Progress on our Member Directory

Greetings to all Helena Woodworkers Guild members: I have recently been trying to update our online membership directory and wanted to let you know that I am making progress. Thank you so much, to everyone who has sent me web links, photos and personal information for the membership directory!

As of now, every paid member of the guild has a listing in the membership directory.

However … many of the listings are simply that — a listing — without a gallery of woodworking projects or a link to a personal or business site elsewhere on the web. There are still many members who have not sent me photos of their work, and I need these in order to make you a personal gallery page on the guild’s website.

This is just a screenshot of a section of our membership directory

The image above is just a screenshot of a section of our membership directory. Blue highlighted member names are links to their gallery or an off-site website of their own.

IF you are interested in having a link to a gallery of your woodworking on your member listing (see screenshot above,) please — please — send me some photos of your projects. Between 6 and 12 photos is ideal. These photos do not have to be professional photos, although that helps if you are trying to sell your work, and/or show off your work in the best light (pun intended, heh)

Check my member listing here for my email address to send digital photos. I am happy to answer any questions you have about how to take good photos and the best format for sending digital files to me. (Maureen)

Photo above is a screenshot of a member's gallery page. Each member who sends photos of their woodworking to me will have a page like this, with your name, business name (if applicable) phone and email address, photo of you, and a "gallery."

Photo above is a screenshot of a member’s gallery page. Each member who sends photos of their woodworking to me will have a page like this, with your name, business name (if applicable) phone and email address, photo of you, and a “gallery.”

Also, if you have not paid your dues, and you would like to be a member (having a listing in our directory) please send your dues check to Bill Pratt or give it to him at one of our meetings. Give your contact information to Bill Daigle and I will get all of this and be able to make you a member listing.

Thank you for your help in making our guild website a useful and dynamic site. The better we make it, the more you will want to use it to send to your friends, family members and clients, and to find helpful woodworking information. 

Ciao! — Maureen Shaughnessy, your web”mastress!” 😉


Vintage Jigsaw Stars at February Woodworkers Guild

Vintage Jigsaw Machine

Tom Dolan gave us all some useful and interesting tips last night at the February Guild meeting. He showed us a bunch of his jigs — some homemade and others he had purchased. He also showed us a couple of tips for using glue, wax and clamps with woodworking projects like the wooden toys he makes. I’m sure we can all figure out ways to use the things Tom showed us, no matter what size wood projects we do.

Useful Tip to Apply Wax

Instead of using just a piece of cloth to apply Min-Wax (or any kind of wax) Tom puts a blob of wax inside a piece of cheesecloth tied with a leather strip. He rubs this on the wood toys he makes.

Clamps for Drying Small Pieces

Here’s another cool tool: Tom uses these small clamps with strings, to hold pieces of his wood toys while they dry. He hangs them from the rafters in his shop.

Eating Dinner at our Guild Meeting

Enjoying our Scrumptious Potluck Dinner at Tom Dolan’s Shop

Tom has an old, one-of-a-kind jigsaw prototype that was designed in Montana and built in Germany. He was given this machine and has all the old patent papers on it. The patent was actually filed, but the jigsaw was never manufactured so this one truly is the only one on Earth. Ralph explained some of the history of the machine, since he knew the originator/inventor/designer. Tom gave us a demonstration. It’s a fascinating machine. You can turn the jigsaw blade instead of rotating the piece of wood, by using the foot pedal. Check out the photos below:

As usual, we had an amazing potluck. Prize-winning French Apple Pie, Caramel-Brownies, Goulash, German Sweet and Sour Cabbage, Lasagna, Spinach Salad… I could go on… Thank you to everyone for bringing such scrumptious food to our potlucks.

Next meeting will be the first Monday of March at Leonard Cloninger’s shop. Watch the website and your email for news and details.

Check out some more photos from our February Meeting, below. Cheerio! Stay warm


February Guild Meeting Working with Jigs and a Vintage Jigsaw

Tom Dolan 2008

Our February Guild meeting will be Monday, February 3rd at 6:00 pm. Tom Dolan has graciously volunteered to host the meeting at his shop. He is known locally for his cute, functional wooden toys. At last fall’s art walk, Tom sold out of his wood toy inventory. They make great gifts! He also makes really nice furniture in his back yard garage woodworking shop.

Dump Truck by Tom Dolan

Tom has offered to give us a demonstration of working with small wood pieces as well as some tips on using jigs. He will also show us a vintage jigsaw. Cool!

Here’s what’s on the program:

  • 6:00 pm: Potluck dinner and feasting on Goulash — a dish from the old country — with your fellow woodworkers.
  • Discussion about a Guild workshop Tim Carney is putting together on how to use Sketch-Up.
  • Demonstration by Tom on using jigs, working with small wood pieces, and a vintage jigsaw. He will also show us some of his wood toys.

