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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator
An aggregate of many different woodworking blog feeds from across the 'net all in one place! These are my favorite blogs that I read everyday...
Carving and Sculpture
Shawn Graham, of San Marco, Texas had a dream of opening a school focusing on traditional woodworking skills – Wortheffort Woodworking. He used to be an Industrial Art’s teacher (if that’s what they are called these days – those that are left), so he has a heart for young people. He has had a passion to share the creative knowledge of woodworking to young and old to discover that joy and accomplishment of making something with your own hands.
The school has been open for over a year, but Shawn has discovered the struggles that come along with starting a new venture – mostly financial, proper and convenient location, and the ability to get the word out.
The current school located in San Marco has closed, but he is wanting to open again within the next few months at a location in Austin, TX – much more centrally located so he can focus on the local population and also homeschoolers in the area.
Please check out his website to learn more about his dream – and if you feel so inclined, please do what you can to help get the word out about his school or contribute to his fundraising efforts to relocate in Austin.
Thanks so much for your support!
Popular Woodworking Magazine is revving up its online classes. I have recently participated in adding a class on “Fan Carving” which will go live towards the end of July. This design is that simple, yet elegant pattern that is often seen in highboys, chairs, and I have often had requests to carve this on fireplace mantels.
This class shows how to lay out the design, how to carve the curved edge decoration, and how to round over the individual fan segments – focusing on carving in the correct grain direction. Quite often, these are carved where the center of the fan slopes deeper, but this lesson shows the process of carving the design into a flat board – which actually gives you a lot more flexibility of where you can put this. It also requires minimal wood preparation.
Once you learn the technique of carving this fan, you can adjust the design by adding more segments, carving it deeper, changing the size, etc. The options are endless!
I got to see a lot of friends from the woodworking world, and also met some new ones. I enjoyed fabulous lobster that just melted in your mouth, and was entertained by a talk by Peter Follansbee about his adventures with “green wood”. He is a great presenter – and also does some amazing woodwork and 17th century carving. I spent a lot of my time at the show (when I should have been carving myself) watching him shape wood with tools a LOT larger than I use.
Bob Van Dyke of Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking was also there. I will be teaching a class there November 7 – 9. Bring any carving project you are working on and we’ll figure it out! Spaces are still available.
There are also a few spots still available for the beginning carving class I am teaching at Lie-Nielsen August 23 & 24. I am reserving great weather for that weekend – 70 and no humidity!
Last week I taught a beginning woodcarving class at a school I have not taught at before – The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in beautiful Rockport, Maine. This school has a wonderful atmosphere of creativity and the students did a great job carving acanthus leaves, camellia flowers and even a Tudor rose! And the setting is simply pristine. Here are some highlights:
I had an opportunity to escape the 100 degree temperatures with 90% humidity in Charleston, SC and actually leave the windows open at night to feel a cool breeze (what was that strange feeling?) I really can’t get enough of the Maine climate and beauty.
So… next month I will be coming back again to teach another beginning class at Lie-Nielsen August 23 & 24. Then the following week I will be filming an intermediate woodcarving DVD (the beginning carving DVD should be out soon, so keep your eyes open for that).
I also had the pleasure of finally meeting Chris Pye, who will be teaching an advanced carving class at the school for the next 2 weeks. It’s a small world out there when it comes to woodcarving, and I knew I would meet him along the teaching “circuit” somewhere. He has written several woodcarving instruction books and also has an online school. I could consider him “competition”, but ultimately if our end-goal is to teach this art that we both love, then whatever we do and however we do it will lead to sharing this wonderful art.
I have not had a chance to go through all my Europe photos, but did find some fascinating photos of carved faces and gargoyles. The personalities in some of the faces are just wonderful. Penrhyn castle (where Paul Sellers has his school in Bangor, Wales) had some incredible stone carved faces as capitals. I have heard that the stone carvers often put the personalities of other carvers into their caricatures, and you can almost see them joking around on the jobsite – exaggerating the features of the artists.
I would love to do more carvings of faces – maybe when I’m retired
While I was recently in England, I was so inspired by the lovely Tudor Rose – I had to carve one! Here are the step-by-step instructions. The first episode of the video is being added to my online school tonight.
