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Issue Three T.O.C. - Essential Human Work: Reimagining a Legendary School on the Coast of Maine

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 1:16pm

"Essential Human Work: Reimagining a Legendary School on the Coast of Maine" by: James McConnell and Michael Updegraff featured in Issue Three.

After nearly 40 years of teaching traditional hand skills, chairmaking, and green woodworking, Country Workshops is closing its doors. Started deep in the mountains of North Carolina in 1978 by Drew and Louise Langsner, the school has become an iconic epicenter of handcraft, and countless creative journeys have begun by venturing down the narrow gravel driveway. 

This is not a lament or eulogy to the passing of an era, however. Kenneth Kortemeier and his wife Angela share the passion of the Langsners to teach these skills of "essential human work". Kenneth learned primitive skills from a Cherokee elder in North Carolina, worked as an intern at Country Workshops, apprenticed under legendary Welsh chairmaker John Brown, taught wooden boat building and seamanship, and built furniture and cabinets on commission, but his biggest undertaking lies ahead. The spirit of Country Workshops is being handed on by the Langsners to be replanted in a rural town on the Maine coast. The old Workshop's tools and benches have been transported north to be put back to work in the new Maine Coast Craft School, where the exclusive distribution of several top-quality Swedish toolmakers will continue.

Through interviews and narrative from North Carolina and Maine, we knew we had to share this compelling story. This kind of graceful, thoughtful transition is almost unheard of in the business world today. It clearly reflects the shared philosophy of Drew and Kenneth that asserts there is lasting value in teaching how to create objects that are simple, functional, and beautiful.

- Mike Updegraff

Stay tuned tomorrow for the next article upcoming in M&T Issue Three...

 

Categories: Hand Tools

Although I currently use a Fuji X-Pro 1 as my main camera, I...

Giant Cypress - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 7:28am


Although I currently use a Fuji X-Pro 1 as my main camera, I learned photography on a Nikon F. I still have that camera and the 50/1.8 lens it came with.

(Picture from and poster available from Level Press, along with other posters of iconic Nikon cameras.)

More With Matt Furjanic of Inlaybanding.com – 360w360 E.240

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 4:10am
More With Matt Furjanic of Inlaybanding.com – 360w360 E.240

In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking, Matt Furjanic of inlaybanding.com returns to talk more about his company and other inlay topics. The discussion travels along topics such as how important dry woods are to making bandings, and how he slices his loafs into strips, which includes setting the fence to the right of the workpiece.

Join 360 Woodworking every Thursday for a lively discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more).

Continue reading More With Matt Furjanic of Inlaybanding.com – 360w360 E.240 at 360 WoodWorking.

H&H is back.......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 1:28am
There is more whining to come on the weather so don't touch that dial and don't tune in another station. Not only did the H&H return, it brought the stickiness with it. The rivers of sweat flow so freely in this lovely weather and seem drip everywhere you don't want them. The kind of sweating where blinking your eyes will cause a cascade of it to roll down your forehead and leave droplets on the inside of your glasses. I can't forget complaining about it taking up residence in my beard and having the aroma of urea making me think I pissed on it. Oh the joys of living in a four season part of the world. I wonder what the humidity is like in Hawaii?

A series of thunder boomers just passed through my area and I didn't lose power. Knocking on wood.  It did absolutely nothing to make the H&H calm down. It is not supposed to be dry until friday and tomorrow is also supposed to be more humid then today. Needless to say, my decompression time in the shop tonight was short.

road testing the bead in spite of the H&H
The beader batted first because the board doesn't need any special set up. The iron and sole profile matched up real good. I set the iron to make shavings but I had to give two more love taps before it started to plane.

good looking bead for an as is iron
Some of the shavings were a bit raggy but I'm sure once I sharpen and hone the iron I'll be spitting out wispy ones. The scale of the bead looks to me to be a good size for this 3/4" thick piece of pine. I thought that it was going to look too big for this and I would have to use it on true 4/4 or 5/4 stock.

the astragal is batting cleanup
Before I run the astragal I need a rabbet on the edge of the board. I can't remember who left me that tidbit as a comment. When I first got an astragal plane I couldn't get it to make a profile. Someone left a comment telling me I needed a rabbet and I haven't had any problems since.

rabbet laid out
I am not sure on the size of the rabbet and I took my cue for the size from the outside edge of the plane.

need to go deeper on the rabbet
had to straighten out the wall
I planed a taper in both the bottom and wall of the rabbet. Since the size isn't critical, I made both straight by using my eye.

having some problems
First problem is the iron definitely needs to be sharpened. Secondly, I am clueless as to why this stopped cutting at this point.

checked the rabbet
I thought since it stopped cutting even after I advanced the iron again that the plane was bottoming out in the rabbet I planed. That wasn't so as there was about a 16th of daylight still to go there. Along with it not wanting to plane the profile, it is a bit difficult to push even in small increments.
tried it without a rabbet
This wasn't any better than trying it with the rabbet. It was hard to push and the boxing for the quirk left a line of shiny, polished wear. I was only able to get the profile about as much as the first try. I was sweating way too much and I had already soaked one head band and I was working on #2. I wasn't in the right frame of mind to troubleshoot this so I put it aside for now and I'll wait for a spell of dry weather.

the before pic
This was it sports fans. Posting pics of painting is on the same rung of the ladder as posting pics of paint drying. I painted the beaded part of the frame and shut the lights out. This completes my whining for the day because I headed for the AC heaven.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Who was Ray Harroun?
answer - he won the first Indy 500 race in 1911

10 Year Anniversary!

Philsville: Philip Edwards - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 12:30am
Yes, you read that right - Philly Planes is ten years old this month!! Ten years ago I completed my first pair of planes as a professional maker, starting myself on an exciting and, at times, "interesting" journey. And it has certainly been a lot of fun!

So I would like to thank all my customers and friends who have supported me and encouraged me over the years - thank you, for I could never have done this without you!


To celebrate this anniversary all planes made over the next year will feature a secret mark stamped on the stock :)

So my thanks again - if you need me I will be in the workshop. Amen!

Philly
Categories: Hand Tools

Meet the Author: David Savage

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 3:58pm

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One of the books I am most excited about publishing is David Savage’s “The Intelligent Hand,” which is supposed to be in my hands for editing by the end of the year. As many North American woodworkers are unfamiliar with David and his work, I asked Kara Gebhart Uhl to write  this profile, which covers David’s life and work in both art and furniture. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

— Christopher Schwarz

“The story of my life is a whole series of failures in lots of ways,” says David Savage, an artist, designer, maker and founder of Rowden Atelier, a furniture design school and workshop in North Devon, England. “You don’t look at how you fall over, but it’s kind of how you get up again, the whole process.”

