Updates from ScrollSaw Woodworking and Crafts
Your NorthStar Scrollers 2015 Picnic Photo Album
iHandy for your Smartphone
Check out the Info Exchange section at ScrollSaw Woodworking and Crafts for their note on the free iHandy Level app, available for both the Apple iPhone and Android based phones. Looks like a useful device. The app turns your smart phone into a level. A more sophisticated version, the iHandy Carpenter, adds addition features such as a protractor, plumb bob, ruler and two levels for $1.99.
Check the Suppliers page where we have added new contact information about wood supplies available.
Upcoming Meetings and Events:
Saturday April 2nd
Midwest Tool Collectors Association
That pile of rusty old tools in the corner of your workshop are the treasures that make John Walkowiak get up in the morning. Show up on Saturday April 2nd and hear what John has to tell you about old tools, some you may never have seen before.
The Mid-West Tool Collectors is the world's largest tool collecting organization and a non-profit devoted to studying, preserving and sharing knowledge of tolls. With a membership of about 3,500 residing in all 50 states, Canada, Australia and the European Union, it's members have provided assistance to museums and historical sites including Mount Vernon, Colonial Williamsburg and the Smithsonian with their toll collections and trades displays.
So mark Saturday April 2nd at 9:30 am down on your calendar. You won’t want to miss the meeting. The Knights of Columbus Hall is located at 1114 American Blvd W in Bloomington.
Saturday January 9th
DAVE JACOBS—DECOY CARVER
I would guess there are a few hunters here in our club who will truly enjoy the next presentation. And given the quality of what comes out of the Minnesota Decoy and Wildfowl Carving Club, I’m sure any woodworker will appreciate the artistry of Dave Jacobs.
His club website www.mdwcc-carving-club.com shows some beautiful wood carvings of fish, ducks, birds and more. Dave will present the basics from choosing wood, starting a project, mixing the colors of stains to get the "realistic colors of nature" and how he finishes his projects. He has taught decoy carving for the last few years to all ages. Invite your friends!
November 7, 2015
Tips and Tricks
November ends with Thanksgiving, a time to share the bounty of the years harvest. For scrollers November is a great time to share with friends the bounty of the things we have learned this past year. So bring along your favorite scrolling and woodworking tips and tricks to share with your fellow members. If you have a prop that illustrates what you want to show be sure to bring it along.
October 3, 2015
John Krantz grew up on a farm near Deer River in northern MN and now lives in Forest Lake. His wife and he still have that farm as third-generation owners.
Always interested in wood, he has made wooden toys since he was 10. After seeing a jigsaw in the Montgomery Ward catalog, he devoted a whole summer to digging and selling fish bait worms at 10 cents a dozen to earn the $20 to buy the jigsaw. (People never heard of a scroll saw back in those days.)
John worked for the Department of Natural Resources as a forester for thirty-one years. He got credit for three more years of forestry in the military, where he served a year as a counter-intelligence officer in Vietnam.
John is currently in the business of selling wood primarily used for carving. In his presentation, he talked mainly about basswood and butternut. His products include clean, white, square and rectangular blocks for carvers and ovals and bark-board for wood burning crafts, painting and relief carving.
Samples of blocks and boards in John’s Work
Relief carving boards are glued together to make them wider. The grain must be turned in opposite directions to stabilize the board and avoid cupping. John tries to match the grain to get all the same color. Every piece of wood is going to be a different color because every tree is different.
A tree must be cut in the winter to have the bark stay on; this is true for any type of tree. The logs are sawn into lumber in the spring, and then the lumber is piled for air drying. The lumber is 8’ long and after drying, the lumber is cut into sections and the sections are glued together so the relief carving board has the same color and texture. John uses use Titebond original glue, which he recommends because the glue will not show any glue lines.
John showing wood split to the heart
If a tree is cut in the heat of the summer, the board will get stained from the ends. Carvers like clean, white, unstained wood. Since he mainly serves carvers and pyrographers (wood burners), he doesn’t buy summer logs. The basswood must be cut in the winter and stored correctly.
The workers at many saw mills do not know how to saw wood for carvers. Any time wood is sawed out of the center of a tree—any kind of wood, especially hard wood—the wood will split to the heart. You need to inspect the wood to make sure there is no center of the tree in the wood. Especially if it’s green and cut fresh, it will split someplace.
