Category Archives: Blog Newsletter

MIWG Newsletter – June 10, 2018

Greetings fellow woodworkers!

June is finally here, and after our beautiful May weather, I am sure that some (perhaps few) of you are welcoming the cool, wetter weather of early June to get back into your shops after putting down your garden shears and lawn mowers!

Our April Garage Sale was a great success! The results added to our funds which we were able to turn into a rather large wood donation to the 6 School District High Schools. We distributed over 1300 board feet of maple and alder over 2 days! Hopefully, this contribution will be provide significant wood supplies to students in Nanaimo.

 Second installment of SD68 High School wood

Meanwhile, a London Plane tree (Platanus x acerifolia) was donated to MIWG by member Thorne Underwood. Peter Hentze and Dave Workman have sawn this wood into a couple of different thicknesses (4/4, and 8/4) and a few members worked last weekend to move these very heavy wet planks into the new kiln that Peter has created out of one of his containers. (Thanks to all for their labour contributions!)


Dave and Peter with London Plane tree wood.

(London Plane tree is a relative of sycamore, and can be found in the wood-database link on our links page – Soon, a donated cedar log will be cut into boards (sizes to be determined by request) and this wood can be air-dried or kiln-dried depending on space.

Our meeting in June (next Wednesday, June 13, at 6:30 – will feature Tyler Green discussing some of the available tools at Felder, and a presentation from the woodworking teachers of School District 68 which will outline some of the benefits of the wood that has been donated to the high schools.

Vancouver Island Woodworkers’ Guild will be holding its Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, June 12 at Lee Valley in Langford (6:30 p.m. with pizza available) The agenda includes an auction of wood and tools.

We finally have our second proposed mini-course planned! We have room for 6 to 12 attendees for a beginner lathe workshop which will be instructed by Tom Hedekar, and hosted by John Noble. This will be a 3 to 4 hour workshop from 9:00 to lunchtime on Saturday, June 23. The cost will be $30 per person, and open to members only initially. (This may be opened to the public if there is not enough internal interest.) Placements in this workshop will be filled upon payment of the course fee. (Cash, or cheques, or e-Transfer.)

I look forward to seeing many of you this coming Wednesday at 6:30 when we will also hear from our newly appointed “Wood Recovery Chairperson” – Dave Workman. Dave has agreed to fill this position for the remainder of this year. Many thanks to him.

Regards, and best wishes for continued safe and rewarding woodworking!


MIWG Newsletter – More Garage Sale Items

Hi All,

In case you are following the Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild Garage Sale news with any interest, here is the latest posting showing items available in this Saturday, April 28 garage sale. Please click on the link below to see the items. There may be more pictures in the next day or so. Please click on “Subscribe” if you wish to receive email notifications when they are posted (or to receive any new information about our Guild and our activities.)

Best wishes!


More MIWG Garage Sale Pics

MIWG Newsletter – April 24, 2018

Hi Woodies!

I am very sorry that some of you were not able to attend to hear Michael Moore at our last meeting and see the beautiful creations that he is making out of both wood and metal! The man is truly a gifted artist, and I am really looking forward to another shop tour that includes his workspace in Duncan! Thank-you Michael!

Our Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild Garage Sale will be held at 3388 Tunnah Road, Nanaimo, on Saturday, April 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Please tell your family, friends and neighbours about it. The sale is for everyone, but members only can sell items. There are lots of items for sale, including tools, parts, wood, and possibly even some members’ crafts. We look forward to seeing many of you there. Meanwhile, this first posting contains pictures of some items, and more will follow with new postings in the next few days. Please “Subscribe” to this blog post if you would like to be kept informed about new items or the Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild activities in general!

Meanwhile, click on the link below to see pics of items for sale. More postings may follow before Saturday.

Best wishes to all!


Garage Sale Details and Pictures

MIWG Newsletter – April 9, 2018

Greetings fellow Woodworkers and friends!

April showers have extended our times in our workshops as ski hills are slowing down activities, fishing isn’t active, sailing is chilly and dreary, and yard work can wait for warmer, sunnier days. Its all good!

