Monday, March 6, 2017

WIlliamsburg in Action!

Here is a short video that Ben Strano from Fine Woodworking shot of me bending the c arm in front of a packed crowd.  Bending is always magical, as the solid wood gives way and contorts, your sense of reality is challenged, kinda like floating. But like all feelings of floating, one is also highly aware of how far you could fall...the 250 onlookers gives that height a little boost! Thanks again to Ben for sharing the video.

And here are some other times that you can see me in action or join me for a class.

April 10-15 at North Bennet Street School in Boston, I"ll be teaching the Balloon Back/ Fan Back chairs (your choice of style and turnings). It's a 6 day class with 8 students and I'll have a great helper in the form of Eli Cleveland. We are also going to be adding a Continuous Arm class in August and this course serves as the prerequisite for taking it. Here is a link for enrolling.
I hope to see you there. I am really enjoying my relationship with the school and hope to continue offering and expanding the chairs that we are building. These classes have been some of the best I've had a chance to teach, with great facilities and small class size, everyone gets lots of attention and we have a great time.


I will be at Handworks in Amana, Iowa May 19-20 again this year, the Abrahams put on a great event and deserve a real pat on the back for the effort.

I'll be back in Maine for the Lie-Nielsen open house on July 7-8, as usual, because it's such a great time.

I will also be teaching a Perch making class overs two days at Lie-Nielsen in Maine on the weekend of July 22-23.

I will also be at the Greenwoodfest here in Massachusetts, but I hear that it's sold out, which says a lot about the quality of the folks involved.

I will probably have at least one more class in the fall at North Bennet Street, but for the most part, I will be spending this year making chairs and playing with my dog...and that's true.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Catching Up: The Winter

This summer will be a bit subdued as far as travels go, which is going to be lovely for me after the fall and winter of action. After returning from Purchase, I immediately launched into teaching a 22 person class in the Cabinet Program at North Bennet Street. I spent the better part of January working with the students there.

Here is the chair that we made. It's a scaled up version of my kid's hoopback (which is one of my personal favorites to have around the house). I made this version larger to better serve the students at the school as their bench chair. I think it's very cool that they get to make their own shop furniture. Scaling it up posed the usual challenges of adjusting the rake and splay of the legs so that the chair doesn't take up too much floor space, which is especially important in the tight spaces of the school.

As the class was winding down, I went down to Colonial Williamsburg to present, along with the outstanding Don Williams and the folks from the Cabinet and Jointers shop, on chairs...of course.

 The auditorium at the museum is first class with two cameras and projection to really get up close. Here Kaare is giving me a "hand" pumping the treadle lathe. Frankly, it was a bit much for me to turn, pump and talk! I got lots of help after wearing out Kaare from the jointers apprentices.

photo by Tom McKenna
For the presentation, I thought it would be fun to work out a new continuous arm and Kaare Loftheim, master cabinetmaker, agreed. Here is the chair that I made, based on a few photos in books and online. As usual, I learned some fun things about design and got to finally turn some Rhode Island balusters!
 Here is the complete chair and the one that I demonstrated
 The seat shape and the legs were a lot of fun.

 Plus I took a little more time with the distressing, placing a thin coat of shellac inbetween the undercoat and top coat of dark green. I was very pleased with the results.

 The swelling on the lower section gives ample material for the joinery, I'm not sure how much that played into the design thinking at the time, but it was apparent to me. The lower portion takes on much more of an important role in the look of the leg, which gives a nice balance. The image below is not good for proportions because of my phone lens, but you get the idea.

It was a great trip and an honor to be invited. If you ever get the chance to attend, I highly recommend it.
And here is your Georgie update! She is thriving and turning out to be the easiest dog I've ever had. Playful and loving but extremely calm on her own. She is now acclimated to all the shop noises and all my hustling about. When it gets to be too much, she just retires to her crate for a nap! We are still working on new experiences. The first time she saw the television she freaked, but now she sits calmly while it's on, I don't think that she had ever heard a voice come from a box.

I know it's gratuitous, but I"m smitten
Lil would approve of her technique
The truck is becoming a safe space, this is their first ride together