Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Nice to Meet You

Since I moved to Sterling, Massachusetts, I've been swamped with projects and traveling and had little time to get to know my community or let them know me. That changed when I talked to Dave Gibbs at the Sterling Historical Society about combining our efforts and interests. The Society has a lovely collection of Windsors that were made here in town as well as a barn full of the old tools from its workshops. The first floor of the barn is relatively empty, and I thought it would be a great location to host some 6 person classes. So, next summer, I hope to schedule three classes there, but I'll post more on that once we work out the details.
To help introduce me to the community, the Sterling Historical Society hosted a demonstration at the local American Legion post and Ross Jones of Harvard Video Productions filmed it for us. Here is the video of the demonstration.
If it doesn't appear on your screen, click here to go to the original site.

As you can see, I am elated to be starting this project. I think 6 is a great number of students for a class. Plenty enough for a group energy and atmosphere but few enough for lots of personal attention.

And if I got you interested in my talk with Dudley Hershbach, here is a great interview with him that I found every bit as engaging as sitting next to him on the plane.

and once again, the link if you don't see the video here.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Tools, Up and Down

I have lots of new stuff to talk about on the tool front. I figured that I would begin by announcing that the price of my Galbert Calipers is now $59.99. I finally sold enough to justify reducing the price and I hope folks take advantage of it.
Recently, I was thrilled to see Greg Penningtons Caliper that he has used for years. It's pretty beat up looking, a fine tribute to its constant use! Here is a link to Greg turning a baluster.

The other side of things is that the travishers made by Claire Minihan are going to go up in price after our appearance at Woodworking in America in October. It isn't a light decision and honestly, we've let it go for too long. These tools are outstanding and even at $245 for the walnut and $295 for the curly maple, they are a great value. You can contact me at peter@petergalbertchairmaker.com to get on the list before the price increases on Oct 21st.

A few months back, I made a video of myself using the travishers, figuring that it might be helpful and that it would give a good view of the quality of the tool. I didn't post it because I thought that it might not be the best representation of the tool because folks would think "Of course he can get it to work, he designed it!".

When I was teaching recently in Connecticut, I looked around and noticed that the students using Claires travishers were handling them like pros, even though they had never picked up a travisher in their lives. So I shot some footage of them and that is what you'll see in the video. I added the footage of myself so that you might pick up some slightly more advanced technique.

If the video isn't above, click here to watch it. It's great to see the students do so well with a tool that I used to see folks cursing at. I especially love the sound as it shears across the end grain!
There is lots more news to tell coming soon.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Flying High

It has been an intense summer full of action and as usual, the blog has taken a back seat. But with the cool weather on it's way and lots to announce, I am going to be making a renewed effort to chime in more often.

I flew back from teaching in the midwest recently and thought it a tale worth sharing. No, it's not an airplane horror story. I actually enjoy flying. I know, it sounds masochistic, but I still think that it is amazing that I can wake up on the east coast and have lunch in the midwest. When I get to the airport, I focus on people watching and I go to the "happy place". This is where I work out the design or tooling issues that I never have time for back home.
Upon boarding the plane, I usually put my shop hearing protection on to keep the screaming babies and busybody neighbors out of my head. This trip was a bit different. I glanced over at the man next to me and noticed that he was reading a paper about Niels Bohr, who was a giant of physics of the last century. My hobby is finding lectures aimed at the laymen about folks like Bohr. After a few minutes, I broke the barrier of my "happy place" and took off the earmuffs and asked him about the paper. It turns out that he is a chemical physicist and a Professor Emeritus at Harvard. He was delightfully willing to chat at a level that I could follow and we spent the entire flight discussing science, creativity and education. It was fantastic. Near the end, he gave me his card with an image like the one below.
Apparently, he made a guest appearance on the Simpsons in 2003. I was tickled that his card said "Best Known as a Guest Voice on the Simpsons".
We parted and I went on my way home to unpack my tools and get ready for the next hurdle. Later that night, on a lark, I googled his name, Dudley Hershbach and immediately broke out in laughter. You see, he mentioned the Simpsons, but left out his Nobel Prize in 1986!
Thanks Dudley, you made my year.