MIWG Newsletter – November 10, 2019

Hello Fellow Woodworkers,

The MIWG has been very busy since we last met, with the construction of the wood shelter extension, wood sales and board flattening demonstration and a shop tour. Pictures have been taken and our leaders have lots to show.

Demex Supplies – Coombs
Barkley Sound Oar and Paddle
Saunas and bedrooms – Dave Byers
Len Barne’s Shop

It looks like Mother Nature has decided that it’s time for winter weather which means time for Christmas present making. I have been pondering my choice of projects to make and send off to family and friends and I’m stumped. Cutting boards, bowls and pepper grinders are done and so now what? Any suggestions are welcome. If I wait until our December meeting when most of you will bring your work for the “Challenge” it will be too late.

November’s meeting is our annual AGM where we elect our Executive and seek members to chair important positions for our Guild. I strongly encourage all of you to consider letting your name stand for a position on the Executive or at least offer to Chair in another capacity. Consider any of the following director positions:

President, Vice President of Programs and Events, Vice President of Membership, Secretary, Treasurer

Chair positions of:

Wood Recovery Chair, Librarian,

Following elections we will hear from our guest speaker John Noble who will show us the construction photos of the new Rod and Gun club and talk about some of the projects his students are working on (maybe that will give me some ideas). Our VP of Membership wants me to remind you that he will be accepting next year’s dues ($50) and he will have waiver forms for paid members to sign.

As always, we welcome new members, and I’m looking forward to seeing you all at Wednesday’s meeting.

David Workman, President MIWG

MIWG Newsletter – October 8, 2019

Greetings friends and woodworkers!

Much has transpired since the last newsletter! We are now well into the Fall, and there were a couple of changes to events that were posted in the last newsletter. 

The members had a wood sale, tool sale and barbecue on September 21. The weather co-operated and although not much wood was sold, some members were able to acquire more tools to add to their inventories. (This is a requirement for woodworkers! More tools!! I heartily endorse that, though I must sometimes sneak my new acquisitions into my shop after paying cash! Forgiveness comes later, I hope.) Our President handled the cooking chores, and did a great job of grilling the burgers and hotdogs. About twenty members and their partners and family members participated in the day’s events.

Our next major event (after tomorrow’s General Meeting) is on Saturday, October 19 when we hold our October wood sale. These monthly wood sales are now scheduled for the second Saturday after our regular General Meetings. The Wood Recovery Committee, led by Ed Tremblay has been very busy this past weekend extending the floor space and overhead cover for our wood storage. 

Work Crew on deck of extension of wood storage
Extension of wood storage shed

With the help of Steve Neil, our Webmaster, we now have a calendar of our upcoming events on our website: www.miwg.ca/events. Please check it out! If you hover your mouse over an event, it will give you a brief synopsis. More details can be seen by clicking on the link. In addition to the upcoming wood sale, Gord Shoquist has organized our Fall Shop Tour on October 26 for workshops north of Nanaimo. Some small details still have to be planned, but please make a note of it, and make your travel and participation arrangements known to Gord.

Plans are in the formation stage for planning a winter showcase like last year’s show at Nanaimo Arts Council. Unfortunately, we do not have a venue for this yet, and NAC is restricting their November show to “2-dimensional” works. If we are unable to locate a suitable site for this show, we may have to wait until the Brant Woodcarving show in April in Parksville.

With our membership growing, and participation very active in all of our meetings, workshops, work-parties, and social events, members need to be reminded that all organization takes man-power, and with our Annual General Meeting coming up in November, it is important that everyone considers the possibility of taking an active role in MIWG. This can be simply volunteering for work activities, or it could mean a higher commitment to stand for an Executive position. The Executive members meet once per month in the week before each meeting to clarify events and make decisions on behalf of the Guild. This is not an onerous commitment, but having a committed Executive is essential to the well-being of MIWG. We would ask all members to consider standing for election. Please contact me directly if you would be prepared to stand for a position for the upcoming year or would like information about the duties of each position. The Executive positions are:

  1. President
  2. Past President (or Member-at-Large)
  3. Vice-President – Membership
  4. VIce-President – Programs and Events
  5. Wood Recovery Chairperson
  6. Secretary
  7. Treasurer
  8. Librarian
  9. Shop Tour Chairperson

Best wishes to all, and safe woodworking


MIWG Newsletter – June 10, 2019

Hello again, fellow Woodworkers!