Tom and his wife, Carol, will provide the main dish — Goulash (yummo!) Please bring a potluck side dish to share and maybe a beverage. I can think of some yummy sides to go with the goulash … We (Maureen and Tim) are bringing a German Sweet N Sour Hot Red Cabbage Dish. How about coleslaw … cucumber salad … or a big green salad? Those are always great at potlucks. Potatoes? Spaetzel? Buttered noodles? Warm rye bread! Let’s go gourmet this time, guys. [grin]

Before the evening’s program, we have a little business to cover, but mostly our meeting will be about the usual great camaraderie, great food and useful tips on working with wood.

Meeting Details:

  • Date: Monday, February 3rd
  • Time: 6:00 pm to around 8:00 ish
  • Where:  (click here to go to a detailed google map. Zoom out to see Helena on the map.) Written directions are at the very bottom of this post.
  • Please Bring: side dish or dessert. Also a beverage to share
  • Also bring: a friend who might be interested in joining, or who just wants to check us out!

Gallery of some of Tom Dolan’s woodworking:

Please join us and again, we encourage you to bring a friend along — there are so many local woodworkers who may not know about our guild and we know you know who they are! We welcome all folks who are interested in woodworking in any way shape or form — even if they are just thinking about getting into woodworking as a hobby or career. Anyone can join us for a meeting or two, then decide if they want to become a member of the guild.

Directions to Tom and Carol’s house. They live in the Sunhaven subdivision: 

If you are coming from the Helena Valley, get yourself to Custer Avenue, then at the intersection of Custer and Benton, turn SOUTH on Benton, take a RIGHT on Elmwood Lane, then immediate LEFT on Fairway Drive. Tom’s house is on your RIGHT. His shop is around in the back yard.

If you are coming from town, once you get to the intersection of Euclid Avenue and Benton, turn NORTH onto Benton. Turn LEFT onto Meadow drive, then immediately take a RIGHT onto Fairway Drive. Tom’s house will be on your LEFT. His shop is around in the back yard.

See you there! 



TEST – Wood of the Month: Quilted Birch

Birch Forest near Novosibirsk

February’s Wood of the Month from Helena Hardwoods is Quilted Birch.

Dave has some fine boards of highly figured quilted birch available. Guild members can get a 10% discount if they mention they saw this post on the guild website and purchase the wood during the month of February.

Price per board foot: $3.80

Sizes available from Helena Hardwoods: _____________

Autumn Birch by James Jordan.

Autumn Birch ©James Jordan.

The Tree: Betula

Birch is a broadleaved, deciduous, hardwood tree of the genus Betula in the family Betulaceae. The birch family also includes alder, hazel, and hornbeam, and is closely related to the beech/oak family.

Birch are often relatively short-lived trees found primarily in the northern hemisphere in temperate and boreal climates.

The birch tree is sometimes called “The Watchful Tree” because of eye-like impressions on the bark.

Birch are often identified by their light colored easily peeled bark. Birch bark has been used for shoes, paper, canoes and for flavoring or medicinal purposes. Birch bark is resistant to decay, due to the resinous oil it contains. The color of the bark gives the different species their common names: gray, white, black, silver and yellow birch.


The Wood:

Birch is a pale, tight grained wood which is heavy and shock resistant. It takes a stain well and is often used for plywood. Karelian or Masur birch is valued for it’s use in veneer, which displays a unique wood pattern or figure. Because of it’s unique tonal qualities, birch wood is often used in speaker cabinets, acoustic guitars and drums.

Quilted birch has an especially beautiful figure that some say resembles bubbles under glass, or shimmering bulges.


Birch Bark used as fishing net weights in Finland

Interesting Birch Facts:

  • Birch is associated with the feast of Pentecost in Germany, Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia, where its branches are used as decoration for churches and homes on this day.
  • Birch seeds are used as leaf litter in miniature terrain models
  • Fragrant twigs of silver birch are used in saunas to relax the muscles.
  • Birch sap is a traditional drink in Northern Europe, Russia, and Northern China. The sap is also bottled and sold commercially. Birch sap can be used to make birch syrup, which is used like maple syrup for pancakes and waffles.
  • Birch wood is sometimes used as a tonewood for semiacoustic and acoustic guitar bodies, and occasionally for solid-body guitar bodies.
  • In Celtic cultures, the birch symbolizes growth, renewal, stability, initiation and adaptability.

