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Ada County Woodworkers

February Newsletter

February 08, 2017

Minutes of the February 08, 2017 meeting held at Woodcraft in Boise.

President Brian Bass called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.

New members

Marcus Flanders


Thayne Curtis

New at Woodcraft

Steve Merrill had a new workbench by Kreg to show.   They call it a Mobile Project Center.  It has tracks for clamps on the top and bottom.  A Kreg bench hold-down clamp can be used on the top to clamp a pocket hole jig in place.  It can also be used on the side to clamp against bench dogs.  Two benches can be keyed together to make a larger space and they have brackets to hold 2x4s so a larger work area can be made using two benches with 2x4s between them to support a piece of plywood.

The store will also be doing some pre-sales for equipment that will be on sale.


Ron Lee read a thank-you letter for wood cars the club donated that he received from the Ronald McDonald house.

Treasurer's Report

Treasurer Floyd Bird was absent so no treasurer’s report.

Old Business

Shriner Toys

Bill Johnson reported he had about 644 cars at his shop.  Al Shaw made about 40 and Brian said he has about 40 that were dropped off at the store.  Micheal Kingsley talked about the project a bit for those not familiar with it.

Idaho Artistry in Wood

Brian passed signup sheets around for volunteers.  Raffle table, silent auction, and banquet auction items are needed.  Registration has been slow, and not many have signed up for the banquet either, so now is the time to do so.

Boise Watershed Project

The Jenga Blocks will be here soon, so the next project will be construction of boxes for them. 

New Business


Tech Tips

John Pickrell has a Rikon bandsaw that was turning real slow, and he suspected the starting capacitor.  While waiting for a replacement from Rikon he disassembled the saw and discovered that the bearing on the lower wheel was bad.  He found them locally at McGuire Bearing Company for a good price.  McGuire Bearing is on W. Amity Rd in Boise and carries a range of power transmission products. 


Regular Raffle: A pencil scriber made by Bob Rudkin was the first item raffled off.  Ken Viste was the winner.  A Kreg insulated cup from Woodcraft and two $10.00 gift certificates were also raffled.

Class Raffle: no class raffle this month.

Show & Tell

Marcus Flanders had a toy car, a back scratcher and a tray for a coffee table to show.

Micheal Kingsley had a box with a live edge, a bowl, and a box that he used shoe polish to add some color to.

Kelly Christensen had a cell phone amplifier made from bloodwood and maple.  He noted the bloodwood gummed up his drum sander and that running some red oak through after the bloodwood cleared off most of it.  A cell phone is placed in the holder; it has a hollow chamber with a hole where the speaker of the phone is located and a larger hole in the back for the sound to exit.

Don Blasdel showed a wood version of a machinist’s drill press or milling machine vise that he made.

Brian Bass had a box with joinery cut with a scroll saw, a “finial box” made from teak, spalted wood and cocobolo, some hold-downs, and an ulu knife and chopping bowl.



Scott Taylor gave a talk on creating curved wood shapes with a demonstration of steam bending, which is one way to do it.

Scott identified five major ways to make curved wood shapes:

1.      Cutting curved shapes from solid wood stock such as boards and blocks.  This method is limited by the type of stock available; things like grain direction and thickness limit what can be done.

2.      Bent lamination, where a series of thin wood pieces are glued together while bent.  This can produce sharper curves than a single piece and works for woods that are not easy to bend other ways.  You will see glue lines, however.

3.      Kerf bending is done by making a series of cuts at right angles to the direction of bend on one side of a piece of material leaving a relatively thin uncut section.  The stock is then bent such that the kerfs close to form a curve.  It does leave voids that are usually covered by other pieces of wood or on the non-visible side.

4.      Coopering produces curved surfaces, typically for barrels and buckets, by beveling the edges of boards and then putting a series of these boards together along the beveled edges to produce a roughly cylindrical shape.  Barrels and buckets aren’t usually glued since they’re held together with metal or wood hoops, but the curved tops of boxes (e.g. a “pirate’s chest” are usually glued.

