Tennessee Valley Woodworkers
     Vol. 18/ Issue 10         October  2003        Editor: Tom Gillard Jr. 

Meeting Notice:
The next meeting of the TN Valley Woodworkers
Will be held, October 21st, at 7:00 p.m. in the
 Duck River Electric Building, Dechard, TN
All interested woodworkers are invited!

The following people have agreed to serve as contacts for their particular skills.  If you have questions, suggestions for activities, or other comments relating to these skills, please call these folks.  Their interest is to help the club better serve their area of expertise.  Your participation with them will help them achieve that goal.

          Design: Alice Berry                       454-3815                 Finishing:    Phil Bishop           967-4626
          Turning: Tom Church                    967-4460                 Carving:      Harry May           962-0215
          Sharpening: Bob Reese                 728-7974                 Joinery:       Ross Roepke       455-9140
          Health and Safety: Maurice Ryan   962-1555

   List of Club Officers
                                                     President:          Doyle McConnell
                                                     V. President:         Ken Gould
                                                     Secretary:          Barbara Keen
                                                     Treasurer:          Henry Davis
                                                     Publicity:          Loyd Ackerman
                                                     Newsletter Editor  Tom Gillard Jr.


Please remember, in your thoughts and prayers, all our Troops heading for the Middle East.

Don't forget about the club give-away this year.
We have a Tormek sharpening machine for some lucky winner at the Christmas party.

October  Program:

Fall Symposium Registration
October 25, 2003
The Tennessee Valley Woodworkers Club is sponsoring a woodturning symposium on October 25, 2003. The symposium will accommodate the needs of all levels of woodturners by splitting the first session of the day into Basic Woodturning and Advanced Woodturning. The Basic session is for those with little or no experience in woodturning. The Advanced session is for the more experienced turners. Beginning the day with a split session will help us prepare the most basic turners to enjoy the remainder of the day while serving more experienced turners appropriately. After the split session, we will all convene together for the remaining sessions.
We will hold the symposium at Tom Cowan’s shop near Winchester.
Click HERE for the information packet and HERE for the registration form.


Harry May brought a carving of an Indian face finished with Johnson’s paste wax.  He also noted that he had received several commissions for other carvings.

Ken Gould brought a blanket chest made of cherry and quarter sawn oak that he had made as a wedding gift for one of his children.

Geoff Roehm brought in one of his beautiful guitars.

 Ed White showed a sawhorse that he had made, explaining the construction techniques used to assemble the stackable sawhorses.

Tom Gillard brought pictures of dressers made for his boys along with sailboats made as gifts for the Oldham company.

David White brought in a twisted walking stick.  He did add some cherry and walnut to it to give it some character.

Bob Reese told the club about the adaptation of a newel post into a lamp.  The post was from the 1830’s and had been in his wife’s ancestral home.  He also showed the jig he constructed to help when making the dovetail slots on the base for the feet and a steady-rest to assist in the turning operations.

Doyle McConnell showed one of the jewelry boxes he made with a book-matched top of spaulted maple.

Gary Runyon shared the depth gauge that he had made.

Hugh Hurst showed a beautiful walnut bowl with Deft Oil finish, followed with lacquer.  He also brought a box elder flat bowl with a textured edge.

Chuck Taylor brought a veteran’s memorial flag case made of oak, with finger joint construction.  Also, clocks and baby rattles that he had made as gifts to be carried on a mission trip to Russia.

Jim Parker displayed his cherry three-drawer chest with a raised panel back that he had finished with 2:1 red oak and mahogany stain and topped with satin finish polyurethane. It had hand cut dovetail drawers.

Ray Torstenson did the program on bandsaw boxes and brought in a few samples of his work.

Message from the editor:
Speaking of the Oldham Company. They have a company benevolence fund to help support employees who are having financial troubles.  Some of the money is loaned and some is given, with no payback expected. In order to raise money, Oldham either sales some of their own products or they have an auction of donated items.  These sales are internal, no outsiders allowed. That is what my ‘boat’ went for.
This is where the club comes in.  If anyone would like to make an item or two and donate it to this cause, I’ll collect them and ship them to my, and your, good friend Paul at Oldham.  This sounds like a VERY good cause and it is a way for the employees of Oldham to help one another.  It is a way for us, the club, to say thanks to Oldham for all the items sent to us for give-a-ways at our picnics and Christmas parties.