At our March meeting, the husband and wife team of Karen Trickett and Cam Russell did a wonderful presentation (according to my sources, since I was, regretfully, unable to attend). They showed slides of their current projects including the refinishing of wooden panelling on an older vehicle. They also passed around samples of different finishings that they use. These two folks are truly amazing and talented woodworkers! If anyone took pictures at this presentation, I would be happy to post some soon.

Our April meeting this coming Wednesday, April 11, will also feature a Duncan-area woodworker – Michael Moore. Last year, a Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild shop tour included both Cam and Karen’s workshop, as well as Michael’s. Michael is a self-taught wood AND metal worker with one of the most incredibly finished metalwork shops where he creates fabulous metal work and integrates it with equally beautiful and amazing woodworking. You won’t want to miss this presentation! As always, MIWG welcomes guests and family members for free. Please join us and bring your “besties”.

Also on Wednesday’s agenda will be the displays of our latest “contest/project” – the Gottshall Blocks! Since I missed the March meeting, I am really curious as to what this project is, and am looking forward to seeing the results. If you haven’t finished yours…get to it! You only have 3 days left!

As a nod to our “family” organization in Victoria – the Vancouver Island Woodworkers’ Guild – I strongly recommend that you make every effort to make a trip to Victoria to see the products of the VIWG membership at the “Visions in Wood – 2018” craft display at the Arts Centre at Cedar Hill – 3220 Cedar Hill Road before it ends on April 29. (8:00 am to 8:00 pm). Four of our own MIWG members are also members of VIWG, and Brian McLaurin and Steve Neil both have contributed items to this display. We’ll look forward to a report on this Show.

And…I hope that you had a chance to visit the Pacific Brant Carving and Art Show in Parksville this weekend. This has become an International event! When he returns from a holiday, I hope that our Secretary, Bill Beese, (who is also an Executive member of the local Carving Club, an accomplished carver, and one of the organizers of this event) will give us an overview of this Pacific Brant Carving activity and also his participation in the Bird Carving Championships in Maryland, US.

Other important news and events:

Our “Member-at-Large” and organizer/instructor for the “Mini-Bench Build” – Bob Armstrong – has recently been ill and has not recovered sufficiently in order to manage the “Mini-Bench Build” session. Therefore, that session has been put on hold for the time being. Also, since I was away and unable to adequately “publicize” the planned Garage Sale for this coming Saturday, it, too, has been postponed – until Saturday April 28.

So…Next up – Our General Meeting on Wednesday at 6:30 at NDSS, Meeting Room A and…

April 28 – Garage Sale (Prepare or finish your sales items with pricing notes and pictures! I will be providing a form for participating as a seller in this garage sale very soon.)

Best wishes to all, and see you on Wednesday!


MIWG Newsletter – March 6, 2018

Hello  Woodworkers and friends!

We are now heading into our third year of operations since incorporation, and we are pleased with the enthusiasm and participation of woodworkers in the mid-Vancouver Island area. Interest continues to grow, and the success of our February “3 Board Feet” competition is a great example of this. (See previous newsletter.)

The City of Nanaimo recently contacted us to gauge our interest in several trees that may need to be removed for developments, or safety. We opted to accept the maple and an arbutus, should the removals go ahead. We are currently looking at transporting options to get the logs eventually moved out to the Frost Road property for milling.

Also, John Noble, the woodworking teacher at Nanaimo District Secondary School asked a couple of us to assist in judging a student Regional Competition sponsored by Skills Canada. So, Steve Neil and I had a very interesting day as 6 students from mid-Island schools were handed blueprints for a tool box, and 1” pine boards about 100” by 5.5”. They had to study the plans, create a cut-list plan for themselves, mill the wood, and then create the toolbox which included a dove-tailed drawer. We were impressed with the skill levels of these students from various schools from Cowichan Valley Secondary to North Nanaimo.

