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The Barn on White Run

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Where modern craft meets the past.
Updated: 29 min 7 sec ago

Bookboards I

11 hours 54 min ago

Some time last year I was contacted by the ancient book caretakers of the Library of Congress (LC) to inquire about some in-house training they needed in woodworking.  Yes, that’s right, ancient book caretakers needed to know about woodworking.  Actually I knew that because many, many years ago I had helped a colleague in the same department with a project having to do with  very large format book (about the size of a Roubo original edition) that was having problems with its bookboards, or cover boards, which were made of oak.  You see, the the world of old books, especially those from about 1500 and older, wooden book covers are simply part of the equation.  While the specialists at LC were expert in the care of the paper contents, and their bindings, they were a bit hazy on the details and practices of fashioning the wooden boards.

Having participated in a number of collaborations with LC over my career, they asked if I could come and teach them.  Of course the answer was “Yes” and we began the Dance of the Conflicting Calendars.  Combined with the political brinkmanship that is endemic to Mordor on the Potomac it took many months for the training to occur last month.  One of the items looming overhead was the sub rosa blustering about “shutting the government down” to accomplish some partisan goal or another.  (My own attitude on that matter as a skeptical non-partisan Strict Constructionist Declarationist I wished the government would shut down, or at least retreat to its Constitutionally mandated activities, which by my count means elimination of ~90% of FedCo.)

The goal of the two-day session was to impart the knowledge and implant the muscle memory so that each member of the ancient book posse could fabricate a technically faithful book model as a practice exercise in preparation for the next time one of the ancient wooden board books needed re-binding.

So, on a bitter cold and blustery February morning I pulled up to the doors of the elegant LC Jefferson building, my CRV filled to the brim with tools and materials for them to use under my tutelage.  In a caravan of carts all of these were wheeled down to the book conservation space underneath the Madison Building across the street, and I set up shop.

Only one of the crew had experience in woodworking (the fellow using the bow saw in the picture below) so I needed to start at Point Zero to review the nature of wood, tools, and the processes used in planing, sawing, etc.  I brought plenty of 5/4 white oak to work with, and we got down to bidnez.

The first assignment was for everyone to use the bench bench hooks I made for them to saw a single piece to the size they needed for their book model’s boards.

Then came the flattening of one face of that board to provide a reference surface for the resawing.  Given the human scale involved (this crowd was for the most part more petite than a typical woodworking gathering) they were particularly pleased with #4 planes, which are too small for my routine use.

With the flat reference face completed, next came the resawing.  I’d made a Fidgen-style kerfing plane to leave with them, and they took to it like me and bacon.  The final product was to be a 1/4″ thick book board, so I made the kerfing plane to create a 3/8″ thickness.

One of the more serious challenges for the exercise is that as a book conservation unit they were not well equipped for woodworking in the bench category.  Their only bench was an ancient and wobbly Sjoberg hobby bench.

I have one exactly like it that I got out of the trash many years ago.  Frankly if I had to use one like this every day it would end in the trash too.  I completely remade mine, mounted it on some 4″ slippers to get it to a decent working height, and screwed the entire thing to the floor, resulting in a very nice and oft-used work station.  Mine is currently ensconced in the corner, perhaps not coincidentally closest to the propane furnace, and is dedicated to the finer work of decorative objects conservation, gunsmithing, etc.

I will do my best to address their lack of a decent workbench, hoping to make and donate a mini-Roubo in the coming months.  But for now, all we had was a wobbly little bench and some mobile work tables.

 

Then the resawing began with a variety of saws, and thus endeth Day One.

Dedicated Kerfing Planes

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 5:57am

My next step in the Great Kerfing Plane Saga was to go where I think kerfing plane evangelist Tom Fidgen started – kerfing planes with a fixed fence to produce a set width to the cut.  My most typical use of resawing by hand is making hand-sawn veneers, so I decided to make my first kerfing plane part of that equation.  Since I am not yet as skilled at veneer sawing as the craftsmen in the 18th century Parisian ateliers, who routinely harvested twelve sheets of veneer per inch of stock, I struck a more realistic task of cutting eight per inch.  Thus, my need was for a dedicated kerfing plane set to 1/8″.

