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Northwest Woodworking

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A Blog for Woodworkers by Gary Rogowski
Updated: 1 hour 44 min ago

Finish

Wed, 06/07/2017 - 8:40am

3 Simple Finishes is a workshop coming up next week on June 16-18. If you have ever had a question about finishing, and who has not, then join us and learn some of the tricks.

Finishing is part chemistry and part magic. The great thing about this workshop over a lecture on the subject is that you get a chance to try out this stuff. Discover the approaches that will work in your shop. Learn the techniques and practice them.

You will walk away from this class with information, experience, and a great sample set of finishes. From oils to wiping varnishes and shellac, we’ll cover the range of hand applied finishes.

BKZ Ginkgo detail

 


Categories: Hand Tools

Building a Portfolio

Wed, 05/17/2017 - 9:47am

Any good portfolio takes time to build. Just like the construction of a piece of furniture is an accumulation of days and hours of effort, so too is that compendium of your work.

Where to start? Start at the beginning. Take a photo of every piece you make so that years from now you can smile at yourself and say, “Oh I was young then. I’ve learned so much now.” And it will be true. There is much to discover and rediscover along the way as we develop our habits at the bench or with the pencil and drawing.

The Mastery Program is an opportunity to jump start that portfolio building. You will build more creative work in the one year or two year program than you most likely ever will again. It is a chance that you will take on yourself, on your own growth as a designer, and on your progression as a builder of fine objects.

Take the chance. Invest in yourself. http://northwestwoodworking.com/mastery-programs/local-mastery

Shea’s latest piece, his Hall Table with Drawer. Pretty cool stuff he’s making.

Hall table Shea RMP 9


Categories: Hand Tools

Beginning

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 6:04am

The first step is the hardest. The decision is the key. Who can say where this choice may lead? That’s a bit of a daunting thought. But starting the project is first. Let the mistakes begin!

I think this is something of what holds us back. What if I make a mistake? Well duh buddy, you’re gonna. Bucket loads of them on some days. From choosing the wrong piece of wood to making a cut in the wrong place or having the grain tear out in a crucial spot. It’s how we learn.

The difference I can make is how I respond to my latest gaff. Slow down, look at my wood carefully when I make that first cut. Mark your boards carefully for your joinery. Read the grain carefully. When I slow down my pace, it is the best way I have to speed up the process.

This is a shot of that maple log I got recently. Matt was doing the slicing, I was making the decisions about where and how thick. Another new beginning.

 

1-IMG_4095


Categories: Hand Tools

Chairs

Thu, 05/04/2017 - 8:43am

Chairs are one of the most challenging of projects. They are mostly air with only a few small sections of wood holding up your bulk and your pride. Jeff Miller wrote the book on them: Chairmaking & Design.

Join us at the Studio July 24-28 to work with Jeff on his interpretation of a Chippendale Chair. http://northwestwoodworking.com/courses/104.

I can’t wait to see his tenon jig. There is always something to learn from another woodworker. This is going to be a fun class.

Chip Chair detail


Categories: Hand Tools

A Designed World

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 6:56am

Folks have a dread about learning design. They feel that it is somehow beyond them. They are not artists. They are not creative enough. They lack the weird curiosity to be a designer. Or the hair.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Think back to your dreams last night if you want weird.

Design is not an immediate skill, but like throwing a baseball you can do it even at first. Your throw may be ungainly or downright ugly or straight into the ground. But you can throw. So too can you design, however badly at first. But like baseball, how many throws did you have to make to first before you could zing it there? Hundreds, maybe thousands. The same is true with design, but make the practice fun and you will succeed.

If you want the thrill of designing your own work, then you learn to practice its vocabulary. Learn the things that make up a good design: form, pattern, details. Study great design, design that appeals to you, and then reverently steal from these good sources. For after all, that is what good design is: reverent theft.

We have been stealing from nature for centuries as this ancient wooden sculpture from China shows.

 

Horse at PAM

 

 

 

 

 


Categories: Hand Tools