Shop Tours


Saturday March 14, 2020  - 9:00 am

Charlie Gunderson’s shop


5680 Skylark Place
La Jolla, CA 92037







Previous Shop Tours


January 2020 Bernie Burke's Shop




November 2016 Tour - Steve Zonce

Pictures from Steve Zonce's shop tour. Photos by Lou Adzima.


March 2016 Tour - Hesser Handcrafted

Brett Hesser showed SDFWA members all about veneer, and building furniture and cabinetry using veneered panels. He has an impressive shop, with machinery for industrial scale cutting, gluing, and bonding veneer to substrates, and building custom furniture. Photos by Lou Adzima.

January 2016 Tour - American School of French Marquetry

On January 9th, Pat Edwards opened his shop to us. The event was well attended. I asked Pat if he would answer a few questions for this article and soon saw what a professor he is. He graciously gave a biography of his life for all to hear; a small part of which follows: Pat was born in Los Angeles, but grew up in San Diego. He was in the first graduating class of Revelle College, UCSD. He has a degree in high energy particle physics. While a student, he spent 1968 studying and working on the particle accelerator at Brookhaven Laboratories, Long Island, NY. He returned to UCSD, graduated, and was hired by Maxwell Laboratories, San Diego to work on a high energy switch design. In 1973, he came to a crossroads in his life: He could stay with Maxwell Laboratories and pursue only physics, or, work full time in his own shop, Antique Refinishers, on Adams Avenue, which he had opened in June 1969. Pat had done antique repair and refinishing while at UCSD to help pay for his studies. In fact, he was so good at it that it proved quite lucrative. The fact that it was more lucrative than working for Maxwell Laboratories helped him make his decision. In 1975, he moved to his current location on Utah Street.


Pat and his partner, Patrice Lejeune, teach marquetry at his shop. Two methods of marquetry are taught: the Boulle method and the piece-by-piece method. The classes are offered every three months or so and are two weeks long. Both men are eminently qualified to teach. Patrice is a graduate of the Ecole Boulle in Paris. Go to to learn of this prestigious school. Google “Andres Charles Boulle” to learn about the school’s namesake. Pat was invited to attend Ecole Boulle in January, 1992, and studied French marquetry for 3 months.  He returned at the same time each of the next three years to continue his studies. Unlike Patrice, who was a full time student, Pat paid tuition and received a “certificate de stage” upon completion of each level of work.  After his fourth year at the school, he was successful in negotiating a contract between Ecole Boulle and his business, Antique Refinishers, for accreditation. Under this contract, he was able to receive 18 students between 1995 and 2000 for advanced studies in the field of marquetry.  It was necessary to return each year during this contract to interview new students, and that is how he was introduced to Patrice, who was a graduate and running his own business in Paris.  In 2000, Pat’s professor at Ecole Boulle, Dr. Pierre Ramond, retired, ending Pat’s relationship with the school.  That was when he decided to start the American School of French Marquetry in San Diego.


As if Pat’s life wasn’t busy enough, he also has a very close association with SDFWA. From 1987-1995 he was Superintendent of Design In Wood at the Del Mar Fair. During that time, he instituted many things we see at DIW today. In 1987, he created and built the chair shop; stocking it with his own tools. He instituted the volunteer system to staff DIW and rewarded them with fair tickets. From its inception in 1982 until 1995, DIW didn’t have a permanent location at the fair. In 1996, the building where it is presently held was built. 


One last thing that Pat passed on to the people attending the shop tour was a peek at his business model. He makes his business work with many streams of income: Restoration, fabrication and education; all involving marquetry. In addition, he sells a glue that he was involved with formulating. It is hide glue modified with urea that stays liquid. It is called Old Brown Glue:  He also upholsters, carves, veneers, consults, and is an expert witness in court. All of these revenue streams make his business profitable.


Pat’s work is of the highest level and he is one of the few people to receive the Cartouche Award from the Society of Period American Furniture Makers. For information on this award go to: . To follow Pat’s blog go to:  



September 2015 Tour - Russ Filbeck's Shop

We visited Russ’s shop on Saturday morning, September 26th. The tour was very well attended with people listening to Russ from inside his shop and on his driveway. Russ, being a master chair maker, had provided chairs in many different styles and sizes for members to try out. They were surprised at how different the chairs were in feel and comfort. Of course, this was Russ’s intention to demonstrate how important it is to provide the right chair for the person for whom it is intended.