Falling back on my old habits and routine, I made the body of my plane from 13mm baltic birch plywood.  I had first made a pattern for the tool, one I could use repeatedly.  I derived the pattern template from a backsaw, which I traced onto 3mm plywood and cut out.  The template now hangs overhead off a joist in the shop, awaiting for new kerfsaw-making urges to strike.

I traced the new kerf saw pattern on the thicker plywood, and drilled out holes where they would make the sawing the most amenable.  I accomplished this with my coping saw in a couple minutes.  Once I was done with the sawing I worked on the profiles of the handle with rasps and files so that it was comfortable in my hand.

I made a 3mm rectangle to be glued to the heavier plywood to provide for the cutting spacing.

The assembling continued apace with another scrap of bowsaw blade and a piece of scrap brass barstock to serve the retaining element to hold it all together.

The completed tool is a delightful amalgam of lightness with robustness for vigorous use, combined with comfort and precision for repeated cutting of veneer.

The test drive was perfect!

I followed up on this kerfing plane with one for some teaching I had upcoming, where the ultimate objective was to derive prepared oak boards of 1/4″ thickness from 5/4 stock.  In this case I made the fixed cutting distance 3/8″ since this was the closest scrap I had handy, and in recognition that the folks I would be teaching had no woodworking experience and a bit extra waste would be advantageous.  I will soon recount that tale, confirming the tool removed a huge potential hurdle to them completing their assignment and future task.

Thanks again Tom Fidgen for leading me down this path of simplicity for the sake of precision and efficiency.

Kerfing Plane III

Sat, 03/18/2017 - 5:24am

With the initial endeavor into making a Tom Fidgen-ish  kerfing plan resulting in a functional tool, I needed one last step to make it worth keeping on the shelf.  Since the body of the plow plan was so short, the tool had a tendency to try to flip forward as I was using it aggressively.  So, I fashioned a handle for it based on tracing one of my favorite hand saw handles.

Like a lot of things I make in my shop, especially when prototyping, the handle was from a scrap piece of wood from the scrap box, cut with a coping saw and in this case simply glued to the body of the plane with yellow glue since I did not want to whip up a new jar of hot hide glue just for this.

I got the orientation of the handle a little high, angle-wise, but it lengthened the profile of the plane so that I could really get to it.  With a new blade in its proper orientation (not pictured) it works like a charm and sits in a handy place right over the planing beam.

It was a great introduction to the tool and I thank Tom Fidgen for introducing it to me.  The plow plane starting point was a good one for me, but the final result was a bit clunky in my hand even thought it preformed exceedingly well.

But I wasn’t done yet.

Kerfing Plane II

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 9:52am

With the encouragement of Tom Fidgen’s presentations at WIA and elsewhere I decided to make an attempt at a kerfing plane.  His enthusiasm and evangelism for this tool has once again revitalized an older form from days of yore and integrates it into our toolboxes now.  Huzzahs, Tom!

This tool from Roubo pretty much validates the utility of the tool.  Being a smart guy like Roubo, Tom re-devised a tool without the knowledge of the master’s work from 2-1/2 centuries ago.  Fidgen & Roubo — creative geniuses separated by 250 years.

Since the iron and especially the skate of the plow plane serves an analogous function as the blade of a kerfing plane, cannibalizing a decrepit one from my junk drawer seemed to be the right place to start.  I’d already added new arms and fittings for the fence at some point the misty past.

I removed the skate and found a near perfect bed to affix a rip saw blade section.

Using a piece from a bow saw blade I bought at Highland Hardware and cut with metal snips and a scrap of brass stock from the scrap drawer I charged forward.  (Actually I mighta charged a little too fast; I fited and drilled the blade and retaining bar with the blade running in the wrong direction.  Sigh.  Still it worked surprisingly well, but in the end I made a new blade and bar.)