How do you fit in woodworking time with planning for summer travel time, or home renovations, or landscaping needs – or, for that matter – writing a Newsletter Blog? It isn’t easy!

Since I am a bit short on news, here are some highlights of upcoming events:

  • Arnim Rodeck will be presenting on Wednesday evening’s General Meeting (see www.shamawood.com). Some of you will have seen the wooden leaf picture cover on a recent Lee Valley catalogue. That is an example of Arnim’s amazing work!
  • In keeping with our evolving plans, MIWG will hold wood sales on the Saturday following each General Meeting – beginning in September.
  • This week’s “Challenge” is the 2 board foot challenge. Make something of 2 bd ft or less of wood, and try to do as much of it as you can without power tools. (Or…bring another box, …or a tool!)
  • The Wood Recovery Committee will be looking for volunteers to assist in several upcoming projects:
    1. extend our wood recovery shelter roof to almost double its current size. 
    2. have work crews cut and stack firewood available from Peter’s fields – firewood to be donated to work crews.
    3. September meeting – Wednesday, September 11, 6:30 pm at Meeting Room A – Nanaimo District Secondary School.
    4. Next wood sale – the Saturday following the September meeting – Saturday, September 14. 
  • Annual Fall Barbecue and social – at Frost Fields following the Wood Sale in #4.

I look forward to seeing many of you this coming Wednesday at 6:30. We welcome family and friends and remind newcomers that if you pay the initiation fee of $25, the balance of the year’s membership is pro-rated at 1/2 i.e. an additional $25. Join us! If you can’t be there…I hope you have a wonderful and safe summer.

Here’s to accident-free woodworking!


MIWG Newsletter – May 19, 2019

Hello fellow Woodworkers!

With apologies, this Newsletter is way past due! I will try to summarize events of the past 6 weeks – without tying up too much of your reading time!

Our May meeting was, once again, well-attended with over half of our membership present to see the latest “challenge” – a box. However, since I was unaware of the “challenge” stipulations, I brought a “tool” – one month out of date! Oh well, apparently we could do a box or a tool.

Our presenters for the evening were three members who were given 1/2 hour each to show off  projects that they had worked on. Ed Tremblay had a slide presentation and brought equipment as well as the results for his pen-turning skills. (See last Newsletter for a picture of an award he made.) 

Next, Mike Donnelly showed slides of the evolution of the Roubo workbench, and showed us the results of the building of his own Roubo workbench. 

This was followed by Tom Hedekar’s slide show which walked us through his techniques for roughing out a bowl and turning green wood into bowls. 

As usual, the presentations by home-grown talent were extremely well-received and much enjoyed. This meeting was another valuable demonstration of having a Woodworkers’ Guild for folks to enjoy each other’s successes and to learn from their experiences.

Gord Shoquist organized another shop tour which was held on May 4. Here is his report of that day’s events:

“The spring shop tour was a great success based on participation and our shop destinations. Twenty-one members joined in for stops at:

  • Paul McCuish’s shop in Yellow Point. In addition to an excellent tour the gang was greeted with fresh coffee and cookies. Our next stop was;
  • “Yonderwood”, Bill Thompson’s beautiful shop. Along with a shop tour outlining all the items that Bill creates, we enjoyed two tool demonstrations of Bill’s pin router/ copier and his spindle lathe machine that can duplicate spindles very quickly. Before the lunch break we stopped at;
  • the Ladysmith Maritime Museum where Brian McLaurin gave us a tour of the projects they are putting new life into. The membership of the Museum have two boats that are receiving the love and care to bring them back to life and a new purpose. All the members tip their hats to those who work so hard on these old and treasured boats;
  • Lunch at the Fox and Hounds was very nice with traditional English fare and lots of pleasant conversations. After our lunch we headed to;
  • Brian McLaurin’s shop south of Ladysmith and were wowed by the way he set up his shop and some of the projects he’s done in his home. Next stop; 
  • Steve Neil’s shop in Saltair. It was fantastic to see where Steve creates all his fantastic projects along with descriptions on how some features were actually done. Very interesting. The day was coming to an end but before we finished up, we stopped at;
  • Terry Robinson’s new shop that is currently being built. Terry is going to have a marvellous space to play when he gets it complete. 

