Woodworkers Club of Houston

January 2016 Projects



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Steve Procter, former president of WWCH and very long time member, spoke to Club members about the different types of fasteners available to woodworkers.

Steve spoke basically of two kinds, hand driven and air/electric driven.  READ MORE



These bowls of osage orange were chiseled out by David Janowitz using a biiiig chisel and a lot of pounding. Of course, the wood is hard. David discovered that his branding iron works soooo much better on a flat surface.


Lon Kelley presented some slides to show how he band sawed, glued up and arranged laminated beams from mahogany and padauk to create those butterflies.  The butterfly effect?


Maple, walnut and “darned-if-I-know” wood mostly from his scrap pile was used by Dean Grimes when he crafted these cutting boards. They are finished with mineral oil. 


This unfinished box of walnut and maple by Hugh Parker has a secret drawer – but don’t tell anyone.   Hugh admitted that he did use some steel pins so he could say that he didn’t use nails.


These marble games and ball and cup games were cleverly crafted by Chuck Lickwar.  Chuck made a jig so he could make three at a time.  He claims the ball and cup games are defective because the ball won’t flip into the cup.  The ball and cups could double as shot glasses with stoppers – the string so you don’t lose the stoppers.

Left over curly mango from the islands was used by Matt Proctor for his hall table.  He finished it with polyurethane.  Matt forgot to bring margaritas.


While taking a break from fret work, Norm Nichols decided to try some scroll saw boxes of mahogany and maple.  He finished them with polyurethane. Nice break, Norm.


  The table is Patrick Water's first attempt at making a table – good job Patrick.


The crosses of purple heart, and kittens reflecting in water were scroll sawed by Rick Spacek.  The pattern for the kittens was created from a picture.


A couple of upcoming weddings make a great reason for Steve Wavro to craft wedding plaques. Steve found instructions on how to personalize an existing pattern.  That way Steve could add names and dates.  The plaques are of birch with walnut backs.

Rick Spacek did some wood burning to create interesting patterns on a chunk of beef bone.  I don’t think he is going to give that to the family dog

Patrick Water used a laser cutter to create images of his wife, kids and himself on the wall hangers.  He bought and then painted cheap hooks to create an antique look.


Bob Wink acquired some scrap wood around the San Jacinto Monument and made a cart of a family drive with Dad and, of course, being in Texas, Bob says he hopes to grow up to become a cowboy someday. Yippee tie yah, Bob.


Tom Blanco made this calendar with wood he had on hand.  The calendar inserts and slides out from the top. Tom calls it his afternoon project. Now Tom can track and plan all of his projects.

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Jim Douglas was proud of the Lee-Nielsen hand plane that he had purchased and wanted to show them to club members.  They aren’t cheap because they come with many finely made features that Jim "plainly" pointed out.

A trolley car upon which children can play will soon grace the grounds of Woodland Park.  Paul Carr found an old photo of a trolley car that used to run from Houston to Woodland Heights in the early 1900s and from that took measurements needed to construct the trolley.  Paul used kiln dried after treatment (KDAT) lumber.  He painted the pieces before assembling the trolley.  Now all Paul needs are tracks, right-of-way and some ding ding--or maybe clang clang?

Chuck Graham showed slides of his light table that he made for his great granddaughter’s classroom. It is eight inches deep with dovetail joinery on all four corners.  One end, however, is not glued so it could be knocked off with a hammer if necessary.  LED lights of various colors flood the acrylic table top.


Steve Procter, former president of WWCH and very long time member, spoke to Club members about the different types of fasteners available to woodworkers. Steve spoke basically of two kinds, hand driven and air/electric driven. 

Steve talked a little about the history or nails.  Many years ago nails were hand forged and were quite expensive.  It is said that as early pioneers moved on they would burn down their shacks to recover the nails.  Imagine doing that today.

Some woodworkers when using a nail will blunt the end of the nail to make it less likely to split the wood because it pushes the fibers out of the way.  Ring shank nails do a great job staying in place over time.

Pneumatic nails are great labor savers and they shoot a variety of specialty nails.  You buy pneumatically driven nails in gauges – the larger the number the smaller the size (not the length) of the nail.  The angle helps you get into some tighter places but Steve has never needed the angled nailers.   Steve warns that rigging your nailer to shoot on the bounce is dangerous so pay extra attention when doing so.

Pin nailers are useful for securing small pieces of wood until the glue dries.  The gauge of typical pin nailers is number 23.  Pin nail strips are labeled with a triangle to show the direction of the pointed end of the nail – don’t ignore this.

Steve spoke about the variety of screws available to woodworkers.  Drywall screws are not ideal for use with wood.  They are brittle and can break easily.  Steve prefers the square drive because a screw will fit nicely into a bit and thus not fall out.    Torx (or star) bits are not preferred by Steve because of too many different sizes of drives required.   After drilling a hole the Kreg screw has a washer on the screw head which helps prevent the wood from splitting.  Kreg screws are most useful for pocket hole joinery.

Steve also talked about various types of bolts which are useful, obviously, when you want to be able to disassemble something. 

Biscuits are useful, increase the glue area, and help with the alignment when joining wood together.  The biscuit will swell and can cause the wood to dimple if the wood is soft. 

Without a jig dowels are difficult to align and one should use a spiral or fluted dowel that allows the glue to squeeze out of the hole.

Steve has extensive experience installing cabinets and offered numerous tips to club members.



Photos, captions and commentary:  Gary Rowen             

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