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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...

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Look out your window & I’ll be gone…

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 6:47pm

One day a visitor to the museum asked me “How long have you had the greatest job in the world?”

overall view

overall view

Certainly that’s a pretty accurate assessment. For a woodworker, my day job has been a blast. For the past 20 years, I’ve gone to work, got set up in my shop, and made stuff. All that was required of me was to talk to people about what I am doing. Did you ever meet a woodworker who  doesn’t like to tell people about their projects?

 

But now it’s time for me to hang it up. I decided a while ago to leave Plimoth Plantation so I can concentrate on a range of wood-working that falls outside the guidelines of 17th-century English furniture. That work continues to fascinate me, but I’ve been drawn in several different directions in recent years, some re-visits of work I have done before (baskets, spoons, bowls) some new areas I hope to explore. A book to finish, for example. And other stuff. 

 

I still don’t know where i’ll set up my tools next. For now I have a bench here at the house, and one tool chest. My spoons & stuff I can do out in the yard, down by the river. Or in the kitchen, except for the hewing. I’m not rushing into a work-space; I hope to find the right spot before long though. The blog ought to get more active again. Right now my teaching schedule is pretty well booked for 2014, but I might add some stuff to it. I’m going to be continuing to post things for sale, (maybe move it to an etsy site) because I still need to create income… so if you need some woodsy handicrafts, or lectures/demos, etc. – here I am. 

 

My years at Plimoth have been astounding. I met people from all over; made great friends, even got a wife. Made connections that hopefully will stay with me for many years. I can’t begin to list all the highlights, among them were three great trips to England as part of my research, poked around in museums there & here in the US, and talked, talked, & talked some more. I learned more than you can imagine, from working day in & day out, from co-workers, and from visitors. The stooped-over Romanian carver who used 7 mallets of different weights, Mark & Jane Rees showed up un-announced one day when I was making tools, the Brazilian man who cried because my shop looked just like his father’s of 50 years ago, the time Pret used his axe to cut Paula’s hair on the chopping block, the Amish man who knew Daniel O’Hagan. I have a million stories. So my thanks to all my friends & visitors past & present at Plimoth. It was great. 

 

Whenever I travel to teach, (or as I did just recently, as a student) folks from all over who read this blog often mention seeing me at the museum, or wanting to come visit. Just in case you’re making travel plans along those lines, here’s notice – my last day is June 27th. After that, I’ll be like most other woodworkers, laboring away – head down, alone, & silent. If I get lonely, I’ll work in the front yard, and talk to passing cars… “It’s oak, I’ve split if from a log…”

sixteenths red oak

sixteenths red oak

 


An Impressive Studley Interpretation (and I am searching for the maker)

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 6:24pm

c00120-3

I am at a point in writing the manuscript for VIRTUOSO: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley where I am crafting a section on the woodworking lore and influence of Studley in popular (woodworking) culture, including folks who have interpreted the cabinet and its contents.

c00120-5

Some time ago I came across this superb effort by Jeff Scott of Alabama.  We corresponded once about two years ago, but he seems to have fallen off the map since.  I have tried several times to contact him recently to no avail.  If you know Jeff, please ask him to contact me or send me the contact info for me to interview him, and perhaps even visit and photograph his tool set and cabinet.

I found these pictures on the web somewhere, so they are the best I can do for know.

============================================

The web site for the upcoming May 2015 exhibit of Studley’s ensemble is here, with tickets available here  This is the very first time the cabinet and tools will be on exhibit along with the amazing workbench.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last thing I’ll ever build.

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 4:42pm

When I finally finished my plant stand project the other day, it ended a somewhat disappointing stretch of woodworking. I think every woodworker reaches a point where he or she builds a piece of furniture that doesn’t turn out as planned, or maybe runs into the woodworking version of “writer’s block”. For me, it was finishing the plant stand with the knowledge that I am planning on taking a hopefully brief break from woodworking this coming summer to finish up some projects around the house. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I won’t be woodworking, but I don’t have any plans to build anything in particular until the fall when then weather cools and conditions for woodworking are improved. Not lost in all of this is the scary thought that my plant stand, for reasons both foreseen and unforeseen, may very well be the last piece of furniture I ever make. It’s not very pleasant to consider, but it did get me to thinking: If I knew I was going to make only one more piece of furniture in my life, what would it be?

