February 27, 2006

Robert demonstrating steam bending. Ironically enough, the only time he recalls using this method was to straighten out a piece of Cuban mahogany for the edge of a desk that moved when it was resawn. With that said for subtle curves in thin wood such as the back splats of a chair it is an alternative method to bent laminations.

Bruce's kwila laminated drawer fronts in form. Bruce has the substrates complete, veneers cut and cleaned up with a scraper plane. With pressing underway he will move onto doweling over the next few days.

Pete assists Eric during the glue up of wenge laminations. Eric has chosen a challenging piece that includes a set of pulls he intends to craft in silver.

In The Impractical Cabinetmaker, Jim Krenov writes about composing, an alternative approach to design. Federico shares the composition of his door and cabinet side veneers with the class. Federico has a fine eye and attention to detail. The flow of the grain of the doors gracefully wraps to the sides of the cabinet.

Cody's mockup of Tansu cabinet. Veneered doors below, sliding doors above right and lots of drawers. Something that Cody has become quite proficient at.

Michael's mockup of Linen cabinet to be made of doussie and spalted maple. With his mockup complete Michael has moved onto his shop drawing, and substrates. This piece was inspired, as many of our pieces are, by a sweet piece of wood.

Ian taking stock of built-up substrates with baked in poplar edges and cross checking with his working drawing.

Doug using a compass plane to fair the curve off the bandsaw. In the words of Elbert Hubbard, "One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man."

Ian and Robert look at the graphics of his shop sawn teak veneers. Careful selection of the materials is an aspect we emphasize at our school and shows in the work produced by our students.

An evening session at the school. Robert shared a slide show with the students courtesy of Jim Krenov. Following the slide show Robert demonstrated installation of multiple glass panes in a small door frame of doussie. Robert also demonstrated the making of consoles, or shelf supports, a process he still enjoys very much.

Our weekly walk-arounds give students the opportunity to share their work with the class. As amusing as they are educational, they are a time that we all look forward to.

Pete shares his kwila chair with the class during walk-around. Once assembly is complete the seat will be wrapped in Danish cord. With the split lower rail this will be a challenge. Pete has already begun mocking up a humidor to be made for a client in New York of Kwila and Pau ferro.

Jason cutting parts for his stand of Indian Rosewood to allow them to settle while he continues his pear cabinet with marquetry.

Caitlin's carved muhuhu necklace hanger carefully fit. Facets have been left from the knives and gouges, fingerprints left by the maker.

Nicole presenting yew box to the class. The carefully fit joinery, integrated carved pulls and impeccable craftsmanship shine in this piece.

Michael presenting his cabinet to the class. A touching presentation by a fine craftsman and a thoughtful man. We are fortunate to have Michael moving into a teaching role at our school in May.

Next week we move onto NK drawer construction. A drawer developed by a Swedish Manufacturer Nordiska Kompaniet. On applications where the drawer is wider than it is deep they improve performance and longevity. Check our website next week for details.

The Benchroom this week ...

Feb 20, 2006

This week students were introduced to tapered laminations including applications, form and sled making, preparation of laminates and gluing strategies. Next week we will be moving onto showcase cabinets. Jim Krenov has passed along many of his his slides including a series which show the progression of his V front showcase. Robert will present the slideshow and demonstrate and discuss glass applications in fine furniture.

Steve Skonieczny, a classmate of Robert's from the College of the Redwoods, is the second visiting craftsman take part in our Journeyman Program at the Inside Passage School of Fine Woodworking. Steve arrived at a time with many second project mockups underway. He is a fine craftsman with a good eye who enjoys sharing his knowledge of our craft. Steve brought along a commissioned piece; a painting box of Macassar Ebony and shared with the class his inspiration for the piece as well as his interactions with his client. Steve lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife Barb and one year-old-son Simon. We look forward to regular visits from Steve and his family.

Steve discussing mockup with Doug

Ian presenting his cabinet to the class. The back panels are of anegre, a gift from Brent. Ian followed our criteria for his first piece. As Michael Burns suggests "Small Simple, Solid & Sweet". His second piece will be everything but small, simple or solid. A sideboard of teak will build upon previous skills covered in the first semester and incorporate many new skills covered in our second semester.

Drawer detail of Eric's mockup including the concept of a pull to be made of brass and wood. Hardware making which includes hinge making and the making of pulls and latches of metal and wood is covered in our second semester. Eric hit the ground running after his thoughtful presentation of his first piece to the class earlier this week.

Jason's practice marquetry exercise showing the branches to be done on the panels of his pear showcase. The palette of woods in the background will be selected from for the leaves. Jason presented his first piece to the class earlier this week, has already mocked up his second piece and is knee deep in veneers.

Jason discussing his mockup with the class during walk around

Federico enjoying the natural light while exploring the possibilities for his parquetry cabinet. Eric's mockup in background.

Pete's chair parts with joinery and surface preparation complete ready for pre-finishing.

Curved side panels of Bruce's entry desk of Kwila showing core substrate construction ready for vacuum press.