Instructor and 2 MIWG Judges
Judge assisting student
Sample Toolbox – built as a guide
A Competitor working on Project

Recent communications received through have announced wood for sale, as well as an occasional tool. Because there are other websites dedicated to sale of new and used items, I do not include these requests on our site. However, members may always post items for sale, or items of interest at any time. Please do so at Pierre Blanchard did point me to a website of interest that I will pass on. It is quite an amazing site for wood shaping! I also received a suggested link from the mother of a boy scout who had found our site. She suggested that we add a link to our site, but instead, I will mention the link where I have already spent some time learning about sharpening theory. Here is the site that her son passed on to me:  Check them out!

Next on the MIWG agenda will be the General Meeting on Wednesday, March 14 at 6:30 at NDSS Meeting Room A. (See for details.) Our presenters at the meeting are Cam Russell, the retired Dean of Fine Woodworking at Camosun College, and Karen Trickett, Cam’s extremely talented woodworking wife. The two have a beautiful studio just out of Maple Bay where they both create gorgeous woodworking products. ( Don’t miss this presentation!

Stay tuned for further details on the garage sale planned for April. Please begin to take gather your items for sale, along with some pics. And…a reminder of the April 21/22 mini-workbench-building seminar. Please bring a $120 deposit ($100 for the course and $20 for the hardware) to one of the two upcoming General Meetings with the balance payable on the day of the seminar/workshop. The project will be built in my workshop – depending on numbers, of course.

Best wishes to all, and continue to work your wood safely!


MIWG Newsletter – February 18, 2018

Greetings to all fellow woodworkers! (For those of you who read the earlier post – I apologize for the error in attributing the First Place finisher in our contest. It has now been corrected.)

As I look out a our first decent snow-fall of this year, it seems like I have a bit of time to add some notes to a newsletter – until driveway shovelling is recommended, and I must give up the thought of playing in my workshop/mancave!

Our last meeting on February 14 had a few wonderful surprises for us!

First of all, our presenter, John Noble, the woodworking teacher at Nanaimo District Secondary School gave us a slide show of works that his students have produced in recent times – from beginning Grade 8 to senior levels. The creativity and beauty of the students’ work was awe-inspiring and reinforced our commitment to our support for the art of woodworking in the mid-Island area.

After the presentation, we voted for the entries in our contest to create a project out of 3 board feet or less of milled wood. The results were impressive to say the least!

Terry Robinson’s entry

Terry Robinson’s entry   – sign for son’s new property

Tony Dobson’s entry

Tony Dobson’s router-carved serving box

Charles Beaulieu’s entry

Charles Beaulieu’s bar stool

Sara Frisch’s entry

Sara Frisch’s rather unique foot stool

Ed Tremblay’s entry

Ed Tremblay’s clock on stand

Dave Workman’s entry

Dave Workman’s chisel cabinet

Bruce Markstrom’s entry

Bruce Markstrom’s flower and candle holder

Bernie Waatainen’s entry

Bernie Waatainen’s segmented bowl turning

Bill Beese’s entry

Bill Beese’s carved moebius strip

Pierre Blanchard’s entry

First Place: Pierre Blanchard’s box and lid

AND…the three winners are:

Third Place: Bill Beese

Third Place: Bill Beese – carved Moebius strip

Second Place: Bernie Waatainen

Second Place: Bernie Waatainen – segmented turning

FIRST PLACE: Brian Rigby

First Place: Brian Rigby’s box and lid

On another issue, a recent email from a member who also is a member of Makerspace mentioned cherry pieces for sale from a tree removal in a local yard. If you are interested, please contact me.

Also of note: Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild is offering its first skills-based course to be held this coming Saturday, February 24 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. This course is on tune-ups and hand-sharpening of bench planes as well as hand-chisels and scrapers. The equipment needed is very low cost and easily available for the most part. In order to be insured against injury, you must be a member of MIWG (easily done, and very cheap!) and have paid a $30 entry fee. Please contact by Thursday if you would like to participate. (If participation is too low, this course may have to be postponed.)

Required equipment for Tool Sharpening workshop:

1. Plate of tempered glass, or plexiglass, or granite, or marble: approximately 30 cm x 30 cm or slightly larger (check flatness with a carpenter’s square) and at least 1/4” thick. (Brian McLaurin suggests mounting glass on a piece of arborite/particle board or plywood);

2. Wet/dry sandpaper (emery paper) or 3M sharpening sheets representing grits from 120 to about 1200; (Above 1200, if you have water stones or fine oilstones, bring them.)