The truth is, at this moment I have no idea. I’ve been looking to build a Stickley 802 side table for quite some time. I think it is a lovely piece of furniture that would work well in my house. But had I week to live that wouldn’t be the piece of furniture I would choose to make. I think highboys are awesome, but they are beyond my skills and frankly they really aren’t my taste. I’m not into making chairs, and I have no desire to start. Another project I might consider would be a trestle-style dining table, but since we have a nice dining table already I haven’t really put much consideration into it. In fact, the only thing that vaguely comes to mind would be a card/game table; in the back of my mind I’ve always wanted to make a nice gaming table, but it’s never really been a project that I was willing to go out of my way to build.

So this all reminds me that maybe I have a little thinking to do when it comes to woodworking. While often times my woodworking projects arose from a need, I really think that a woodworker should sometimes make things not out of necessity, but only for the joy of making it. The plant stand I just made is the antithesis of that ideology, and that is possibly why I didn’t really enjoy the project. Sure, it turned out okay, it matches the other furniture in my living room, and it does fill a need. The one thing it lacked was a woodworker that really wanted to build it, and that made all the difference.

I’ve furnished the living room of my house and parts of the dining room, bed rooms, and family room. If I am going to keep woodworking, and keep enjoying it, I need to start making things for me. I like to believe that in making things “for me” I will not only become a better woodworker, but by default make useful pieces that my whole family will use and enjoy. That list may include some items that my wife might not care all that much for. With all due respect, I don’t really care. She isn’t making furniture, I am. It’s high time I started enjoying what I build, and if it comes down to something my wife would like to me to make, and I wouldn’t, she can always hop in the car and drive to Raymour and Flannigan, because I’ll be damned if that plant stand is the last piece of furniture I ever build.


Categories: General Woodworking

The last thing I’ll ever build.

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 4:42pm

When I finally finished my plant stand project the other day, it ended a somewhat disappointing stretch of woodworking. I think every woodworker reaches a point where he or she builds a piece of furniture that doesn’t turn out as planned, or maybe runs into the woodworking version of “writer’s block”. For me, it was finishing the plant stand with the knowledge that I am planning on taking a hopefully brief break from woodworking this coming summer to finish up some projects around the house. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I won’t be woodworking, but I don’t have any plans to build anything in particular until the fall when then weather cools and conditions for woodworking are improved. Not lost in all of this is the scary thought that my plant stand, for reasons both foreseen and unforeseen, may very well be the last piece of furniture I ever make. It’s not very pleasant to consider, but it did get me to thinking: If I knew I was going to make only one more piece of furniture in my life, what would it be?

The truth is, at this moment I have no idea. I’ve been looking to build a Stickley 802 side table for quite some time. I think it is a lovely piece of furniture that would work well in my house. But had I week to live that wouldn’t be the piece of furniture I would choose to make. I think highboys are awesome, but they are beyond my skills and frankly they really aren’t my taste. I’m not into making chairs, and I have no desire to start. Another project I might consider would be a trestle-style dining table, but since we have a nice dining table already I haven’t really put much consideration into it. In fact, the only thing that vaguely comes to mind would be a card/game table; in the back of my mind I’ve always wanted to make a nice gaming table, but it’s never really been a project that I was willing to go out of my way to build.

So this all reminds me that maybe I have a little thinking to do when it comes to woodworking. While often times my woodworking projects arose from a need, I really think that a woodworker should sometimes make things not out of necessity, but only for the joy of making it. The plant stand I just made is the antithesis of that ideology, and that is possibly why I didn’t really enjoy the project. Sure, it turned out okay, it matches the other furniture in my living room, and it does fill a need. The one thing it lacked was a woodworker that really wanted to build it, and that made all the difference.

I’ve furnished the living room of my house and parts of the dining room, bed rooms, and family room. If I am going to keep woodworking, and keep enjoying it, I need to start making things for me. I like to believe that in making things “for me” I will not only become a better woodworker, but by default make useful pieces that my whole family will use and enjoy. That list may include some items that my wife might not care all that much for. With all due respect, I don’t really care. She isn’t making furniture, I am. It’s high time I started enjoying what I build, and if it comes down to something my wife would like to me to make, and I wouldn’t, she can always hop in the car and drive to Raymour and Flannigan, because I’ll be damned if that plant stand is the last piece of furniture I ever build.