The assembly was pretty straightforward, although drilling through the saw blade was a bit of an adventure.

 

 

It was time to give this cobbled-together tool a test drive.  Magnifique!

But I was not done yet.

Studley 2.0 @ Handworks!

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 2:58pm

Jim Moon has informed me that he is bringing his remarkable replica of the H.O. Studley Tool cabinet to Handworks in Amana IA.  The ensemble will probably be exhibited in the Amana Furniture Shop near the booths of SAPFM, Mary May, and Mike Siemsen.  It’s a great location, allowing for much greater access by the attendees and greater safety and security for the collection.

As if you didn’t need any more reasons to attend the best tool event on earth.

Kerfing Plane I

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 8:50am

When I first learned about Tom Fidgen’s kerfing plane I stored it away in the memory bank, realizing immediately that it was just the tool to make resawing an easier undertaking.

 

Since I do a fair bit of hand-resawing with my vintage carpenter’s saws and my pair of c.1800 4-foot frame saws and their little brother I made a few years ago it was a natural fit for my work bench activities.

It took me a couple years to actually get down to making some kerfing planes for myself.  My starting point was this derelict partial plow plane that was probably in a box of tools I picked up somewhere along the line.  I had added some new arms for the fence as I thought about making the plow plane usable, but since I didn’t really need another plow plane I eventually just let the carcass languish in my spare tool bin.

When looking at Tom’s kerfing plane I thought this plow plane body just might be the starting material for a try at cobbling one together myself, just to see if it really was a useful as Tom said it was and I hoped it might be.  If so, I would concentrate on making some good ones to integrate into my work in The Barn.

Stay tuned as I take you down the path of creating a new, useful addition to my tool set from something probably destined for the wood stove.  And, where I went from there.  Thanks to Tom’s insights, creativity, and evangelistic fervor he has transformed part of my work.

Reminder – 2017 Classes at The Barn

Sun, 03/12/2017 - 5:32pm

Here is the full slate of activities.

cIMG_1586

May 23-27 Making a Ripple Molding Cutter – this is less of a workshop than a week long gathering of fellow galoots trying to design and build a machine to allow us to recreate ripple and wave moldings.  Material and supplies costs divvied up, no tuition.

c308-2

June 16-18  Make a Nested Set of Brass Roubo Squares – This is a weekend of metal working, as we fabricate a full set of nested brass squares with ogee tips, as illustrated in Plate 308 of l’art du Menuisier.  The emphasis will be entirely on metal fabrication and finishing, including silver soldering with jeweler Lydia Fast, and creating a soldering station for the workbench. Tuition $375, materials cost $50.

cIMG_0497

July 24-28  Minimalist Woodworking with Vic Tesolin – This week long session with author and woodworking minimalist Vic Tesolin will begin with the fabrication, entirely by hand, of a Japanese tool box.  Who knows where we will end up?  I am looking forward to having my own work transformed.  Tuition $625, materials cost $50.

cIMG_1928

August 11-13  Historic Finishing – My own long-time favorite, we will spend three days reflecting on, and enacting, my “Six Rules For Perfect Finishing” in the historic tradition of spirit and wax coatings.  Each participant should bring a small finishing project with them, and will accompany that project with creating numerous sample boards to keep in your personal collections.  Tuition $375.

cIMG_1964

September 4-8  Build An Heirloom Workbench – I’m repeating the popular and successful week-long event from last year, wherein the participants will fashion a Roubo-style workbench from laminated southern yellow pine.  Every participant will leave at the end with a completed bench, ready to be put to work as soon as you get home and find three friends to help you move it into the shop.  Tuition and Materials $825 total.

Since some recent research revealed the attention span of Americans to be eight seconds, I’ll re-run this periodically.

If any of these interest you drop me a line here.

Williamsburg Snapshot – The Banquet

Sat, 03/11/2017 - 6:00am

 

For me the great honor at Working Wood in the 18th Century was being asked to serve as the after dinner speaker.  Kaare had asked me to work with the topic “sometimes the old ways are the best ways” to which I gladly complied.  Of course I provided my own peculiar spin on the topic, but everyone seemed to laugh in all the right places so I guess it went well.

