2018 John McAlister Award

The John McAlister Award is awarded annually by the Charlotte Woodworkers Association to the club member who in the current year most exemplifies the purpose of the organization through display of :

  • Demonstrating the Spirit of the Club
  • The Advancement of Woodworking Skills(
  • The Sharing of Knowledge
  • Participation in Club Activities


This years Chairman of the Award Committee is Greg Smith.  All submissions below will go directly to the award committee for consideration.

Past recipients of the award are not eligible to receive it again.

Past Recipients include:

2015 – Fred Miller
2016 – Bruce Bogust
2017 – Dave Powles



  1. Award will be result of written (email) nomination by any current club member, submitted to the award committee to be designated by the Board.  A member may also nominate him(her)self.
  2. Nominated club member must be a current dues-paid member for the year the award is given. The nominated club member cannot be a previous McAlister Award winner. 
  3. Announcement of the coming award and nomination process will be made during regular club meetings prior to the October meeting.  Nominations will be solicited from attendees of the October regular meeting and mass email sent to dues-paid members. 
  4. Nominations may be made any time before the deadline.  Deadline for nominations will be Nov 20, 2018 (6:00pm). Nomination is simple — name the nominee, and list specific reasons for the nomination.  Email nomination to mcalisteraward@charlottewoodworkers.org or give a hard copy to Greg Smith on or before the November meeting. 
  5. Award will be announced and presented at the Christmas meeting of the club.


Mary Lou Miller is helping me out and she put together these great bullet points to help you craft your nomination.

Greg Smith

Demonstrating the SPIRIT of the CLUB  

  • affable, inclusive, welcoming all seasoned members and  newcomers alike 
  • is readily accessible for discussion and participation at meetings, via phone, internet, etc
  • accepts and supports projects put forth by consensus of club members


  • continually educating self about standards, methods, materials, and tools
  • shows appreciation for and knowledge of the history of woodworking
  • sets high expectations for developing best methods and production outcomes

The Sharing of KNOWLEDGE

  • contributes educational materials to club through communal loans or library gifts
  • demonstrates techniques, explains varied uses of materials, announces resources/classes
  • offers assistance to all members in choosing and  implementing ideas, challenging voids

PARTICIPATION in Club Activities

  • present, visible, and  actively engaged at club meetings and club’s public outreach projects
  • contributes ideas, skills, materials, and assistance to club and individual endeavors
  • goes beyond what is asked by club to envision what is needed and how to accomplish it


Upgrading a Jet JJ6-CS Jointer

In the process of building my shop, I decided to acquire tools that I could afford and try to get the best quality without sacrificing too much money.  One of the decisions I made was to purchase a used jointer from one of our club members when it came up for sale.

It was a 1990’s era Jet JJ6-CS, but like most well made tools it was built to last.  This jointer was no exception.  When I purchased the jointer, I was given an extra set of sharp blades to go on it and some basic tools for setting them.  

After about a year’s worth or use, I decided it was time to change the blades but realized I really didn’t want to have to fiddle with setting the blade height and fussing with turning the bolts on the cutting head, etc.  It’s a pain to change them.  Besides, the jointer was pretty loud and with the dust collector running too, it just seemed like a good idea to make an upgrade.

I had heard about the Byrd Shelix heads and was thinking it might be a good time to make the switch, so I went online and started the research.

My search landed right away on https://shelixheads.com/.  When I saw the prices I was pretty surprised because the last time I checked it was about $600 to replace my cutter head. My replacement head was only $309. Even so I wasn’t convince I should make the purchase.

In the meantime, I decided to go old school on some panel glue-ups and used my hand planer to do the job, partly for fun, and partly because I needed the practice.  I rarely make a purchase without sitting on it a few days and evaluating the value of what I’m getting vs. what I’m giving up.

While I was waiting, Stumpy Nubbs released this video on his youtube channel:  

The thing that I really liked about his review is that he reviewed the cutter heads 2 years after he’d bought them and was still really happy with the results.  

So, yes, I bit the bullet and did the upgrade. I contacted Shelix Heads and asked them which head I needed for my jointer and they sent me information on how to figure out which one would fit.  I placed the order and had a box show up at my doorstep less than 1 week later… much faster than they advertised.

The next thing I had to tackle was how to install it.  I’d never opened this jointer up to that degree yet so I figured I was in for an all day upgrade.  The actual process only took me about an hour.  The hardest part was getting the bearing casing off the bearings.  By the way, I also decided to upgrade my bearings and I’m glad I did.  The replacement head came with the bearings already set on the shaft so I didn’t have to fuss with bearing pullers, etc.  In all, it was a simple install.

When I reset the jointer and started it up, I was shocked at how much cleaner the cut and how much easier the wood moved over the heads.  It was also a LOT quieter.  

With the upgrade, that puts me at about $800 for a 6″ long bed jointer all in and I’ve got a quiet machine, and one where I might not have to change blades again for a couple years.  A brand new unit runs 

Also, Shelix through in a box of 5 replacement blades.  I’d considered buying extras, but didn’t want to fork out any more money.  They also provided a bold driver and a socket with the tool to change cutters.

Ask me in two years if I made a good purchase. 

Also, I have a 6″ jointer head with an extra set of blades for sale if you need one.

New Library Resources

Wayne Manahan provided an update of new resources in the club library.  There are newly purchased DVDs as well as some donated books.  See the Librarian at our regularly scheduled meetings to check in/out resources.

Presentation: Bill Maloney – White Cedar Birds

This month’s presentation was delivered by Bill Maloney.

Bill has been making white cedar birds for most of his life. This craft has been passed down through many generations and is believed to have originated in Russia or one of the scandinavian countries, but Bill is not sure where his father, being Irish, learned it and passed it down to him and his brothers.