And David did get up, again and again. Some may call that a solid work ethic, perseverance, moxie. Or, when a young family is in the picture, survival. Perhaps, though, the getting up again is simply the root of being a maker.

David says it took a visit from Christopher Schwarz in 2015 to define the culture of Rowden. It was then that Chris noted a strong line of identity coming from the Arts and Crafts Movement to Rowden students.

That, says David, is what Rowden is. “It’s not the celebration of the flowery wallpaper of Arts and Crafts, but the celebration of who a craftsperson is — the treatment of a maker not just as a pair of hands to manufacture stuff but as a genuine contributing human being making something that’s worth having. The celebration of that is what we do here at Rowden.”

Every time David faced a challenge or failed in some way, the act of starting over came from an acknowledgement of worth. Sometimes it took an outsider. Sometimes the realization came from within. But it was the title of maker, with all its history and meaning, and the innate desire to make something worth having, that pushed David to get up and create, not just a piece of furniture, but a life, and one he deemed worth living.

Art in the Place of Speech

Born David Binnington in 1949, David grew up on the Yorkshire coast in post-war Bridlington. Both his parents were entrepreneurial and relatively prosperous. His mother, a hairdresser, owned several shops in town. And his father, an importer and manufacturer of soft drinks, owned a small factory.

“My childhood and youth were afflicted by a stammer,” David says. “Have you seen that movie, ‘The King’s Speech?’ Then you appreciate a little bit of what it’s like to have a stammer. Being inside that person with a stammer is awful in that you know where the problem lies, you know that words beginning with ‘b’ are a nightmare because you’re blocked with those. You can see those words coming up in the sentence ahead of you so the tension gets even worse. I describe it as being like trying to talk and eat a very droob-ly bacon sandwich at the same time. It’s just awful.”

David grew up quietly, rarely speaking but always listening — a skill that has served him well. “One of the great arts of being a designer is to be a very good listener so you hear what the client is actually telling you,” he says. “Most of us don’t hear. We only perceive a certain proportion of anything. I was a good listener because I didn’t say anything.”

With conversing being nearly impossible, David was drawn to art, which required little to no speech. His dedication and strong portfolio earned him a spot at The Ruskin School of Art at the University of Oxford in 1968.

“It was unlike a lot of the current art schools in that it was very requiring of you to gain skill in drawing, especially,” David says. “Mid-Atlantic expressionism was the happening thing. So you have studios filled with dry ice and naked bodies. This is the liberated 60’s and everybody is having a gas. They’re all on acid and weed and it’s a blast. But I didn’t go that way. I wanted to learn. Something told me I needed to learn how to do this. I needed to have a skill in order to be expressive. What was being thrown out at that time was the very idea that you needed a skill to be expressive, that skill was an inhibition to expression. I think that’s nonsense.”

The school, originally called the Ruskin School of Drawing, was founded by John Ruskin in what is now the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology. (In 1975 the school moved to its current location on High Street.)

“So I went to this very fussy old art school, which was in a brilliant place,” David says. “It was in a few rooms in this fabulous museum. … It has all kinds of things from Egyptian sarcophagi to Samurai armor to Greek sculpture. Fantastic Greek sculpture. So if you’re me and 19 from Yorkshire, this is a mind-blowing experience.”

Much of what David learned wasn’t necessarily taught, but rather absorbed through the skin. “If you want to go out for a cigarette you have to walk from the studios through the Greek sculpture collection to sit right outside the door so it just becomes a part of your day, looking at genuine Greek sculpture from 400 BC carvings.”

David describes the school’s teaching methodologies as old-fashioned: You couldn’t draw the life model until you spent the better part of three months drawing Greek casts. “You were asked to use your eyes,” he says. “You used drawing as a means of looking very hard, because that’s really what drawing is: It’s looking very hard and exercising your eyes and your hands and actually coordinating them.”

Learning how to draw this way has allowed David to see better and that, he says, is the key to becoming a good maker.

“The thing I teach my students now is if you want to be a really good maker you really need good eyes and you need a hand that draws well enough. You don’t have to draw like an artist. You just have to draw well enough.” This, his says, provides you with another tool. “Drawing enables you to work out the inside of that joint and how those two parts come together. You can sketch it out, you can draw it, you can think it out, you can X-ray the joint in your head and sketch it out immediately. It’s a tool.”

This tool allows makers to create their own visual vocabulary, outside of images found online. And this, David says, he learned way back in the 1960s.

 

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A drawing by David Savage.

“When you sit down and you draw something, some of it you like the shape of it,” David says. “It may be a seashell or a bit of a twig or maybe the shape of a woman’s leg. You sit down and you draw it and you put down five or six well-observed honest lines. You don’t need to draw it anymore. That image goes into the back of your head, into your visual vocabulary. It becomes part of your visual vocabulary and you build up that visual vocabulary in your lifetime. And so you sit down 30 years later to draw a table leg and what pops off on the end of your pencil in your complete unconsciousness is something observed maybe 30 years ago. This is part of your visual vocabulary, it’s the stuff you internalized. This is very different from Pinterest or Instagram, which is external, not internal. So I learned to draw, which is a very powerful thing.”

After earning his undergraduate degree David says he had another amazing stroke of fortune: He won a postgraduate place at the Royal Academy Schools in London. Centered smack-dab in the middle of the art world on Cork Street and Bond Street, among all the galleries, was David, “this guy from Yorkshire who stammered a lot,” he says. He was given a grant, a studio and the pick of teachers for three years. “Crikey,” he says. “It was a wonderful experience.”

After graduating from the Royal Academy of Schools in 1974, David teamed up with a fellow student, Desmond Rochefort, and together they created The Public Arts Workshop. It was after living in, what David calls, “the guts of the art world,” he became more interested in something that didn’t exist in Britain at the time — public art. “I didn’t want to get involved with the galleries or selling the commodities of paintings,” he says. “But I wanted to be a painter.”

Together, David and Desmond painted the Royal Oak Murals in Paddington. This lead to the Cable Street Mural Project.

 

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Cable Street Mural Project

“In 1939, an organization called the British Blackshirts tried to march through a very largely Jewish area in East London,” David says. “They tried to have this march down Cable Street, and there was a huge riot. They were stopped from marching — the local uprising actually prevented them from doing that march and it became very famous. It was called The Battle of Cable Street. And it was one of those events that prevented the growth of fascism in Britain in the 1930s.”