Of course the highlight of the evening was the scrumptious chocolate cheesecake awaiting me at my place on completion of the chat.

I got a lot of very positive feedback on the talk, and was even asked to summarize part of it as an article in next year’s American Period Furniture.  That section of greatest interest was a list of ten “assignments” I gave to the audience to stretch their handworking boundaries.  For some in the audience, perhaps even most, this was simple encouragement and validation, for others it was a legitimate challenge.

I will blog about each of those assignments individually over the next fortnight or so, but here is the list:

  1.  Restore an old tool to wondrous functionality
  2. Make a new tool and incorporate it into your bench work
  3. Learn to sharpen.  Really.  Everything
  4. Incorporate one (then all) of these traditional tools into your work — spokeshave, drawknife, scratch stock, toothing plane, froe
  5. Saw and prepare veneers by hand
  6. Learn to prepare, modify, and manipulate and use hot hide glue.  Then use it.
  7. Execute a decorative painted surface
  8. Make from scratch, from stock you prepare yourself, one of the following — parquetry, floral marquetry, Boulle-work, a Federal paterae
  9. Prepare a surface without the benefit of sandpaper, then apply a finish not using a spray gun, polyurinate, or cellulose nitrate
  10. Make a piece of furniture entirely without power tools, beginning with a piece of firewood or similar

The Birthin’ Is Done!

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 6:22pm

In my hands this morning…

I am not displeased.

 

Williamsburg Snapshot – Wax Finishing

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 1:30pm

Although I have attended the Colonial Williamsburg Working Wood in the 18th Century conference many times, this year was my first as a speaker.  I was asked to present the topic “Wax Finishes” which I did.  Alas, my time slot was only 45 minutes, which in retrospect pretty much everyone agreed was too short by some logarithmic value.  Still I did my best to rip through the basics at breakneck speed.

As with virtually every finishing talk I give I began by covering my “Six Rules for Perfect Finishing.”

 

I then blew through the topics of surface prep with a scraper and then a polissoir.  Truly this step has revolutionized my understanding and practice for finishing.

Then came the application of block beeswax as a grain filler and final finish, worked into the surface via vigorous rubbing with the polissoir, followed by scraping to remove any excess, and finally by buffing with a flannel.

I showed, all too quickly, the incorporation of both resin flour and powdered colorants to the beeswax grain fillers to impart either hardness or coloration.

Finally I approached the problem of voluptuous and carved surfaces, employing the boxwood burnishing stick and the polissoir, with impressive results given the few seconds I had in hand.

I got excellent and encouraging feedback, and the CW folks must have liked what they saw because I have been invited to return in the fall for three days of in-house hands-on training for the cabinetmakers, gunsmiths, and housewrights on the topic of historic finishing.

 

The Golden Age Redux

Thu, 03/02/2017 - 5:04am

I have long argued that we are living in two simultaneous Golden Ages, that of furniture making and that of tool making.  Never before in human history has a culture produced more superb furniture than we are right now, it’s just that most of the furniture is being made avocationally rather than vocationally, which is not to disregard the exquisite furniture being made by people who do it for a living.  It’s just that there are so many more “makers driven by passion” than those driven by income, a ratio I would  conclude is far north of 100:1.

The Golden Age of Tool Making is a bit different in that the purveyors for those particular narcotics in the marketplace are simultaneously driven by both passion and income.  Consider the upcoming Handworks event, where scores of professional woodworking tool makers will interact with thousands of woodworkers and tool aficionados, deep in the heart of the Iowa cornfields.  I am honored to count many of these toolmakers among my friends and acquaintances.

I am sure there are cranky toolmakers working under the nostrum of secrecy, but thus far I have yet to run into any of them.  My experience is that they are delighted that you are interested, and inevitably they will fill you with more information than you can digest at any one time.  They must understand this, as most of them have web pages that are archives of definitive and dispositive documents telling you almost everything you ever wanted to know about whatever it is that they make or do.  I keep several dozen of their sites bookmarked and visit them as often as I allow myself, knowing full well that the first click can result in an entire evening lost in pursuit of knowing more.

