester. If you have any projects that you have built in the past several years that were not in the last show, they are eligible. This is not a juried show, so you don't have to worry about a bunch of critics evaluating your work. Please act NOW.

Some of you may be concerned about the safety or damage to the items. We had no problems two years ago and we had several large, valuable and/or delicate pieces. The locations are secure and, in most cases, the owners moved their own items if they were concerned about them.

I am reaching only those with email so we hope you will encourage others to participate, too. If you have questions, please contact Doyle McConnell, Harold Hewgley, Henry Davis, or me. Jim Roy will be unavailable for a couple of weeks.

Ross Roepke



                          Sassafras albidium


Although generally considered to be a small tree, the Sassafras sometimes reaches substantial height. The tallest specimen known in Ohio today, in Montgomery County, is 90 feet tall and has a diameter of almost 3.5 feet. The unusual leaves can be found in 3 forms, often on the same tree: 3-lobed; 2-lobed with a large central lobe and 1 smaller, side lobe; and without lobes. The tree grows in poorer soils than many other trees, and often is found in abandoned fields, along roadsides and fencerows, and on open slopes. It is widely

distributed throughout Ohio, although less frequently in the northern and western parts of

the state. The wood while soft, weak, and brittle is durable. It has been used for furniture as well as posts. Since the days of early settlement of the Ohio

Country, Sassafras has been better known for the tea that is made by boiling the bark of its roots. Also, oil of Sassafras, which is distilled from roots and

root bark, has been used in a variety of ways, including the flavoring of candies and medicines, and to perfume soaps and rubbing lotions. A variety of birds and a few mammals feed on the fruit.






WELCOMED GUEST WAS: Roger Floyd, Daniel Gillen, David and Loire Singer.



Tom Cowan announced that Jack Townsend passed away and a memorial book on woodworking was sent to the Franklin County Library. 

Tom also summarized the recent meeting of the executive committee as follows: He stated the picnic was set for June 24, 2000 at the Duck River Electric picnic area; the club will continue participation in the Coffee county fair with Doyle McConnell in charge; small workshops will be continued; limited liability insurance will be purchased for the club; and Bob Reese is working on a small tool exhibit at Loews in Tullahoma.


Jim Roy expressed a need for items for exhibits for “CREATION IN WOOD”. Form sheets are available for signup.

Henry Davis announced that he had additional “splinters”, the club newsletter and a list of club member’s e-mail addresses available.

Harvey Carter announced that Betty Nation has Cherry and walnut lumber for sale and some Craftsman tools as follows: 1) radial arm saw, 2) Band saw, 3) shaper and other tools. Betty Nation’s Phone number: 455-5393.

Maurice Ryan passed out copies of safety tips and guidelines.

Loyd Ackerman announced that he has a computer program on disc for searching abstracts for looking up magazine articles. Also, he has a book with similar information available for non-computer users.  The disc are available for club members to use.



Loyd Ackerman –jewelry box with drawers containing many compartments which had been flocked. The box was made of maple and walnut.

Bob Lenord-a knife and holder made of various wood.

John  Sargent-bowl including a lid made of honey locus and buckeye. The finish was several coats of tung oil.

Tom Mcgill-Large bowl  with an outside diameter of approximately 29 inches made of popular and finished with polyurethane.

Don Helton-scrowl saw work of an oak cap holder.

Henry Davis-showed two old planes made by Union.

Jim Van Cleave- displayed two framed shell carvings and showed a basket that was sold to him for his wife to use when their first child was born in 1948.

James Cook-a carving illustrating houses with interconnecting elevator and including a garage door with a driveway. The carving was made of cedar.

Tom Gillard-sailboat part made of red oak and mahogany wood.

Ross Roepke-doll bed made of cherry wood.

Crocia Robertson-rat from Chile and a lapel pin.

Bob Ubanks-Oak boxes

Bill May-carving of a face on butternut wood.

Tom Cowan-hepplewhite type table made of walnut wood. The table had three drawers with their fronts made from a continuing piece of wood. The table had a tung oil finish.


After a short break Bob Reese introduced the program presenters, Roger Floyd and Daniel Gillen of Leitz Tooling Systems.

