Category Archives: General

General generic stuff.

MIWG Newsletter – December 23, 2019

‘Twas the Night Before…

’Twas the night before Christmas and all through the shop,
The unfinished projects lay on the bench top:
The unsanded carving lay alone by itself
Awaiting attention by pre-occupied elf.
The dust on the floor from incomplete work,
Lay thick and untended by the unfocused jerk.
It was home to the spiders who lay in wait
For rare winter-time flies to soon take the bait.
Behold, the door opened, and on came the light
The fat elf himself had entered the site! 
He gazed at the workshop’s array in distress
And resolved to immediately clean up the mess.
He planned his attack, and rubbed hands with glee,
But the unfinished reindeer he soon did see.
He headed for switches to turn on the fan.
(For that is where sanding always began.)
But then he remembered the new downdraft table,
Its unfinished condition would not enable,
Efficient collection of dust from the sanding.
And so he moved on to tasks more demanding…
Of his rapid attention... like the glue without lid,
And the many lost tools that somewhere he hid
Within the realm of this confusing clutter.
When suddenly it seemed right to mutter…


He circled the shop and espied something big…
The incomplete bits of a router-based jig.
“Oh yeah! I needed that too!”
He declared as he took in the view.
He reached for the jig but fell hard to his knee,
For he’d tripped on a box that he’d just failed to see.
He rolled on the floor, and sprawled in the dust
As he opened his mouth and loudly he cussed…


And then he recalled what earlier he'd planned -
A cabinet support for new drill-press stand.
He’d downloaded the plan and changed it a tad,
But somehow "I've lost it", he cried — "How sad!"
So on now to more of those important chores
Like clean-up, and tidying, and sweeping the floors
But wait! There’s the drill that he needed to find.
To finish a project that lagged far behind.
He reached for the drill with his calloused paw, 
But in that moment with horror he saw
That the battery was dead and he wouldn't be screwing,
Or joining, or fitting, or finishing gluing!
And so with a sigh he reached the light switch
And keyed the alarm with nary a hitch.
As stepped out the door with a dancer-like twirl
He shouted, “Hey spiders! Enjoy that Squirrel!”

Dear fellow woodworkers,

As you can see, I am easily sidetracked by suddenly more important/interesting things, and the lame poetic effort above was just one more sideshow that encouraged the “Squirrel!” effect in me. As usual though, I had fun and I guess that is what counts. (It may be a long time before our Shop Tour Chair ever decides that my workshop should be seen by anyone else!) 

Meanwhile, others, like my wife, our President and our Wood-recovery Chair help to keep me focussed on time-sensitive events such as yard-work, Presentation agendas for the upcoming year, and completion of Frost Field projects such as our newly expanded wood storage area.

  1. On the issue of upcoming presentations, I have asked François Lavigne to show us some of his work with Scotch Broom carving. He will be at our January General Meeting;
  2. For February, we will most likely have Richard Brown from Saanich who will show us how he built his boat “Moonfleet” from dimensioned lumber;
  3. And as for Frost Fields, there will be many exciting projects to work on in the new year, and I am looking forward to working side by side with many of you as we expand our activities including workshops and presentations at the mill site. Plans are also afoot for a platformed seating/coffee area, construction of a biffy, and the addition of drying racks for the expanded wood storage.

My best wishes to all of you for a wonderfully happy and safe Christmas holiday season – shared with family and friends! Enjoy the successes of your woodworking endeavours, even as you learn to cope with distractions!


Tony Dobson, Vice-President – Programs and Events

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: 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 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 – 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 ( 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 – 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!


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!