Category Archives: Blog Newsletter

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

MIWG Newsletter November 3, 2017

Greetings woodworkers!

I hope that you have prepared for winter with snow tires, shovels, and salt! It is time to get out of the nasty weather and into our workshops after such a beautiful Fall.

Our next Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild meeting is on Wednesday, November 8, and the scheduled presentations will be Ed Tremblay on flattening boards with a router, and Brian Rigby – Vice-Chair of Jonanco.

After the presentations are finished at our next meeting, we will hold our Annual General Meeting with the election of our Directors who become the Executive of the Guild.

Several of us had a meeting with Paul Mottershead, Associate Dean – Trades and Applied Technology, and MLA Leonard Krog a couple of weeks ago to explore the potential joint efforts of MIWG and VIU to provide some woodworking instructional options to the community in the future. The most likely early outcome of this would be that VIU would provide a classroom venue for instructional activities. Paul also conducted us on a tour of the Carpentry Program shop, and the Heavy Duty Mechanics shop next door.

We have purchased a gallon of “End Seal” which should be painted onto any ends of any green wood that has just been cut. If you are a member, please contact me directly if you are planning on cutting or acquiring freshly cut wood and would like to add this End Seal.

Stay tuned here for the first of many woodworking courses that we hope to offer to our members on in the future. We hope to begin very soon with a Safety course and a First Aid course. There will be public announcements here when we have details on instructors, dates, times, locations and costs. Our Guild insurance will cover all members who take these courses! (If you are not already a member, see our Membership page if these courses are of interest to you.)

Anyway, as usual, I extend an invitation to any and all to attend our next General Meeting on Wednesday, November 8 at Meeting Room A, 355 Wakesiah Road, at 6:30 pm. Put it on your calendar, and we welcome all visitors!

Meanwhile, …while you are on your computer, we would appreciate it if you “Like” us on Facebook at

Hopefully, I’ll see you all soon!

Best wishes,


Blog Newsletter: Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Greetings to all you woodworkers!

We are now into the glorious days of Fall, and it is a toss-up as to whether I head down to my workshop, cast off for a few days of sailing, or head off down the road with our camper to look for some cycling, kayaking and fishing. What marvellous choices we have on Vancouver Island! (Of course, I am ignoring calls of duty to the yard, but I have a wonderfully energetic wife who loves landscaping as an alternative to sailing, and as a break from quilting.)

Our first Guild barbecue at the property of Peter and Doris Hentze in Cassidy was a wonderful time on Saturday September 23. The day began mid-morning with a wood sale. (Members of Vancouver Island Woodworkers’ Guild also visited to purchase some wood.) Then, almost 30 members and their wives and families showed up in the mid-afternoon for burgers, bratwurst and salads and desserts. It turned out to be an absolutely beautiful day on this lovely farm. After the meal, Peter gave us a demonstration of the operation of the Wood Mizer. This is always an impressive show!

Our next Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild meeting is on Wednesday, October 11, and the scheduled presenter will be Christine Fagan from Live Edge Design to speak on the upcoming LiveEdge display at The Robert Bateman Gallery in Victoria. Steve Neil, who has a product in that display will assist with the presentation.

The Executive is working on plans for offering some woodworking instructional opportunities. These activities seem to be strongly supported by the membership, and the intention is to soon offer both mentoring and course instruction opportunities. Details are being finalized.

An email questionnaire from (using Survey Monkey) has been sent to the membership requesting input on MIWG future activities. Please respond to it with your input if you have received it.

Vancouver Island University has offered us an opportunity to meet with educational officials and one of our MLAs – Leonard Krog, on October 20 to discuss possible parameters, obstacles and opportunities for fine woodworking education in the mid-island area. Hopefully, we will be able to see a way forward to offering Fine Woodworking in our vicinity at some future point in time.

Anyway, once again, I extend an invitation to any and all to attend our next General Meeting on Wednesday, October 11 at Meeting Room A, 355 Wakesiah Road, at 6:30 pm (one week from today). Put it on your calendar, and we welcome all visitors!

Hopefully, I’ll see you all soon!

Best wishes,


MIWG Newsletter Blog 2017-09-09

N.B. This is a test of a new “public” newsletter blog post. As you can see, I have added a “Subscribe” button which will allow you to subscribe to the Newsletters, and to receive an email every time there is a new posted version.

Greetings to you all!

As September cools and we have probably reached the end of the fabulously warm and sunny summer days on Vancouver Island, it is time to get back to woodworking thinking, planning and projects. For me, this means opening up my shop doors and once again pondering the layout and configuration of a shop that just doesn’t quite match up to my aspirations and hopes for organization. The good news…I am beginning to see the functional daylight in a reorganized woodworking environment. Someday soon, I hope to become a woodworker again!

On the “what’s happening” side of MIWG…we have members scattered and away from their home on the Island, we have an upcoming meeting this coming Wednesday, September 13, at NDSS (see the maps at with the Australian Editor of Woodsmith Magazine – Chris Clark, as our featured presenter, and an upcoming members and affiliate members (VIWG) only wood sale and family barbecue on September 23.

(As a reminder to the non-member readers of this newsletter, you are always welcome to attend a meeting as a guest, and our membership fees are extremely low-cost – $25 initiation and a pro-rated annual membership fee of $50 in case you feel you would like to join us, or just learn more. This membership entitles you to attendance at our upcoming workshops, as well as wonderful fellowship with others of like interests.)

In addition to our guest presenter next Wednesday, we will have our regular door prize draw as well as a full discussion on where we have come, and where we are going with the MIWG activities.

We have plans for upcoming woodworking training workshops, as well as hopes for more wonderful shop tours. I am sorry if you missed June’s outstanding visits to Karen Trickett and Cam Russell’s beautiful workshop near Mill Bay, and the visits to Michael Moore’s amazing wood and metal-working shop nearer to Duncan and the LiveEdge workshop in Duncan. All three visits were awesome (in the full sense of the word) and inspiring!

We hope to make our core business this year “educational” in the sense that we hope to fulfil a gap in mid-Island learning needs for woodworking. Join us if you feel the need for these workshops, or would like to pass on your skills!

Best wishes to you all, and I look forward to seeing many of you soon!


Tony Dobson, President

Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild

Nanaimo, BC