Beginning in 1977, David raised money and worked on designs for a 70-foot-high mural depicting the battle on an old wall of what used to be Stepney town hall on Cable Street. He had hoped to have two assistants, but there was never enough money for that. So for three years David ran up and down the scaffolding that covered the wall, drawing and painting.

And then, a right-wing organization vandalized it.

“I crashed and burned,” David says. “I was left damaged and with no confidence and thinking, I don’t want to be a mural painter anymore. If I go back to Oxford on a scaffold, it’s going to kill me. So I pulled out. And I’m not greatly proud of that, but I knew that I had to, to stay alive.”

The project was picked up by someone else and completed, as David says he knew it would be. But then he wondered, What next?

The Origins of a Furniture Maker, in the Style of Gimson

David liked being physical. He didn’t mind running up and down that scaffolding — he knew it was good for him. He wanted to use his brain. He wanted to use his hands. “I wanted to use all of me and I was fed up of not making a living out of this.”

In the meantime, he made some furniture. “When I say ‘furniture,’ this is just four bits of wood held up with screws,” he says. He made something for the garden, using pine, screws and glue. This led to a new train of thought: “Maybe I could make things,” he says. “Maybe I could use my hands and my knowledge. I wanted something to use my aesthetic sense and what became particularly inspiring for me was the Arts and Crafts Movement.”

Particularly, Ernest Gimson — trained as an architect he set up a workshop in the Cotswolds countryside where he made what was at the time (he died in 1919) modern English furniture. “I thought that was a role model that I could follow,” David says.

David also looked to Edward Barnsley, another key figure in the Arts and Crafts movement, along with The Edward Barnsley Workshop. And then came Alan Peters, author of “Cabinetmaking: The Professional Approach” and former apprentice of Barnsley. David visited Alan and enrolled in a short, two-week course with him.

“He was instrumental in turning me into a functioning furniture maker,” David says. “It was his example that I very much took to heart. I wanted a workshop like Alan’s. And I wanted to be a craftsman.”

There were other influences. David was inspired by James Krenov’s aesthetic. And John Makepeace’s clear idea on how to run a business. “His example was you needed three legs to stand on and I thought that was interesting,” David says. The legs? Technique, design and business. “And I thought, Hey, that makes sense.”

At this point David was still living in London, living on social security. “They didn’t think very much of my retraining myself but they had a kind of tolerance of it for a little while,” he says. That tolerance, along with the bit of money people began giving him to make pieces, allowed David to learn.

“I read a lot of books,” he says. “I read Charles Hayward, anything by Hayward I could get a hold of. I read back copies of The Woodworker magazine. I was very good at using the library. My local librarian was my best friend and she would get me books from all over the country.”

Around this time David also met someone, a friend of his first wife. “He was a wonderful craftsman and he didn’t want to teach me anything,” David says. “So I said, ‘I’ll come work for you. You don’t have to pay me anything.’ And he thought that was very unusual. So I’d go and spend time in his workshop when I could and he had a very Japanese way of teaching in that he would completely ignore me. And then when he saw me in a desperate trouble he’d throw a scraper blade at me and say, ‘No! No. You do it this way’ and walk away again. But his example was very powerful.”

Upstairs in David’s house was a small studio, which David turned into his workshop. He struck deals. He told family and friends that if they bought materials and paid him enough to buy a new tool, such as a router, he’d make them a piece of furniture. “It was a step,” David says.

His client list, and reputation, grew.

Then, the Irish bombed London. David’s wife at the time had just finished training to become a teacher and was looking for a job. So they looked outside of London and ended up in Bideford, a port town in north Devon.

“Everybody that spoke to us said you’re crazy moving out of London,” David says. “You’re crazy moving away from anybody who might want to buy anything you want to make. And that was true. But it also made some kind of sense. We actually needed to get out of the bloody city and now I know why. It was actually the requirement to be in the countryside.”

(We’re skipping ahead now, just for a moment.) Rowden overlooks a meadow, a lake and trees. It’s not far from the beach, shells and water. David needed to be rooted in the countryside, in the same way Ernest Gimson did. It wasn’t until years later that David made this connection of craft and place — of what’s required, for some, to be a maker.

A Change in Name, Success and Failure

In Bideford, David says a very curious thing happened. His first wife’s surname was Savage. Although not married at the time, they had lived together nearly 20 years and in Devon, while looking for a property to buy, David would tell agents his last name was Savage. “I couldn’t say my own name, because it began with a ‘B.’ Binnington is still a word I would rather not say if I could.”

But Savage.

That was a name he could say with confidence. For the first time in his life, David could finally introduce himself. “And it was a new town so no one knew us,” he says. “And curiously, it kind of unlocked things. If you can say who you are, if you can introduce yourself, then it kind of became slightly easier. So that rather changed things.”

David legally changed his name to David Binnington Savage. And with his new name, his stammer began to lessen.

In 1983 David established David Savage Furniture Makers in Bideford. He found a big building that needed a lot of work, and he rented it. He also began writing for magazines. He would teach himself how to sharpen a scraper or use a hand plane and then, he’d write about it. Between 1983 and 1990 he wrote a monthly column in The Woodworker magazine called “The Craft of Cabinet Making.”

He made furniture for clients in London and assembled kitchen furniture for a builder on a monthly basis. Then a local furniture maker who was teaching students wanted to stop teaching. He asked David if he would take on two students who still needed to finish out their course. David said, “No.”

“And then I went back and started assembling these kitchen cabinets and I thought, Maybe it would be easier than actually doing this.” So he agreed to take on the students, who had only made a bench and an oilstone box in their first six months. “They came and they started to pay me money,” David says. And he taught them things he, himself, had only just learned how to do.

This, too, David realized, tied back to the Arts and Crafts Movement. Over the next few years he established a system where he allowed students, but always had more craftsmen than students in the workshop. This resulted in him being able to choose his best students as employees. “None of this was my great plan,” he says. “It just evolved that way.”

By now David was making pieces every day, and every single piece coming out of his shop was his design, his imagery.

One of his early students and a former PR executive, Malcolm Vaughan, taught David the art of writing a press release and the importance of nice photographs. “It was almost that not a month wouldn’t go by when a piece made by David Savage wasn’t in the magazines,” he says. “One of them went viral and boom! We were making Camelot chairs for everybody and everyone.”

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Camelot dining chair by David Savage

The first Camelot chair was for now longtime clients Mary and Derek Parks.