Links for quilted birch info:


Remember, if you are a member of the Helena Woodworkers Guild, you can have a 10% discount on Quilted Birch purchased from Helena Hardwoods during the month of February. Head on down to HH and check out Dave’s inventory. He’ll be happy to show you around the stacks. Helena Hardwoods 3290 Centennial Drive 443-6081


Vikings, Meatballs, Ham and a Bunch of Montanans

Detail of Norse Carving on Chandelier

When we get together for our monthly meetings, we always have fun. Our January meeting at Paul Anderson’s house was educational, delicious, inspiring and fun. I don’t think we’ve ever had such a great potluck — the flavors of everything complimented everything else.

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Karl’s wife Linda sent some meatballs that turned out to be the hit of the evening. Here is proof:

Paul inspired us all with his presentation about relief carving. After he showed us his general technique and talked about the tools he uses for carving, he gave us a tour of his home with all of the beautiful furniture he has made over the last 8 years. Can you believe Paul has only been making wood furniture for 8 years? Huge talent!

Here are some photos of Paul’s woodworking. Click to enlarge the photos.

We really do have fun. We had great attendance, too. A couple of new members joined tonight. Welcome!

Paul uses photos of wood carving as inspiration. He explained to us that he uses a small projector (“Tracer” brand) to get the photographic image onto a “cartoon” (line drawing at the size he will carve) on paper. He then transfers the line drawing to the piece of wood he will be carving. What you see in these photos took Paul about 8 hours to do, so far. He uses a variety of tools to rough out the carving, then continues to refine it. Paul says relief carving adds “life” and a dynamic quality to his furniture, and I think we’d all agree with that! Click the photos to see larger versions.

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potluck at helena woodworkers guild meeting


Check back in a couple of weeks for details on our next meeting, which will be held February 3rd, 2014 at Tom Dolan’s shop. 

Also, if you are reading this and aren’t a member of the Guild, and are interested in woodworking at any level, please consider coming to our next meeting! And … if you know someone who might like to join us, please invite them, encourage them to come and be our guest for the potluck and presentation.


January Guild Meeting: Viking — Norse — Woodworking

Paul Anderson, Guild MemberOur January guild meeting will be Monday, January 6 at 6pm at Paul Anderson’s shop.  Paul has offered to show us some of his recent woodworking projects. He hopes to have his Viking (Norse) chandelier hanging on the ceiling by the meeting date. We’ll also be able to see his Viking long boat, a Japanese ceremonial table and a jewelry chest that has an old Norse decorated door.

Paul will give us a presentation on how he does the relief carving on these pieces. If you have ever considered incorporating carved details or ornamentation into your work, you just might be inspired by seeing Paul’s work during the meeting. Paul says, “Carving can be a bit tedious, but I think it adds a great deal to the custom-made nature of a high-end piece.”

Here’s what’s on the program:

  • 6:00 pm: Potluck dinner and chewing the fat ham with your fellow woodworkers
  • Update from our website committee
  • Presentation by Paul on relief carving and some interesting recent woodworking pieces he made.
  • If anyone else has cool stuff to share, please let Anna Baker know by email and she will add you to the agenda.

Our gracious host will provide ham and bread for a main dish. Sounds like sandwiches might be in order?  Please bring side dishes and a beverage to share.

We have a handful of new members, so please come welcome them to our guild. Many of our long-time members renewed their memberships and came to the December meeting. It feels more like the old guild now. Thanks for coming, everyone.

If you know anyone else who might want to come to our meetings and check out the guild, please invite them. Tell them to be our guest at this meeting. Tell them good stuff about us!

Meeting Details:

  • Date: Monday, January 2nd
  • Time: 6:00 pm to around 8:00 ish
  • Where:  (click here to go to a detailed google map. Zoom out to see Helena on the map.) Written directions are at the very bottom of this post.
  • Please Bring: side dish or dessert. Also a beverage to share
  • Also bring: a friend who might be interested in joining, or who just wants to check us out!

See you there! 

While you have your calendars out, the February and March meetings will be the first Monday of each month, as usual, from 6:00 to around 8:00 One of those months will be hosted by Tom Dolan, and the other by Tim Carney.  Tim will have to be away to install some work, and isn’t sure in which month that will happen.  Stay tuned (here and through email) for updates.

Happy Holidays to all- see you next year!