3. Small water-spray bottle, and/or light honing oil;

4. A small piece of anti-skid drawer-liner rubber (to sit under the glass);

5. If you have one – a honing guide (store-bought, or home-made – see internet);

6. At least one bench plane needing work (including a new one out of a box), and a couple of bench chisels;

7. If you have it (not necessary!)…a diamond plate or stone for flattening blade backs and water stones;

8. Paper towel and a cotton cloth or two;

9. Shop apron or something to protect your clothing;

10. Safety goggles, ear-plugs and if possible – steel-toed boots.

Best wishes to all, and work safely in your shops!…Tony

MIWG Newsletter – February 10, 2018

Hello fellow woodworkers! With another General Meeting of Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild fast approaching, it is time to provide some updated information!

Our presenter at our last meeting, Bill Beese, provided excellent information on wood characteristics as related to species and growth environments. This presentation included some great instructional slides that he uses for Forestry students at VIU. Bill has provided a PDF of his slide presentation which is now posted on our website. Thanks to Bill for this information!

Our “First Aid for the Woodworker” training session at VIU on January 20 was thorough and well-attended with 14 people participating – including 3 new members! Eric Brand was also an excellent presenter, and generously donated his time for the event. A number of us met for a good luncheon at the Quarterway Pub after the event.

We have some very interesting events upcoming in the coming weeks and months so get your calendar out:

  1. At our next General Meeting on Valentine’s day, Steve Pelley, instructor at VIU for the Carpentry program will be showing us some woodworking projects that have been completed by some of his students. And, if semester changes at NDSS don’t create a problem, John Noble, instructor at Nanaimo District Secondary School will show some completed projects from his students.
  2. Also at the February 14 meeting, we have our “3 board feet” competition results where members will bring their finished projects created out of 3 board feet (or less) of wood. The only restrictions are that the project must have been created from milled wood not exceeding that limit, and secondly, created since the announcement of the competition. (i.e. these are intended to be NEW creations since our last meeting!)
  3. Due to a severe and prolonged flu that Bob Armstrong has been experiencing, the original plan to have a Mini-Workbench Build workshop in February must now be postponed until April. The new planned schedule for this 2 day event is for Saturday April 21 and Sunday April 21. The workshop for this event will tentatively be Tony Dobson’s.
  4. To replace the Mini-Workbench build, on Saturday, February 24, there will be a 3 hour, Hand-Sharpening Mini-course (also at Tony Dobson’s man-cave.) This will be a hands-on workshop with workbench room for up to 10. Details will be sent to all members, or prospective members who might be interested. (Reply via email, or contact if you are interested.) The workshop will focus on hand plane and bench chisel sharpening, but will include scraper and carving chisel sharpening. Although most sharpening will be done without power, standard power grinder application will also be shown.
  5. On Saturday April 14, there will be an MIWG garage sale. All members can bring tools and supplies to be sold, but sales will be to the public at large. With a double car-port, an RV tent, and a large deck covering a patio, there is lots of space to display tables of goods.
  6. Mark your calendar also for May 5. That is scheduled for our next “Shop Tour” – a very popular event.
  7. Our next intended instructional workshop will be for box-building with emphasis on joinery scheduled for Saturday, May 12.
  8. We hope to have our wrap up social event before the summer break with a barbecue in June. Stay tuned!

Just a reminder of our next meeting on Wednesday, February 14 at 6:30 at NDSS (see website for details and map). I know this date might create conflict with your special heartthrobs, so I suggest that you bring them along as guests. (No wooden hearts in our membership!) As always, we welcome guests and visitors – especially family members, and other potential members. See you there!

Newsletter – January 7, 2018

Greetings and Happy New Year to Mid-Island Woodworkers, families and friends!