David had made a large walnut reception desk for a corporate client in London. “A few weeks later I got a phone call saying they’ve sold the building [what was then the new Covent Garden site] and I said, ‘Horray!’ But they didn’t want one of my desks.” The new owners wanted a different desk, and David says he was heartbroken. And then mad, when he learned that the desk had gone to the managing director’s country house in Dorset.

“I tried ringing up this woman and I was not happy that it had all gone wrong,” David says. He finally got a hold of the managing director’s wife, Mary Parks. She loved the desk and wanted David to build more furniture.

David was bitter. But a few days later he drove to the Parks’ residence in Chelsey. “Money was pouring out of the whole place, you could see it,” he says. David met Mary and the two discussed design options for a dining room table and chairs. “And then her husband, Derek, walks in and he’s three sheets to the wind, totally pissed,” David says. Derek invites David to his house in Dorset. “And I was thinking, Christ. These people are going to be my clients and I hate it.”

Two weeks later David met Derek at his 15th-century Dorset manner house. “Derek was then a totally different person,” David says. “He was in the process of restoring [the house] in the most exquisitely sensitive way.” But more inspiring to David was this: “He took me around and he introduced me to all his gardeners and his chauffeur and the guy who polished his shoes, and he’s speaking to them, telling me about their children and about who they are and what they were doing. And he blew me away because I got the sense that this guy was operating on a totally different plane from me. He was an extremely high-functioning man. He was able to deal with people in a way that I couldn’t conceive of dealing and I was blown away by that.”

Derek and Mary spoke to David about their wants and needs, and David listened. And that, David says, was the first time he thought, “I can actually do this.”

“If I can find people that want to have really good furniture, I can do this,” he says. “I can do this and I can make a profit out of it.”

David hired a photographer to take a picture of one of the Parks’ dining room chairs and it struck a chord: “That photograph of that chair was in every color supplement of every glossy magazine for the next two years,” he says.

David had made it.

“It’s those kind of steps which are invisible, in that you don’t know you’re going to do that but then you do,” he says. David didn’t intend to build a furniture business, but he did. In 1984 David became a member of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen followed by the Fellowship of the Society of Designer Craftsmen in 1992.

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Love Chairs Version 2

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Honduras Rosewood Chaise Lounge/ Day Bed

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Perseus

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The Psychiatrist’s Designer Chair and Desk

He was happy. “Happy as a clam!” he says. “Totally involved. Totally engaged. I didn’t know where we were going but I was making furniture and getting more confidence in dealing with people.”

Then, bankruptcy.

“Things are flying along really well,” David says. “I made a great mistake in buying another workshop.” At the time David and his employees were in a 2,000-square-foot workshop and they were simply out of space. Fifty yards down the road was a 3,000-square-foot workshop — well insulated with three-phase electric. For years it was for sale but David could never afford it. Eventually the price came down to a point where he could no longer resist. He bought it.

“And that was a disaster in that you no longer have one workshop, you have two,” he says. Employees argued over who got to work in the new shop. “It was not a cohesive unit in that everybody could sit around the fire at lunchtime and they could have a conversation. They could have two conversations and that was a nightmare. That was a big mistake.”

Around this time David was coming out of the recession. He had laid off staff, but things seemed OK. Until, “I got in another classic mistake,” David says. “I got a big customer. A big customer that wanted a lot of furniture, really liked my work, his wife really liked my work.”

The customer was a city trader for Merrill Lynch. He had just come from the United States and bought a house in London. “I did a load of drawings and made the mistake of saying, ‘Yes, we can do all of that,’ which mean that I pretty much had one customer for a period.”

The work, which was spread over four or five benches, was intended to be done in three stages. David and his employees completed the first stage and they were paid. “It was the second stage that got me,” David says. “I went up there and he wasn’t there. The house was closed up and he had gone back to America. I couldn’t get a hold of him in any way. I couldn’t get a hold of him through his company. They wouldn’t let me speak with him. So I was left with a pile of furniture I couldn’t sell. No money coming in and bills to pay. My only option was to go bankrupt, which I did, which is a bit of a life-changing experience.”

David closed the Bideford workshop. “I was thinking, What the hell am I going to do now? I’ve got a young family, a baby of 18 months, and what am I going to do now?”

He says the experience was akin to stepping off the conveyor belt of life. “When you’re on the conveyor belt of life you’re moving and this time you can take a step off it and you can observe the conveyor belt and see what is happening.”

Sometimes, though, it takes someone else to push you back on the conveyor belt. And for David, one of those people was a client, Maggie Rose.

The Value of a Craftsperson, Both as Maker and Human Being

David’s tools, benches and furniture in process were all slated to be sold at auction. Maggie called and asked if she could buy the unfinished pieces of furniture and then give them back to David for finishing.

“Then someone rings up and says, ‘I really like those chairs you made for me and I’d really like a desk,’” David says. “And I knew all these craftsmen in all these workshops so I was all set up doing drawings for clients and selling furniture and having it made in various workshops around me.”

This worked for 18 months.

“That was really quite good,” David says. “I hadn’t a workshop but we were actually functioning. We were doing the jobs of meeting clients, doing drawings, taking orders, getting furniture made, getting paid. Everybody was happy. Until my second wife, Carol, said, ‘David, you know that room you’re in in your office?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ She said, ‘Well, you can’t have it anymore.’ And I said, ‘Why?’ And she said, ‘Because I’m pregnant. I’m going to have a baby.’”

So then David was faced with putting his foot back on the conveyor belt, the one that required a workshop. He was tentative, but knew he had to take the plunge. He wrote an advertisement for the local paper: “furniture maker looking for barns to convert.”

“I wanted to be out in the countryside,” he says. “I wanted the green fields around me. So I found myself at Rowden.”

David met a maker, Nick Chandler, who he employed. For four or five years the two of them worked together, and David calls that time a period of great liberation. Without having many employees to support, David was able to take more risks with his designs.

bananas_drawing_2-750x1007

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Solid Ebony and Pearwood Lamp Table

“My wife encouraged me to be more free,” David says. “She was saying, ‘Go on. You can do all sorts of stuff. You’re a crazy artist. That’s what you should be doing.’ And we did all sorts of pieces that are important now, things that are central pieces.”

In the end, bankruptcy, David says, was “an enormous blessing.”

“Change is a wonderful thing,” he says. “It’s always energizing. It’s always a great thing to embrace. Moving out here and working with Nick was a great thing. He was a wonderful guy to spend time with.”

With time, Rowden developed into what it is today: a furniture design school that offers classes in drawing, design, woodworking and business. David is mostly retired, having delegated teaching to former students (with the exception of head craftsman Daren Milman). Fellow furniture designers and makers now on staff include Ed Wild, Jon Greenwood, Jonathan Walter and Lakshmi Bhaskaran.

