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


Guild Member, Anna Baker Awarded Grant

Anna Baker working a log

Photo ©Erik Petersen

Anna Baker, owner of Redtail Woodworks, and a member of the Helena Woodworkers Guild, was recently awarded a Red Ants Pants Foundation Community Grant to help her purchase tools for her woodworking business.

According to the Red Ants Pants Foundation website, the grants are given to businesses whose missions align with the values of the foundation. “Redtail Woodworks hopes to fulfill its potential by showcasing a successful woman-run local business and a beacon of education and empowerment for the women of Montana”

When I read the foundation’s mission and values statement, I thought Anna Baker certainly fits the list pretty danged well. Congratulations to Anna for achieving this grant, and Good Luck in your woodworking business.

Anna Baker Red Ants Pants Foundation Community Grant

Congratulations to Anna Baker for her grant, which will allow her to buy much-needed tools for her woodworking business.

You go, Anna! I’m sure all of the Guild members are behind you 100%. There are not many female members of the Guild (in fact, only 2 at present, and one of them is our webmaster who is most definitely NOT a woodworker. Heh) so we can surely use your leadership and energy not only in general, but also to encourage more women to join us and get their hands into the sawdust.

Here is what Anna calls her “first Redtail Woodworks project.” Notice she is also rocking the Red Ants pants. When she figures out what she’s going to make with this board, I’m sure we’ll be seeing pics here on our blog.

Anna Baker Redtail WoodworksPhoto of Anna sawing that log: ©Erik Petersen


Dan McArdle Completes Statue for St. Vincent’s Hospital, Billings

Jesus Carving by Dan McArdle

Guild member, Dan McCardle recently completed a large project for St. Vincent’s Hospital in Billings.

Dan carved the Jesus from laminated 12/4 Basswood.  He used these tools: an electric chainsaw, angle grinder, freehand trim router with a carbide burr, Proxxon Merlin, Orbital sander, dremel tool and of course a variety of hand gauges and hand sanding. The carving is finished with shellac and Tried and True Original.

The piece started as 2 freehand sketches on notebook paper-front view and side view.  Dan then had Sibley’s Helena Blueprint enlarge the sketches to life sized patterns which he used to guide his glue-up and roughing in.  According to Dan, “this was a fun project.  I’m now in the Jesus business!”

Here are some images from Dan’s progress on the statue:



Swinging Tool Rack Design by Bill Pratt

innovative tool rack

The following is an article resurrected from our archives:

Congratulations to Bill Pratt, one of our Guild members, for the inclusion of his innovative swinging tool rack in FineWoodworking’s Jan/Feb 2008 issue.

Bill designed and built the tool rack to utilize shop space that would otherwise be wasted in front of the overhead door in his shop. His design was included in Fine Woodworking’s Methods of Work section.

To read the entire article online, you must have access to FW’s online community or sign up for a free 14 day trial membership. You might find the membership well worth the small fee, since you can access all of Fine Woodworking’s archives online. Or you could get the magazine …

   Here is an excerpt from the article:


The double-car garage door severely limits wall space in my garage/woodworking shop. So I created a 4-ft. by 5-ft. swinging tool rack for hanging hand tools, clamps, and accessories. Mounted in the corner of the front of my garage, it can stay against the garage door until I have to get in or out that way. The rack does not interfere with storage on the adjoining wall.

I made the rack out of 2×4 and 2×2 lumber. Two heavy-duty fence hinges are bolted to two 10-in.-wide stand-offs to hold the rack away from the wall. The stand-offs, which can be any length, are lag-screwed into a stud in the garage wall.

 Anyway, not only is Bill’s idea published in a nationally popular magazine, he is also the subject of a feature article in the Helena Independent Record.



Help us Promote the Guild

Howdy folks, we are trying to build up the guild membership and would like your help.  We have some posters available to hang up in local businesses and public places such as the library, Dave Ashley’s shop, and Bruce Ewals shop.  If you know of a business that would be willing to post one of these (see below. They are 11 x 17) please let us know in a comment below and we will get one there. Better yet, you could stop by Tim’s house and pick one up and post it for us. That would be awesome. Thank you for helping us promote the Guild to Helenans who might be interested.

poster advertising woodworkers guild


Membership Survey

Thanks to everyone who completed our membership survey that was emailed out several weeks ago. Twenty six folks did the survey. We will be posting the results — and more importantly, our ideas for moving forward with rejuvenating the guild — very soon. Please check back to see what your peers in the guild think about membership and our activities. If you subscribe to updates via email (the subscription box, right) you will be sure to get a reminder when we post the results. Below is an example of how the results came; this shows question #4.

screen shot of survey results



Learning Opportunity in Port Townsend

Rafter Tail Table Workshop

Portland School Of Woodworking Workshop on Building a Rafter Tail Table Greene and Greene style

Coming Soon in the Middle of May! Get your class on!