Occasionally one strikes my fancy or is so perfectly timed to a particular need that I find myself talking to myself in celebration.  Recently I have been doing some things with saws, some of which may eventually leak out into this blog, but most of which has to do with tuning up the saws that I already have.  With that in mind I was delighted to see a new (to me at least) offering over at Bad Axe on the care and feeding of  vintage back saws.  I am currently awaiting the fullness of time to get to a couple (four?  five?) of them hanging on my wall, and this page will no doubt serve as a valued resource once I get to that point.

In the service of full disclosure I should say that I have two Bad Axe back saws that I purchased from them, and have communicated with Mark Harrell fairly extensively on my two 4-foot late-18th Century frame saws, tools I use surprisingly often.  Someday I might show up on Mark’s doorstep with them in hand, and ask for a sharpening refresher tutorial.

Williamsburg Snapshot – Building A Table Chair

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 5:36am

Ted Boscani’s crew from the CW Joiner’s Shop (I think at one time they were known as the housewrights) were the final in-house presenters as they had a Four Ring Circus in operation making a “table chair.”  I think in some circles this piece is known as “a monk’s chair.”

While Ted was demonstrating some of the joinery from the underside of the flip-top, most particularly the cutting of the sliding dovetail into which the hinging braces would be inserted, the apprentices were all working on the same bench on the opposite side of the stage fabricating the elements that were assembled into the chair’s base.  Their congenial sharing of a bench tweaked my self-indulgence of working on, in a typical day, anywhere from 6-8 different work benches in my own space.  I admit, I suffer under an embarrassment of riches.

Finally, after 90 very engaging and entertaining minutes, the table was assembled.  While I have my doubts about the interests and abilities of most of those in attendance to fabricate any of the chairs from earlier demonstrations, I can definitely see this fitting into the ken of just about everyone there.

Calling Simon Templar

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 6:52am

If you have not already seen Konrad Sauer’s update on the restoration of the 1968 Volvo P1800 I disposed of in his direction, give it a look.  The car, of which there were only about 125,000 produced over a 13 year period, was made famous in the early 60s British television series “The Saint” starring the utra-cool Roger Moore.

Here’s just one of the dozens of pics.

 

 

Williamsburg Snapshots – Replicating a Walker Corner Chair

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 4:35pm

In addition to serving as the Master of Ceremonies for the Working Wood in the 18th Century event, Anthony Hay shop master Kaare Loftheim took to the stage to show us the developments of the corner chair made up the road in the Walker shop near Fredericksburg.  This iconic chair form, perhaps most notable for the thunder mug contained underneath the upholstered slip seat, provided inspiration for many other chairmakers of the period.  Maybe while they were sitting… oh, never mind.

Kaare was particularly struck by the stylistic variations of the form within the same shop.  He spent considerable time pointing out the salient details from the version of the chair he was replicating in black walnut.

For the on-stage demonstration Kaare did the layout and carving in basswood so it would proceed more quickly and we could get his points in a hurry.

I am pretty sure that “working in a highly detailed artistic and technical exercise while an audience watches the results a 100x magnification” fits at least some definition of fearlessness.

 

Most of the structural creation had been accomplished prior to the event, but it still had to fit together properly.  It did.

Prior to the last year or so I was only barely acquainted with Kaare personally, and it has been a true delight to get to know him better over that time and I look forward to the next time our paths cross.

Williamsburg Snapshot – Make A Chair From A Book

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 3:52pm

 

Anthony Hay cabinet shop journeyman Bill Pavlak bit off the challenge of making a chair illustrated in Chippendale’s Director.  Given the vagaries of historic images when compared to the structure of chairs, it was indeed something to wrestle with.

Bill engaged in one of the most innovative didactic exercises I’ve seen as he walked us through the evolution of the Chippendale chair by fabricating a display form on which he could attach full scale depictions for each of the major evolutionary steps in the design heritage.  I found this to be a brilliant approach that should be employed everywhere for anyone interested in the subject.

