Eastern Massachussetts Guild of Woodworkers

Upcoming Guild Events

November 14, 2020 9:00 AM • Zoom - Link TBA about 10 days before meeting.
December 12, 2020 9:00 AM • Zoom - Link TBA about 10 days before meeting

Board of Directors 2020 - 2021

At the June, 2020 monthly meeting the following were elected to the Board of Directors:

Tim Holiner, President (formerly Vice President)

Ken Zoller, Vice President

Don Cole, Treasurer (re-elected)

Tom Shirley, Secretary (re-elected)

All members were elected unanimously.

Don Michael Remmembrance





Pictured at left is Don Michael volunteering to make Christmas gifts for Toys for Tots.





Many of you know that Don Michael has had several bouts of cancer over the years.  Sometimes at guild or FIG meetings you may have seen Don wear a hat or maybe had an unusually short haircut at times.  Those were generally a result of chemotherapy treatments.  Don had been a cancer survivor for 36 years.  But because of Don’s remarkable positive attitude, strength, and perseverance the results of those chemo treatments could easily have been overlooked as a fashion statement or work from an overly aggressive barber.  Don would acknowledge the effort it took to maintain a sense of normalcy after yet another recurrence of the cancer but he more often credited his support from his family, with his devoted wife Cathy leading the way, and friends that allowed him to carry on as it was just another bump in the road to a greater future ahead.

Don Michael passed away on September 26 at 11 p.m.  With that utterly sad moment, we are left to remember the grace, style, kindness, and wit that Don shared with us over many years.  In speaking with other guild members it was a common judgement that Don was the glue – perhaps even the soul – of the guild.  Don was as active in the guild as one could possibly be.  He was devoted to its success and shaped many of its bylaws, subgroups, activities, and culture.  From executive management, to numerous committee memberships, to offering safety advice, to leading the FIG group, to writing articles, Don did it all.  You all have stories and memories of Don.  Who could forget the monthly Perpetual Novice column he wrote for the EMGW website?  

There were many sides to Don.  He was smart.  His memory for facts, however trivial or paramount, about the guild was stunning.  He was witty.  His wit and self-deprecating humor was legendary – even perpetual.  He was kind.  Don would offer advice when requested or when it needed clarification.  If a tool was what you were interested in, he’d have a review ready to cover the issue or a worthy suggestion to gain more detail or breadth.  Don was mature.  There was an aura of wisdom about Don.  It was the norm to receive the unvarnished, straightforward truth about an issue in woodworking or otherwise.

But what Don wasn’t, was a novice.  It was legendary of Don starting new projects before the current one wasn’t finished.  There was always another challenge to master.  So what if the project was dismissed to the unfinished pile, Don’s curiosity and appetite for learning new techniques moved him to try something new.  Being a novice implies an amateurish workmanship.  There was nothing amateurish about Don.  He was a continual learner, no matter how accomplished he was.  And his learning extended into topics, not exclusively about woodworking.

Learning how to deal with cancer was something he worked on.  He was a model for expressing his concerns, his steps to recovery, his schedule of treatment activities, his understanding of the disease, and above all his honesty.  Truly, Don was a model patient – understanding, organized, and positive.  Not an ounce of pity.  The guild has lost a key individual.  This man will be missed.  But Don leaves a guild much in his own image.  We are grateful for that and for sharing himself with us in such remarkable ways.  Our future as a guild is and will be greater because of Don.  May he rest in peace.

Don's obituary can be accessed via the Acton Funeral Home.

Bevel Cut


What's in Your Scrap?

by Andrew Davis

If you are a woodworker you have a scrap heap.  In fact, you may have different scrap heaps sorted for the possibility of later carrying out thoughts of using the pieces for something worthwhile.

Is there value hidden in those heaps other than firewood.  The winter is coming.  The value is going up.  But is that how you want to use those piles?

Andrew reflects on his approach in What's in Your Scrap?  Paraphrasing the commercial, don't leave the website without reading it.

Andrew welcomes your feedback.

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.

Furniture Interest Group Meetings

Meetings of the Guild's Furniture Interest Group (FIG) are held every third Monday of the month.  All members are welcome.  Members meet at a different member's house every month where they attend to discuss all things furniture building, including designs, jigs, wood species, joinery, tools, etc.  Members have a chance to seek advice from a varied, friendly, and experienced assembly of woodworkers or add to this body of collective knowledge.  Keep an eye on FIG meetings for time and place in the Upcoming Guild Events at the top of the page. 

Featured Piece of the Month

Federal-ish Mahogany Dining Table

by Dan Sichel

If this dining table looks familiar, it was presented during the Show and Tell at the last end of year Zoom gathering.  Here Dan presents the full story that woodworkers will enjoy.

If you like reading about curved aprons, working from 16/4 mahogany, cutting semicircle ends, do-overs because of wood movement and a blotchy finish, and bridle joints this is the article for you.  If that wasn’t enough, Dan designed the table to be an extension table with space for two leaves by cleverly using heavy-duty steel drawer slides encased in mahogany.  Read all this and more in this month's Feature Piece.

You can reach Dan at here.

Perpetual Novice

Safety First - Know Your Alcohol

by Don Michael

The Perpetual Novice returns to provide a public service.  Previous Perpetual Novice articles have attempted to look at the trials and errors of learning the woodworking craft with a bit of humor. This one is different in that it is serious. I’ve been surprised of late to see the “wrong” alcohols in a number of people’s shops. I’ve known about this for a long time and assumed it was general knowledge, but since it doesn’t seem to be, allow me this one time to slip into lecture mode.

To read more click here.


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