Russ gives classes in chair making, tool making, finishing and other wood crafting subjects. He is an accomplished woodturner and enjoys doing all types of woodworking. Russ showed us a ladderback chair made from sycamore and demonstrated how to finish the hickory bark chair bottom with Liberon tung oil. Russ worked with Jimmy Carter on this chair, one of a set which will - along with a table - be auctioned off to support the Carter Center. While finishing the chair bottom, he explained about where he obtained the hickory bark, and how it is harvested in Tennessee, along with how he got the sycamore. In fact, he gave so much information that my note taking skills were proven inadequate.

Russ’s biography is extremely interesting. He is a past president of SDFWA, was scholarship chairman for the association, and has done too much for this club to mention here. Additionally, he is a retired submariner, holds a Bachelor's and Master’s degree in Industrial Studies from SDSU, was a teacher at Palomar College, and has wood-worked with President Jimmy Carter. He is a very strong supporter of the Good Samaritan Boys Ranch near Springfield, MO and explained his personal connection to it. His chairs have been auctioned to help out the Boys Ranch, the Carter Center, the 9-11-01 Firefighters and Pentagon families, along with other charities.

Suffice it to say there was an enormous amount of woodworking knowledge and personal history dispensed by Russ, all of it warmly received by the attendees. If you are interested in learning more about Russ, try going to:


Report by Adrian Larson, Newsletter Editor
Photos by Lou Adzima, SDFWA Historian




July 2015 Tour - Tony Tait's Shop

Tony began woodworking in 1973 when he bought a used 1953 Shopsmith. He created a mirror and rocking horse as some of his first projects. In 2004 Tony sold his 1953 Shopsmith and bought the San Diego County Fair special - a new Shopsmith 520 - which you can see in the corner of his shop today. Tony’s first shop, like many members, started in his garage where he made many practical items for his family and others. A chest of drawers was one of his first larger pieces. Tony received a lot of  “on the job training” building stage scenery; he is a retired union stagehand, having worked in San Diego and Las Vegas.


Tony built this great shop over the last year, finishing in January 2015. Tony designed the shop, poured the concrete and contracted with Tuff Shed to build the custom building. The shop has exterior walls framed with 2x6s that have been insulated to R-19, with R-30 in the ceiling. Tony did all the electrical work himself, installing the service panel along with all the lighting and outlets. He also installed an AC/Heating Heat Pump which keeps the shop at an even temperature all year round.


Tony is enrolled in Palomar College - currently building the clock project. He would like to expand his woodworking to include more Arts & Crafts projects. Tony has also completed a nice sewing room for his wife Debbie. Debbie and he have lived at the address for just the past year and a half. They have accomplished a lot in a short time.


You will also hear a lot from Tony at each meeting--- he is our sound technician at the monthly SDFWA meetings.


Lou Adzima



February 2015 Tour - Brian Jackson's Shop - Rose Engine Lathe

On February 14th, 2015 we were privileged to tour Brian Jackson’s Shop. Brian is a wood turner and a member both of SDFWA and the San Diego Woodturners. Brian began turning wood in 2000 and was a finish carpenter by trade. In 2008, the SD Woodturners held a demonstration of an MDF rose engine. This inspired Brian to first build his own MDF rose engine and then several months later, he ordered a large, metal rose engine from Fred Armbruster. Fred Armbruster, a New England retina surgeon, was building a batch of 26 rose engines. He ordered one and in 2009 Mr. Armbruster came to the west coast and assembled his lathe, an Armbruster Mark II. In 2014, Mr. Armbruster was kind enough to let Brian emulate his Mark II in order to build his own, homemade rose engine. Brian spent eleven weeks, worked every day and completed his own metal rose engine. In the accompanying photos, this lathe has the polycarbonate discs, while the Armbruster lath uses brass disks..