The Port Townsend School of Woodworking offers a variety of woodworking classes throughout the year.  Students from around the country spend from two days to ten days or longer (in their Foundations Class.) learning from professional woodworkers, many of them nationally recognized experts.  The Port Townsend School website lists the details about classes, lodging, activities, etc.

Coming up this May 13 – 17, is a workshop taught by Darrell Peart (above),  a nationally recognized American Arts and Crafts furniture expert who has specialized in the work of Charles and Henry Greene, commonly referred to as Greene & Greene. There is still room in Peart’s five day class on building The Rafter Tail Table which is a versatile design that can be used for many types of tables from plant stands to coffee tables. Peart will also be teaching two classes in Greene & Greene Detail this year but both of those classes are already full (with waiting lists.) The full description of the 5 day class in May, plus details, can be found here.

Please click this link for a full list of classes and information about the Port Townsend School of Woodworking.


Your Time, Helena IR article about Woodworkers Guild

Dave Carlson & Tim Carney

This post has been resurrected from our way-back-machine (2007) but the Independent Record article is gone, so this post will have to do for now … let’s get some more of this kind of press soon, guys! 

Our guild members got some great publicity in the Helena Independent Record, Your Time.

Reporter and YT editor, Emily Donahoe, interviewed Dave Carlson and Tim Carney about the history and purpose of the guild and about the large number of talented woodworkers in Helena. Excerpts from the YT article:

If a piece of handmade furniture is no less than a work of art, then there are many artists among us.

According to Helena Woodworkers Guild (then) president Tim Carney, however, a lot of them are still, shall we say, hidden in the woodwork. The Helena Woodworkers Guild is a group of professionals and hobbyists who meet once a month to share tools and techniques, and a potluck dish or a few. The guild is exhibiting a variety of work at the Myrna Loy Center through the end of November.

Seated in an elegant, sculptural rocking chair he made himself, the tall, soft-spoken Carney and his physical opposite, the compact Dave Carlson of D. Carlson Woodworker Fine Furniture, discussed their craft and the wealth of talented woodworkers based locally.

Dave Carlson & Tim Carney
Dave Carlson and Tim goofing off in Dave’s shop

all photos in the YT article and in this blog post Copyright © Maureen Shaughnessy


Fall Art Walk: Art of Wood Exhibit

Just a quick note that the postcards for the Guild’s “Art of Wood” show at the Placer on Nov. 12th, will be ready to pick up next Tuesday evening, Oct. 26. All members who would like to help us promote our exhibit are welcome to come pick up a handful of the cards, to send to your customers, family and friends. We appreciate your help getting out the word.

For more info and to pick up the cards, call Tim at his shop 449-2730.


Member Feature: Lance Seaman; custom entry door and mantel in new house

Lance Seaman Front Door

The Helena Woodworkers Guild March meeting was hosted by Lance Seaman of Seaman Cabinets, at the house he and his wife are building on the east side of Helena. They haven’t moved in yet, but that didn’t stop us from thoroughly enjoying a delicious potluck set up on saw horses and plywood along with his beautiful woodworking.

Lance Seaman Front Door detail

After jawboning over dinner, Lance showed us the mantel he designed and created, as well as his new craftsman style entry door (above)

Humor makes our meetings great

The mantel is from a design by Scottish architect and artist, Charles Mackintosh. Lance’s mantel is made of quarter-sawn white oak plywood; the top veneered with paper backed oak veneer, glued with Titebond III and vacuum-bagged. The finish is a red, water-based aniline dye under a vinegar/steel wool solution with a top coat of water-based laquer. Lance showed guild members how he bent the wood for the mantel in his vacuum bag, something that about half of our members had not tried before.

Scrutinizing Lance's technique for laminated curved mantel

It’s this kind of educational opportunities and comraderie that make our woodworkers’ guild such a great group. If you know of anyone who is interested in woodworking, as a career, skill or hobby, please invite them to attend one of our meetings and consider joining the guild. We welcome folks of every skill level, experts and newbies alike.