Although Rowden’s focus is almost primarily on education, David will occasionally make a piece of furniture for someone he knows and cares about — currently that’s a desk and chair in pear wood.

“It’s great,” David says. “It’s a great thing now.”

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David’s home in Devon.

David and his wife, Carol, live in the oldest continually inhabited house in the county. It’s since been split into 13 units, and they live around the back “in a courtyard and I think cows probably lived where lived or it was a dung heap,” he says, adding that it’s great fun.

He has two children, a daughter who recently earned a degree in psychology and a son who is in his second year of university. For now, they’re not interested in making.

“When I was quite young it was kind of expected of me that I might follow my father’s direction and I didn’t want to do that,” David says. “So I’ve never in any way laid this on them. I want them to do what they want t to do. So it will be here, hopefully for them when they need it, or hopefully it will provide them income after I’m long gone. But we’ll see.”

And so Rowden exists, not as a factory for employment or as a means to an end, but in celebration of craftsmanship and making things, and a testament to the life David lives.

“I feel extremely fortunate that I’ve lived a varied and challenging life,” he says. “It’s been great. I’ve been having a great time. Yeah, very fortunate indeed. Very fortunate.”

— Kara Gebhart Uhl


Filed under: The Intelligent Hand, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Issue Three T.O.C. - On the Trail of Two Cabinetmakers: Reconstructing the Careers of Samuel Wing and Tilly Mead

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 7:39am

Editor’s Note: This post is written by Shelley Cathcart, Assistant Curator at Old Sturbridge Village. Shelley and her co-author, Amy Griffin (American Foundation Curatorial Fellow), have been researching the cabinet and chair making of two New England craftsmen. We are excited to publish this fresh research in M&T Issue Three, titled "On the Trail of Two Cabinetmakers: Reconstructing the Careers of Samuel Wing and Tilly Mead". We are confident this essay will help to advance our understanding of rural American cabinetmaking before the Industrial Revolution.

Interior of Samuel Wing’s Workshop, Sandwich, Massachusetts. November 1964

A new exhibition at Old Sturbridge Village, Planed, Grained, & Dovetailed: Cabinetmaking in Rural New England, explores the tools, products and livelihoods of rural cabinetmakers in the early 19th century. Stories of individual craftsmen or local partnerships are examined to reveal the man behind the workbench, his processes, products, and clientele. Inside the gallery the careers of two rural Massachusetts craftsmen – Samuel Wing (1774-1854) of Sandwich and Tilly Mead (1794-1849) of Hardwick – are compared through surviving material and physical evidence to situate the men in the canon of New England furniture makers.  Both navigated the trade in ways that were typical during the first half of the 19th century. Like most rural craftsmen, they were primarily farmers with diverse sources of income, facing pressures of increased factory production with the advent of the Industrial Revolution. By exploring the narrative through a comparison of source material they left behind, it reveals unique approaches to the creation and maintenance of professional identity as a rural cabinetmaker.

Over fifty years ago Old Sturbridge Village was gifted the contents of Samuel Wing’s workshop, unveiling a vast material record of pre-industrial tools, patterns, furniture parts, and finished products. Account books, letters, and receipts reveal the versatility and entrepreneurial spirit of this coastal craftsman and chronicle the demands of his clientele. Interior images taken upon donation of Wing’s shop invite scholars to explore the interior and mechanics of an early 19th-century rural craftsman’s workshop. Even though Wing only practiced the trade for about 15 years, he left sufficient physical evidence to determine his production methods, style preferences, and technical strengths. Yet, the artifacts reveal few details about Wing’s personal life. The synthesis of documentary and material resources demonstrates his superior ability as a craftsman, but fails to reveal it as a means of self-definition.

Portrait of Tilly Mead, 1831 by John Ritto Penniman. 20.1.239

The story of Hardwick’s Tilly Mead, depicted in a portrait by eminent decorative painter John Ritto Penniman, challenges researchers to recognize the contributions of a cabinetmaker whose surviving work is scarce. In lieu of a body of furniture, Mead left a trail of land transactions, patterns and graphic materials, some papers, architectural resources, and significant social connections. This evidence supports vivid conclusions about Mead’s personality and his aspirations in the thriving but competitive field of fancy painted furniture, but offer only hints of his actual products. Mead’s lively but meager career represents one cabinetmaker’s response to the fluid but unstable state of the trade in mid-19th century New England.

Letter from Ebenezer Swift, dated May 18, 1799, cites the demands of local clientele, imploring Mr. Wing to “give them chairs a good Green coler [sic]…& do get them dun [sic] as soon as you can…”

Juxtaposing the evidence available on these two craftsmen introduces specificity and nuance to general characterizations of New England cabinetmakers. In bringing their careers into the light, we find cause to re-evaluate assumptions about the knowledge, aspirations, and resourcefulness of rural artisans. At the same time, both men confronted industrial and economic changes that transformed the trade, forcing all cabinetmakers to reconsider their status. Adding unconventional sources to traditional furniture study enriches and refines our ever-evolving understanding of the cabinetmaking tradition in Massachusetts and the individuals who shaped it.

- Shelley Cathcart, Assistant Curator, Old Sturbridge Village

 

Stay tuned for the next Issue Three article announcement tomorrow….

 

Categories: Hand Tools

NYC KEZ, August 5th, 2017

Giant Cypress - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 4:08am
NYC KEZ, August 5th, 2017:

Just a reminder that Yann Giguère is hosting the 4th annual NYC KEZ. It’s a full day of Japanese tool fun, with plenty of opportunity to try these tools hands on. There is a planing contest for those who are interested, and classes throughout that week as well as a one day workshop on Friday. Click on the link above for the full schedule.

Tickets are limited, but still available. I’ll be there Friday and Saturday, and hope to see you there, too. 

People Working Wood

Paul Sellers - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 3:22am

Wednesday 21st June 2017 So, there I was in Israel. It’s cool and rain fell. That never happens in June, every one said at once in English. A full class of people smiling and welcoming one another and me. There was as usual that heightened sense of enthusiasm that permeates the whole atmosphere before classes …

Read the full post People Working Wood on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

now the woodworking is done.....