Categories: General Woodworking

Marc Adams School in Indiana

schurchwoodwork - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 2:45pm

MASW 2014   I returned to this well known woodworking school in the heart of Indiana, after taking a sabbatical from teaching in 2013. I have been doing 1, 2 and 5-day classes there for about 16 years, (sometimes twice a year.) The school has grown considerably since I started, and Marc continues to add more buildings for classes, finding new instructors, upgrading equipment and improving the facility to become the first class school that it is today. He brings in national and international instructors that are experts in their fields, and schedules between 140 to 160 classes per year. It is a well-oiled and maintained machine. I enjoy the ‘Picture and Pizza’ night, where I get to see examples from other instructors and see what other skills are being taught, and the opportunity to see other instructors teaching style.

This veneering class had 15 students and we had the class split into three loosely formed groups. Decorative veneering, Marquetry and Veneering furniture components. The challenge for this class was learning how to repair veneer that had de-laminations bubbles on almost everybodies first project, due an unusual bleached and dyed elm veneer that we used. One student that had taken my class before finished several projects of advanced work, and we used Gorilla glue for laminating much of the veneer work to the cores. All of the students got to see most facets of veneering skills, production work, designing marquetry patterns, chessboards, parquetry, and using veneer in furniture.


Categories: Hand Tools

The Down to Earth Woodworker: Pallet Manufacturing

Highland Woodworking - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 2:10pm

This Down to Earth Woodworker column first appeared in the June 2014 issue of Wood News. To see the rest of the issue, CLICK HERE.

by Steven D. Johnson,
Racine, Wisconsin

dtew8smRecycled pallet wood is beginning to be a popular source of wood for projects these days and there are several companies like World Wide Box & Packaging Corp. that sell recycled pallets that have been “repaired” to work like new. This month, Steve took a tour of this company and shares with us some facts and insights into the real world of pallet manufacturing.

CLICK HERE to read more about pallet recycling and manufacturing, and take a tour of the World Wide Box & Packaging Corp. 

The post The Down to Earth Woodworker: Pallet Manufacturing appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Traditional Woodworking Tour: 1600′s English Furniture & Timber Frame Farmhouse

Wood and Shop - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 2:09pm

In the above video you’ll see the amazing 17th Century English timber frame farmhouse that I visited recently.

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

I was absolutely taken back by this immaculately reconstructed  farmhouse and it’s gorgeous reproduction furniture from the 1600′s. So, of course, I had to share it with y’all!

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

The farm was moved from England to the Frontier Culture Museum in historical Staunton, Virginia (thank you to my English friends).

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

I really love the exposed timber framing on the exterior of the farmhouse. I did my first timber framing last week, so it’s fun to see a finished product.

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

The kitchen & hearth room are the first rooms that I entered, and I loved seeing the oak trestle table with tusk tenons:

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

And a really creative shelf with decorative gouging on the sides:

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

 Great little tenon pegs:

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

A pretty little apple press:

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

And some rusting hand forged iron cut nails sitting on the window sill:

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

Anyone know what this is? I sure don’t:

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

Beautiful quarter sawn white oak used on the windows:

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

A nice little red oak (I think) end table with pinned tenons:

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

This nice sitting room was filled with carefully hand carved oak cupboards and chests:

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

Below is a carved bible box, I believe. I’m not sure who built the furniture in this room, but it looks very similar to the 17th century style that Peter Follensbee builds and carves. I wouldn’t be surprised if he built some of it.

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth
©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

The small dining room also has lovely furniture built with strong and handsome joinery:

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

I want this chair sooo bad…Guess I’ll have to learn how to build and carve one!

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

Nice detail of the rough wooden floors…either white oak or chestnut I believe:

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

My son Joseph looking out the hand made windows:

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

This 17th Century farmhouse felt so comfortable and simple. I really could have felt at home in such a peaceful place. You should really try to visit this farm, and the others at the Frontier Culture Museum. It has become one of my favorite spots.

