Welcome to GAW Happenings

GAW Happenings is a place where we place information on club activities both past and future as well as information that we think might be interesting to members as well as the public. We put important happenings on the main club page for a time and then move them to this page for a permanent record.

Feel free to look around and we hope you find something of interest.

2022 Holiday Party

The combined GAW AWG holiday party was held on December 5th at the Brimstone restaurant. It was a rainy, miserable night, but members and spouses braved the elements to get together. Many noted how good it was to get the group together again. 

As is our usual custom, we again had a gift exchange. Everyone had a great time showing off their new gifts and seeing what others received. 

Thank you all for coming!!! If you missed it, mark your calendars for next December and we’ll see you then!! 

CBN vs Diamonds: Which is better?

Stumpy Nubs Youtube Channel

A fascinating look at the differences between the two superabrasives- diamonds and CBN Stumpy Nubs Youtube Channel

2021 Holiday Party

After skipping 2020 (and wouldn’t we all like to do just that!), GAW held its annual holiday party on December 8th at the Brimstone Restaurant and Tavern in Alpharetta with 18 members attending. It wasn’t a pizza party as it has been in the past and there weren’t homemade deserts. I, for one, REALLY missed Bob Lough’s toffee bars this year!!!! Nonetheless, it was great to share an evening, good food, and maybe an adult beverage with other members we hadn’t seen in what seems to be a VERY long time.

The traditional “Brown Bag Gift Exchange” was held and pictures can be found below. Michael Gibson appears twice because he received two gifts in his bag. This was due to an unfortunate accident in Kim’s shop. After the mishap, what was to be an ornament became puzzle pieces. So, Michael got a pizza cutter with a turned handle instead.

If you were unable to attend, we had a great time, but we missed you.

Happy Holidays and best wishes for a joyous and prosperous new year to all of our members, near and far!

Chain Saw Cutting Bench

I had been thinking about building a chain saw bench for some time, and last October, when I watched the AAW video featuring David Ellsworth, he discussed the one he uses. I thought it looked like a useful design and I decided to create my verison of it.

His design appeared to be made primarily of 2×4’s, but also used a few wider boards. I didn’t want to be left with large board scraps as I have plenty of those already, so I decided to modify his design slightly to use all 2×4’s. He gave no dimensions during the video, so I made estimates based on the apparent size from the video. I tried to get the most out of 8 foot 2×4’s so mine ended up about 48″ long, 32″ high and 18″ wide. I used deck screws to assemble it so that I could easily modify it if needed.

The “legs” are 30″ long and attached as shown in the diagrams. The middle set of legs are not needed for support, however, they are the attachment points for the cross-pieces supporting the “V” boards so they are important.

The “V” supports are set at about 25 degrees, but whatever angle looks best to you is fine. I positioned the boards in the “V” about an inch apart with a gap in the middle of about an inch. The gap dimensions aren’t critical so long as they aren’t too large. They are there mainly to allow shavings and sawdust to escape. The boards also extend past the end of the base 3″ to allow some clearance to work. The screws fastening the “V” boards to the cross-pieces are driven in from the bottom to minimize the chance of screws being hit with the chain saw chain.

I have been using this bench for over a couple of months now and I am quite happy with it. As with almost any first attempt at a project, there are a few things I would do differently. I would:

1. make the height a couple of inches less. It’s OK, but it’s a little uncomfortable cutting larger logs;
2. make the length a few inches less. A foot less would make it lighter and easier to store without compromising anything;
3. move the “feet” to the end of the base rectangle and replace them with something like a short piece of 2×4 at each corner so they were more truly feet. This would further reduce problems with uneven ground or cutoffs, etc.

Total cost of the project: A little under $50. Maybe a little more if you have to purchase deck screws.

In case anyone is wondering, it took me forever to find boards with the knots all in the same pattern!

GAW Hosts Annual Christmas Party

GAW held its annual holiday party on December 20th. Proximity to Christmas and cold, rainy weather contributed to a low turnout, unfortunately, but those who did brave the elements had a great time. A gift exchange was held again this year. See images that follow this text.u00a0

Thank you to Georgia Tech for allowing us to use their facility and to Trip and Jake for being there each month so that we can meet.u00a0

Wes Jones Wins 1st Place


Congratulations Wes Jones!!

Long time GAW member Wes Jones has won first place in the General Finishes 2018 Design Challenge”, “Hollow Vessels With Or Without Lids/Finials”  category.

This beautiful piece of Big Leaf Maple Burl was hollowed and then dyed with blue and green dyes to highlight the gorgeous figure.  The removable finial is made of Ebony finished with a wipe-on oil finish.  The hollowform is finished with multiple coats of a clear epoxy.

To learn more about the competition and browse  through this year’s winners, visit their site at: https://contest.generalfinishes.com/winners.

2018 Georgia National Fair

The Georgia National Fair is rapidly approaching.

