BAGathon 2011

This year’s Bagathon (Bay Area Galoot meetup) was last Sunday, awesomely hosted by Greg Isola. Upon arrival, most of us wandered into his shop to check it out and there was a lot of drooling. (He’s got one seriously nice shop.)

I’ve gone to this event every year since I got into woodworking and started this blog, and it really is a treat. Seeing all of the tools that attendees bring along is one thing, but the demonstrations and interaction that you get with fellow woodworkers is priceless. It’s strange to wrap your head around this, but five days out of five years have really accelerated my work.

There was no shortage of good demos this year.

Mike Suwczinsky did a demo on scrapers, starting with cutting up beat-up handsaws. Here he is on the right demonstrating the use of a #80 cabinet scraper (if it’s not a #80, let’s pretend that it is):

That’s Bill Kasper on the left, sort of steadying that nasty piece of cocobolo.

Note the attire: Bill’s got a BAG shirt, and Mike’s outfitted in the more traditional Woodwright’s Shop garb. Not feeling content to leave it at the shirt, Mike also gave himself an Underhill-style cut on his arm (see foreground). Unfortunately, we weren’t filming, so we have no idea how he managed to do it.

Tom Conroy gave a demonstration on leather-bound bookbinding, gluing a piece of leather to a cardboard book cover. The technique is a little similar to how you might glue leather to a desktop. It was fascinating to see how one massages the material into place, and also how you can form it to shape with glue (and water).

Kirk Eppler demonstrated how to make leather sheaths for axes, adzes, and tools of a similar nature. This was fascinatingly easy-looking–installing the rivets and snaps appears to be a quick process once you’re used to it. Mike made one for an axe.

A perennial feature of Bagathons is the wine box feeding frenzy. Greg Hahn shows up with a whole bunch of empty wooden wine boxes, and we take them. This year, our host had the idea to surprise him, so several people brought projects they’d made with the boxes. A great many of these are tool holders, as you can see:

Greg H showed us his appreciation in advance by bringing another truckload of wine boxes. Thanks, Greg! Also, thanks again to Greg I for hosting, and to everyone who went.

Nightstands v2: Frames Complete, Shelves Joined

It’s been a little while since I posted anything on the twin-nightstand project, so it’s time for a quick checkpoint (one of the reasons I write this blog is so that I can record when I’ve finished various phases of a project).

Both frames, exterior and interior, are complete. The interior frames are to support the shelf and drawers in each piece. In the first nightstand project, I shaped some of the exterior pieces to provide drawer supports in strange ways, and I said to myself that this method was too complicated to be worth the effort next time. So in the new one, I’ve been making the supports as separate pieces, in a secondary wood (yellow-poplar salvaged from an old bed frame).

I was finished with the exterior frame several weeks ago, and I finished with the interior frame about two weeks ago. This week, I’ve been working on the shelves that go above the midsection of each piece. Each shelf is made from two roughly 1/2″ panels edge-glued; I did the glue-ups yesterday and today.

So now the pile of components looks like this:

You can clearly see the secondary yellow-poplar members here. The components that I have yet to make are:

  • panels for the sides and back
  • drawers
  • drawer bottoms
  • tops
  • decorations (these will line the base of the pieces)

In theory, none of this should take too long, but it’s still a fair amount of work to do. There will be a non-trivial amount of resawing for the panels. I can’t really put a time estimate on how long this is going to take, because I’ve encountered a lot of diversions when making this project (though I’m starting to feel like I really need to finish this and move on to the next thing).

There is a new tool in the preceding photo that I may feature sometime in the future, depending on how just I like it. You could guess which one it is, though the excitement factor may not be entirely present in doing so.