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth
©  Joshua T. Farnsworth
©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

Click here to subscribe to my future articles & videos! About the Frontier Culture Museum

The Frontier Culture Museum is  unlike anything I’ve encountered. The organization has disassembled actual period farms from England, Ireland, Germany, Africa, and different parts of the United States, then reconstructed them on several hundred acres of lush Virginia farmland. Why? To educate Americans on how our American farms were influenced by immigrants from overseas. You can see the different farms here.

What I found particularly fascinating was the woodworking tools and furniture displayed at each of the 10 farms. The staff actually use the respective tools to construct furniture and tools. It is a hands on “museum” so I just helped myself to all the amazing tool chests! The staff didn’t mind. They also didn’t mind that I constantly caressed their reproduction furniture either…although I got some strange looks.

I can't decide what to build for my next project.

Mulesaw - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 1:19pm
I have been a little low on the energy and inspiration side when it comes to finding a suitable project this time.
After chatting with Brian Eve from Toolerable, I was eager to try to build a Rorkhee chair. It seemed like an appropriate challenge that didn't require too much wood, and the thing could be brought home in the airplane as well.
I tried to see if I could find some wood that would be fitting for this project, but sadly I don't have any thing that will make a good chair. I have a few small thin boards of some oak (from a pallet), but the only wood of a larger dimension on board are some construction grade spruce boards.
My thoughts are, that making a chair out of that will be a waste of time and energy, and I will be angry when the project fails due to some wood that is not strong enough. So I guess that I need to find some other thing to build. I'can always make a Rorkhee at home some time.

A folding camp stool would be a nice thing to make, but the same problems concerning the source of wood applies to that project. Maybe I will make a triangle bolt or two to bring with me home, that way I can have a head start when I decide to build a stool in the future. My idea is to make a triangle bolt by hard soldering 3 bolts together, so the legs of the camp stool can get very close to one another.
Chris Schwarz once blogged about a Roubo stool that looked like that.
Maybe it could be a fun project to make with the children?

Asger (our youngest son) has developed a keen interest in steam engines. That could open up for some interesting projects.
I have considered building a split demonstration model of a steam engine to better explain the working principles to him. That doesn't require a lot of wood, and it shouldn't be too hard. After all, the various parts doesn't have to be steam tight.

Yet another possible project is to build some sort of machine or contraption that can be driven by his steam engine at home.
E.g. a conveyor belt, a small crane or something along those lines.

But so far I haven't advanced past the sketch and dream phase of any of the above mentioned projects.

Do you ever find yourself in a similar situation?








Categories: Hand Tools

Russian scythe competition

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 9:51am
The scythe competition season is getting underway with the British competition due to take place at the Scythe Festival in Somerset on 15th June. Meanwhile, for those of you looking for a bit more adventure, I've been contacted by Aleksandr Shatokhin with an invitation slightly further afield. Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

Woodworking father, thoughts on kids in the shop

Matt's Basement Workshop - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 9:00am

I’ve been a hobbyist woodworker pretty much my kids’ entire lives. This summer my oldest will be 17, my youngest 13, and neither have KNOWN a time when dad didn’t say something like “I’m heading down to the shop if you need me…” or “WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN’T BUILD THAT FOR YOU???”

Even though I’ve always offered them the opportunity to hang out with me in the shop it’s been very clear since they were young that it just wasn’t something they were interested in…ever!

kids in the woodshop

Happy campers hanging with dad in the shop…

It might have something to do with my having told them repeatedly “never enter the shop when you hear a machine running…you could scare me and I could lose a hand when I jump and it gets cut off by a spinning blade.”

Or maybe it’s because of the few times when I had a close call and MAY or MAY NOT have exaggerated…just a little…about how close I was to losing a limb or even my life (the whole router accident may have cemented this fear permanently.)

Regardless of the reason, the truth is that my kids simply have ZERO interest in woodworking, and it’s obvious they’ve learned from their mom to humor me whenever I talk about something that gets my woodworking juices flowing. 

Am I sad about it? Not really! I’m just excited they enjoy the things I build for them, especially when they use them once in a while.