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 2:14am
I finally completed the woodworking on the bookcase.  Attaching the top and the cove moldings were the two last steps and they were done tonight. Unfortunately, the weather has turned hot, humid, and sticky again. It is forecasted to rain off and on for the next two days but the humidity isn't going south. All that is left for me to do is paint. Doing it in this kind of weather sucks. The paint is dry but it feels clammy and cool if that makes any sense.

wood taps
I ordered these from the Wood Whisperer a while back and they finally came in. I got all four that he was selling and I really only wanted the 5/16 tap because a lot of the screws for my upcoming new bench build are 5/16" screws. I've had good luck using bolts in wood in the past and now I have a set of taps in all the common sizes - 1/4-20, 5/16-18, 3/8-16, and 1/2-13.  These taps can be used manually or with a drill.

first step tonight is take this
and attach it on top of this
got it centered and marked on the back
I would like to be able to clamp the lid in place and fasten it with some screws but clamps are out. I don't have any that will reach beyond the overhang on the three sides and the back is curved. It is very difficult to get sufficient pressure with clamps on a curved edge. The clamp idea is toast.

I think I got lucky in that the weather is lending a helping hand. The top is sticking to the bookcase. Not like it was glued but enough that it takes a good bump to get it to move. The plan is to drill the holes and then get two screws in place, one at the back and one at the front. And try my hardest to keep the top from moving as I do all these dance steps.

I had thought of positioning the top and putting a couple of nails in it to hold it. Then I could get the screws installed but then I would have to deal with the nail holes. Another step and potentially another day added to getting the bookcase finished.

picking the right screw
99.9% of the screws I use the shop are one of these two. Both are #8 spax screws 1 1/2" and 1 1/4" long. Here I'll be using the 1 1/4" ones, 3 at the back and 3 at the front. The top is upside down on the bookcase and a scrap piece of bookcase plywood is on top of that. I don't like to measure for these situations because this is a lot more accurate.

screw holes
 The back screws don't have to allow for movement. I want any movement of the top to be at the front so the front screw holes are slotted. I also put the screws as close as I could to the outside corners, front and rear. I want the screws there to pull the top down as tight as I can to the bookcase.

it fits
I beveled the screw holes here so that when the screw bites into the top there is someplace for the entry chips to go. The spax screws don't need a pilot hole but I am going to help it anyways by starting the the hole with the awl.
I'll start the holes from underneath going into the top

I think this will work
The top feels like it is stuck on velcro because it isn't budging. I held the top down and put in the back middle screw first. I checked the overhang and the back of the top flush against the back of the bookcase. I repeated this by putting in the middle screw at the front. The top was still aligned properly so I put in the remaining four screws. This went off without a hiccup and I was happily surprised it did.

cove molding is last
All three pieces are longer then necessary. The side ones can stay that way for now but the long middle piece has to be trimmed. I got this corner set and I marked the other end for the length.

love them ribs
 My first mistake free cove molding install.  Having that one ribbed back side is a great idea. I always know which side goes where when sawing the miter. Rough length sawn.

shooting it clean and smooth
the back heel needs to be trimmed a wee bit
shaved with the block plane
I kept all of the trimming beyond the front face of the cove. It doesn't matter if the inside of the miter is off. What matters is the front, visible face of the miter.

left them long
I could have marked and sawn this off but I left them long. Having them long gave me something to grab onto and push the side miter tight to the front one.

rough sawn and left proud
planed flush
I did all the planing going from the front face of the cove into the back. If I came the other way I would have gotten some feathers and possible blowout.

taped off the inside on all four edges
I doubt that this inside edge of the frame will be seen but I'm going to paint it anyways. I couldn't do it first because I glued and nailed the raw frame on first. I have never tried to glue painted wood to raw wood before. Now wasn't the time to experiment.

painted the front of these yesterday
4 coats of paint on the front of the shelves and it doesn't look like it. I can still see streaks so I'll be putting on another coat. I was going to paint the front strip of the shelves the same color as the exterior but I changed my mind. The shelves are inside the frame and I think the color contrast between the shelves and the frame will look good as is. I still might change my mind and go with the gray but for now it's toast.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What was the highest scoring College football game?
answer - Georgia Tech beating up Cumberland 222-0 in 1916. Ouch.

Issue Three T.O.C. - Spring Pole Lathe: Design, Construction, and Use

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 10:54am

 

Today, we begin releasing the table of contents for Issue Three. Each day we will describe one article from the upcoming issue to give you all taste of what’s to come. On Friday at Lie-Nielsen, we released the list of articles and heard lots of excited feedback about this upcoming issue. Mike and I keep pinching ourselves as we continue to get such talented and passionate authors. Stay tuned here at the blog as we announce each of the 12 articles that will be in Issue Three.

Without further ado… here is the first article:

 

“The Spring Pole Lathe: Design, Construction, and Use” by: Joshua Klein

Of all the work that I’ve demonstrated over the years there’s one thing that never fails to captivate an audience: the spring pole lathe. Every time I am working at this foot-powered lathe, people seem genuinely astonished that such a simple device can produce elegant craftsmanship. I’m usually asked if I invented the idea. The answer is, of course, “Absolutely not”. This reciprocal lathe using a cord wrapped around the workpiece has been in use for many centuries.

 

This is my second spring pole lathe. The first was a softwood lathe I built from the wonderful design by Roy Underhill. It worked for most smaller projects but I eventually wanted longer rails and more mass. When designing this new lathe, I combed through numerous resources. I relied primarily on Roubo’s discussion (translated by Don McConnell) as well as the Dominy example at Winterthur in combination with many other historic paintings and images.

 

This lathe is built of white oak and features drawbore mortise-and-tenon joinery. This build is more like timber framing than furniture making. Even though I prefer meat-powered tools for my furniture making, I show in this article how a cordless drill with Forstner bits made quick work of the large mortises.

 

If you have been interested in trying out a spring pole lathe but haven’t known where to start, this article was written for you. There is a wonderful satisfaction in turning beautiful beads, coves, and balusters all powered with the pump of your foot. This article also addresses common myths about pole lathes such as how exhausting it must be to pump the treadle and how it is only good for green wood. Neither of those things are true.

 

I hope this build gives you the final bit of confidence it takes to build your own spring pole lathe. There is nothing quite like hearing the wind in the trees carrying the “SCRIT, SCRIT” of the bevel engaging at each rotation. On top of that, the refreshingly humane surface it creates is nothing like the 10 million RPM electric sandpapered perfection machines offer us.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Issue Three article announcement…

- Joshua

 

Categories: Hand Tools

Sharpen This, Part 2: Hear No Evil

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 8:38am

grindstone_farmer

Read the other installments in the “Sharpen This” series via this link.

When you learn to sharpen, I think it’s essential to do something that is normally a bad idea: Close your mind.

Let’s say you are 5 years old and starting school. The teacher says you need to learn to read, write and speak, and that you can use any and all of the words and phrases from every language on the planet.

