April 27th Meeting Recap- Pictures to Follow


Good morning!
For those of you who were able to come to our Berkley Plantation tour and following meeting (20 attendees not counting Ray and Steve); thank you very much. It was a great day of furniture painting/Newport chair information and discussions. More thanks to:
  • Ray and Steve. Tremendously good presentations that informed and inspired. I really appreciate the time you spent preparing.
  • Howard Steier, Barry Payne and Barry Jones for bringing their chairs to the meeting in support of the questions/lessons learned discussion.
  • The folks who came from northern regions (Troy Downs, Steve Eckel, Lee Phillips, George Nissley) and North Carolina (Barry Daniel, Paul Compton, Robert Caron, Bruce Narveson) for the meeting. It was great meeting/visiting with you.
  • John Davis for bringing his tools for some meeting recess selling fun.
Following are a few more notes:
  • Check out Ray Journigan and George Nissley on Instagram to see their wonderful work. Good inspiration.
  • Check out Steve Dietrich's Etsy site for more inspiration.
  • In addition to teaching around the country, Ray teaches at the Norfolk Woodcraft store. If you're interested in seeing what classes he's offering/may offer, contact him directly (mebacarver@msn.com).
  • Our fall Chapter meeting is generally in November. The theme for the meeting is being thought about.
  • Sharpening (everything) always seems to be an issue. In addition to what you see on UTube, check out Ron Hock's book. It's my ready reference in the shop.
Finally, during/after this Chapter meeting alot of good program/tour/workshop ideas were generated. Following is the start of a list. Please send me any ideas you may have. Also, please let me know if you're interested in leading any of the items. I've found the exercise to be fun and have had lots of support in the development.

  • Chair making fundamentals (process steps that would apply to most chairs - even modern chairs)
  • Candle stands; history/design/construction
  • Hidden compartments/mechanisms in furniture
  • So....you want to be a furniture detective (general chronological sequence of styles/geographical styles, specific items to look for that would determine a style/maker/fraud. Could be paired with a tour.
  • Moravian workbench (a simple, rough-and-tumble version suited to job-site use).


  • Colonial Williamsburg (in-depth, specific topic)
  • Plantations (i.e. continue along the James River)
  • MESDA (in-depth, specific topic)
  • Marine carving (tour of the Mariners' Museum in Newport News; with in-depth discussion of the carvers, their materials and techniques). A carver's delight.
  • Architecture (i.e. specific Colonial Williamsburg building, Newbold-White house)
Hands-on Workshops (possibly quarterly at a convenient location)
  • Develop plans/patterns from a study piece of furniture
  • Chairmaking fundamentals
  • General veneering tools, procedures, practices
  • Working difficult woods (i.e. birds-eye maple)
  • Introduction to carving using common shop tools
  • Scraper sharpening/use
  • Carving tool sharpening (the easy ones)
  • Carving tool sharpening (the hard ones)
  • Marine carving - process/techniques (sternboards, etc.)
  • Turning for furniture makers
  • Window frames, shutters
That's all for now. Thanks for your interest and support.
Jim Francis