Since much of the character of the chair is contained in the carvings, that is where Bill spent his time.

I must admit that I missed some of Bill’s presentation as I was 1) talking to someone out in the vestibule about some SAPFM bidnez, and 2) snuck out to go with my wife and some friends to an organ recital at the nearby Wren Chapel on the campus of the College of William and Mary.  Sorry Bill, no disrespect intended.

 

Williamsburg Snapshot – Making A Late Baroque Chair

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 4:18pm

In the next four  postings I will be highlighting the contributions by the CW craftsmen to the Working Wood in the 18th Century gathering.  They work under the burdensome (?) expectation of excellence on our part, as for years they have not only put on the show as the impresarios but are expected to be stellar in their on-stage performances.  It’s a lot of weight on their shoulders, and they pull it off every time!  You can tell they are comfortable with audiences, I don’t mind folks watching me work, but the contant interruptions they endure must be maddening.  It disrupts any work flow and extends a project’s timeline by a logarithmic factor.

First up of the Colonialista soloists was Brian Weldy, demonstrating the steps to designing and building a late Baroque (aka “Queen Anne”) chair in walnut.  As with all the presentations I found much to be learned from the project, although it is unlikely I will ever build one.  Nevertheless Brian’s dealing with the sumptuously curvilinear form was instructive.

His layout of the serpentine center splat was particularly of interest to me as I have a pair of 16th Century Chinese horseshoe chairs on my bucket list.

He called on Kaare to provide a second pair of hands for the assembly of the chair seat rail and legs.  I was fascinated by the wooden blocks left on the serpentine seat rail to provide striking anf clampning surfaces.  These would be carved off once the assembly was completed.  I thought it was an ingeniuos and efficient solution to a problem.  Maybe everyone else already knew it, but it is a technique now residing firmly in the memory bank.

With the chair assembled Brian addressed the seat construction and lofting, and his time was done.

New in the Mail

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 5:17am

I’ll interrupt my jaunt through the CW confab to mention some new things in the mail.

First off is the catalog from the Marc Adams School of Woodworking which includes this page describing the two classes I will be teaching this fall, Parquetry and Historic Finishing.

Yesterday saw the arrival of the new Popular Woodworking with some intriguing contents.

In addition to an excellent article on bench chisels from The Schwarz Hisownself there is a wonderful piece by my pal Jameel Abraham on making and using plywood.  Solid.

And immediately subsequent to Jameel is my latest article, which was about the most fun writing I have ever had.

To top it all off I received a sample of some shellac wax from the producer in India.  It is excellent and I am going shortly to the bank to make the bank-to-bank transfer to order several hundred pounds.  This steady supply will allow us to begin manufacturing Mel’s Wax shortly.  Stay tuned.

Williamsburg Snapshot – Watching A Rock Star At Work

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 5:28pm

Of all the thing I learned at the recent Working Wood in the 18th Century shindig, two come into clear focus: 1) Peter Galbert is a rock star, and 2) even though I am not a Windsor chair sorta guy I somehow have to figure out a way to budget the time and finances to attend a workshop he is teaching.

While I am not even a chair builder per se, Samuel Gragg chairs notwithstanding, I had been awaiting this presentation with great anticipation since I learned of it.  Pete’s book on chair building was a thing of great beauty and erudition; the highest compliment I can give it is that I wish I had written a book this good.  When reading it I found myself smacking my forehead with every new nugget of enlightenment, which meant every couple of minutes or so.  In much the same way as Krenov’s original trilogy,  Chairmaker’s Notebook is a snapshot of the craftsman’s soul.

And here he was on stage, unfolding his methods of work.  As my friend MikeM remarked, Pete’s performance was perhaps the most amazing example of cogent non-stop talking and non-stop working either of us had witnessed.  Next to both “peripatetic” and “loquacious” in the dictionary is a picture of Pete, and with great elan he walked us through the processes he uses to build his chairs, and his reasoning behind them.  It was a beautiful thing to see.