They displayed and discussed different types of saw blades and their application. Five different types of carbide tips were technically presented. Saw application guidelines were passed out. Saw blade sharpening is available through their company. Business cards were available for members that may desire their services.


There were a total of 59 members and guest in attendance.


Respectfully submitted by Secretary, John Mayberry

We thought it appropriate to dedicate a few pages of this month’s newsletter to the memory of Jack Townsend.  Our older members will recall that Jack was very active in the club during our early years, while our newer members will learn that Jack was one of the most loyal and active members this club has ever known.


Jack joined the TVW in Jan. 1986; this was the first full year of our existence, making him one of our oldest members.   Jack was our fourth club President serving in 1989, and was our Publicity Chairman for 9 or 10 years.  Jack probably had the distinction of holding the club record for being an officer the most times!


Jack was the first of our Crafter members bringing this new element into our fledgling club.  Our April 1986 issue of  “Splinters” has an article by Jack describing his very first craft show.   As most of you know,  Jack made clocks  and sold  them  both at craft shows and by word of mouth. We that knew Jack in those early years saw his clocks evolve from those mounted on simple square or round pieces of wood to the more elegant shapes of ovals and hexagons.   One of Jack’s many contributions to the club was his help and evolvement in the craft show in Decherd.  Jack unselfishly shared his booth space with the other club members and through him many of us had our first craft show experience.


We will all miss you Jack, thanks for sharing your love of wood and your love of your fellow man with us, we are better for having known you.















Jack Townsend was a great person. He always saw the bright side, his cup was always half-full, never half-empty.

Many of us enjoyed teasing Jack. Jack made nice clocks and always needed wood. At one picnic Club auction several years ago, I brought a 4" square

Walnut post and showed it to Jack.  Then I sidled up to Richard the Auctioneer and said "I want you to sell that post to Jack, on the first Bid, no matter what he bids. And don't get mad when I ride you hard for GIVING my post to Jack." He did, and I did and Jack got all embarrassed for buying my post so cheaply.  Later he gave me a nice Walnut clock made from that wood. I felt bad about it.

We will certainly miss him.

James Van Cleave



Jack and Everett met at a TVW Club Meeting.  They complimented each other, as Jack was a talker and Everett a listener. 


A few days later they started meeting at McDonalds at 8:00 AM every day for coffee.  Then before long they started spending one afternoon a week touring the countryside with a stop for a snack. 


“The Old Days” and World War II were the subjects of many of their conversations. One of Jack’s stories was about the time his company encountered the “Japs” and Jack hid in a stream with only his nose showing about the water.


We’ll miss you, Jack

Everett and Betty White




     To meet Jack was to never forget him, as he was just one of those people who makes a lasting impression.  I believe I knew him before anyone else in the TVW club when I worked at a drugstore in Winchester.  He drove for FedEx, when he would stop each afternoon to take a break, talk and, of course get something good to eat.  Always he would cheer everyone up with some story he had heard earlier in the day or usually something funny that had happened to him.  We always kidded him about all the money he would receive when he finally did stop working, as at this time he had already retired from two or three jobs. He was already making and selling clocks being very proud to bring them in for us to see.   I told him during this time that Henry was a woodworker, so Jack visited him and they became friends, then very soon Dora, and Mrs. Bessie became lasting friends of ours also.


     Jack made many visits to Henry in his shop where he was always eager to learn new ways to improve the art of clockmaking.  We are happy to own four of them. I always think of Jack when I dust them or put in new batteries.  He participated in all of the Decherd Craft Shows where it was always a treat to watch his expertise selling his clocks.  His saying was “my clock batteries are good for one year and the clock for a lifetime”.  He enjoyed the pleasure of seeing people find that exact clock, or buying one for a gift, or talking to people, even if a sale was not made. Soon he became know throughout the area as Jack “The Clock Man” Townsend, and especially known for this UT “Big Orange” clocks.


The most special thing, I remember about Jack was his many calls “just to see how we were doing”. After many surgeries I had, or even days I was just not feeling well, he would call just to say hello, cheering me up immensely, when he was probably in much more pain himself. For this I will always be grateful !


