Eastern Massachussetts Guild of Woodworkers

Upcoming Guild Events

July 18, 2022 7:00 PM • Zoom
September 10, 2022 9:00 AM • Millis, MA at a Guild member's shop
October 08, 2022 9:00 AM • Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School
November 12, 2022 9:00 AM • Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School

Map of Member Locations

For in-person meetings, the possibility to carpool to monthly and FIG meetings may be of use to you.  Tom Shirley has updated the Member Map that displays members' locations on a google map.  To access the map, log in, click the Member tab, then from the drop-down list click Member Map.  User instructions can be found there.

Bevel Cut


Pet Peeves

by Andrew Davis

There is no shortage of pet peeves for most of us.  Yet in such a personal activity like woodworking, especially those who work alone in their woodshop cave, there is no one else to complain to or about.  For example, when you can't find the tool you are looking for, there's no one else to blame.  But that doesn't stop Andrew from forming a list of his best woodworking pet peeves in this month's Bevel Cut article Pet Peeves Send your favorite woodworking pet peeve to Andrew.  Tell him he is not alone.  Let the pet peeves roll.

This will be the last article before we resume formal activities in September.  All articles this year will be made accessible via the archive later this summer.  Thanks go to Andrew for his continuous supply of imaginative, comical, and succinct articles that lighten our day.

Andrew welcomes your feedback.

Measure Twice, Cut Once



Sweep the Floor

by Rob Carver

When someone takes on the responsibility to write monthly articles for the website, it takes a very thoughtful, observant person to continue to select a worthy topic.  (Just ask Andrew Davis.)  For example, how many of us who visited last month's wonderful tour of Old Sturbridge Village came away with something inspirational?

Rob noticed that in the OSV woodshop there were wood shavings on the floor and various other remnants of woodworking that were not cleared.  One could chalk that up to the working nature of the woodshop and viewing it as theatrical scenery.  Perhaps so did Rob but he took it a few steps beyond that.  Rob saw the Zen in this common woodworking scene and writes another thoughtful, inspirational article that takes a subtlety and gives it meaning in the June MTCO article Sweep the Floor.

This will be the last article before we resume formal activities in September.  All articles this year will be made accessible via the archive later this summer.  Thanks go to Rob for his continuous supply of creative, thoughtful, insightful lessons learned that provoke consideration.

You can reach Rob for comments and additional information, click Rob Carver.

Featured Piece of the Month


Bow Front Table Package Extraordinaire

by Jeff Clunie, Jim Russell, Ken Zoller

Last month the guild presented a 100+ page guidebook for beginners called Novices.  This month brings another unusual but instructional Featured Piece of the Month.  Jim Russell, Jeff Clunie, and Ken Zoller teamed up to build and provide comprehensive documentation of their self-chosen project - a Bow Front Table.

Each author built their own table using an earlier version the plans presented here.  The documentation consists of three parts.  One part is a description of their build process materials, tools, bricking, veneering, marquetry, knife hinges, magnetic push latches, and more.  The second part is a detailed set of the plans with templates of the piece.  If that wasn't enough the third part is a SketchUp file provided for your 3D visualization pleasure and interactive resource.  If you don't use SketchUp but would like a copy (complimentary or higher model) read below.

You will be amazed by the craftsmanship, clarity of writing, supporting pictures, plans, and insights from this package.  For those always wanting to delve into building or just learning about the construction of a bow front table you have three big reasons to start now.

Click Overall Description - This will display the overall descriptive document of the Bow Front Table.

Click Plan - This will display a set of detailed plans and templates.

Click SketchUp File - This will download a copy of the SketchUp file to your download folder.  You might want to  move the file to a friendlier folder.  To use the file log into your SketchUp app and click the Open from device tab at the near the center top.  To obtain a SketchUp model go to sketchup.com in your web browser on your Windows or Mac computer. Click the Products link at the top left of the page and select your desired product type.  (The free model may no longer be supported.)

Contribute to the Featured Piece of the Month column.  Click my email address to send your draft anytime and I'll begin to schedule its publication.  I can assist your organizing, formatting, and picture insertions so don't let those issues stop you from documenting your projects and revealing your work.  Content can be as detailed (or not) as you like.

Remember this column is not necessarily dedicated to furniture pieces.  Tools, jigs, processes, and other woodworking related themes are also relevant.

Italian Joinery from the Dolomites

Brad Carr took his family on vacation in the Dolomites in Italy.  They stayed in the small village of Lajen.  The man from whom they rented a flat also has a barn / stable with some interesting wood architectural structures.  Brad was quite impressed with the detail and scale of the barn, which, it turns out, is not uncommon around here.  Brad shares his pictures in the slideshow below.

Getting Started in Woodworking, A Guidebook for the Novice written by The EMGW Guidebook Team

Various members of EMGW led by Andrew Davis have been involved with planning, designing, writing, reviewing, formatting, and writing more a guidebook for beginners in woodworking.  The mission of this project has been to supply a document that would provide insight and a morale boost to someone who has an interest in woodworking but not sure how to answer the questions, how do I get started, and what do I need to know.  This all-volunteer, multi-month project attempts to provide answers to that person with a compendium of instructional and informative articles to build awareness and confidence.  That being said, even experienced woodworkers will get something out of reading the guidebook.