As Father’s day 2014 gets closer a lot of dads are probably looking forward to getting in the shop, and I’m sure many of them will be joined by their kids where they’ll have fun building something together.  If it happens to be that you’re kids are like mine, you’ll simply enjoy the time in the shop alone, knowing they love you just as equally and are looking forward to doing something else with you.

This reminds me that one of the most common questions I’ve been asked over the years is “how do I introduce my kids to woodworking?” I wish I had a good answer, but I don’t. Why? It’s simple, because every child is different.

Kids seem to be attracted to our shops like moths to a flame. Why? I don’t know. I have some theories though:

  1. Some are attracted to the tools because they’ve seen you with them, so they might associate using the tools with being an adult, and want to show you they’re not as little as you may think they are.
  2. Other kids are just naturally creative, and your tools are just another version of paste and scissors or whatever else they’ve created with.  They have a natural urge to express themselves and want to learn other ways to do it (just like their dad?)
  3. Perhaps it’s that you talk so much about woodworking, they’ve never known a world where it didn’t exist so not being in the shop would be some form of apocalypse?

I’m sure I’m over analyzing this since I have zero child psychology background, or obviously any experience with kids in the shop, but regardless of the reason the one answer I can pass on is very straightforward:  “How ever it is that you introduce your child to woodworking remember…as your child’s parent you have to establish safe boundaries from day one.”

What are they are?  Well there are some obvious ones (you know…the ones you probably ignore from time to time) safety gear, loose clothes, how you hold and handle a tool, etc.  And then there are some not so obvious ones. Ones we either set for ourselves due to our comfort levels around specific tools or due to our level of understanding of a process such as finishing.

Regardless of what the boundaries are, an understanding of what’s an acceptable use of a tool and why that is are of the utmost importance. Not just for their own safety, but also for your peace of mind.  After all, if you’re really not comfortable with your kids doing a certain task, they’ll pick up on it right away and eventually all the fun of coming into the shop will disappear, and so will they.

I can’t emphasize this enough…you know your kids better than anyone. Some may enjoy being given a box of nails, a hammer and a chunk of wood to pound the nails into and love every minute of it. Others may want to be more involved and ask to help at every step along the way.

If you’re kid is one of the latter, and you’re comfortable with them helping at certain steps, embrace the time together and let it happen at a pace you’re both okay with. If you’re not, explain to them why and remind them they’ll have a chance to do it when they’re older and that there’s plenty of other steps along the way that they can help you with.

And lastly, as much as we want to design and build our own unique projects, sometimes the perfect one for a young beginner is either a pre-cut store bought kit or a super-simple project like a bat box. In most cases, the fun for them isn’t in the complexity of the build, it’s simply in being with someone they love and look up to.

Have fun with whatever you do for Father’s day, and have fun with your kids in the shop, if that’s one of the places they enjoy spending time with you in.

kids sneaking out of woodshop

It’s okay if they want to be elsewhere…

Ever wonder what my family thinks about the show? Watch this little video segment and you’ll see their reaction near the end…

Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Categories: Hand Tools

Normal service will resume shortly…..

The Blokeblog - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 8:16am
Many years ago, if my ongoing decrepitude still serves me, the TV wasn't too reliable and seemed to me, at the time, to be always going 'off-air'.  You'd then here a frightfully posh, perfectly articulated, genuine BBC Queen's English announcer saying that …

…."normal service will resume shortly" or so I seem to remember at the time.

The delivery yesterday of this bad boy from Axminster...  

















….means that like the early days of the BBC, normal service will be resumed shortly in the 'shop.  At present, I've got around five jobs stacked up all over the place that need the services of this bit of kit. They include, in no particular order, a picture frame, a jewellery box, a big Alan Peters style cabinet, and a large chest of drawers as well as load of little boxes for the craft fair next month.

Onwards and upwards...

Categories: Hand Tools

Hardware Choices

McGlynn On Making - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 7:05am

This morning I’m puzzling over what hardware to use on my G&G cabinet.  Specifically, the pull/latch combination.  I’m trying to get my ducks in a row so I don’t get blocked on finishing the cabinet in the next week or two.