Sincere thanks to all the fellows that allowed us into their shops and were so generous with their knowledge, and thanks to all the members who joined in to make this a fun day. I’ll be organizing another shop tour in the fall so stay tuned.”

Paul McCuish’s Workshop:

Bill Thompson’s Yonderwood Workshop:

Ladysmith Marine Museum:

Brian McLaurin’s Workshop:

Steve Neil’s Workshop:

On Saturday, May 11, I participated with 6 lucky members who had their names drawn for attending Steve Neil’s workshop on hand-cutting dovetails. Gord Shoquist hosted this session at his workshop. Steve did an excellent job of providing instruction for cutting both dovetails, and half-blind dovetails, using a jig for which he provided plans. (And speaking of “half-blind” I guess that I was half-blind myself when I read the plan for constructing the jig prior to the class! I glued one of the ends on the wrong way!)

Ed Tremblay’s Wood Recovery crew has been very busy recently with the collections of a walnut log and a cedar log from Parksville. Yesterday, the volunteers assisted in cutting the wood out at Frost Fields. The need for a larger drying shed has increased, and so plans are now afoot for doubling the length of our drying space as well as adding a bit to the expanse of the roof. We have lots of available wood – including some alder and maple that are fully dry and ready for use. Ed has asked me to remind everyone that our next wood sale will be on Saturday May, 26 commencing at 10 a.m. There will also be a garage sale whereby members can sell and/or exchange equipment or hardware with others. (Ed will be sending out an email to members requesting assistance with the wood sale.)

Glen Smith has received confirmation from Arnim Rodeck of Shamawood that he will be our guest speaker for June 12th. It would be great if we can get a good turn out for him. Please have a look at his website at: www.shamawood.com. Also Glen reminds us that our challenge for this coming month is:

  • 2 board foot maximum – any species. Challenge yourselves to incorporate two concepts while making it:
    1. do it inexpensively;
    2. try using hand tools where you may typically do a process with power tools.

All in all, this has been a busy Spring Time, and I will trust that woodworking keeps us all very busy and happy, if not rich! I hope that you all enjoy the holiday tomorrow!

p.s. Try getting to visit others’ workshops on your own. I just had a wonderful visit to Chris Mannall’s shop last week and was able to see some of the beautiful pieces of work that he has created.

MIWG Newsletter – April 9, 2019

Greetings fellow Woodies!

It was so difficult to enclose oneself in one’s workshop during the fabulous weather that we experienced on the West Coast during March! However, we are now into cooler and wetter conditions usually associated with the month of April, so it is time to clear the workbenches of our unfinished projects!

I was unable to attend the March meeting and so I missed the presentation by Michael Kiss – a furniture maker. However, reports tell me that Michael described his evolution into woodworking and then into working with other media. He now designs and works in both wood and stone to create artistic works.

Recent milling work at Frost Acres included the cutting of Holly and Black Locust logs. There is now a considerable supply of wood and plans are being discussed for expanding the wood storage area. 

A number of members brought their work to the March meeting for the “Challenge” – this time to be a tool, or a box. Once again, the skills demonstrated are quite amazing!

The Brant Wood Carving Show at Parksville was popular this past weekend, and participation of MIWG members with the traditional sponsors of Vancouver Island Wood Carvers, and the Oceanside Carvers resulted in a marvellous showcase of talent from all over the Island and from western North America. The popular choice of a carved and painted child’s dress on a hanger was truly a work of art with many visitors commenting on the need to touch it to see if it was real. Other works demonstrated the amazing skill levels of woodworking artisans. Many thanks to the members who assisted with the supervision at the show.

Our meeting tomorrow night will feature presentations by Gord from Just Rite Sharpening on Northfield Road, and pen-turning by Ed Tremblay. (Ed recently presented me with a beautiful desk set piece of his work for my term as President of MIWG).

Our Librarian, Peter Clement, reports that a number of books have been added to our library and that some members are making use of these valuable woodworking resources – located at the Felder Tools Store. Drop in to say “hi” to Tyler and Rob and take some time to check out the Library!

Also of note is an overbooked workshop with Steve Neil on May 11 showing how to hand-cut dovetails. Steve has already successfully presented this same session at Vancouver Island Woodworkers’ Guild at Lee Valley in Victoria. Participants will have to be selected by a draw.