The guidebook is complimentary.  It can be viewed and downloaded for your reading pleasure.  We hope that reading the guidebook will engender interest in woodworking and membership in our guild.  Click here for a priceless copy.

Old Iceland Furniture

Tom Shirley and his wife traveled to Iceland last June 2021 where they visited a traditional sod home museum in Glaumbær.  In the museum, Tom took photos of much of the old handmade furniture.  He even found an old woodworking bench and some tools including a lathe.  See the slideshow of Tom's pictures below.

Social Media

To view and access EMGW social media sites click Instagram and Facebook.  You don't need to be a member for a quick view.

Board of Directors 2022 - 2023

At the June, 2022 annual meeting the following were elected to the EMGW Board of Directors:

Ken Zoller, President (formerly V.P.)

Rob Carver, Vice President

Don George, Treasurer

Tom Shirley, Secretary (re-elected)

All candidates were elected unanimously.

Mentoring in the EMGW

Mentoring in the Guild takes many forms.  Everything from a brief conversation or email on a particular technique to a full-blown cooperative effort to build an entire piece.  Most mentoring occurs informally among members.  However, the Mentor Program provides an easy way, especially for new members, to get involved in mentoring.  Members listed on the Mentor Program page of this website have expressed a willingness to help other members in a variety of ways.

To read more about the Mentor Program, click here or navigate to About Us then Mentor Program.  To see the list of Mentor members with their interests and contact information, click here or navigate to Members then Mentors.

Dan Sichel's Research: Economic History of Nails

Did you know that in 1810, the use of nails in the US was comparable, as a measure of nominal GDP, to household purchases of personal computers and peripherals or air travel in our modern times?  That's just one nugget in guild member Dan Sichel's recent paper that caught the eye of NPR's Planet Monkey program for an interview. 

You may remember Dan's mahogany dining table featured as Piece of the Month last year.  So you might think the interview was about woodworking -- but, only peripherally.  You see, under the guise of an accomplished woodworker, Dan has a full-time job - Professor of Economics at Wellesley College.  Dan recently wrote "The Price of Nails Since 1695: A Window into Economic Change" that was the basis of the interview.  Presented in a ten minute podcast, Dan discusses his research on what we can learn about the US economy from the economic history of nails. 

Look forward to a light treatment of a serious paper by clicking Dan's Podcast. Also look forward to another featured piece by Dan later this year.

EMGW Woodworking Exhibit at Old Sturbridge Village

As part of the 75th Anniversary celebrations at Old Sturbridge Village, EMGW participated in the OSV Woodworking Weekend on October 9 & 10, 2021 (see slideshoew below).  The Village held a Grand Opening Ceremony for the new Cabinetmaking Shop on the Common, and EMGW had a front-row seat for the festivities, under a tent where we displayed members’ work and did some demonstrations for visitors. Members may recall that our September field trip was initially scheduled to get a preview of the new shop with Master Cabinetmaker Chris Nassise. Due to COVID, we postponed that visit until the spring, but Chris invited us to show how the methods of the early nineteenth century have evolved and live on.

A variety of objects were on loan from Guild members Michael Bossin, Rob Carver, Ann Dinsmoor, Steve Hoffman, Bob McKee, Ed O’Neil, Mike Roughan, Tom Shirley, Rick Silva, Jim Tartaglia, Jim Thompson, and Ken Zoller. Most of these folks also spent time in the Village during the event, chatting with visitors and Village staff about the Guild and woodworking, distributing Guild postcards, and doing some demonstrations. Thanks to numerous members and the editing of Tom Shirley, we had a slide show running continuously to showcase some eye-catching furniture pieces. Among the visitors we met several local woodworkers and possibly recruited a few new members for EMGW.

In addition to the display items, Ann had brought a two-board sample illustrating a dovetail joint. Kids and adults delighted in exploring how the joint works. Steve supplied toys from the Toys for Tots program from a few years back. The cars and articulated creatures were a big hit, attracting children, parents, and grandparents.  

Tom demonstrated the use of handsaws, shooting boards, and hand planes to construct small boxes with perfect mitered corners, and Rob used a shaving horse, drawknife, and spokeshaves to make a Paul Sellers milking stool. All the display pieces drew praise, especially Ken Zoller’s Machinist’s Tool Chest, Jim Tartaglia’s segmented bowl and mahogany tilt-top table with its inlaid veneer top, Bob McKee’s Krenov-inspired curved-front display cabinet, Ed O’Neil’s Morris ottoman, Rob Carver’s sackback Windsor chair, and Mike Bossin’s mantle clock. We had two shaker stepstools, by Ann and Tom, and people found the comparison vey interesting as well. More than a few visitors asked about purchasing or commissioning items!

The featured speaker at the shop dedication was Brock Jobe, renowned authority on early American furniture now retired from Winterthur, and on the board at OSV. Brock has spoken to the Guild in the past. One additional surprise was a sighting and brief encounter with Norm Abram, who also played a role in the creation of the new shop.

We had a lot of fun, met many people, extolled the virtues of woodworking and our Guild, and strengthened our own bonds while meeting people from around the country and several nations.  Our OVS hosts could not have been more gracious, and (as they say) a good time was had by all. We look forward to on-going relationship with the Village.

Rob Carver


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