Option number 1 is to use a knob and latch combination.  To hold the door closed I’d probably use either a small wooden stop block with a rare earth magnet or a double ball catch.  The magnet is simple and not at all fussy to install, but looks a little clunky when the door is opened.  The double ball catch is a little trickier to get installed right, but is visually nicer.  It serves as both a stop and a latch, and having installed one on the coffee cup cabinet I made I’m confident I could do it (and do a better job).

Double ball catch

Double ball catch

That leaves the knob or pull to sort out.  On the design I’m copying from Dale Barnard, he used a pull he has made locally that looks similar to the latches used on several Greene & Greene kitchens.  I like the look, although in the video the latch looks like it’s attached on the inside with largish threaded studs and hex nuts.  I don’t care for that, and the price is a little more than I’d like to spend.  But it looks really nice in place on the cabinet.

Same cabinet design by Dale Barnard with the "G&G Kitchen Catch" pull

Same cabinet design by Dale Barnard with the “G&G Kitchen Catch” pull

Looking at this picture I’m somewhat swayed to use that pull and call it done.  I looked at other original G&G knobs, but I haven’t seen one that works for me in this cabinet.  For example:

Carved and inlaid Ebony knob from the Culbertson sisters' bookcase

Carved and inlaid Ebony knob from the Culbertson sisters’ bookcase

Or this one from an earlier sideboard:

Carved knob on a reproduction of the Blacker House sideboard

Carved knob on a reproduction of the Blacker House sideboard

Behind door number two is using a more original approach.  The original cabinet in the Thorsen house — and indeed most cabinet doors in similar G&G furniture — used keyed locks with carved wood escutcheons and key handles.

Escutchions and key on cabinet doors.

Escutchions and key on cabinet doors.

I like this look a lot, but it presents several challenges.  I’ve looked at full- and half-mortise lock sets, and the backspacing (distance from the edge of the door to the center of the key barrel) for ones that would fit in a 2″ wide stile is only 5/8″ — which puts the key and escutcheon fairly close to the edge of the door.

Mortise Lock for Cabinet

Mortise Lock for Cabinet

It also presents more technical challenges, like shaping and inlaying the escutcheon.  Mortising the lock itself doesn’t overly concern me, but doing a clean job on the inlay is a little worrying.  And with the lock approach I still need to provide a backstop for the door.

I’m open to suggestions, especially if you see a better alternative.  Right now my thinking is to do a sample escutcheon and inlay it into a piece of scrap to work out the details.  That should give me a better perspective on the process.


Categories: General Woodworking

Workbench Day 2: The Case for Workbench Classes

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 4:03am

Building a workbench at a school is, in my calculation, a wise investment. Good schools have huge machines – wide planers, beefy mortisers and sliding table saws – that can make difficult jobs a breeze. You also have lots of help – another 10 to 20 people who can help you muscle the stock. And you get it done in a week, so you can get on with building furniture […]

The post Workbench Day 2: The Case for Workbench Classes appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Relentless Self Promotion (and a Small Freebie)

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 4:00am
I personally know a bunch of fairly young woodworkers who have made a real niche for themselves. They are busy, they have a good client list, and they get good projects. How did they do it? In a phrase: "Relentless self-promotion".

The people who succeed in woodworking are usually pretty good at making or designing stuff, but what they also do, and what a lot of talented people who give up don't do, is that they not only make furniture, they present a professional package to architects, designers, and end users. They are also doing constant, relentless promotion that gets their name out and they follow up with a proper portfolio. A website, business cards, and of course reliable pricing and delivery. Professional people want to work with professionals.

Just a small aside that might help illuminate this to people who don't get what I am saying. Back in 1999 when TFWW was first starting a friend of mine was just starting out as a graphic artist and she volunteered do to a lot of work for me. A few months later she went home to Germany and a grateful Joel wanted to give her a useful present. My present was I took her to "The House of Portfolios" and after careful thought she ordered her own custom portfolio to show off what little work she had. Complete with her embossed name on the cover, it looked a million (and cost a couple hundred IIRC).
Back in Berlin a few months later she told me that the portfolio not only was a confidence builder but it helped her get a job right away. Why? Of the beginners competing for the same jobs, she had one of the most professional presentations and a proper portfolio.