The rose engine is a very special ornamental turning lathe. The term rose engine comes from the way some of the patterns look that can be turned on the lathe; people thought they resembled roses. The particular type of rose engine Mr. Armbruster used as a prototype is a Holtzapffel and his is named the Armbruster Mark II. While we were all admiring the lathe, Mike Switalski, the SDFWA Magazine Sales chairperson, mentioned that he knew about an article on the Holtzapffel lathe and he kindly emailed it to me. The article is from Wood Magazine, December 1998 and I highly recommend it. Perhaps you can pick up a copy at the next meeting, or, if you can’t find it, try going to This website provides a great deal of information on the ornamental lathes built by the Holtzapffel family beginning in the 1700’s.







Brian has a wonderful gallery in his home in which he displays some of his work. He told us that the pieces made on the rose engine lathe are not sanded after they come off the lathe. Sanding would damage the very fine details. He does use oil and wax to achieve the finish you see in the photos. How fine are the details in ornamental lathe turnings? In my opinion they are as fine as those of a metal lathe. Brian has heard of judges using a jeweler’s loupe to examine pieces. Some of Brian’s work is shown in del Mano and Idyllwild Galleries.



As I left the tour, I half expected to see Phileas Fogg and his faithful servant Passepartout step out of the Victorian age and into Brian’s shop to order something.


Adrian Larson, SDFWA Newsletter Editor



Brian dazzled the SDFWA members who toured his cozy shop housing not one, but two rose engine lathes - one of which he built himself! These are fascinating and beautiful pieces of equipment with all sorts of belts, cams, and wheels which are used to machine highly intricate details on woodturning projects as well as other materials, such as synthetic ivory or metal. Some of the intricate patterns which can be produced are known as guilloché, and have been used in watchmaking and other fine arts for centuries. Here are just a couple examples of Brian's work...


and many more can be found at his website -

January 2015 Tour - Al DeVries Shop

On January 10th we had the privilege of touring the wonderful workshop of Al DeVries. The turnout was good, the weather was perfect and Al’s presentation was highly informative. He had many examples of his woodwork displayed which he has built over the years. Intarsia, jewelry boxes, custom cabinets and a great storage shed he built for his lumber were among the myriad items to study.

Al kept everyone in rapt attention as he went around his shop noting and demonstrating the custom jigs, work benches and tool cabinets he designed and built; many of which he has had published in woodworking magazines.

Al built his shop from the ground up about 22 years ago. The layout is a marvel of efficiency. He explained his method of workflow and tool choices, all the while offering many tips for maintaining and using tools. Because he has been woodworking for so many years he was able to offer many insights for dealing with the inevitable march of time that the aging woodworker faces. He demonstrated special handles he has created to allow extra leverage while adjusting jigs and tools. He confided that he now makes mostly smaller pieces like boxes, many of which he had on display. They are beautiful.

The one thing that most impressed me about Al’s shop was the degree of organization his custom made cabinets allowed. I was left not only impressed but, truth to tell, feeling personally inadequate. Upon arriving back home I had the overwhelming urge to get organized!


Adrian Larson, SDFWA Newsletter Editor

Photos by Lou Adzima, SDFWA Historian


October 2014 Tour - Steve Rogers' workshop

About thirty intrepid souls drove up to North County to see Steve Rogers' impressive workshop. A free-standing 1050 sq. ft. building next to his tangerine grove, this dream shop is the culmination of Steve's experiences with woodshops over many years, and incorporates ideas from other SDFWA shop tours he has attended. A full suite of woodworking machinery, hidden dust collection plumbing - including a down-draft sanding station, and a unified style for all the cabinets and storage spaces make this shop a real showcase. For the tour, Steve thoughtfully placed many signs around the shop explaining details, to help make sure people got all their questions answered.


The shop also incorporates a separate "office" room for designing and a woodworking library. Steve was especially inspired by a trip to the Gamble House, and builds Greene and Greene style furniture for family and friends. We encouraged him to enter something in Design in Wood this year!





We also noticed a clever way he used a binder clip as a flip-up drawer stop... and the tangerines were delicious!



August 2014 Tour - MakerPlace

July 2014 Tour - Tropical Exotic Hardwoods

May 2014 Tour - Jim Frantz's workshop...

