March 24, 2014

Over the past few weeks at the school, in the Impractical Studies program, students have completed their grain graphics and shaping exercise, made three planes including a jointer, smoother and a curved bottom plane. In doing so have sharpened and dialled in their handtools. Last week they have begun cutting carcass scale through dovetails and begun making more shop specific tools for their task at hand. This week, they have moved onto Joinery & Surfaces. In the Upward Spiral and Composing programs, joinery and surfaces and edges treatment are well underway. Our Resident Craftsman Caroline Woon, has returned and has just completed the upper rear assembly of her chair. Several visits from alumni in the past few weeks including Fergal Spain and family from county Sligo Ireland, always nice to see so many familiar faces around the school. In my own shop, I continue with my work, dismantling, cleaning, lubricating and tuning of each of Jim’s old machines, and getting myself organized. This past week, I moved my chair parts home from the school and more of my personal wood. My shop is 165 square feet in size, so when I bring something in it needs to have a place. The bandsaw and jointer are connected to power and have been looking at the options for connecting the shaper, table saw and mortiser, which are three phase machines. When the jointer arrived, it’s simple guard was in need of repair. The metal base was bent, and the wooden sole of the guard was cracked and was attached to the metal base with duct tape as the holes for the brass machine screws were stripped. I dismantled and cleaned and straightened the base, then repaired the sole and reattached it as shown below, maintaining all original paint. The restoration work is slow, but steady and very gratifying.

simple-guard-553x553.jpg

This coming week, I will return my attention to the tablesaw trunions and the sliding table. I have waited for more than a decade for a shop of my own again, and a place to continue with my work. In the Fine Art of Cabinetmaking, Jim wrote “The best shop for you is one in which you can do good work and feel happy doing it.” I am happy, and enjoying the work very, very much. 
Be well and enjoy your work,
Robert