October 4 – 14

This is an outstanding opportunity to display and possibly sell your work. The fair takes no commission, so, should your work sell, you get the entire amount.

As in the past, the work will be judged and in each of five categories, prize money will be awarded for first ($200), second ($100) and third ($50) places. In addition, there will be a best in show award of $300, six merit awards generously donated by Jim & Mickey Hutchinson and people’s choice awards for first ($150), second ($100) and third ($50). That’s 25 cash prizes in all!

Categories are: Bowls, Decorative, Functional (includes pens, pepper mills, bottle stoppers, etc.), Hollow Forms, Plates and Platters and Segmented.

*** Deadline for entry forms is September 1st.

*** Entries received: September 7 – 8, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Rules and more information can be found here.

On-line entry forms will be available in August.

Scholarship Report – Stan Virden

Scholarship Follow-up Form

I, Stan Virden, received a scholarship from the GAW and attended a class/workshop with James McClure at My home workshop.The course description was Restoration of Basic Skills and the date of this class/workshop was 31 MAR, 2, 6, 7, 14 APR 2018.

Rate instructor and teaching facility on a scale from 1-10 (1=worst and 10=best).
Instructor: 10

Would you recommend this instructor to others in the GAW? Yes

Would you recommend this teaching facility to others in the GAW? No

Comments on the instructor and/or the teaching facility:
As someone with extensive experience in on-the-job training, I found James McClure to be a calm, patient, and forthright instructor who knew what he was doing. I had suffered considerable loss of motor memory in the difficult and drawn out process of moving to this area from my previous home. Further, I have developed spinal issues that constrict my endurance to stand and I am down to one functioning eyeball. These issues, combined with substantial intrusions into my personal schedule, have severely reduced my time at the lathe, where I really prefer to be. James, by following the plan accepted, was able to help me restore procedures that greatly improve upon my skills and abilities to make use of precious time. The teaching facility, my personal workshop, is OK for me, but not suitable for training others in the GAW.

Scholarship Report

On 6 March 2018 the GAW Scholarship Committee awarded me a $750 scholarship to attend a series of lessons with James McClure. These lessons have been carried out much as described in my application. Variations were relatively minor, and I was quite satisfied with the experience.

We started with tool sharpening techniques, something I have long recognized as essential and despaired of getting right. My mind is easier now in approaching my grinder and other sharpening instruments. We next moved on to correcting tool and body positions which had been causing me excessive tear-out and catches. James gave me a clearer understanding of the physics involved in making cuts on a lathe. His explanations got through to me more effectively than what I have heard and seen in countless live demonstrations and videos.

Next, we focused on bowls with some wet blanks. I am not used to turning wet but found in it several advantages that I hope to employ in the future. My main concerns have lain in the time required for twice turning and procedures to minimize cracks, especially since I cannot with confidence schedule the intervals between trips to the lathe. I joke that at my age (84+) I lack the time to wait for wood to dry. But now I feel more comfortable about using wet wood, especially for certain types of bowls, such as natural edge, where oval shapes are sometimes more acceptable and interesting. In the course of two sessions I was able to bring several bowls near to completion. I hope to finish them soon for show-and-tell at future club meetings.

As I am inherently a slow worker, and tend to deteriorate in effectiveness after two hours, we did not spend as much time as planned on spindle turnings, except to make a pair of jam chucks, devices that I have seldom tried to use. I now have a better understanding of their utility. This personal coaching has also given me better understanding of tool control that increases my confidence in attempting finials and other spindle appendages to the bowls and platters that are my primary interest.

James and I had useful discussions on what sorts of finishes are best in various circumstances, and how they should be applied. This is an area where I have always been confused, collecting a variety of finishes that spoiled before I could find time to use them. While we did not actually perform the butterfly repair to an existing crack, James provided me with a sample butterfly and gave me detailed instructions on the required procedure. He also left me with several poplar blanks for future practice. Those provide some projects that I look forward to.

We covered the use of sanding devices, and I was disabused of the need in most circumstances to carry sanding to grits higher than 400 or 600. He explained that going to finer grits would impair the effectiveness of most finishes and probably result in more glaring scratches shining through. That reassurance will certainly save me some time. Altogether, this series of lessons has raised my comfort level considerably and should result in better workmanship. I am most grateful to GAW for providing me with this wonderful opportunity.

–Stan Virden, 21 April 2018

American Craft Council Show 2018

The 2018 ACC show is history. Eight GAW and South Metro members turned at the show. Rachel, the ACC Education Coordinator, who oversees the “Let’s Make” part of the show was extremely happy with comments that attendees had made about our demonstrations and made sure I knew we were invited to take part next year.

This year’s demonstrators were:

Andy Bennett
George Daughtry
Hanley Lewis
Bill Lynch

Kim Muthersbough
Steve Pritchard
Scott Questad
John Von Eshenbach

Right: John von Eshenbach turning for one of our many visitors.

Above and right: Scott Questad turning for booth visitors.