Category Archives: Blog Newsletter

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 ( 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 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  ( or send an email to 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 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 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 11, 2018

Greetings fellow woodworkers!

With Christmas just two weeks away, it is pretty certain that many of you are feverishly working away in your workshops. (BTW…none of the North Pole crew have subscribed to this Newsletter!) Please don’t be in a hurry! Be careful. Injuries tend to occur when you are distracted, or in a rush.

Meanwhile, our Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild has been extremely active! During most of November we participated in a Woodwork Showcase, and partnered with the Nanaimo Quilters’ Guild to provide a beautiful display of local talent. Dan Appell from the Nanaimo Arts Council did a wonderful job of arranging the display and being on hand daily for the show. Many thanks to the Guild members who took their turns hosting the show, to Wendy Wagner who prepared treats for both Open Houses at the beginning and the end of the show, and especially to Rob Oldale for a terrific job of organizing our first show. Everyone who attended, agreed that the show display was beautiful. 

More Woodwork Showcase displays

Our Annual General Meeting in November provided us with the new Executive for the coming year. Tony Dobson, Steve Neil and Bob Armstrong have finished the maximum three year terms allowable, and our new Executive has Dave Workman as President, Bill Beese as Secretary, Thorne Underwood as Treasurer, Paul McCuish as Vice-President – Membership, Glen Smith as Vice-President – Programs, Ed Tremblay as Wood Recovery Chair, and Peter Clement as Librarian. (Tony Dobson will continue as “Past President” and replace Bob Armstrong, who was the elected “Member-at-Large”.)

The Wood Recovery Program has really taken off, and many members have volunteered their time to build the Wood Recovery Storage Shed along the back wall of the Frost Fields’ barn. Meanwhile many logs have been donated, and Peter Hentze has been very busy cutting varieties of sized boards for drying – assisted by more willing Guild members. With beech logs from Thorne Underwood, two spruce logs and 6 Douglas fir logs from Tony Dobson (only 3 trees actually logged, so he is still within his City required limit), and City of Nanaimo-donated maple, a large cedar, and a huge historical Arbutus (germinated in 1800, according to the ring count) we now have a very substantial supply of wood. A wood sale will probably be conducted in January. As a further bonus, Peter installed a drying kiln at Frost Fields, and was able to kiln-dry the London Plane tree, donated by Thorne Underwood to 12% moisture content in about 4 weeks! In addition, the Guild purchased a trailer load of previously air-dried wood which will be available to members or for donation to the High Schools.

Our upcoming presenters at our next two General Meetings are Steve Neil, who will be demonstrating hand-cut dovetails this Wednesday, December 12 – with the assistance of a very handy jig that he has created, and at our January 9 meeting, Warren Bailey from Saanich will be showing us the fine art of repairing old and very valuable violins.

As usual we welcome visitors to our General Meetings, and hope that your interest is heightened enough to actually join us. Just a reminder to members that the annual fee for next year is now due (a measly $50!) and for anyone considering joining with us, you will need to add an initiation fee (once only) of $25.

We hope to see many of you, your family members and friends tomorrow (this Wednesday) at Nanaimo District Secondary School – Meeting Room A at 6:30 pm. (Map is on the web site at If you can’t make it, well then… I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a very happy holiday season, and I will look forward to seeing you in January.

Tony Dobson, Past President

Half a herd

MIWG Newsletter – November 14, 2018

Greetings to my fellow woodworkers!

With Remembrance Day behind us, and the Christmas season approaching, it is time for another newsletter to bring you up to speed with the Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild activities – and we have been very busy!

The Woodwork Showcase is now in session at the Nanaimo Arts Council display room at 78 Wharf Street and it is truly a wonderful exhibit of the talents of many of our members! Please make sure that you get a chance to visit between now and the 29th November (last day) and encourage your family and friends to drop in also. Although some of the items are marked as “Private Collection”, many of the others are priced for sale. Of particular interest to me, personally, is the rocking horse that was recently completed at the request of Douglas Davies (who died on December 27, 2016). This horse is for sale, and all proceeds will be donated to the Nanaimo Hospital Foundation, as per the wishes of Douglas before he passed away.  This item would make a “rockin’” Christmas gift for a child, and would be a wonderful infusion of funds to the NHF.

Rob Oldale along with his MIWG Committee, and the assistance of Dan Appell from the Nanaimo Arts Council have done a beautiful job of arrangements and displays! Many thanks to everyone for their participation. I was sorry to miss out on the Open House on Friday, November 9, but I will try to be there for the closing on November 29.