Claro walnut shop sawn veneer arranged for parquetry cabinet door. Federico uses a mirror to help visualize second door. Parquetry requires many considerations including grain graphics, color and tone. Federico's passion for sculpture is as evident in this his second piece as it was in his first piece which he presented to the class earlier this week.

Michael's cabinet complete with pulls of Kwila

The Benchroom this week ...

Feb 13, 2006

This week, having completed a shop sawn veneer exercise, the students were introduced to form making and curved panel work. Next week we will be moving onto Tapered Laminations.

In the second semester students build upon previously covered material and with their second projects underway continue to be introduced new topics each week. In addition students continue to take part in our weekly walk around where students have the opportunity to learn through the experiences, triumphs, failures and recoveries of their fellow students work through individual pieces.

We began this week visiting Robert Prinse a local sawyer and friend of the schools. After a day of looking through many stacks of local woods including spalted and figured maple, Claro walnut, Apple, Locust and Pear, we meet family and friends at Anton's Pasta for a wonderful meal.

Students with Robert Prinse, a local sawyer and friend of the school. For many years Robert made a yearly Pilgrimage to the College of the Redwoods to peddle some of the finest local figured and spalted woods.

Michael and Nicole looking through flitch cut 12/4 local cherry. Among the nicest I have seen.


Family and Friends join for Dinner at Anton's Pasta restaurant.

Flitch cut planks of local curly and spalted maple almost ten feet in length, two feet wide and almost three inches thick.

Pear plank, one of three flitch cut from our stock.

Pete fitting the arm to front leg on chair of kwila. The seat will be of Danish cord. Each of the back splats are tapered laminations, thinning out towards the middle. Twin mortise and tenon construction. Many subtle details in this incredibly comfortable chair.

Brent fitting tails for one of two drawers of Anegre with olive pulls. Brent will begin to mockup a demilune hall table with a drawer likely to be made of highly figured maple with a calm complimentary wood.

Jason's mockup of marquetry showcase cabinet of Pear with stand of Palasander Rosewood.

Ian in foreground working out the joinery details on shop drawing of Teak sideboard. Stephen cleaning up dovetail joinery in drawer of curly maple and Spanish cedar.

Bruce presenting his cabinet to class. The workmanship of this cabinet is without compromise. When the drawer tray is set into the drawer it drops on a cushion of air...very sweet!

Doug presenting his cabinet of Aframosia, London Plane, Sycamore, Wenge and Tasmanian Blackwood to the class. With projects complete students are asked to present their piece to the class. This is a celebration where students share with the class, family and friends inspiration for their work, what they have learned and have the opportunity to share a passage from a favorite book. As many of the pieces were finished just prior to our recent student show, we have many presentations over the coming week.

The Benchroom this week ...

Feb 06, 2006

Real Veneer

This week students were introduced to the possibilities which exist outside the realm of solid wood. At our school, students saw their own veneer. Many have begun to mock up second pieces, many of which include veneer work and some even parquetry and marquetry, which will be covered in the coming weeks. With their first piece complete, the scale of work will increase as will the level of complexity.

Ian's mockup for a sideboard. The carcass will be of shop sawn Teak veneer. Sliding doors can be shifted for flexibility of use. Ian took full advantage of our evening and Sunday hours in preparation for our recent student show and open house. He will need to continue to do so to complete this rather large piece for our year end show which takes place in May at the Northwest Furniture Gallery in Seattle. If Ian's first cabinet in Doussie and Anegre is any indication, impeccable craftsmanship, careful selection of material and attention to detail will be most evident in this piece.

Jason's mock up for cabinet in Pear showing curved glass and marquetry panels. The stand will be of a wood yet to be decided. A challenging piece by an emerging craftsman. We look for wonderful things from this young man in the years to come.

Claro Walnut crotch, a starting point for Federico's parquetry cabinet. A gift from Robert, a piece he has carried around for more than fifteen years. As with much of the work we do, the wood speaks and we do our best to listen.

Peter Heilman, one of our Resident Craftsman, mortising parts for a set of chairs in Kwila. After students have a handle on free hand mortising the XY table is introduced. The interesting thing is that once students have learned to enjoy the simplicity of freehand mortising many are reluctant to move onto the XY table. Peter combines the sensitivity of freehand and the efficiency of the XY table in his work. Jim Krenov continues to use the free hand method for all his work.

Doug's cabinet with handles of Bocote in place. The handles are a variation of the post and bail pulls that Jim Krenov has used on many of his cabinets. The post and bails are joined together and fastened to the doors using very small live through tenons. The bails, the cross pieces are carefully shaped and carved using small knives and needle files.

Nicole's dovetailed box of yew. With handles carved the fitting of the lid underway. The warm tones of the yew and fine craftsmanship shine through in this piece.

A beautiful winter day at Inside Passage School of Fine Woodworking. With the busy days and nights spent at the school we sometimes forget about the beautiful, quaint and magical place in which we live.