Yo Joe! #2: WoodCraft Class, Houston TX

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Blog entry by Dukegijoe posted 02-01-2010 07:24 PM 2561 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Introduction Part 2 of Yo Joe! series no next part

Yesterday was a good day, by almost any woodworking standard. Regrettably I didn’t touch wood to a tool. So how can it be a good day? I got to spend it with David Marks of WoodWorks Fame. He taught a class at my local WoodCraft and my wife was kind enough to give me the day to go.

This was my second class with David; I took one about a year ago on Double-Bevel Marquetry (keep meaning to get a scroll saw, but something bigger and more powerful always seems to get in the way). The class was fantastic then, and was fantastic yesterday. David is a very open person, willing to answer any question with patience and kindness, taking the time to explain things until he is sure you understand. That is a rare gift, even among teachers, and I greatly appreciate him doing it for us. He also is fantastic at remembering names, which I don’t know how he does with all the people that end up in front of him every year.

So yesterday’s class was about setting up your bandsaw for cutting veneers, which is something I am very curious about (maybe because I actually have a bandsaw?). He took us through how to tension a blade, the benefits and drawbacks of various methods (including tensioning systems that don’t match up one to one on measurements), as well as how to set-up the guides on the saw once the blade is tensioned. Again, benefits and drawbacks were discussed for each type of guide bearing. We then took a break for bandsaw maintenance, since apparently a washer was missing in the tension pulley assembly and a new one was needed. This resulted in a member of the class actually fabricating one in the room out of oak (temporary fix, but still impressive). Thank you Jeremy Grubs (, who btw is an accomplished wood celebrity in his own mind (and the Houston area)!

After the repair, David showed us a technique to determine drift angle on a bandsaw blade. If you didn’t know, each blade for a bandsaw has a direction that it wants to cut in. When cutting a straight line, the blade will want to push the wood left or right (or if you are really really lucky, straight). That push is called drift. You don’t want to fight drift, you want to accommodate it. I won’t tell here how to find it, but I am sure that a lot of LJs have their own techniques and will be willing to share. I will share the technique once my shop is wired and I can try it on my own bandsaw (don’t want to preach something I haven’t tried myself).

From there it was a lunch at Chili’s with David and 20 other woodworkers from the Houston area. Needless to say the conversation turned to ongoing projects, where to find the best lumbers, local clubs, and of course the pie-in-the-sky furniture ideas that you just can’t seem to get to work out right…

After lunch we went back to the class and started getting into laminations, glue preferences, and how to build forms for different style laminations. A vacuum press was used to demonstrate several techniques, and David even had several recent pieces to pass around with him. The afternoon portion was fantastic.

Overall, a great day, with one low point… My 10 megapixel camera couldn’t take a decent picture to save it’s life! Apparently there is a problem with the stabilization protocol in the camera… What a crappy time for it to die on me. But… I have contact info for a couple of people who had cameras that did work, so I will try to provide some pictures in the near future. Now I just need to find some time to get to Sketch-up and recreate some of the jigs he showed us…

-- Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsmen can hide his mistakes! - Walter Blodgett

5 comments so far

View Woodbutchery's profile


434 posts in 5081 days

#1 posted 02-01-2010 08:05 PM



I’m glad you had a good time. Maybe next time I’ll pay attention to those woodcraft class schedules …

-- Making scrap with zen-like precision - Woodbutchery

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 4631 days

#2 posted 02-01-2010 09:00 PM

Was that the SW Houston WoodCraft store? I bought the 14” Rikon bandsaw there when it was on sale in November, and I thought about attending this class. Since I haven’t used a bandsaw at all I figured I’d look for more basic instruction first. Interestingly, the SW Houston store has a series of bandsaw demos this month which I’m hoping to attend.

-- Greg D.

View Dukegijoe's profile


55 posts in 4544 days

#3 posted 02-01-2010 10:06 PM

Yes, it was the Southwest WoodCraft store. If you want to catch the material from the class (outside of the Q&A), there were some David Marks DVDs left behind, including a bandsaw one. To be honest, setting up for veneers is what is necessary to properly set-up the bandsaw for any operation. The DVD is roughly $35 dollars. A little expensive, but worth it. Hope this helps.

-- Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsmen can hide his mistakes! - Walter Blodgett

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 4631 days

#4 posted 02-08-2010 08:03 PM

I was at the store Saturday for their first free bandsaw demo of the month. Jeremy Grubb got roped into doing it. He does the “build a handplane” class there. The machine was not in top condition, so Jeremy ended up going through a basic cleaning and more-or-less complete tuneup – new blade, setting guide blocks – before getting to the demo of setting the drift angle and cutting some veneer. It was about perfect for me. He really likes that DVD, and also mentioned a Marks DVD on hand cut dovetails that includes hand saw tuneup that might be even more expensive. I have a few projects ahead of learning those skills, but I’ll probably go to the next free demo also – can’t beat the price.

-- Greg D.

View a1Jim's profile


118334 posts in 5072 days

#5 posted 02-09-2010 12:37 AM

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