Now…to our Wood Recovery program. We are still looking for reasonable use of the arbutus that was donated to us by the City of Nanaimo. However, the major event taking place out at Frost Fields is the construction of our new wood storage shed – approximately 50’ long and 10 feet wide, it should be able to shelter our wood throughout its drying cycle. (For folks needing dry wood sooner that the air-drying would allow, there is always the kiln, for which we can purchase drying time.) At the moment, we have London Plane tree, beech, maple and some softwoods. In addition, we have purchased a trailer full of cut and dried wood which will be sold or donated to the High Schools in the next fiscal year.

Wood storage – pallets will level the storage platform

New roof completes the wood storage

Our meeting this week (today, November 14 at 6:30 pm at Meeting Room A at 355 Wakesiah Avenue – Nanaimo District High School) will feature our Annual General Meeting, and election of officers. In addition, we will hear from Michael Brown, an expert chain-saw carver, who will go over some of his work. He has offered his services to run a chain-saw carving workshop, and perhaps this can lead us into a discussion of one of the options for the arbutus. Upcoming meetings: in December, Steve Neil will show us his latest project and do a demonstration on dovetail cutting; in January, Warren Bailey will present to us his work on restoring antique and valuable violins; and in February, I am hoping that Arnim Rodeck will give us a presentation on some of his wonderful artistic works, including his carved leaf design that graced a recent cover of Lee Valley Magazine.

Best wishes to all, and I hope that some of you will consider offering your services as officers of the MIWG over the next year. We need your participation! For those of you who follow this newsletter, but are not yet members, please don’t hesitate to drop in to one of our meetings! They are open to everyone, and we welcome newcomers. Join us as members if MIWG can fill a social or woodworking need for you.

Tony Dobson, President,

Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild

MIWG Newsletter – October 8, 2018

Greetings Woodworkers!

Thanksgiving has arrived with foggy, drizzly chill. Great days for shop work, and recalling the warmer days of summertime.

On Thursday, September 20, the City of Nanaimo had made arrangements with MJR Tree Services to take down the massive and historical Arbutus tree on Millstone Avenue at Alderwood Place. The wood was offered to the Guild as part of an ongoing agreement between the City of Nanaimo, and MIWG to provide downed trees for the Guild’s Wood Recovery Program – ultimately to be shared with High Schools. The largest stump had to be trucked to MIWG’s wood storage site by the crane truck hired by the City since it was far too massive to be carried by our own trailering system. It now stands at our storage site – awaiting a decision on its ultimate purpose. A ring count by Nanaimo Parks and Recreation reported the age of the tree as 218 years – in 1800…52 years before the establishment of the Hudson’s Bay post on Snuneymuxw land, and 18 years after the first arrival of Spanish vessels in 1792!

MJR Tree Services Equipment

The Arbutus butt log – approximately 2 m x 1 m

Arbutus butt log at storage site

Ed Tremblay surveys Arbutus the smaller branches supply

Arbutus butt log at storage site









On the social scene…Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild had a wonderful BBQ on Saturday September 22. Even though it rained heavily in the morning, and we had to cancel a wood sale and a garage sale, by the time the barbecues were hot, the air had dried out somewhat, and about 40 of us feasted on burgers, hotdogs, and salads and desserts provided by attenders. The herd of elk never showed up in the lower pastures as we had hoped, but after arriving home at about 4:00, Peter informed me that the elk had arrived!

Our September meeting featured Rob Oldale’s report on the planning for the upcoming Wood Showcase with the Nanaimo Arts Council in November. We also had a slide show about Bill Beese’s entries and visit to Maryland’s “Ward World Championship of Wildfowl Carving” in April. Bill managed to secure several well-deserved awards for his amazing bird carvings!

MIWG now has a significant supply of logs – to be cut into boards as soon as crews can manage to help with the cutting AND the construction of a suitable storage for our wood inventories. At the moment we have 2 maple logs from the City of Nanaimo, two maple logs from Terry Robinson, a massive cedar log from the City, several of Thorne Underwood’s Beech logs, as well as the City-donated Arbutus – with many branch pieces available for turners (and carvers?) As soon as plans are set for the construction of the storage shed, Tony has offered two more Douglas fir trees for construction timbers in addition to the 2 spruce logs that he supplied several weeks ago.

Our October meeting (this Wednesday, October 10 at 355 Wakesiah Avenue at 6:30 pm) will feature presentation of products by individual members for possible inclusion in the upcoming November Arts Council Showcase. These “show and tell” sessions are always enjoyable, and highly popular. As always, visitors are always welcome as well as family and friends. Bring your works and friends! See you there on Wednesday! (Meeting Room A behind the Band Shell. See the website for directions.)

Best wishes to all and hope you had and are having a Happy Thanksgiving Day weekend!


MIWG Newsletter – August 26, 2018

NEWSLETTER – August 25, 2018

Greetings to you all!