Jim welcomed many members to his shop Saturday morning. Jim’s shop is well thought out and fits nicely into a two car garage. Don’t be mislead, Jim has mastered the art of space usage. Every tool is located to permit proper safe operation but also to get along with its neighbor, either by moving out of the way or helping to support the operation of the adjoining tool. He has used the area above the shop for wood storage. Jim has also brought making jigs to the next level. He says he likes well made jigs that will last, be accurate and dependable. Jim builds small jewelry boxes, and has a larger free standing jewelry box entered in this year's Design in Wood show. One of the tools that received a lot of attention was a “Swamp Cooler” he bought at a Texas Wood show. He says it keeps his shop a nice cool temperature during the summer. 






March  2014 Tour - JNilsonDesigns Logyard / Sawmill

I'd say more than 60 SDFWA members drove up to Oceanside Saturday and toured the facilities at JNilsonDesigns. Jeff Nilson showed us around their logyard and sawmill, as well as the rest of their facility for making amazing custom cabinetry and furniture. If want some unique boards or a slab of exotic urban wood for your next project - be sure to visit this local sawmill...


JNilsonDesigns website -


Map and directions here...


"Nilson live edge lumber is dedicated to conservation. We salvage local trees destined for the landfill, mill them into slabs and lumber, dry them in custom-made solar kilns, and construct breathtaking slab tables and furniture that allows “the soul of the tree” to live on. Having the ability to take raw timber and turn it into one-of-a-kind pieces allows us the freedom to be a one stop shop. Each piece is as unique as a fingerprint."


The January 2014 Tour was held at Jerry Blakeley's toy shop

Charlie Bierman hosted a shop tour at Jerry Blakeley's toy shop. Jerry passed away a couple of years ago but his wife Pat has graciously allowed Charlie and his crew to continue using the well equipped shop where they make hundreds of toys for needy and/or sick children.





Del Cover's House and Shop.

Del Cover’s house could easily be converted into a woodworking museum. Naturally, his shop is impressive and has every tool necessary to the trade and some necessary only to Del whose eclectic talents are all over the map. Casework? Sure. Multilayered maple rocking chairs with a snake motif? You bet. Walnut puzzle boxes that hold chocolates? And more. Much more. There are wooden sculptures in his garden, itself a work of art, that hold blown glass rounds intended for sunsets. His office has a variety of rocking chairs, but no cats. A dragon hangs from the ceiling, its fire intimidating a Nikki St. Phall rocking chair that also hangs from the ceiling as well as a chupacabra in its claws.

The tour was well attended and if you didn’t go, you should put shop tours back on your calendar. Everyone who is anyone showed up. I arrived, as usual, fashionably late. I set my clock back, thought I had plenty of time and then realized I was a day early. Senior moments suck. Luckily I live close so the drive was not bad. Because of the number of people attending, parking was a problem and I walked for several blocks to get to Del’s house.

Del is an inspirational figure. His talent and his hard work leave his fellow woodworkers in awe. I, for one, aim to find a way over to his shop during the day sometime and pick his brain, show him some of my projects and get the advice of a master.


Mike McElhiney


Lou and Deinna Adzima's Shop and Home

In addition to the woodshop tour, Lou and Deinna will also open their house to display some of their projects. One of the highlights will be their remodeled patio cover they converted into an outdoor eating area which they call "The Hacienda." They were so pleased with how it turned out, they entered the "This Old House" magazine's 2012 Remodel Contest. They received a "Moxie" award for their efforts. Their hacienda was featured on a one page spread in the July 2012 issue. There were more than 3000 entries from all over America. They felt honored to be acknowledged by experts in the remodeling field. 

If you would like to preview their home, here are two links: 


October 2013 Tour - Bernie Burke 

About 70 people made the trek to Fallbrook on the 15th and were rewarded with a very cool wood shop, courtesy of owner and proud designer, Bernie Burke, as well as a terrific scenic view on a fine sunny day. The doughnuts weren't too bad either and a good time was apparently had by all. We are very grateful to Bernie for hosting the event, and also to Jewell Burke, for opening her exceptional quilting studio to the visitors. A few photos are shown below.


Bernie said he would be happy to answer additional questions about the shop, and also to show the shop to individual members who had to miss the tour. Contact him at 760-723-0972 or