As a boy he was delegated one specific task in the process.  When he and his brothers were still young, his father passed away, but they continued the craft.  As his brothers reach High School age, they lost interest and taught Bill the rest of the process.  When Bill reached High School, like his brothers, his interest changed and he stopped making these birds until he got out of the Service.  At 85, Bill has continued to make these birds every since.  He demonstrates a unique and special love for his craft and is willing and eager to share it with anyone who is interested.  Bill doesn’t compromise on quality, but he does recognize there is a balance between quality, time and artistic expression.

Bill’s White Cedar Birds are all made from one single piece of wood and have no glue.  They are finished only with a coat of shellac and some wood burning to accent the piece.  Sometimes he will mount them on a stand, but prefers to hang them up.  Because “it’s difficult to get a bird to balance”, Bill will mount the ones that won’t balance on the string.

Information on Northern White Cedar:


The whole process of making the birds begins with selecting the right trees.  Every few years, Bill drives to Vermont and hand selects the right trees.  Though, it’s possible to make them from all kinds of wood, they are best made from straight-grained White Cedar.

If the bark is straight, the grain of the wood is straight.  The first three feet of the tree is not used because it contains imperfections in the grain.  However, the next 14-18 feet of the wood above the 3 foot base is used.  These are cut into 38 inch lengths for the trip home.  All of the bark is removed and only the sapwood is used.

Once the wood arrives, it’s put into a 55 gallon barrels filled with water where it remains until it’s used.  Often his stock will remains here for a few years.  Storing the wood this way stops checking and insures the highest quality piece.  White cedar is very easy to carve when wet.

A regular bird takes Bill about 30 minutes to make.  Hummingbirds take about 15 minutes each.  Bill teaches some class on how to make a bird and generally it takes a new student about 2 hours to learn the entire process and make their first bird.


It is very hard to make a mistake.  He has taught classes on how to do this in about 2 hours for an new student.

Once it’s carved, the piece is dried overnight.  The next day, the piece is shaved and sanded.  The carving process is done with a sharp 

Next, Bill uses a Swiss Army Knife with a thin blade to slice the wings.  This knife is ideal for this part of the process and technique is key to getting clean slices.  The grain of the wood help, but also the very thin blade prevents the need for a sawing movement.  Bill learned that simply moving the piece a little further from his body during cutting enables him to produce pieces much faster and with better consistency.  

Once the wing slices are made the bird wings are interlocked and set to dry.  The next day, Bill will add the details and finish with one coat of shellac.

Jim Kakacek – Toolbox and Restored Tools

Jim is a tool collector and has built a beautiful tool box to also store some of the tools he’s made.  Cherry wood, hand rubbed and wax finish.  All of the wood is flat-sawn so the wood produces a different feel and different results.  Using a stain hides a lot.  Some shellac was used initially to eliminate blotching from the Cherry wood.  Case is dovetailed on all four sides.

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Library Update

Wayne Manahan provided an update of new resources in the club library.  There are newly purchased DVDs as well as some donated books.  See the Librarian at our regularly scheduled meetings to check in/out resources.

Shop Clean-up

Shop clean-up will be the last weekend of the month, October 27th at 9am.  We’ll be throwing out a lot of stuff and cleaning the shop.  It shouldn’t take too long.

Bowl Turning Class

The Bowl Turning Class is progressing well.  They’ll be making 4 bowls.  Due to the positive response the class will be offered again in the new year.

Woodworking Sales

Klingspor is having their woodworking Extravaganza Friday/Saturday October 26 & 27th.


WestPennHardwoods-LogoWest Penn Hardwoods will also be having a big sale as well and some of us will be going there while in the area.

Officer Elections

Officer Elections will be next month.  All officers have agreed to serve again if elected except for Vice President Bill Blackett.  Nominations were taken at this month’s meeting.

Nominations received:

Jim Dunn – Vice President

Boy Scout Merit Badge Workshop

Please sign-up here:

Current Sign-up Sheets

No sheets currently available at this time.

This will be the 1st Two Saturdays in November 3rd & 10th from 8am-2pm. We need multiple people at each station to help the kids in different areas.  Please plan to attend.


We have an ongoing raffle for a Belt Sander.  Raffle tickets can be purchased at the meeting, or online via paypal from the website.

Members Store

Help Wanted

We are looking for a few volunteers to help setup and manage the raffles at our monthly meetings.

Upcoming Classes

Bruce Bogust will be doing a basic Table Saw Class on the 1st Saturday in December.

Christmas Party & Gift Exchange

Our annual Christmas Party & Gift Exchange is December 18th at Brixx Uptown

There is free parking nearby.  This is just around the corner from the 7th Street Light Rail Station.

Cost is $10.

Don’t forget to put your red ticket from each meeting in the box for a drawing to win.

Our members will be doing the gift exchange again this year.  Preferably shop made items that are given to our spouses (if you bring one) and servers.

One Special Christmas


One Special Christmas Banquet / Auction will be on December 1st, Saturday at Oehler’s BBQ Barn in Charlotte, NC.

This is our opportunity to help kids have One Special Christmas! Since 1989 One Special Christmas has raised more than $800,000 to help children experience the feeling of being special.

This year we will be helping children to have a BIG, life-changing Christmas season!  Please help us this year by entering an item for the auction, coming to the auction and buying things!

Preview and silent auction will begin at 5:00 PM.
Dinner will start at 6:00 PM and the live auction will begin at 7:00PM.

Click Here to RSVP

or call 704-360-0643

Be sure to invite friends! 

If you plan to donate, please fill out this form and bring it with the item.  If not going, drop off the Monday before the meeting (November 26th).