The summer is “up in smoke”, the rain begins and we can breathe easier again. It is time to turn our attentions to our workshops, and to update calendars for MIWG’s Fall events. It is also time for me to get out a late summertime communication to you!

First of all, here’s a review a few events that occurred over the summertime.

  • June’s Presentation

Tyler Green from Felder presented us with a wonderful array of Felder’s latest toys – many beyond my financial advisor’s spending tolerance levels, but I particularly liked the hand-held CNC machine.

  • The beginner’s turning workshop on June 23

Tom Hedekar prepares to instruct a turning class






Tom helps new member Tyson Meldrum








This event was a tremendous success with a full house of 12 participants. Tom Hedekar, assisted by John Noble, conducted the excellent workshop and most of us managed to complete at least one of the two assignments, which were a honey dipper, and a bowl.

  • Filming MIWG

On the Canada Day July long weekend, I received a rather suspicious email from a lady who said that she and her film production company had seen the website and were impressed by what we were doing. “Would it be possible to have our film crew show up on Wednesday or Thursday to film some of your members and their activities?”

A call to Toronto confirmed that the email was legitimate, and arrangements were made for a film crew to arrive at Peter Hentze’s Frost Road property in Cassidy on Thursday – 3 days away. A few members then hastily agreed to bring some artifacts that that they had made to the property and to assist in the production as directed by this film crew. On the Thursday, about 4 carloads of filming crew showed up and set up to film the sawmill in action as well as to script a scene of work “happening” in the wood storage barn. It was explained that the film was being produced under contract to PetroCanada in order “to show what is happening in Canada this year”.

Filming a staged activity in the wood storage barn

Filming Steve in the immaculate workshop










After filming was completed at the property, the crew joined some members at the Fox and Hounds Pub for lunch in Ladysmith and then proceeded to Saltair to film Steve Neil at work in his very photogenic shop! (BTW…Steve was also featured in a recent issue of Canadian Woodworking Magazine!) From there, apparently, the crew rushed to Parksville to film a lady kick-boxer!

One of the financial perks for this event was that the film crew paid $50 to each member who was filmed, and after a suggestion that they also include a donation to the support of our High School woodworking programs they threw in an extra $50. (This added another $200 or so to our High School distribution funds as the filmed participants donated their individual payments to MIWG.) The bad news…? MIWG did not make the cut, but the kick-boxing lady did! (Stompin’ Tom should have sung another verse!) Many thanks to Jon Weiman and the many film crew members for the great experience! ( Parts of this commercial are currently showing on television.)

  1. Wood Recovery Meeting

In August, our new Wood Recovery Chairperson, Dave Workman, held a meeting to discuss how to proceed with wood recovery processes in a logical and sound manner. Joining the committee for Wood Recovery was Glen Smith, Peter Hentze, Colin Knecht, and ad hoc member – Tony Dobson. (Ed Tremblay was unable to attend.) We now have access to Peter’s very strong trailer (dumping) and will need crew for handling the wood at various times in the Recovery process.

Ed Tremblay and Dave Workman sticker and stack London Plane tree

And now, it is time to look at our upcoming Fall activities.

1. Nanaimo Arts Council Plan

In June, Rob Oldale volunteered to search out a place for MIWG to hold a members’ products show similar to the very successful one held by VIWG at Cedar Hill in the Spring. He was able to secure a positive response from Dan Appell at Nanaimo Arts Council for the space at 78 Wharf Street in Nanaimo for November 5 to November 27. Our only cost for this will be a shared cost of printing promotional materials. The show can gain us tremendous community exposure and support for our purpose of promoting woodworking in the community. The plan will include member works, and possible quilts from members of Nanaimo Quilters’ Guild, and Jonanco, as well as contributions from High School students.

2. Fall Garage and Wood Sale and Membership Barbecue.

We are currently planning a combined event day at Frost Road on Saturday, September 22. The events will include a morning Garage Sale open to the public, as well as a wood sale to members only. (Non-members can purchase memberships on-site for the $25 initiation plus the pro-rated annual fee of $25.) Sales will close in the early afternoon, and then members can enjoy time together at our annual barbecue.

3. November Annual General Meeting

At the AGM in November a number of positions on the Executive will need to be filled including those of President and Treasurer, currently held by Tony Dobson and Steve Neil. (Their three year terms are completed.)

That, in a very large nutshell, is the latest news. I wish you all an enjoyable time for the balance of your summer! Use your safety gear, and avoid accidents in your woodworking!

I hope to see you at the September meeting at 6:30 p.m. on September 12 at Meeting Room A – 355 Wakesiah Avenue in Nanaimo. Bring your family members and friends! We welcome visitors!


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