It’s unlikely you’d be able to communicate with anyone in your class or your community. You learned the German word for “eating” and the Persian word for “sauce.” But your friend learned the Cherokee and Finnish words.

Instead, the quickest path to finding out where the bathroom is or how to microwave a burrito is to learn a language that allows you to navigate your world. Then you can figure out which other languages you might like to learn.

Sharpening is like that. Every sharpening system is has its own logic, history and subtleties. And while every system works brilliantly, mixing and matching bits from multiple systems is likely to confuse and confound.

Pick one system. It doesn’t matter if it’s oilstones, waterstones, diamonds or sandpaper. Ignore every other system out there. If someone tries to tell you that a different system is better, plug your ears and start shouting “nunga, nunga, nunga.”

stone_IMG_0331

Here’s why: About 70 percent of the people willing to talk about sharpening in detail are those who are new to it. They simply love their new system. It makes edges that can shave them bald with little effort whatsoever.

About 29 percent of the people willing to talk about sharpening in detail are trying to sell you sharpening equipment. Most of this equipment works fine, but you don’t need all of it (any more than you need all the handplanes in the Lee Valley catalog to make a box).

And the final 1 percent of people willing to talk about sharpening are idiots like me. I don’t think one system is particularly better than any other. I don’t sell sharpening equipment. I’ll be happy to teach you to sharpen, but you have to promise me you’ll master one sharpening system and use it exclusively for one year before changing your routine or buying different equipment.

I call this “sharpening monogamy,” and I think it’s the fastest route to the sharpest edges.

So step one is to pick one system and sign that pre-nuptial agreement, but don’t buy anything yet. First you need to understand what sharp looks like (and what dull looks like). And you need to figure out the three grits in your system of choice that will grind, hone and polish your tools.

Only then should you get out your wallet

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. These sharpening columns are generally not going to allow comments. Why? Well, I think this column pretty much lays out why. If you’d like to take me to task on my approach, I recommend posting your thoughts on your blog.

P.P.S. And if you think this is a “free speech” thing, please read this first.


Filed under: Sharpen This, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

WIP HANDWORK Issue two

Journeyman's Journal - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 8:28am

I’ve just begun on Issue 2 and after much success of Issue 1 with a record download of 1500 and still counting, I’m hoping I can do an even better job in Issue 2.  HANDWORK has gained a fantastic contributing author Greg Merritt who will cover a great topic which I’ll leave you guessing till it’s out.  Brian and Joshua are another two great authors I look forward in working with again, their contribution towards the magazine are greatly appreciated.

Once more I do not have a timeline on when it will be released as I’m trying to fit this work in between jobs that pays the bills just barely and my shop time that consumes what’s left of my savings.

I’m also considering writing a book, it’s 1:23am and I’ve only just scratched the surface of my first article.  I will be getting up in 6 hours to do it all again, luckily for me I have a few days off work not that I can bloody afford to have a single day off work but I’m dedicated to this project, it’s a good thing and a worthwhile effort and the best part is you all enjoyed reading HANDWORK and that’s worth every effort.

Good night and take care.


Categories: Hand Tools

Media Coverage

FABULA LIGNARIUS - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 5:49am
After prolonged effort it is nice to see that the result of your labor is appreciated by a larger public. Journalist Michiko Kurita wrote an article about our work in the EU MAG. This is an online magazine for the Japanese delegation in the European Union. You can read it here. As craftsmen it is […]
Categories: Hand Tools

sometimes you gotta wait......

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 2:37am
I had to make a pit stop at the post office tonight and boy oh boy, was I in for it. I've bemoaned my trials and tribulations before about the post office but tonight was the topper. All nine spots in front were full and there were 5 cars parked illegally on the side of the building. There is extra parking way in the back of the post office (the lazy AHs park illegally on the side of the building) and that is where I parked and walked back to the front door. And I took my place outside and waited the 38 minutes for my turn. In some lovely humid, hot summer weather until I got to the AC inside.

There are two clerks there with a helper. Only the clerks can wait on people and the time I was there the outgoing mail was getting picked up. So, one clerk waiting on people and another doing outgoing mail. You'd think that they would do the mail after the counter is closed so all that mail can go too?

I checked Staples for printing out my camera manual and the cost for that was 32 cents a page for a tally of $42.88. To have it spiral bound would take an additional 2-3 days and cost about $6 more.  Duplex and collating would add an additional cost too. My wife offered to print it out (duplex and collated) and then bring it to the Staples by her work and have it spiral bound.  Maybe this weekend I'll be able to read up on how to operate my new TG-5.

waiting for me when I got home from the post office
The small box is for the Stanley 5 1/4 I got for my grandson and big box is for me because I've been a good boy. Josh at Hyperkitten had a couple of molders that were screaming my name so I had to buy them to silence them.

from doz's olde tyme stanley totes & knobs
This is  set of Honduran rosewood and I doubt any of the real stuff is for sale anyway. This set is perfect looking. Great color, figure, and with a good looking finish on them too.

low knobs rule
doz's tote looks 100% better
I like doz's totes because he does them in the older stanley style with the same sensuous curve coming up from the bottom going to the horn. Now that I have the knob and tote, I can finish the 5 1/4 rehabbing. I just have to sand the bed on the frog and clean up the iron and the chipbreaker.

these two are for me
I'm sure that if my grandson or granddaughter shows any interest in my herd that I will pass them on to them.

I've been eyeballing these on Josh's site for a couple of weeks and I almost pulled the trigger on them several times but didn't. I was surprised that they lasted this long without someone else snapping them up. When he put these in the reduced and leftover page I just had to buy them. Both are in a large size with one being a beader and the other an astragal.

7/8 astragal
This is as large as I would go with this type of plane for cabinet work. For large case work it is at the upper end in the scale.

a #5 bead plane
Josh said this was a 5/8" beader that was made for Harolds which is an English hardware store. I do like and prefer english made planes over the american ones. There is the numeral 5 on the heel and that is the only number(s) on the plane.

