Monday, September 8, 2008

RCWA - Sept 2008 General Meeting

The fourth meeting of the RCWA was held on Sept 8, 2008 at Splinters Woodshop in Rapid City. It was GALOOT night! Our guest speaker was Ken Froelich who demonstrated how to make handsawn dovetails. Yes, this was done without electricity or earplugs.

The meeting was led by President Bob Buchanan, with help from Vice President Rick Wolke. Secretary Dan Hendricks took notes, and Treasurer Roger Bares took checks. Eight returning members were joined by five new members and two guests.


The presenter for the September meeting was Ken Froelich from the Northern Hills Woodworking Guild in Spearfish, SD. Ken is a retired Rapid City fireman and furniture maker. Ken specializes in hand tools, so is sometimes known as a "galoot". He presented a demonstration of the art of hand sawn dovetails. Nice job Ken!

Ken demonstrated how to cut dovetails that would be used for building drawers for a piece of fine furniture. He explained that you always start with the side of the drawer and there you cut the tails - they look something like bird tails. Then you cut the pins on the front or rear of the drawer. You start by drawing a base line with a rolling knife marker that is equal to the thickness of the piece to be joined.

Then use dividers to get the size of the tails. Mark the inside of the board (I) and the outside of the board (O) to avoid confusion as you go.

Use a dovetail gauge to mark the line for the tails. Mark the waste side with an X. Then cut with a Japanese style saw, which cuts on the pull.

Cut the straight cuts first, then chisel out the waste. If you are new to hand cutting dovetails, Ken recommends that you practice doing straight cuts before diving into cutting. Then lay the tails on edge of the adjoining piece. Trace the tails onto the end of the adjoining piece with a scapel or knife.

Cut the pins with the saw, and chisel out the waste. Then put the two together and you have a handsawn dovetail joint.

A little explanation of the term GALOOT: “Galoot" is a hand tool aficionado, and most often old hand tools. A galoot is one who often insists on using hand tools in preference to power tools, especially hand planes. The only qualification for being a galoot is a love of hand tools (especially older hand tools) and a willingness to admit that this love may seem odd or unexplainable to others. By extension, galoots are often interested in tried and true methods of achieving wood or metal work. For example, it is not uncommon for a galoot to create a replacement tool handle with a spokeshave, to resaw a plank with a frame saw, or even to forge and temper his or her own chisels. Some people even believe that GALOOT is an acronym for "Galoots Are Lovers Of Old Tools".

Here's a link to some photos of Ken cutting handsawn dovetails for the panniers at his shop in Spearfish:

Show and Tell
Roger Bares put our group name down in wood - here's a fine example of utilization of scrollsawing combined with flat woodworking, use of the router, and finishing.

Rick Wolke brought in his latest turning experiment - a nicely done lidded bowl in walnut and maple with a finial to go on top!

the end