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Jeff Miller: Chairs and More
If you’re at all into hand tools, the place to be next Friday and Saturday (May 24th – 26h) is HandWorks, taking place in Amana, Iowa. Many of the country’s major hand tool makers will be there, along with some prominent teachers, writers, and hand tool authorities. Check out the schedule on the Handworks web site!
Me? I’m along for the ride to promote my school and my books, and to demo some cool hand-tool techniques. Mostly, I’m looking forward to great interactions you all, and with some of the finest proponents of hand tool woodworking anywhere.
I hope to see you there!
There are certainly more than just two types of classes, but the two most common are “project classes” (build a chair, table, etc.) , and “technique classes” (learn to cut dovetails, etc.). Many classes combine a bit of each, and you learn some techniques as you build your project.
I’m teaching a class at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking (www.marcadams.com) this July 8-12 called “From Woodworker to Craftsman” that may fit into a different category. It’s a class I’m pretty excited about, although it may not be immediately obvious why. There’s a fun project to build (a tool tote), but that isn’t really the focus of the class. And it’s not really a techniques class, either, although it’s got plenty of that as well (we’ll hand cut dovetails and mortise and tenon joints, deal with some curves, and more.
So what’s different about this class? I wanted to design a class where there was a little more emphasis on really improving skills, and developing a better sense of how to get the most out of your tools (and your body). This is obviously something I’ve been working on for quite some time now, and my most recent book – The Foundations of Better Woodworking – was a close look at this topic. This class puts it all into practice.
If you’re looking for more of a project based class, I’m also teaching a Slat-Back Chair class at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking (www.schoolofwoodworking.com). This is a pretty intense week of building an exceptionally comfortable dining chair, and learning about chairs and how to make them. We’ll cover all kinds of chair related issues: curves, joinery with curves, angles and angled chair joinery, bent lamination, and much, much more.
I’ve gotten a bunch of calls today from people wondering if this weekend’s Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event would be affected by the monumental rains in the Chicago area. Much to my relief, everything is fine at the shop, and we got everyone’s stuff in and set up on schedule. We’re ready.
One of the best parts of these events is the ability for everyone to play with the hand tools. For me, I get a chance to play with them on a much larger scale. We have to load in the crates of Lie-Nielsen tools, and the only way to do that in my shop is with a forklift.
I spent a really enjoyable couple of days in February with Chuck Brock and Stephen Price from The Highland Woodworker as they filmed a segment on me and my work for the online video show that will be released tomorrow. Chuck is bright, funny, and a delight to be around. He’s also a tireless worker, who runs more businesses (and runs them well!) than I could keep track of: as far as I recall, he’s a woodworker, writer, teacher, musician (I can relate this far), video star, video producer, and he runs his own finishing company.
We talked about my work, how I got started, and how some of my health issues played a factor in that. We also talked about the origins my latest chair design, which I”m just now (finally!) finishing up. I hope you’ll get a chance to take a look!
By the way, I’ve filled in my class schedule for the rest of the year on my web site. Of particular note is a new class on making Shoji, which will be taught by a former assistant of mine, Craig Klucina, who is one of the foremost makers of Shoji screens and Tansu chests around.
It’s time once again for the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tools Event at my shop. It’s taking place on Friday, April 19th (10 am – 6 pm) and Saturday, April 20th (10 am – 5 pm). No need to call; the event free and open to the public. In addition to the good folks from Lie-Nielsen and all of (and I mean all of them) their great tools, we’ll be joined by Kevin Glen-Drake from Glen-Drake tools (who promises to bring his new line of turning tools), Raney Nelson and his drool-worthy Daedworks planes, Tico Vogt and his extraordinary shooting boards, and Lost Art Press, and one or more of the tall guys who run the place. I look forward to seeing you there. If I can finally finish it, I’ll be showing off a new chair design, as well as demonstrating some great hand tool techniques.