Monthly Archives: February 2021

Newsletter Vol 36 / Issue 02


I think last month’s Zoom meeting was a success. Several of you joined in and it was good to see those that attended. Some commented that they liked the Zoom format. They didn’t have to get out and travel on a cold, dark night. Some were able to show large pieces they had made for their home. It would have been very difficult to bring those items to an “in person” meeting. I agree that there are good points to the Zoom format, and I certainly agree Zoom is better than no meeting. But I long for the day when we can meet face to face.

That reminds of my New Year’s resolution – I want to focus on something I’m thankful for each month of 2021. Last month it was for a Heavenly Father who watches over His children. This month it’s for family and friends. I count you all as friends and we’re also family – the Tennessee Valley Woodworkers family!

Now let’s get started with Splinters!

 Zoom Meeting February 16

We will have our next Zoom Meeting on Tuesday, February 16th from 6:30-8:30.  The program will be on the use of a shooting board. If you’re not familiar with the term you really need to attend. Please join us by following the instructions below to:

  1. By Sunday, February 14th – Provide pictures and descriptions of your Show & Tell items to 
    Descriptive information for each photo/related set of photos should include:

Woodworker Name: 
Project Name:
Wood(s)/Materials Used: 
Finishes applied:
Lessons Learned (if any): 

  1. If you don’t have Zoom installed, you need to download and install the application to your computer before meeting time. Go to and download/install the Zoom Client for Meetings.
  2. On Tuesday, February 16th, join the Zoom meeting any time after 6 PM. Use the following link or the link sent to you by email. 

Looking forward to our next Zoom Meeting!

January Show & Tell

We’re changing the Show & Tell section back to pre COVID days. That is, the Show & Tell section will consist of what was shown in the previous months consist of items shown at the previous meeting. The following items were things shown at the January Zoom meeting, but not in the January SPLINTERS.

Gary Runyon has been working on many projects since our last meeting!  He discussed his progress on hand cut dovetail joinery and showed pictures of pine and cherry dovetails from the first one to a later one.  As a result of his practice, he is getting consistently good ones now.  Gary showed us finger jointed boxes with sliding lids made of cherry, black walnut and white oak and finished in Minwax Antique Oil Finish.  The finger joints were cut on a three-axis router.  Gary showed three threaded acorn boxes with dogwood bottoms and cherry tops and finished with Briwax.  He also showed a Tanto style tool/storage box made of ambrosia maple and finished with Minwax Antique Oil Finish.  He showed a CD storage box also out of ambrosia maple made with finger joints and finished with Minwax Antique Oil Finish. His final project was 18th Century style tape looms made from cherry and finished with Minwax Antique Oil Finish.

Allen Odell shared four Christmas elves he carved out of basswood for his grandkids.  He finished them in colored pencils and spray lacquer.  Judy Bennett noted that she uses oil paint pencils for finishes similar to Allen’s pencils and will share her pencil source with the club.   Allen noted that the project was fun in Jim’s shop but his wife said to keep carving!

Fred Heltsey shared some of the gifts he has made for his kids, their spouses, and grandkids.  First was a red cedar mug turned from a 4×4 air dried post.  He added CA glue to seal some cracks and finished it with 3 coats of wipe-on spar varnish and micro crystalline wax.  He learned that CA glue dries before you can coat large areas in one sitting; so apply thin coat in single passes with small pieces of paper towel; repeat using a fresh towel piece for each pass; and DO NOT overlap passes!  Fred showed turned candle sticks made from 100-year-old Douglas Fir 3”x14” floor joists for 1.5” pillar candles.  He finished them with 3 coats wipe-on CA glue and noted, like the mug, CA glue dries before you can coat large areas in one sitting.  Fred showed three turned Christmas ornaments.  One had a spalted maple ball and sycamore finials; one with a royal paulownia ball and black walnut finials; and one with a Wisteria ball and apple wood finials.  All were finished with 3 thin coats of wipe-on CA glue.  Again, you need be aware that CA glue dries fast so you need to limit the amount of surface area you finish at a time. Fred turned a button lidded box with a black walnut lid and a box bottom made from a 100-year-old yellow pine 2×12 floor joist.  The lid insert was made from sycamore.  The lid and insert were finished with walnut oil and the base was finished with spar varnish and Johnson Wax.  The lesson learned on this turning is to drill the lid holes before hollowing as he didn’t on this one and had to add the lid insert to cover backside tear-out.  Fred also turned a long-handled scoop and a pair of short-handled scoops from windfall red cedar.  He finished them with multiple coats of walnut oil and noted that the scoop walls were thicker than he intended. Fred showed 33 shadow-copied stair baluster finials turned from a 100-year-old red oak 2×4 stud and finished with Brush-On Minwax Satin Penetrating Stain, then 3 thin coats of brush on spar varnish.  He noted the shadow-copy method is fast and accurate and that, even though it took 4 lathe setups, he could turn a square blank to a finished finial in 6 minutes!  Fred showed “String Steadies” made from 3/4” plywood, screws and cotton string.  No finish was applied.  They work very well to safely hold thin finials and are easy to set up. Fred offered to demonstrate the shadow-copy method as a future program.

Patrick Murphy showed a 10” high decorative optical illusion created for his physics students from black walnut and cherry.  He finished the piece with Clear Satin spray varnish.   He got the idea from a YouTube video.  The “floating” component is suspended by small chains.  John Hartin noted that the sum of the moments connecting the “floating piece” to the “mounted piece” need to be equal to zero for this “illusion” to work. Fred Heltsey noted that chairs have been made with rope instead of chains but the chains work better for the “illusion” because they don’t stretch like rope.

Jim Jolliffe showed a Victorian Moon Santa and Star carved out of basswood and finished with boiled linseed oil, acrylic paint, Deft Semi-Gloss spray lacquer, and liquid wax.  The carving design was based on a 2D painting.  He noted that he hadn’t held a carving piece in his hand for a while.  To use both hands for carving, it was a challenging effort to clamp the Moon shape to carve details.  He used a carving arm and vice-grip type clamps to secure work for some final details like the holly, cap texture and beard texture.

When we asked if anyone else had something to show, Clay and Cindi Cooper used their tablet computer to show a live edge table, sideboard (which can convert to a bar) and mirror in their home.  The pieces were beautifully constructed by Clay with woodburning accents by Cindi. We noted that these pieces were able to be seen via Zoom and they wouldn’t be hauled into an “in person” meeting. (no pictures available.)

Internet Links of Interest

*This link was sent by Pete Miller. You can send a Valentine’s Day greeting to one of the kids at St. Jude’s Hospital. Thanks for the link Pete!

* This link about sharpening saw blades is from Wood magazine.

A Sharpening service in TN –

Byler Saw Shop
1661 Cedar Creek Road
Vanleer, TN  37181

Website –

TVW YouTube Channel

No new video this month, but there will be more to come. As an alternative, here’s a video from Stumpy Nubs about 10 cheap cool tools  

Carver’s Corner

The Splinter Carvers continue to meet first and third Saturdays of the month from 8:30 am to 10:30 am (whether Jim’s there or not).  The shop is located at 201 Jolliffe Acres Ln, Tullahoma. Tools and wood are available at the meetings, just bring yourself and try your hand at carving!

 Sweeping Up

Pete Miller sent me this one —

That’s all for this month. Watch out for SPLINTERS!

Submissions to the newsletter are more than welcomed. Send funnies, tips, or other content that may be of interest and you may see it in a future edition of SPLINTERS.