Thanks, Tom Gillard

Lignum Vitae

At home in water, lignum vitae helped submarines run quietly.
An explosion rocked the humid night. Thrown to the deck, the young Confederate crewman escaped the projectiles flying everywhere. But not all hands were as lucky. Glancing into the boiler room, he found the first mate lying still. Was it a mortar shell that had felled him? It couldn’t be; they were alone on the ocean.
The blow that struck the Confederate cruiser Georgia on that fateful evening in 1864 came from no enemy gunner. Instead, the awesome burst and devastating shrapnel was from shattering wood.
During the early days of oceangoing steamships, shipyards made many engine cogs and shafts of lignum vitae, an iron-tough wood so heavy it sinks in water. Unfortunately, crews found out that the wood also comes apart under extreme pressure when combined with more than 150° heat—as was created in the engine room when the Georgia mate stoked the fire through the open boiler door.
Incidences such as this caused shipbuilders to abandon lignum vitae in machinery aboard surface vessels. However, because sea water naturally lubricates the wood, lignum vitae was adopted as the material for silent-running propeller shaft bearings in submarines and has only recently been displaced by space-age substances.
Above sea level, lignum vitae’s remarkable hardness made it perfect for chopping blocks, block-and-tackle assemblies, and casters. Early woodworking tool manufacturers relied on the wood for mallets, plane soles, and bandsaw guide blocks. And, should you happen on a bowling ball from the 1800s, expect that it, too, will be rollable, rockhard lignum vitae.

WOOD On-line
Illustration: Jim Stevenson



In the 19th century, America was on the move. Commerce, industry, and agriculture, fueled by the young nation’s growth and westward expansion, rolled ceaselessly onward, carried by countless wooden wheels.

Wheelwrights were riding high then, building spoked wooden wheels for everything from army artillery to Park Avenue hansom cabs. Strong joints were crucial because, as you’ll recall from many a western movie, some of those wheels took terrific abuse.

In particular, a lot of force came to bear at the outer ends of the spokes, where they connected with the felloes, the arc-shaped segments that made up the outer rim of the wheel. (There were normally two spokes for each felloe.) Standard practice called for mating a round tenon on the end of the spoke with a hole bored into the felloe. Craftsmen often formed the tenon with a device somewhat like a plug cutter, a tool known as a hollow auger.

Both wooden and iron hollow augers had been in use in America since the time of the Revolution. The wooden one shown above (no. 1) is typical of the early, non-adjustable style. Its two steel blades cut a 3/4"-diameter tenon.

Then, in 1829, Abel Conant of Pepperville, Massachusetts, received the first United States patent for a hollow auger. For decades after, tinkerers and toolmakers alike buckled down to devising, patenting, and marketing improved devices to cut cylindrical tenons. By December 5, 1911, when the last patent was issued for a hollow auger, 85 styles had been patented.

Made to fit in a bitstock or brace, the devices appealed to chairmakers, laddermakers, and other craftsmen as well as wheel-wrights. With a hollow auger, a sturdy joint could be made in two relatively simple operations. And, with a means of cutting the tenons uniformly, parts could be made in a batch rather than being individually hand-fitted.

Variations among hollow augers generally involved methods of setting the diameter of the tenon. Some cut fixed standard sizes, others were adjustable. Some models were amazingly complex, verging on the impractical. Those didn’t last long in the marketplace.

Hollow augers themselves couldn’t survive the decline of wheelwrighting. As steel wheels drove out wooden ones in the years following World War I, demand for hollow augers flagged. Fewer and fewer were available. In the late 1940s, the few remaining models disappeared from the market.

Tools from the collection of James E. Price, PhD., Naylor, Missouri
Photograph: Hetherington Photography
Written by Larry Johnston
WOOD On-line


Wood for Sale:
1 piece walnut  6" x 5" x 38", I paid  $40, I'll take $40.
1 piece fiddleback maple 2 1/2" x 17" x 8 ft. $125.

Jim Van Cleave 455-8150



10 % OFF Fine Woodworking
Books from Taunton Press
…We’re open Monday thru Saturday

click on picture to visit Oldham

  SEE YOU ON THE 21st!