Regards to all of you and I look forward to seeing many of you at tomorrow’s meeting (April 10) at 6:30 pm at Nanaimo District Secondary School – Meeting Room A.

Tony Dobson, Member-at-Large

MIWG Newsletter – March 8, 2019

Greetings to all fellow Woodworkers!

Time passes, but hopefully, as our rather chilly winter comes to an end, you have had much time to be productive in your shops. The early, but lingering February snowfall has kept us from holding a planned wood sale at Frost Fields, but plans are afoot for another sale – possibly in May!

Another planned project at Frost Fields is to clean-up windfalls around the field perimeters in order to allow for easier harvesting of hay in the summer time. That project will provide plenty of opportunity for members to gather firewood for next winter’s worst! This work was approved at our last meeting. Stay tuned for scheduling!

Our regular meeting in February was also postponed for one week because of road conditions and school closures, but we managed to have a great turn-out for the week-delayed meeting on February 20. Jim Dunsmoor gave a great presentation and slideshow on how he creates “scroll-saw bowls”. These bowls can be of various shapes, and include inlays, and segmentations, and even be nested – after doing appropriate calculations of cutting angles. 

Scroll saw bowls
Nested bowls
Different shapes

In addition, at this meeting many members presented their work that was in response to our “Box Challenge”. As always, there were some beautiful pieces brought in. All submitters will receive a chance at a draw prize at the next meeting. The March challenge is a “Shop-made Tool”, with the suggested tool being a marking gauge. (Another box could be created instead of a marking gauge!) Once again, all submitters will be given a chance at the bi-monthly draw prize for participating in the projects.

Beautiful inlay on box
Variety of submitted boxes

The Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild and the Vancouver Island Woodcarvers’ Guild agreed recently to a merger. As a result, MIWG is now involved directly (along with the Oceanside Woodcarvers’ Club) in the annual Pacific Brant Carving and Art Show on April 6-7 at the Parksville Community Centre. The show is being expanded to include a new Woodworking Show. Members have been asked to contribute time to assist with this show, and Gord Svenson and Len Barnes have volunteered to manage and co-ordinate this participation with Bill Beese (our Secretary, who is also the 2019 Show Chair.) Please mark this event on your calendar (www.thebrant.ca) and register any works that you would like to enter in the show. If you would like to assist with this show, please contact Gord Svenson or Len Barnes (see membership list in “Members Only”.)

The presenter for the March 13 meeting will be Michael Kiss, who is a furniture-maker. (Pictures of his work can be seen on Instagram – michaelkissart).

On unfinished business…there are quite a few members who haven’t signed a current Waiver for the 2019 membership year. This is a requirement for ALL MIWG activities. Please see Paul McCuish if you haven’t signed one, or are not sure! (Also please make sure that your Registration information is up-to-date.)

As a follow-up to the well-attended SketchUp Fundamentals course…those who attended have been offered a second free session on Saturday, March 23 from 9:00 to 12:00. If there are still folks who are interested in taking this course as a first time introduction to SketchUp, there will probably be a few seats available for the $25 course fee. If you are not member, you will have to purchase an annual membership (and initiation fee). Please contact Tony Dobson (or info@miwg.ca) if you wish to participate.

Best wishes to all! 

Tony Dobson, Member-at-Large

MIWG Newsletter – February 11, 2019

Greetings fellow Woodworkers!

Because of uncertain road conditions, and school closures in School District 68 due to the current snowy weather, this week’s meeting scheduled for tomorrow night – Wednesday, February 13, is now postponed until the following Wednesday – February 20. Please note the change and mark it on your calendar before you breathe a sigh of relief…knowing that you now have 8 more days to complete the “box project” that was assigned to us.

See you next Wednesday and enjoy the time in your workshops!

Best wishes,

Tony, Member-at-Large

MIWG Newsletter – January 16, 2019

Greetings and Happy New Year to the MIWG Blog followers!

MIWG members had an absolutely amazing presentation at our January meeting last Wednesday when Warren Bailey showed us slides and talked about his work of restoring old violins. He is one of only a handful of violin restoration experts who are working on very valuable Guarneri, Amati, and Stradivari violins – world wide. His descriptions of the painstakingly fine woodworking involved in retaining all of the original work (and value) was astounding to learn, even as he described how he enhances the values of these treasured instruments while scraping away old finishes, or fixing cracks and holes in the wood. He certainly had all of us glued to our seats (with animal hide glue, of course, so that we could eventually leave.)

