October 19, 2008

Heart Hand & Eye will return on November 2nd just prior to the start of first projects.

JK Lectures

"...The eye is a marvelous thing, it doesn't just measure it weighs, it judges the weight of what you are looking at...the sides are over three quarters of an inch thick, they need help, a rabbit, or a rounding or something, they need help because they look to heavy. .. so the eye does not only look at the shape and and so on, the size but it weighs what you are looking at. There are things that are built beautifully and just look very very light, you know they have that quality that they look gentle...the more you round the edge the more you emphasize the edge or thickness, you don't detract from the thickness, a rabbit may divide the thickness a little bit and that's better than a soft round, remember that please. And with a rabbit you can create a little tiny bit of rise or the difference in the way the light touches an edge but with a rounded edge, it looks all the same the whole length of it. So keep reminding yourself of the different techniques, the different tools, and the different appearances you can give to the same object. .."

James Krenov October 19, 2008

Craftsman Program

Michael from England uses a shim to cleanup the the scribe line on his very tidy drawer front joinery in kwila.

Barb from British Columbia Canada removes the waste on her impeccable drawer side joinery made of locally harvested arbutus.

Fergal from Ireland uses one of his fine shop made paring chisels made the previous week to flair the tails of his drawer joinery.

Grig from Romania completed the Artisan Program in August and is due at the school any day.

Jody from Ontario Canada shows his nicely fit drawer joinery in kwila and arbutus.

A very focused, Yosuke from Japan uses his fine saw to cut the half blind pins in his drawer front.

Neil from British Columbia Canada uses a shop made knife to clean up his practice joinery in poplar before moving onto the drawer making and fitting exercise. Neil has shown remarkable progress in the last year and a half that I have come to know this nice young man.

Craig from Minnesota United States continues to do exceptionally neat and tidy work.

Steve from Ontario Canada completed his drawer joinery and has moved onto try cutting dovetails on a double curve.

Hannah from England completed the Artisan Program in August and is due to arrive at the school this coming week.

Derek from Manitoba Canada uses one of his shop made chisels to clean up some very tidy tails.

Nick from Minnesota United States completed some very fine drawer joinery before moving on to explore more advanced joinery.

Brad from Alberta Canada has done some very fine work since arriving at the school, and always does it with passion and style.

Jason from North Carolina United States checks the edge of his drawer front for square as he fits his drawer fronts to the pocket of his student cabinet just prior to cutting some sweet joinery.

Resident Craftsman

Resident Craftsman Daisuke Tanaka from Japan has really set the bar high for all of us. He is making fine progress on his pear writing desk with curved sided drawers in eastern maple. Daisuke also takes the time to carefully mentor our first year students.

Resident Craftsman Doug Ives is our in house computer repair person. When he is not busy working on the several commissions currently underway including a fir sink stand, an spalted birch urn with curved dovetail joinery both of which are nearing completion. He will soon return his attention to his speculative dragon fly cabinet soon to be available for purchase in our Heart Hand & Eye Gallery.


Resident Craftsman & Teacher Juan Carlos Fernandez has mocked up yet another incredible piece which he will be starting very soon when he completes Beatriz' coffee table with compound angled joinery in bubinga and kwila. His latest piece will be going in for photography very soon and is currently available for purchase in our Heart Hand & Eye gallery.

Craftsman & Teacher Ian Godfrey discusses drawer joinery with Nick. Ian will have two new pieces in the upcoming first semester show on December 20, 2008 at our Heart Hand & Eye Gallery. A walnut rocker and an ash stool both with leather upholstery.

A Teachers Notebook

Since the last publication of Heart Hand & Eye, our students have completed their sawhorses, several tools and implements including shooting boards, diagonal sticks, chisels and knives and a drawer. This coming week our students will fit the drawer made from kwila and arbutus, or madrone, to the pockets of their student cabinets. Carve and fit a pull before moving onto doweling and frame and panel.

This past week I returned to my bench and mocked up a sewing table to be made from a wonderful plank of narra we picked up from our friends at Gilmers in the fall of 2006. The highly prismatic rich gold color darkens with age and is easily worked with fine edges and will work well for the marquetry planed for the top, or so I thought.

I placed the Narra on my bench carefully sliding the rather heavy plank against the far dog on my bench. I reached for a favorite plane. One of vera, a gift from JK. The plane has lovely weight and fits my hand as good or better than any I have used. Golden shavings fall off the side of my hands as the plane glides effortlessly across the plank. The bench is creaking, so I take my small Japanese hammer from my bench and tap each of the tusk tenons at the end of the stretchers. I go back to planing and again, I feel reconnected with my work.

Its holiday Monday and it is still dark when I arrive at the school a few minutes before six. I go into my cozy little benchroom and turn on my bench lights. I walk through the woodroom and open the front doors of the school in the benchroom. I grind some beans and make a coffee and turn on a few more lights. I make my way past the front bench through the machine room and unlock the back door. I walk past the wood box and pick out a few pieces and then put them back leaving them for someone else to discover. I return to my bench, turn on the radio and listen to the six o'clock news.

