I was given the opportunity by the Fifth Masonic District of Ohio to craft a replica of the Grand Master's Pin to be used as a "Traveling" Trophy for the 2022 Masonic Inspection season. To the uninitiated, Masonic Lodges need to demonstrate proficiency for conducting their lodge as well as exemplifying degree work. This usually happens in the first half of the year and is what we refer to as Inspection Season. During this time, it is a popular competition to see how many lodge members can get together to travel to another lodge and observe their degree work. The lodge with the most "traveling" brothers would get this plaque to hang in their lodge. A fellow brother in the 5th district has always been tasked with making a different one every year based on that Grand Master's Pin. That brother sadly passed away last year so I offered to continue the tradition. Our new Grand Master of Masons in Ohio has set his slogan as "Reflect on Freemasonry". I crafted two of these, one for its intended purpose, and one as a gift. I decided to use a 4-degree slant cut on my Delta scrollsaw to give a relief set for the lettering and laser-etched the main centerpiece logo. The finish is enamel paint on the letters and outer ring, with a light cherry stain on the center with semi-gloss polyurethane. One is a piece of aspen, the other a birch plywood. Both are roughly 12 inches in diameter. Altogether, about 12 hours of construction time.
Here is a quick woodworking project for a brother in our lodge. He received his MM degree at a special outdoor ceremony and we wanted a frame that would reflect the three degrees. The wood is simple aspen which was routed for the profile and then run through the Laser CNC to imprint the masonic artwork. A quick finish with stain and polyurethane to complete the look.
This is a Masonic plaque I crafted for a lodge brother of mine. He has been delivering the E.A. lecture for 50 years now and has demonstrated an amazing devotion to the fraternity. The E.A. lecture averages about 20 minutes of delivery from memory and is no small task for any mason to undertake. The plaque base is Aspen with leaser etched embellishments and a light coat of semi-gloss polyurethane. The twenty-four-inch gauge is oak and also has laser-etched embellishments for the 24 inches. The common gavel is Brazilian oak and has a masonic lodge coin embedded in the head. The pins are rotatable so the working tools can be removed and handled.
A friend asked for a small woodworking project, a broken column (it's a Masonic thing) which I thought I would take a crack at. This means I needed to learn how to do fluting on a spindle. The first challenge is that my LA200 lathe does not have an indexing lock. Thanks to the folks at Alisam Engineering for crafting a very well-engineered aluminum indexing plate and pin lock which fit my lathe beautifully. The next challenge was building a router jig or finding a ready-made one. Amazon and Penn State Industries to the rescue. I found a cool attachment with a trim router for less than $100 that seemed to rate pretty highly. I got everything in this week and took it for a test spin this afternoon. The wood is a very old chunk of oak I had pulled from a burn pile, so not the best quality, but I am happy with the end result, and my lathe got an upgrade. The last image is the final version and is purpleheart with a high gloss polyurethane coat.
Also sometimes seen as M.O.V.P.E.R., or, the Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm. Yes, I get it. It sounds somewhat contrived, but the goal is quite honorable in nature. Get Master Masons together for light-hearted frivolity and fellowship. It is a social club that does not claim to be masonic, but you need to be a Master Mason to join. As a bonus, you get a fez to wear to events.
What am I hoping to find with this latest adventure? I think the notion of fellowship with a large pool of masons, outside of the formal lodge setting, is what appeals to me most. I have found the organization to draw men of good character, and while we may not always see eye to eye on all topics, I have respect for their opinions and value their thoughts.
The ceremonial evening was amazing. The production was put on at the Maumee Indoor Theatre, followed by a wonderful dinner with time to converse. It drew in a crowd from all over the tristate area, and as far away as New York. My understanding is that the full production has not been performed in quite some time, so it sparked a lot of interest.
This week's project is a storage box for a Masonic wax seal Jen got me for Christmas one year. The warmer was a separate piece, and I wanted a simple box to store it all in. The material is mixed Aspen and mahogany. The past master emblem was done on my CNC router, fittings are brass, and finished with three coats of semi-gloss polyurethane.