Our new Executive is off to a strong start for this year! Dave Workman, our President greeted everyone and welcomed newcomers. Glen Smith (Vice-President – Programs), Ed Tremblay (Chairperson – Wood Recovery) and Gord Shoquist (Chairperson – Shop Tours) outlined some of the activities planned for presentations, wood-recovery, shop visits and training workshops. Jim Dunsmoor is scheduled for our February 12 meeting. Jim will describe how he makes those beautiful, nested plywood bowls that were on display at the Woodwork Showcase in November.

Jim Dunsmoor’s “nested bowls” on display

The presenter for March isn’t finalized yet, but Glen has a number of prospects lined up for the coming months.

MIWG will hold a wood sale this coming Saturday, January 19 at Frost Fields starting at 10:00 a.m. Lunch will be roasted hot dogs, and refreshments will be available to all attendees. For more information on the details and location of this activity, please contact Ed Tremblay  (wood_recovery@miwg.ca) or send an email to info@miwg.ca. We have lots of alder, arbutus, maple, beech, London Plane tree, fir, cedar, and spruce available, as well as abutus chunks for turners. Wood pricing has some variation, but the base price is $2.50 a Board Foot.

A number of courses are being planned on for this year. The first will be “Sketch-up: the Basics”, a workshop that I will conduct in late January or in February. Details will be provided as soon as I get some feedback on how many participants should be expected as well as skill-levels of those involved. Please send emails to me at info@miwg.ca if you are interested in participating.

As with all of our courses, there will be a course fee, and seats will be made available to MIWG members first. (Joining is easy! Go to our website, download and fill out the application and waiver forms, send them to our Vice-President – Membership, and make suitable arrangements to pay the annual fee of $50 as well as the once-only initiation fee of $25 for new members.)

As an aside, I strongly recommend that, if Sketchup is of interest to you, then you should immediately go to https://www.sketchup.com/download/make. Sketchup is changing its format, and the Sketchup Make version is the only one that is still “free” AND will reside on your own machine. Sketchup “Free” will not have all of the woodworking components, apparently, and Sketchup Pro is prohibitively expensive unless you are in it for profit! Sketchup Online has a monthly fee that will quickly cost more than even Sketchup Pro. You will actually be downloading Sketchup Pro, but the licence to use it will expire after a few weeks or usages, and then will revert to Sketchup Make.

In April, Steve Neil will be conducting a workshop on hand-cut dovetails, and judging by the show of hands at the last meeting, there is a lot of interest in this workshop!

And…a reminder to all members that Glen is hoping that we all produce and bring a “box” of some kind – as well as the annual dues (if you haven’t already paid) for the next meeting. Until then…safe and happy woodworking!


MIWG Newsletter – December 23, 2018

Season’s greetings…and should I be so bold…Merry Christmas to my fellow woodworkers!

In the category of “Last Minute Things to Do”, I suddenly remembered that many members at the last meeting had requested the “plan” that I use for creating reindeer and a sleigh. (The reindeer plan is probably well-known. I received it from the shop teacher at NDSS. The sleigh is my own.) So…here it is!

On the bandsaw – using a 1/8″ blade, I cut out the thin (face on) side first, and then when the 2 side slabs fall off, I tape them back onto the block using clear book-binding tape. Then I go back to the band-saw and cut out the side profiles. When that is finished, a “square” reindeer falls out. I then use a series of cutting bits for a rotary tool to round off the features. If a leg or an antler falls off in the process…you know what to do with glue. Otherwise, give it away as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Lame Deer”! (You can make the figures bigger or smaller by using the enlarging and shrinking options for copying on your printer.)

Many thanks to Steve Neil for his very thorough presentation on hand-cutting dovetails at the December meeting. I’ll look forward to seeing the plan he created for cutting pins and tails accurately. Also, the Executive is grateful for the very strong membership response to adding names to our volunteer lists for Wood Recovery, and Programs.

Have fun with your last minute workshop gifts, and enjoy your Christmas! I’ll look forward to seeing many of you at the January meeting on January 9, 2019 when Warren Bailey will show us how he repairs old (and valuable) violins!

Best wishes!