5.      “Solid Bending” can be broken down into five sub-types:

a.       Chemical softening of the wood by the use of things like ammonia.  The chemicals can be hazardous and containers or chambers large enough to hold the pieces are needed.

b.      Cold green bending whereby live wood is either naturally bent or formed by artificially bending the tree/branch as it is growing.

c.       Hot dry bending is done by heating the wood which softens the wood and allows it to be bent.  Musical instrument sides are bent with heating pads or by bending strips around a hot pipe.

d.      Hot wet bending is done by putting wood in hot water baths.  This is usually reserved for smaller items such as shaker boxes due to the difficulty of dealing with large pans or tanks of water.  The heat of the water, which softens the lignum in the wood, is the major factor, not the water itself.

e.       Hot steam bending is done by putting the wood in a box or pipe and introducing steam into the container.  Again, the heat is the major contributor to softening the wood.

Scott elaborated on this last method by talking about demonstrating bending some parts for a series of chairs that he and John Pickrell are working on.

Woods like oak, beech, ash, hickory are good for steam bending.  Radical, sharp bends are obviously more difficult than gentle bends.  The stresses in the piece being bent are higher and it is physically harder to make the bend.  You may need some friends to help and stout bending forms.

When bent, the outside face of a piece of wood is under tension, and the inside face is compressed.  The outside doesn’t get longer, but the inside does get shorter.  Scott demonstrated this.

Riven wood, which is wood split out of a log, is better for bending.  The grain of a piece of straight-grained wood that is split will be pretty much continuous from one end to the other and will be much less likely to split.

To help reduce the chance of a split, which usually happens on the outside face, a compression strap can be used.  This is usually a thin piece of metal that is clamped or fixed at the ends of the piece of wood to apply some compression to the outside face to counteract the tension.

Getting identical results with a series of pieces bent around the same form can be a challenge due to variation in the wood.  The bending form is important; you will need to allow for springback (where the dried piece straightens out a bit when out of the form).  How much to allow for is hard to predict.  In some cases, Scott has even seen pieces where the bent wood bends tighter instead of straightening out.

The amount of time the wood needs to be left on the form depends on the time of year.  For the chair backs he is working on, they are left 8 days.

MDF and plywood make good forms.

He makes steam with a heater that holds a gallon of water which has been enough for his projects.  He allows about an hour in the steam box for each inch of thickness.

The steam box can be made of wood or some type of pipe.  If you use plywood, seal it to help prevent delamination.  Plastic pipe can deform due to the temperature of the steam, so do your homework before using a piece of PVC plumbing pipe.  The steam box should have “doors” on the end that can be opened easily and a drain hole to allow condensate to flow out.  Blankets or some form of insulation keeps the box temperature up.  Use some cross pieces to hold the pieces of wood off the bottom of the box so steam is on all sides, but watch what you use since some materials will stain the wood (e.g. steel wires will leave black marks on oak when it reacts with the tannin in the wood).

When it comes time to make the bend, have your clamps and form ready.  Clamp the form down to a stout bench so you can apply pressure to make the bend without the form moving.  Use gloves, because the wood will be hot.  Work fast because the wood starts cooling quickly.


Scott hiding behind his form for bending chair backs.

Bending a piece for a knife rack project.

The Scott Taylor, John Pickrell chair.


The meeting was adjourned at 8:55 PM.

Alan Hochhalter, Secretary

Upcoming Events:

Idaho Artistry in Wood, Wyndham Garden Boise Airport Hotel, 3300 Vista Ave., Boise, ID, February 25th and 26th, 2017

Next meeting March 8th, 7PM, Woodcraft in Boise.


2017 Officers:
President – Brian Bass
Vice President – Scott Taylor
Treasurer – Floyd Bird
Secretary – Alan Hochhalter
Meeting Refreshments – Kelly Christensen
Member-At-Large - John Pickrell

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