This was before personal website portfolios were common, but even today the professional (or the professional wanna be) will have something to show. Giving someone a URL and say look at my website - sure. Most busy architects won't type in the info. Give someone a card with a picture on it and a URL, if they like the picture you have a shot at it. A larger more formal presentation on an IPad can also be very effective and a proper portfolio gives you something can people can leaf through - which is fast, and far more satisfying than just having a website. It gives you something to talk about that will hopefully resonate with the prospect. What I am saying is that you will get most of your jobs by "word of mouth" the trick is that when you are given the opportunity to put in that word, you have materials and a presentation that reenforces your professional strengths and hopefully glosses over your weaknesses.

Aside from our website we don't have a portfolio but we try to do a little self promotion too. When we do shows or in the store we try to have a little giveaway so that you always come away with a little extra that helps you keep us in mind. When we decided to do this we wanted something that first of all had our name on it. Second of all was a tool, third of all was made in USA, forth of all had some connection with wood, fifth of all was unique, and finally, sixth of all was inexpensive enough to give away. We ended up with a wooden, made in USA ruler. Which by the way, while out of fashion now is in the long tradition of give-a-way rulers. What makes ours unique is that on one side of the ruler is a standard 12" rule, on the other we have Victorian era diagonal scales that will allow you to precisely set a divider to 100th of an inch. And when you buy something in the store we put it in a brown paper Gramercy Tools bag.

Now I get it, lots of you wouldn't mind a ruler but have logistical issues with coming to the store. And frankly, even if you live locally, it's far easier to order on the net and get it the next day. So for the next week or two or so we will be putting rulers into every package we ship that measures at least 12" diagonally. (while suppliers last)





Truth.

Giant Cypress - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 3:18am


Truth.

Painting, not what I like most.

Kees - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 2:30am
This is not my favorite part of the job: Painting. But the new windows need a good coat, so I just have to do it. All is now primed, glass has been ordered, hopefully next weekend the weather will be fine so I can install them.


In the mean time I have discovered some serious damage to my workshop. It is a small wooden shed, and several boards have been silently rotten away. I have allready replaced one, but after demolishing an old fence at the back of the shed, I discovered more damage. At this moment I am clearing out the workshop, moving everything to the garage, so I can gain access to the bad spots.

That means of course, not much fine woodworking will be done in the near future. i think this is great opportunity do some much needed reorganisation of my workspace, clean out loads of rubish and sell some tools I don't really need anymore (or didn't need ever).



Categories: General Woodworking

Arizona Marquetry Class April 23-29, 2014

schurchwoodwork - Tue, 06/10/2014 - 10:02pm

IMG_1583This school is called the South West Center for Craftsmanship, (swcfc.org)  is relatively new, and is based in Phoenix AZ, at a Luthiers workshop. The director is Raul Ramirez, a master craftsman dedicated to passing on knowledge and skills. There have already been several nationally known teachers (such as Michael Fortune, Frank Klaus, Doug and Ronda Forshe whoare well known for the quality instruction they teach. I expect this school will continue to grow and flourish ! The marquetry class was attended by 8 people; one was a past student of mine, another arriving from the east coast. And all went smoothly. Everyone creating two or more projects over the five days, most original designs, as you can see in the following pics. The challenges we had were taming the dry and cracking veneer to work for us with this southwest environment. This hands-on class was followed by a two-day design class, where everyone got to develop one of their furniture ideas into a working drawing. All went well, and I will be returning in October to do a class on making a veneered wall cabinet! ImageIMG_1590IMG_1591IMG_1588IMG_1587IMG_1586

belt sanding with 80 G !!

belt sanding with 80 G !!