We are off to our third year of shared woodworking experiences under the direction of our new Executive:

  1. President: Tony Dobson
  2. Vice-President – Membership: Ed Tremblay
  3. Vice-President – Programs and Events: Dave Workman
  4. Treasurer: Steve Neil
  5. Secretary: Bill Beese
  6. Member-at-Large: Bob Armstrong
  7. Librarian: Peter Clement

We are certainly looking forward to a year of fellowship, learning and fun, and we will start things off at our next General Meeting on Wednesday, January 10, at 6:30 pm in Meeting Room A at 355 Wakesiah Avenue (Nanaimo District Secondary School) with a presentation by Bill Beese on wood properties and identification. (Bill has also agreed to give a presentation on the carving process for a decoy at some future presentation.)

Also in January, we will be having our second instructional workshop on Saturday, January 20 from 9:00 am to 12 noon in Building 165, Room 104 at Vancouver Island University. This session on First Aid, geared towards a woodworking shop, will be conducted by Eric Brand from the Royal Canadian Search And Rescue. This workshop will have a fee of $20 per person and you must be a member of Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild in order to participate. (Since this is true for all of our instructional activities, please convince your woodworking – or wannabe woodworker –  friends that it would just make great sense to join us officially and be a part of our wonderful group and to learn with us, or from the more experienced of our members.)

With regrets for an oversight in not taking pictures at our wonderful December meeting whereby quite a number of members showed some amazing pieces of work, I am attaching a few pictures that were sent to me by Tom Hedekar of his curling “stone(s)” (as well as a couple of other items from his lathe), and the mini-workbench that Bob Armstrong showed and which will be the subject of an project-based workshop – probably on the last weekend of January, or perhaps the first weekend in February.

Also in December, the “shop tour” of the shops of Gord Sjoquist, Thorne Underwood, Glen Smith and Tony Dobson was well-attended with about 10 members who managed to squeeze in an excellent lunch at the Lantzville Pub before completing the tour. Gord’s shop is a model of well-equipped, and pre-build design of dust control and heating systems; Thorne’ shop is a model of compactness and economy of space; Glen’s massive space allocation has had its working area reduced to manageable size by creating stacks for an amazing amount of wood storage; Tony’s shop has a decent floor size (double car garage) of about 500 sq. ft. into which he has located a full complement of standard power and hand tools while locating his dust collection system outside in a sound-proofed storage shed.

As mentioned at the December meeting by Bob Armstrong, MIWG will hold a competition to be judged in February based on your ability to create an original piece of work from “no more than 3 board feet”. This time, pictures will be taken! I hope that you have begun your planning for this “objet d’art” (or function!)

And finally, please let us know ( if you are not a member and would like to join in order to participate in our instructional programs and the general fellowship of our group. Meanwhile, we welcome all visitors and family members to our meetings.

Best wishes to all for 2018!

Keep those tools sharp!


p.s. Membership fees are now due for 2018. If you haven’t already done so, please plan on paying at our next meeting on Wednesday, January 10, and also handing in your updated Registration Information and Waiver. (Download and print from See you there!

Bob Armstrong’s Mini-Workbench

Tom Hedekar’s Turnings  

Tony Dobson’s unfinished Rocking Horse (from Douglas Davies)

Newsletter – December 7, 2017

December 7, 2017

Season’s Greetings to Elves and other Woodworkers!

MIWG’s first ever instructional course was held on Saturday, November 25 at Vancouver Island University’s Carpentry Building. It was a great start to our intended program of mini-courses for woodworkers! This one was on Workshop Safety, and was conducted by Steve Pelley from the Carpentry Program at VIU. His presentation included safety with table saws, the proper use and selection of blades and push sticks, how to cut small pieces safely, how to position yourself at a planer or a jointer, and shop cleanliness and cleanup. He also showed some detailed pictures of some serious, and gruesome accidents. Attendees will certainly be more aware of shop dangers and processes in the future. Many thanks to Steve for his presentation!