John and his colleagues use a product called Anchor Seal, a water-based sealant, on the end of the logs. Moisture will exit the wood the easiest way possible, and that would be through the cut ends of the wood. That’s why the ends of the logs are sealed. If not sealed, the wood will dry and crack from the ends and at least a foot can be lost from the end of each log.
For scrollers, John makes a lot of thin wood from basswood and butternut that they re-saw on a table saw with a three-inch blade. He flips the wood being sawn, so the maximum they can get is a six-inch board. The reason they don’t go any wider is the thinner the wood, the more bowing there is. And that’s why they glue.
The number-one use for basswood in Minnesota is for building shims. Nelson Wood Products in Cohasset, MN, makes these shims. They are the largest shim maker in the US. The basswoods are best for their excellent snap. They snap off easily, which is desirable in construction.
Scrollers use ½” boards
Shown here is John’s place in Forest Lake. They have a Powermatic planer. John’s operation uses every speck of the wood. All the shavings are collected and put into large bags. The shavings go for horses. They have a couple of cutoff saws and no band saw.
John’s operation also manufactures walking sticks. In the summertime, john cuts ten to twelve year old aspen for walking sticks and canes. Debarking is best done in June when it’s easy to strip the bark. They have a demand for about 400 hundred walking sticks per year. Also used for walking sticks, Diamond willow is best cut in winter.
John had a show in Stevens Point where he sold $830 worth of walking sticks alone. John does not advertise; instead, he gets his business by word of mouth; orders come in from across the country. He can’t keep up.
John and his wife, Marci, participate in six shows per year, but only one in Minnesota which is held in Black Duck, MN. They have been there for twenty-five years, and they see the same people come every year. John used to go to Arizona to a two-day show and sell out the first morning. People would stand in a line 150 deep, and as soon as the door would open customers would rush in.
John’s presentation included a very interesting slide show that demonstrates the harvesting of trees in Minnesota. We are working on putting the slide show on our website, and we’ll let you know when you can see and experience his expertise. Once again, you wooden’t want to miss it.
John ended his presentation with a slide that says, “There are not many perfect people in the world and less perfect trees.” We say to John, “Your presentation has been pretty close to perfect. Thank you for sharing your life’s work with us…we wooden’t want to miss it.”
September 12, 2015
Saturday September 12th begins our new year of programs at the Bloomington Knights of Columbus Hall and this year we are very pleased to kick off our first meeting with Cecilia Schiller.
Many of you may have seen Cecilia behind the counter at Woodcraft in Bloomington, where she also teaches scroll saw classes, or at the Northhouse Craft School in Grand Marais where she teaches as well. But what she does outside of work will simply amaze you. So don’t miss our September meeting.
Cecilia will a showcase a number of her projects, her gear illustrators and talk about how she uses a scroll saw to produce gears and parts. She will share some of her techniques for conceptualizing and creating automata. So be prepared to stretch your imagination.
This quote from her wonderful website summarizes some of her recent work:
Over the last several years Cecilia has combined original carvings and woodworking to create gear driven, interactive sculptures called automata. A turn of the crank brings the whimsical scene to life. Even the most committed curmudgeon has been known to crack a smile while experiencing the magic of these award winning creations.
Schiller’s work doesn’t end with automata. Early in her career she created puppets and masks for theatrical productions and traveled to Bali to learn how to carve masks. She has created interactive displays for clients and as well as other art works. Cecilia has been featured on TPT’s MN Original and in 2014 received a State Arts Board grants for her work.
Previous Years Meetings:
Nancy Dardis, a local, accomplished, and entertaining Pyrography Artist helped us explore the art of pyrography.
November's Meeting featured an all-star panel of Intarsia gurus. Jim Ryan, John Engler, Katie McBride, and Swede Bengston were on hand giving out the tricks of the trade for their favorite technique.October 2014
October was all about hands-on work and good conversation as we cut wooden toys to support our favorite charity, TLC Toys. Thanks to all who were on hand to help!September 2014
Our own NSS member, Travis Beard, creates beautiful Marquetry projects using wood veneers. He shared his knowledge and creative ideas on using veneer wood to enrich our projects. There are some self-help training courses in marquetry and parquetry under the Resources tab at:
The History of Marquetry can be found at: http://www.americanmarquetrysociety.com/Marquetry.html
Welcome to the home of Minnesota's scroll saw artists.