Sign at Bruce Ewal's Shop

To get to Paul’s shop at 14 North Spike:
  1. Take the Interstate south from Helena and exit at the South Helena Exchange.
  2. Use the round about and continue to go south on Colonial Drive in the direction of Montana City (the frontage road will parallel the highway).
  3. Turn left at the first stop street  (Highway 282 that leads to the old Asarco plant).  You will go over the viaduct that spans the highway.
  4. The first subdivision on your left is Big Sky Acres.
  5. Turn left into the subdivision on Antler (you will pass a group of mail boxes on you right).
  6. Turn right at the next street, Brow Tine.
  7. The next street that intersects is Spike Street.
  8. Take a left on North Spike. You will drive to a cul-de-sac.
  9. From the cul-de-sac drive up the hill to a beige, two story house with dormers.
  1. Take the Highway 12 to East Helena (from Helena)
  2. Turn right at the stop light (the American Chemet plant/old Asarco plant will be on your right)
  3. Turn right at the light, passing American Chemet (you will be on First Street/Highway 282)
  4. Go approximately 3 miles until you are almost at the viaduct that crosses Highway 15 going to Montana City.
  5. Right before the viaduct will be the Big Sky Acres subdivision to your right.
  6. Turn right into the subdivision on Antler (you will pass a group of mail boxes on your right).
  7. Turn right at the next street, Brow Tine.
  8. The next street that intersects is Spike Street.
  9. Take a left on North Spike. You will drive to a cul-de-sac.
  10. From the cul-de-sac drive up the hill to a beige, two story house with dormers.



Guild Members host Gallery Talks and Reception

Helena Woodworkers Guild members, Tim Carney and Maureen Shaughnessy are hosting a reception and artist talks at their downtown Helena gallery on Friday night, November 29th.

Featured in the 1+1=1 Gallery are Tim’s furniture and Maureen’s paintings. Tim and Maureen will talk about their inspirations and media beginning at 6:30 pm, with a reception to follow the talks.

The gallery is located at 335 North Last Chance Gulch in Helena, Montana. If you are in town for the Thanksgiving weekend, please stop by their gallery Friday evening.



December Guild Meeting

Al Flinck Hand Plane
The guild’s next meeting will be Monday, December 2, 6pm at Superior Sharpening & Machine Works.  Bruce Ewals (below) has graciously offered to host our meeting this time

Bruce Ewals, member of the Guild

Here’s what’s on the program

  • Bruce will have some Festool tools on hand for testing and demonstrations.
  • We are also hoping Bruce gives us a tour of his shop
  • Re-cap of the Art Walk Guild exhibit (thanks to member, Matt Schmidt for the handful of photos he took during the art walk Art of Wood show, below)


Our awesome host will provide a pot of something yummy (chili, soup?)  Please bring food and beverage to share.  Any of you who haven’t attended recently, we would love to have you come.

Anna Baker, new guild president, is working on tracking down some non-member woodworkers we have heard about…..if you know anyone who might be interested in checking out the guild, please invite them to come to our meeting!
Just for a little reference for your woodworking, here is a link to Fine Woodworking’s online Tool Guides Topics page. Check it out and if it looks like it might be a helpful resource, bookmark the page so you can go back to it in a jiff.

Meeting Details:

  • Date: Monday, December 2nd
  • Time: 6:00 pm to around 8:00 ish
  • Where: Superior Sharpening and Machine Works at 1301 Orange Avenue in Helena. (click on map below to go to a detailed google map. Zoom out to see Helena on the map.)
  • Bruce’s phone: (in case you get lost) 406.449-0919
  • Please Bring: something to go with soup or chili, and … a beverage to share
  • Also bring: a friend who might be interested in joining, or who just wants to check us out!
See you there! 

View Larger Map


October Woodworkers Guild Meeting

September Meeting Helena Woodworkers Guild

Potluck Dinner and Socializing at our September meeting at Helena Hardwoods

At our September guild meeting, we decided to go back to meeting on the first Monday of every month. Our October meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 7th beginning at 6:00 pm. We’ll meet at Al Flinck’s shop on Raven Road.

Helena Woodworkers Guild MembersAl says, “Handsaws and all the related stuff is one of my current interests and also cleft wood parts for any and all projects. I will elaborate on those at the guild meeting.”

Here’s what’s on the agenda

  •    Art Walk – Tim Carney
  •    Election of new officers – Jeff Camplese **
  •    Treasurer’s Report – Bill Pratt
  •    Program – Al will discuss and invite feedback on several pieces he’s working on.

Location Al Flinck’s Shop at 7127 Raven Road, Helena, Mt 59602 (click on map below to go to a detailed google map. Zoom out to see Helena on the map.) Carpooling would be a good idea. 

Directions Take Country Club Road (past Spring Meadow Lake Park) to Fort Harrison; turn right at the ‘T’ (at the Fort) and continue 6.2 miles on Birdseye Road to Raven Road (there’s a road sign designating Raven Road and also a sign pointing to the Last Chance Church); go left on Raven Road for 2.6 miles to Al’s house. Enter at the overhead log entrance and park on gravel. Estimated travel time: 20 minutes from Spring Meadow Lake.

Please Bring: a food item and/or beverage to share. We typically eat dinner first, then move on to guild business and the program. Al will provide a large pot of chili. Maureen is bringing homemade corn bread to go with the chili.

See you all at the meeting!