As mentioned in the previous Newsletter, the focus of our next meeting on Wednesday, December 13 will feature one of the Guild’s favourite sessions – members’ “Show and Tell” of their current or favourite projects. The presentations can include small items brought in to the meeting, or presentation slides of larger projects to be shown on the overhead projector saved to a thumb drive – or both! Some planned items include a short presentation by Len Barnes, chairs made by Peter Clement, a mini-workbench made by Bob Armstrong, and the latest progress on the Tony Dobson’s, (the Wood Horse Whisperer?) “herd”. Seasonal snacks, including non-alcoholic punch, will be served. We’ll also have a special bonus draw!

We hope to have a second mini-course in January on Workshop First Aid. Details are being discussed and will be announced here, in The Nanaimo Bulletin, and on under the “Events” category. Furthermore, we are planning for “Project-Based Courses” whereby skills are learned at the same time as a project is being built. We hope to have our first project ready for a date in January also. Separate “Skills” mini-courses are on the agenda and will be announced soon.

As a reminder to our members, the Annual Membership fee comes due at the end of the month. If you wish, you can pay for next year at the meeting next Wednesday, or bring a friend or family member to the meeting to buy your membership as a Christmas gift! Also, for those who haven’t paid their 2017 dues, those memberships have now expired, and re-joining after December 31 will require a new initiation fee of $25 in addition to the annual membership fee. All members will have to fill out new Registration forms and Waivers to update their status and personal information.

We have a tentative Shop Tour planned for December 16. Several members have offered to open their shops for this tour. We will need to know numbers of participants before we finalize this tour with the hosts. Please come to the meeting prepared to respond to this issue. (Non-members can be included, but they must sign a Waiver before attending the tour.)

As always, we welcome visitors to our meetings! Please join us, and bring a friend of family member to next Wednesday’s meeting at 6:30 at Meeting Room A, 355 Wakesiah Avenue, Nanaimo. (N.B. The meeting time has been corrected on the website from the original posted time of 7:00 pm.)

Continued best wishes for a healthy, and happy holiday season! AND “Cheers” to SAFE WOODWORKING!


MIWG Newsletter November 20, 2017

Hello fellow woodworkers,

This brief newsletter is to inform members and non-members of the first of our scheduled mini-courses that we intend to offer to members only. (Did you see how I did that? We really want non-members to join us!)

Our first course is “Woodwork Shop Safety” and it is going to be held at Vancouver Island University at Building 110 this coming Saturday, November 25, at 9:00 a.m. for 3 hours. The course will cost $20 per member, and will be instructed by Stephen Pelley, the head of the Carpentry Program at VIU. The requirement to wear steel-toed boots in the workshop has been waived for this event, but you should bring safety glasses! The first 8 new members will be given FREE safety glasses!

The workshop is for a maximum of 16 people, so please get your name in to Dave Workman as soon as possible through the email: Let him know that you plan on attending and he will reserve a seat for you. You can pay him at the workshop. (Our insurance requires that non-members join the Guild. In addition to the course fee, a one-time initiation fee of $25 plus the pro-rated membership fee to December 31 of $12.50 will be required.)

At our November meeting we heard from Brian Rigby, from Jonanco about the club workshop that is out on White Rapids Road in Cedar. For anyone needing access to a workshop, this is a very low cost option with user fees of $6 per day, or an annual fee of $125! I have visited the workshop, and was very impressed with the quality of the tools and the activities that are undertaken there.

The second presentation was by Ed Tremblay who showed us how he has built a jig for using a router to flatten large boards. He brought the jig to demonstrate the process.

The third presenter was Nick Spronk who showed us a Moxon vice that he uses as well as some plywood corner clamps  that he has created for squaring corners.

The regular General Meeting was followed by our Annual General Meeting at which our new Board of Directors was elected. The Directors for 2018 will be:

President: Tony Dobson

Vice-President – Programs: Dave Workman

Vice-President – Membership: Ed Tremblay

Treasurer: Steve Neil

Secretary: Bill Beese

Our December meeting will feature our most popular agenda – members’ “Show and Tell” with folks showing off their favourite projects. In addition we will celebrate the upcoming holiday season with a more relaxed social setting including food and drinks. If you are not already a member, we warmly invite you to come to the meeting to see what the excitement is about!

Best wishes to you all for a happy and safe holiday season!

Tony Dobson,

President, Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild

 A Wood Horse Whisperer