Beginning with the splitting of the green stock needed for the fashioning of the steam bent pieces and finishing with the assembly of the chair’s elements, I found this to be as grand a learning experience as any I have encountered in furniture making.

Along the way he showed how he lays out the geometry of the chair spindles and legs, steam bent the continuous arm/crest rail (I was too engrossed in watching to remember to take pictures), and even turning the green wood legs on a treadle lathe, he did not miss a single note.

His assembled base with the arm attached was a great hit with the attendees as it was on display out in the vestibule of the auditorium.

Well done, and thanks Pete.

Williamsbug Snapshot – Chairmaking Intro

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 2:30pm

Recently I attended the annual Working Wood in the 18th Century shindig at Colonial Williamsburg.  I’ve been to many of these gatherings over the years, but this was my first since moving to White Run, and also my first entree as a speaker.  The theme this year was chairmaking, and the presenters were Kaare and Ted, along with Brian Weldy and Bill Pavlak, the journeymen from the Hay shop and Ted’s crew of interns from the Joiners shop, along with Windsor chair maker Peter Galbert and moi.

The general format for these has always been hands-on demonstrations by the CW craftsmen, usually from the Anthony Hay Cabinetmaker shop, currently mastered by Kaare Loftheim, and the Joiners shop, under the tutelage of Ted Boscani.

The setting for the conference is the Hennage Auditorium of CW, with each of the presenters engaging in actual hands-on work while engaging in soliloquies of discourse on their particular topic, on-camera with live microphones.

First up with the evening lecture on the opening night was Tara Gleason Chicirda, the long time Curator of Furniture for CW, presenting Craftsmanship of the American Chair.  Tara possesses a breathtaking range and depth of knowledge about the things we care about, and I have never been disappointed by the many lectures I have heard from her.

The next morning was started by a “three-ring circus” as Kaare, Brian, and Bill took the stage for near simultaneous expositions on their projects with a session titled Chairmaking Fundamentals–Three Chairs which set the stage for the exhilarating ride to come.

More abut each of their projects in coming posts.

Periodic Reminder for 2017 Courses at The Barn

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 1:49pm

Here is the full slate of activities.

cIMG_1586

May 23-27 Making a Ripple Molding Cutter – this is less of a workshop than a week long gathering of fellow galoots trying to design and build a machine to allow us to recreate ripple and wave moldings.  Material and supplies costs divvied up, no tuition.

c308-2

June 16-18  Make a Nested Set of Brass Roubo Squares – This is a weekend of metal working, as we fabricate a full set of nested brass squares with ogee tips, as illustrated in Plate 308 of l’art du Menuisier.  The emphasis will be entirely on metal fabrication and finishing, including silver soldering with jeweler Lydia Fast, and creating a soldering station for the workbench. Tuition $375, materials cost $50.

cIMG_0497

July 24-28  Minimalist Woodworking with Vic Tesolin – This week long session with author and woodworking minimalist Vic Tesolin will begin with the fabrication, entirely by hand, of a Japanese tool box.  Who knows where we will end up?  I am looking forward to having my own work transformed.  Tuition $625, materials cost $50.

cIMG_1928

August 11-13  Historic Finishing – My own long-time favorite, we will spend three days reflecting on, and enacting, my “Six Rules For Perfect Finishing” in the historic tradition of spirit and wax coatings.  Each participant should bring a small finishing project with them, and will accompany that project with creating numerous sample boards to keep in your personal collections.  Tuition $375.

cIMG_1964

September 4-8  Build An Heirloom Workbench – I’m repeating the popular and successful week-long event from last year, wherein the participants will fashion a Roubo-style workbench from laminated southern yellow pine.  Every participant will leave at the end with a completed bench, ready to be put to work as soon as you get home and find three friends to help you move it into the shop.  Tuition and Materials $825 total.

Since some recent research revealed the attention span of Americans to be eight seconds, I’ll re-run this periodically.

If any of these interest you drop me a line here.

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