I pull out a few sketches of the small sewing table. I predict a few dimensions from the sketch and head out to the machine room where I saw and dowel together something that approximates what I want. I cut legs, four of them each with intention but slightly different and return to my benchroom, reach for my spokeshave and begin fairing the curve and shaping the legs. This kind of work is truly joyful work, liberating work. The poplar is mild and it doesn't bit back if I am not paying close enough attention. I assemble the mockup, step back and look. Too heavy and the pinch is too low in the leg. I take another leg and shape, this one is more what I had hoped for and leave the other two for later on, should things change. Now the volume of the table is wrong. I dismantle again and head back to the saw with the aprons. Its nice to have a fine saw, one that sounds smooth and is free of vibration. I take a few millimeters, then a few more. Back through the benchroom where a few of the students have arrived and are enjoying a coffee. We talk and I go back into my room and put the mockup back together. Better but it needs something. I grab an off cut of veneer and cut it to width with my favorite knife. I attach it to the bottom side of the apron, a little thinner and now it seems right.

The next morning I read a few pages from A Cabinetmakers Notebook, look over my notes and head out to the main benchroom to cut dovetails with a very eager group, and why not, I can't think of a better way to spend a sunny and brisk fall morning. We talk about the coming elections, of coffee and the beautiful place in which we live. I ring the bell and we all gather around the front bench and talk about the lovely fall we are having and the recent bear sittings. We discuss things that they have bin working on, how those imperfections that they stressed about all weekend were not nearly as bad as when they left on Saturday. I go through the layout, not bevel gauges, but by eye. We need to start trusting our eyes more, not because we are an "Artist" and need creative freedom, but because our eyes pick up what measuring devices cannot. Our eyes take in consideration grain, tones and subtle curves which bring our work alive. The saw cuts straight, yes but we do not fit off the saw, we just sharpened it and it cuts beautifully but the joint needs a fine chisel to carefully remove the fuzz left from the saw and mate the subtle curve we have put into the pins. We are cutting kwila and locally harvested arbutus. This kwila is a little brittle and care must be taken not to tear the fibers near our scribe line. "Don't get greedy." Jim would say. The arbutus is much easier to make friends with. It's fine grain and color much like air dried pear wood . It requires lower angles on our chisels and light cuts. I finish up my attempt at making it look easy and send them off to their benches with a bit of hope. Juan Carlos and Ian are both able to cut the joints at least as well as I. I have begun to realize my evolving place at the school remembering that we need not only to show our students how but why we work the way we do.

On Saturday morning I arrive at the school shortly before six. Ian's day to teach, I will work at my bench. For the last few nights I have festered over the wood. On Thursday morning I came to the realization that the highly prismatic plank of narra from which the sewing table evolved was not going to work for the piece. The plank had been cut from the log on the diagonal making it impossible to get the grain graphics the way I wanted. In the mean time I pulled out a plank of kwila that I have had with me for eight years and began to plane the surface. The chocolate brown sheared surfaces glimmer with silica which I know will require frequent sharpening but the wood works easily. As I cleanup the plank I discover some interesting figure inconsistently throughout the plank. Another disappointment. How can I possibly get what I need from this piece with consistant figure. I tell my students that they need to be prepared to have the wood shape the piece, even after mockups are complete. Let the wood speak, and do our best to listen. While the kwila does not have the highly prismatic properties of the narra the marquetry I had intended to use is not likely to work. The inconsistency of the figure makes it difficult to get graphics with any symmetry. I make a few sketches and look at the mockup again. This time imagining it with the figure on just two corners, draping itself over the top down the aprons, drawer fronts and the legs. I return to the machine room, plank in hand with renewed enthusiasm.

Resident Craftsman & Teacher Robert Van Norman


Congratulations Scott King who has two articles on the pieces he made as a student in the craftsman program in 2006-2007 in Fine Woodworking Furniture 102 Contemporary Designs by Taunton press. Kathy's Chair appears on page 82 and Isabella's Treasure Chest on page 156-157. For more information about acquiring his furniture visit his website.


The Chinese Elm arrived at the school in mid-August at a moisture content of 21.5%. It was stickered and has been drying at the school since that time.

October 1, 2008 19.5% Water
October 2, 2008 17.1% 3 cups
October 3, 2008 15.9% 1.5 cups
October 4, 2008 14.6% 1 cup
October 6, 2008 13.2% -
October 7, 2008 13.2% -
October 8, 2008 13.1% -
October 9, 2008 13.1% -
October 10, 2008 12.7% 2.5 cups
October 13, 2008 12% 3.5 cups
October 14, 2008 12% 1.5 cups
October 15, 2008 11.9% 1.5 cups
October 16, 2008 11.8% 1 cup
October 17, 2008 11.7% 0.5 cup

Heart Hand & Eye Gallery

Parquetry Cabinet by Lael Gordon

Anchorage Alaska

This exceptional cabinet is available for purchase. If you would like more information please call Yvonne at our Gallery toll free at 1.877.943.9663

Our Annual Student Show & Open House takes place on December 20th. Open House will take place from

1-5pm at the school. The show will take place in the Heart Hand & Eye Gallery from 7-10pm. If you would like more information or assistance with finding accommodation, contact Yvonne toll free at 1.877.943.9663.

Artisan, Guest Faculty & Craftsman Programs for 2009

Adrian Ferrazzutti: Chair Making & Design July 6-10, 2009

Early registration for this program is recommended. If you would like more information or if you would like to register please call Yvonne toll free at 1.877.943.9663

We are accepting registrations for our Artisan and Guest Faculty Programs for 2009. 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 are currently accepting applications for the 2009-2010 Craftsman Program.

Artisan Program Schedule for 2009