So much fun! I almost feel guilty
We arrived back home from a 3-week trip to England and Germany late Monday evening. It was an amazing trip – met some great people, ate fabulous food, and saw some of the most beautiful wood and stone carvings. Now I have to sort through several thousand photographs and try to remember where they were all taken.
I taught a beginning woodcarving class at Dictum in Munich, Germany. They have an incredible store where they sell a wide range of hand and machine woodworking tools. Check out their website. If you can’t find it at Dictum, it’s probably not out there. My husband spent several hours drooling over their tools.
Peter Lanz, who organizes the classes and school, is a great guy and helped a lot in translating during the class. Although most of the students spoke English, and woodcarving is sort of a universal language - sometimes words just aren’t needed!
The students did a great job during the class and we worked through 4 complete projects in 3 days that covered a wide range of woodcarving skills. Maybe because I didn’t ramble on as much during this class, they had more time to carve
I have been in Europe for 2 weeks now. I thought I would have a lot of time to sit in quaint little cafes and write on my blog. So far in 2 weeks, this is the first time I have felt that I can sit and focus on my thoughts (and organize photos).
It has been a whirlwind of a trip. We have visited some of my husband’s family in England (Reading and Ludlow), spent one day in London, spent a day going down my husband and mother-in-law’s memory lane of when they lived in Barnett and also went to Bounds Green where the previous generation lived during the Blitz in WWII. Fascinating stories of how the average life of a 5 or 6 year old at that time was always carrying a gas mask wherever they went. To them it was the way life was. Their parents were the ones carrying the burden and anxiety of the reality of war.
I remember my father-in-law telling a story of when he was about 5 years old he found a unexploded bomb in London. He was very excited about his find and dragged it across their tile floor to show his mommy. She wasted no time picking him with the bomb very gently. He was quite upset that she would not let him play with his new toy.
We also went to Bangor, Wales and met Paul Sellers. He has an amazing and extensive online video school and has a great blog (http://www.paulseller.com) and also has a woodworking school in a castle! He puts a lot of energy and time into sharing his 50 years of traditional hand tool woodworking skills. There are a large number of instructional videos you can view for free on youtube and on his website and he has larger, more thorough videos on his school for a very reasonable price. His genuine desire is to help people discover the joy of this wonderful world of traditional woodworking and to continue these skills into the next generations.
Next we flew Ryanair from Manchaster to Bremen, Germany. We were a little concerned about this flight because whenever we mentioned we were flying Ryanair, there was a sort of smile or sometimes even an outright laugh. I was beginning to understand why it only cost us 30 English pounds each. I figured it was only an hour flight and we could put up with anything for that short amound of time. We weren’t sure what we were in for. It ended up being a good flight – very basic, but we got there OK with no issues. If you don’t have a lot of luggage, it’s a great way to go because that’s how they make their money. My husband had to check his bag and it cost twice what the flight cost :}
After this we went to visit more family in Bavaria. Had a wonderful time, ate lots of great German food and saw some beautiful old Bavarian villages.
We are now in Munich. We will be here until we fly home next week. I start to teach my 3 day beginning carving class tomorrow at the Dictum School. There are still spaces available!
Enough rambling. Here are some photos of incredible architecture and carvings. There are many more but I have to resist.
I have recently completed one side of the acanthus scrolls for the top of a Philadelphia Highboy carved in mahogany. The photo below is of a Highboy that I carved about 8 years ago. Danny Hinson, of Charleston SC, built 2 of these and I carved the details both of them. He got one, and I got the other. I thought it was a great deal!
The design I am carving is a combination of several different Highboy designs. Slightly different than the one I carved before, and based on others that I have seen from photographs. I have tried to keep the original integrity and basic flow and design of the leaves as close to the originals as possible.
I have videoed the carving process and through the month of June (while I am traveling in Europe) each of the 4 episodes will be added to my online school each week.
It is such a beautiful, delicate and flowing design – 3/8″ thick at the thickest part, and going down to 1/8″ thick in some sections. I showed how I attached this carving to a backer board in a previous blog.
Still to come: Center shell (shown below – not quite finished), rosettes, cartouche and finials for the Highboy! Yeeha!