May 25, 2008

Artisan A - Hand & Machine Tools.

Back row from left Juan Carlos, Paul, Jim, Jack, Robert, Kunga, Rebecca, Shannon, Kathleen, Doug, Dan, Alex
Front row from left Chi Chi, Josh

JK Lectures

On the final week of our Craftsman Program Jim delivered his heartfelt farewell address to our students. On the first week of our Artisan Program Jim welcomed our new students and spoke of sharpening and for his passion for the hand plane and our craft.

Craftsman Program

A few weeks ago we bid farewell to the class of 2007-2008. In just over three months we will welcome the class of 2008-2009 which consists of men and women from Japan, Ireland, Columbia, United States & Canada. Our year end show was an overwhelming success. We estimate over three hundred people crowed into Gallery Five and the school to view the work of our students, alumni and faculty. On Saturday evening our graduation ceremonies were held at the Gumboot Cafe. Family, alumni, friends, faculty gathered to celebrate this years class. Each student was presented with a certificate signed by each of our teachers including JK himself.

Journeyman Program


Visiting Journeyman Jacques Breau from Blackland New Brunswick assists Doug with application of applied edges. Jacques assisted our students during the final week of the Craftsman Program. We are very grateful to have alumni involvement with our school. It was a real pleasure to have Jacques back at the school. I would like to extend a special thank you to this year's visiting Journeyman, Carl Zytowski and Todd Stockner, Jason Klager and Jacques Breau.

Resident Journeyman Program

Doug Ives (left) from Gibsons British Columbia discusses the mockup and joinery of his upper rail system with second year graduate Federico Mendez Castro. Doug continues to have a strong presence at the school, with over thirty years as a craftsman, Doug has much to offer our students. Yvonne and I are grateful to have his involvement with the school. Federico is a frequent visitor to the school. This summer he and fellow alumni Ian Godfrey and Stephen Esdon are working on a house on a nearby island. All have shops within a few kilometers of the school.

Juan Carlos from Caracas Venezuela assists Kunga with reading the grain during a grain graphics and shaping exercise. Juan continues to work on the stand for his cabinet which was very well received during the show. Juan Carlos is a fine craftsman with exceptional design skills.

Paul Nielsen of Evergreen Alabama applies the final coat of oil finish to his desk prior to assembly. Paul has really embraced the no compromise approach to the craft and has set a fine example for this years Artisan Program students. He and his wife Robyn will be dearly missed when they return to Alabama in a few weeks.

Artisan Program

I consider myself very fortunate to a have students like Jack West from Fort Jones California. Jack has been a real pleasure in the first week of the program taking full advantage of the optional evening and weekend hours at the school. Jack has recently completed his dream shop which he will share with his wife, who is a maker of fine jewelry. Jack's wife is busy carrying the other end of the plank while Jack is at the school. Yvonne and I are looking forward to meeting this lovely man's wife.

Rebecca D' Angelo from Vancouver British Columbia uses our Davis and Wells bandsaw to get the correct grain orientation during one of our exercises during the first week. We explore the rich diverseness of our material at our school by exposing our students to several species of wood. This week the students have been exposed to poplar, maple, ash and bocote. Rebecca left on Saturday to attend a Piano restoration program at the Banff Centre for Fine Arts. This was Rebecca's third class our school.

Kunga Delotsange from New York via Tibet has his spoke shave dialed in and uses it to clean up and shape his ash leg during an exercise. Kunga and his family have joined him on the coast for his program. His twin daughters are attending Roberts Creek Elementary School with our daughter. A lovely family with strong connections with our community.

Kathleen Murphy from Edmonton Alberta removes her safety glasses to reveille her lovely smile. Our students use one of two hand grinders to prepare their tools for honing. Already a Red Seal Journeyman Cabinetmaker from Alberta, Kathleen is adjusting to a very different approach to our craft. As a teacher I have found that experienced cabinetmakers are generally slow out of the gate but once they find their footing it is hard to hold them back. Katherine brings a strong machine background and is already discovering that sensible balance between the use of finely tuned hand tools and our machines.

I regretfully do not have a single useable picture of Jim Sexton from Regina Saskatchewan. Jim was a real pleasure to have at the school and has already indicated that he will be returning for the five subsequent classes of the Artisan Program next summer. Jim took full advantage of his time here and took a keen interest in the setting up of machines which he intends to put to use when he returns home. He also encouraged Robert to spend some time on Friday afternoon talking about the setting up of a shop. He has realized the importance of a sharpening station by the bench which he will be setting up when he returns home. All of us at the school will be looking forward to your return.