Jack was one of the earliest members of the TVW club.  He worked diligently to do  his part in making the club a success.  Many of our members today were introduced to the club by him as he served as our publicity chairman for many years and talked about the club to almost everyone he met anywhere.  Much of the success of the club is due to Jack’s diligent work and promoting our club and its many benefits.   He was truly a faithful member and one of the biggest boosters of our club who will be greatly missed by not only Henry and me but all the other people who knew him.  Goodbye, my dear friend, Jack, you are missed.

                                                            Judy Davis




I knew Jack many years before we met again in the club.  He was a security guard where I worked and both of us being relegated to the off shift had lots of time to visit. Back then woodworking was not our main topic of conservation; we talked of fishing and of course solved all the worlds’ problems with our deep understanding and wisdom!


Jack and I went fishing a few times, I think the last time was when we had so much bad luck with outboard motors that we just gave it up.   The tiller on Jack’s motor broke, we came and got my boat, and as usual it would not start, by the time we got through hauling boats all over two counties our minnows had died and we were rather ill !


After the club formed, Jack and I became reacquainted.   He was a frequent visitor to our home and shop.  In the early years before he got his woodworking equipment we cut out the wood for his clocks, and did several projects together.  


I went with Jack to many craft shows, once to Huntsville and a couple of times to Shelbyville, as well as local shows.   I was always amazed at Jack’s sales ability and his friendliness towards his customers, always having a big smile and a little sales pitch!


I’ll miss you Jack, as a friend and a fellow woodworker.

                                                            Henry Davis



No wonder Dora loved Jack.  He loved her and he loved his Mother-in-law, Miss Bessie.  He took Miss Bessie to the Senior Citizens Center every day and went and picked her up after lunch.  You should have heard Jack tell the story about how he and Miss Bessie fell one day returning home.  He probably kept her from breaking her hip when she fell right on top of him.  It hurt him, but he laughed till he cried telling the story of him and Miss Bessie in the kitchen floor.  What woman wouldn’t love a man who loved her Mother.  Most of you won’t remember the Jack Townsend some of us knew.  You might remember him as the man who sat in the first row and left at half time.  Oh yea, you might have seen him eating a cookie or two. 


But Jack was once the President of this club, and during his term in office, the club greatly increased in membership.  Every time you looked in the Herald Chronicle, Jack had the Tennessee Valley Woodworkers a photo opportunity.  Or what we now call a Kodak moment.  Every time I turned around he was calling one of us to show up with anything we made.  "“Meet me at the Herald Chronicle at Three and look purdy”  Tom Cowan worked close by at Duck River and even though he is Most Photogenic, he graced the inside of the paper representing the Tennessee Valley Woodworkers all the time.  Jack didn’t like to be in the paper, he left the glory for others.  But there we were, with another free publicity shot.  Who doesn’t love seeing her hubby in the paper with a proud smile.  Jack gave that opportunity to lots of us.  Mary probably has a scrapbook full thanks to Jack.


And since all women love to go to craft shows, Jack gave us every opportunity, to take one in, except we had to work.  “ Now, folks, I’ve talked to the lady at the bank and she’s got us four places together.”  And we would make booths out of tarps and Phil’s lumber and plywood and fill them with our handiwork and the next thing you knew, we were signing up new members like crazy.  Jack would bring his cookies, or trick Judy Davis into making her World Famous Cookies, play his crazy instrument, what was that thing, and sell clocks like you needed nothing else but a clock.  I think Judy loved Jack, too.


And Betty White loved Jack, too.  She trusted her own Whitey with him on their pie excursions, every Tuesday.  She must have loved him, because if you ever rode with Jack you know that you were never late.  And sweet Betty White took Dora to the hospital, to stay with Jack when Dora couldn’t drive.


And I loved Jack because as good as a storyteller that he was, he was that much more of a listener.  He always remembered the little things.  I once told Jack how much I loved to travel in the Southwest.  The next Christmas, Jack and Dora sent me a subscription to Arizona Highway.  That was Jack.

All of us girls loved Jack, I’m sure you guys did, too.                

Susan Church


Jack first contacted me about joining the club after he read a letter I had written to Wood.  He was always cheerful and had a good word to say about everyone. Jack got a kick out of watching our kids at the club parties.   He would always ask about the wellbeing of my family.  That meant a lot to them and me.  I will always remember him as the "clock-man".   I will miss his enthusiasm and love of life, too.

Tom Gillard