7/8" astragal

I measured this one every which way to sunday and I got nothing to measure 7/8".  From the outside quirk to the inside wall of the bead is frog less than 13/16". That was the closest I came to 7/8".

bead on the left and astragal on the right
The irons for the two planes are similar looking. The big difference is the bead has a smaller flat on one edge of the bead. The astragal has two closely sized flats on either side of the bead.

got super lucky again
The sole and the boxwood on this plane is perfect. No chips, dings, scratches, and the boxwood is dead straight and solid. This is the astragal plane which looks a lot like the beading plane. The beader doesn't have the small rabbet in the middle area of the plane.

the beader doesn't have a rabbet in the middle part of the plane

got lucky with the iron too (beader)
The iron matches the sole of the plane almost exactly. I didn't have a chance to road test it because I have painted bookcase parts hogging the bench and the rest of space in the shop. I will definitely road test this at the first opportunity. The iron is awfully close to matching the sole the way Matt said it should be.

went two for two
I have few astragals and on two of them I had to touch up the flats on the iron to line them up with the sole. This one looks to be perfect and I can't wait to see what the profile looks like. I want to compare it to my 1/2" astragal and eyeball the two profiles.

ready to reclaim some real estate
I did come back to the shop after dinner last night and I painted the base again. It looks pretty good and this will raise it up off the floor so that I can paint the rest of the exterior now.

I'm still not done with the saw donkeys though. I can paint the sides and back with it on the the deck but it will be easier to paint the beaded frame if I put it back on the saw donkeys.

the blanket will protect the bottom of the base
I don't mind kneeling to paint the sides and the back but not the beaded frame. The sides/back is all straight brush work and the beaded frame with take a bit of finesse to knock out. I can get a much better view of what I am painting with it horizontal on the saw donkeys.

oops
An errant brush stroke but it shows the contrast between the white of the interior and the gray of the exterior.

back and sides painted
This makes 4 coats on the exterior, 2 primer coats and 2 top coats.  This is still wet and it looks like I got 100% coverage but I will wait for the it's done pronouncement until tomorrow.

the new shelf
I forgot to knock off the arris before I put the first coat on yesterday. I did it now and I only painted the bottom. Tomorrow I'll flip this over the paint the top and the front piece too. I like the coverage I got with this without any primer. I think two coats is going to be the charm for this.

No woodworking tonight and it looks like until I get the painting done there won't be much of it. The painted parts are hogging all the available space in the shop. As much as I want this to be done, I also don't want to cut corners to save time to complete this. This is the hard part of a project for me. No woodworking and a lot of finishing that has way too much hurry up and wait.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Who was James George Snyder Jr?
answer - Jimmy the Greek, the famous odds maker

The Central Concern

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Mon, 07/10/2017 - 6:43pm

 

“The central concern [of my own work] is encouragement – encouraging people to seek, to experiment, to design, to create and to dream.”

– Wm. S. Coperthwaite, A Handmade Life

 

There are few events that I look forward to more than Lie-Nielsen’s Open House. Every year, Tom Lie-Nielsen opens his doors and invites his fellow toolmakers to showcase their work. The list of guest demonstrators is always long and impressive. Hoards of people come out to this small town of Warren, Maine for a most unique fellowship with these hand tool fanatics. Visitors are able to handle and use the most amazing tools in the world all in one place. It would be easy to write a blog post all about the incredible craftsmanship at this event but, this time, I won’t. As Mike and I talked for two days straight with hundreds of passionate woodworkers, something even more incredible overshadowed our experience: the encouragement this community offers.

 

Over and over we had conversations with people that told us their lives were touched and profoundly changed by this hand tool community. They expressed appreciation for those who labor to teach craft skills and those who make tools to empower their creative work. I talked with some that told stories about specific years talking to specific people that forever changed the course of their life. I almost saw tears in a few eyes. (That is not hyperbole.)

 

It is humbling to be invited to participate in such an encouraging and supportive community of artisans. At events like these, there is no posturing, no one-upmanship. We all give and we all receive.

 

So, thank you, Tom, for your courageous and humble example of encouraging others. Over the years I’ve watched you, it has become clear that you share Coperthwaite’s central concern to build others up. This corner of the world is better place because of your generosity. We are all grateful and indebted.

 

- Joshua

 

Categories: Hand Tools

Disseminating Those Anonymous English Master Makers

Paul Sellers - Mon, 07/10/2017 - 11:55am

Two doors bereft of the cupboard they once belonged to lay askew on a burn pile. Disposal takes many forms for many reasons, but one man’s discard often thrives in another’s. Whereas some can’t be bothered, others don’t know the value or whether indeed anyone might want the discard. Time too might be the issue …

Read the full post Disseminating Those Anonymous English Master Makers on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Shaker Stool 128 Mod-Part 2

Hillbilly Daiku - Mon, 07/10/2017 - 10:41am

Turning the remainder of the three legs for this little stool went fairly quickly.  Helped in part by and early start and a cool morning.  A welcome change from the heat that is the norm for this time of year.

The boring of the mortise holes went quickly as well using the same method that I used on the previous stools.  I did add one extra step however.  These legs are small in diameter and the lead screw on the auger bit resulted in a shallow hole.  Luckily my forstner bit is the same diameter as my auger bit (not always the case) and I was able to deepen the mortise holes to the required depth.

The dry-fit went well and I took a break while the hide glue was heating up.

There was a brief moment of panic before the glue up however.  The joinery was so tight that I wasn’t sure I would be able to dismantle the dry-fit stool.  After considerable effort and application of force, I managed to get everything apart and begin the glue-up.  Thankfully that went smoothly and I soon had an assembled stool.

It’s been a while since I painted anything and this stool lends itself to having a bit of color.  I like wood tones as much as anyone, but its nice to have a splash of color here and there.  Management has a chosen accent color that runs throughout the entire house, coral.  The most recent addition of coral was the old fan from the magic attic that I refurbished.

An older piece is this little chest of drawers that I made and painted with salmon milk paint and top coated with clear shellac.

Since I still have plenty of salmon milk paint powder left from the chest of drawer project, that is what I’m painting this little stool with.  After letting the glue set for a few hours I mixed up some paint and gave the stool a total of three coats.

Next I’ll rub out the surface and give it a top coat.  I’m waffling between using shellac or Tried & True.

Part 1 Greg Merritt


Categories: Hand Tools

Wall Mounted Tool Cabinet

David Barron Furniture - Mon, 07/10/2017 - 10:26am

Ben from the US sent me these pictures of his wall mounted tools cabinet which is nearing completion. He has cut some very neat dovetails using the magnetic guide as well as some clean looking sliding dovetails.

Ben is currently pondering the best way to attached the doors which are going to be very heavy. I've had success with three butt hinges per side on a similar cabinet as well as good quality piano hinges (continuous hinges). Any other suggestions would be appreciated at this stage of construction.


Ben also has a website http://schmolzewoodworks.com/ where shows the process of making this fine bench plus many other interesting projects.


Categories: Hand Tools

Small Router Plane Build Part 2

Journeyman's Journal - Mon, 07/10/2017 - 8:51am

Categories: Hand Tools

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