IMG_1593IMG_1574IMG_1590IMG_1572IMG_1571IMG_1570IMG_1569


Categories: Hand Tools

David Marks School, Santa Rosa, CA in March 2014.

schurchwoodwork - Tue, 06/10/2014 - 9:23pm
The class! Maps and birds with marquetry Tuned vessel, with a veneer bump rail Cone veneering.... photo 5 photo 4 photo 2

This marquetry class at David Marks school was in the planning for more than a year, and was a great success. His shop is located in Santa Rosa, CA, and features classes with David as well as other instructors. There are several marquetry and inlay artists that have taught there, and David teaches furniture building, joinery, turning, metal patination, gilding, as well as his double bevel technique of marquetry. The marquetry class had a few people from out of state, but mostly local woodworkers. As you can see from the pics, there were several projects that were very different in nature, generated from concepts that students brought to the class. One of the projects was marquetry with turned wooden vessels. Here was one that had a strand of flowers laminated onto the conical surface of a turned bowl. It was a great opportunity to demonstrate a ‘free bagging’ technique, where one can make a vacuum bag with clear 6-mill poly plastic and plumbers’ putty, in order to apply clamping pressure onto a compound surface, which would otherwise be next to impossible.


Categories: Hand Tools

A Visit from Freddy Roman

The Workbench Diary - Tue, 06/10/2014 - 8:31pm
 

This past weekend, Julia and I were privileged to host my good friend Freddy Roman. Freddy is a period furniture maker and restorer in Littleton, MA. His resume is astounding and his drive to excel is unbelievable. The man loves his work and it is inspiring to be around him.

The weekend was a lot of fun. Freddy came up on Friday night and left Sunday afternoon. We got up early on Saturday and went to Liberty Tool Company and Captain Tinkham’s in Searsport. We both got some good stuff. My favorites were this 26” wooden bodied try (jointer) plane, a wonderful Thomas Appleton toothing plane, and a 2” firmer socket chisel. This along with other miscellaneous doodads barely sent me over $100. What a deal.

 26" try plane
 
Close up on try plane

Toothing Plane

2" Firmer

After tool hunting, we got lunch in Brooklin and I introduced him to my good friend David’s incredible espresso. We then stopped by my humble studio and talked shop. We also got to drop in at the Jonathan Fisher House. I gave him a personal tour and we spent a good amount of time discussing the collection there. Before we knew it, three hours had passed and I felt like I only skimmed the surface of the Fisher story. Freddy seemed to enjoy himself at the House and I very much appreciated his insightful feedback. It was great to be able to bounce my thoughts off such an astute craftsman.

The long overdue roof - clapboards on next!

After I exploited his intellect, I then took advantage of his muscle. Freddy helped me install the rafters over the mud oven. These things were unwieldy so it was great to have another pair of hands. Once they were installed we enjoyed the fruits of our labor: the oven remunerated us with wood-fired pizza for dinner.

Freddy left Sunday afternoon after we got home from church in Bangor. We were sad to see him go. We had a great few days and look forward to the next time we see him. In two weeks we will be driving down together to DonWilliam’s place in VA for Groopstock AKA “DonCamp” 2014, this year’s Professional Refinisher’s Group Conference. It will be a blast I know.

If you haven’t seen Freddy’s brand spankin new website yet, check it out here: http://periodcraftsmen.com

Take a look at his portfolio and prepare to be amazed.
Categories: Hand Tools

Beds… French Beds

The Barn on White Run - Tue, 06/10/2014 - 6:55pm

665

Yesterday as Michele and I were completing the FINAL review of a section of the manuscript (the overwhelming majority of the manuscript is already in the Lost Art Press sausage grinder) we could not help but notice the big hole we had left in the volume To Make As Perfectly As Possible: Roubo On Furniture Making.

Beds.

You see, the whole point of starting the Roubo Project seven years ago was amusement.

Mine.

Not in the sense of what I found humorous, but rather the things I found interesting.  If it was not interesting to me, it wasn’t going in the book.  And I am not interested in bed making.

This is where the weight of history begins to rest heavily on the shoulders.  Was I going to allow my own preference to mis-shape the record we were leaving for Anglophone posterity?  And, when does preference represent principle, and when does it represent petulance?  Even I could see that without the chapter on beds, Roubo would not be complete.  So into the hopper it goes.

243

We have hit the ground sprinting, and by the time the LAP editorial process gets to this chapter, it should be in their hands so no special delays will encumber them in that regard.  Still, the process for a book this massive is a hu-u-u-ge undertaking, and I can never show enough appreciation to Chris for taking a chance on us getting this project to fruition.

Now it is my job to persuade Chris to go along with our craziness.

So, those three of you who are passionate about French beds c.1770, and you know who you are, will get your cup overflowing.

 

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by Dr. Radut