Josh Shrae from Anchorage Alaska checks the flatness of his waterstone. Josh comes from a timber framing background. Josh has already made several planes and has used the week to tune a few of them up with many of his other hand tools previously used in a complimentary craft. We have already had a few students from Alaska and I have found them generally to be a very sweet lot. It must be something in the water as each of our students from that part of the world seem grounded focus and sweet, Josh is no exception. I feel very grateful to play a part as they begin their lifelong journey in craft education.

Dan McCallum from Vancouver British Columbia shown here cleaning up his leg with a spokeshave has returned this summer to complete his Artisan Program. This was Dan's fourth class at the school. He will be returning in a few weeks with a number of his classmates from last summers sessions. It will be like a family reunion. I am so pleased that our students keep in touch after leaving school, cultivating relationships that last a lifetime. Dan is a wood dawg in the true sense of the word, harvesting much of his own material locally using an Alaskan Chainsaw Mill. A sweet man with a real passion for our craft.

Alex Marks from Calgary Alberta uses the bandsaw to cut the curve for his leg exercise. Alex is a self proclaimed tool junkie. He spent the week learning how to refine each of his tools hand and machines. Alex has indicated that he will be returning next year to continue his education in the endless possibilities which exist within our craft. Alex it was a pleasure having you with us.

Shannon Hutchinson from Delta British Columbia uses the Inca table saw to cut the mouth for her wooden spoke shave. Saturdays are an optional day at the school, where Robert introduces optional activities such as tool making and chainsaw milling. Shannon's enthusiasm was most welcome at the school and we will look forward to her return in a few weeks when she will be taking part in the dovetails and tool making. Shannon and her partner attended our first semester show at our gallery in January where I was fortunate to spend some time with her discussing our craft. Shannon shared with me at the end of the week how she enjoyed Jim's humble approach to our craft during his weekly lecture.


Resident Craftsman & Teacher Robert Van Norman discusses the two important characteristics that distinguish the work being produced at the school, craftsmanship and the careful selection of the material. This week the class wondered over to Gallery Five and spent a few minutes discussing the grain graphics before returning to the school and completing their grain graphics and shaping exercise. Next week we will welcome five new students who will be joining our six week Artisan Students in the making and using of fine wooden hand planes. Robert will also discuss the making of irons and chip breakers. for specialized planes.


Yvonne and I managed to sneak away in our home away from home to Nakusp Hotsprings for a few days to the following this years Craftsman Program. It was just what we needed to re energize ourselves for our busy upcoming summer and fall at the school.


Our kiln has been in constant use since the beginning of May. The locally harvested 10/4 arbutus shown here has dropped from 23 percent moisture content to 11 percent in just over a week and removed almost ten liters of water.


We are in the process of setting up websites for each of our Craftsman Program alumni. Please forward any images or text you would like included on your web page including a biography to

Artisan & Craftsman for Programs 2008 -2009

There is limited space available in our Artisan Programs for 2008. If you would you would like more information or would like to register call Yvonne toll free at 1.877.943.9663. Alternatively registrations may be faxed to 1.604.885.9711.

We have confirmed our first-year students for the 2008-2009 Craftsman Program. The group consists of men and women from Japan, Ireland, Columbia, United States & Canada. We are currently accepting applications for the 2009-2010 Craftsman Program.

We have recently posted our Artisan Program dates for 2009.

New Program

Inside Passage School of Fine Woodworking is pleased to announce the addition of a new program at the school. The Resident Artisan Program picks up where the Artisan Program leaves off allowing graduates of our Artisan Program the opportunity to return to the school and for the designing and making of a fine piece of furniture under the direction of Inside Passage School of Fine Woodworking Faculty and Resident Craftsman.

The Resident Artisan Program provides a great opportunity to refine existing skills and develop new skills in a relaxed and creative environment conducive to doing fine work.

There is limited space in this program. Currently the first session is full and we are accepting registrations for the second session which runs from July 14th to August 22nd 2008. If you would like more information about this program contact Yvonne at 1.877.943.9663 and arrange for an initial consultation with our Program Director.