We have just completed the first week of the Craftsman and Resident Craftsman programs at Inside Passage School of Fine Cabinetmaking. This year’s class consists of students from Japan, Belgium, Israel, Mexico, United States and Canada, including five second-year students, three Artisan program alumni including one Resident Artisan program alumni.
The Craftsman program students began with the graphics and shaping exercise. Students are guided through the sharpening, tuning and use of spokeshaves and block planes, tools essential to fine cabinetmaking. Students then complete a millwork and grain straightening exercise, which includes the use and safe operation of the bandsaw, jointer, planer and dimension saw. Students are then introduced to grain graphics, templates, shaping, surface preparation and edge treatment.
Each of these skills is primary to our work. This coming week the Craftsman program students we will be moving onto plane making, tuning and use during which time they will be introduced to the boring machines and drill press. Each student will make a smoothing, jointer and coopering planes required for the remainder of the exercises and throughout their lives as craftsman.
The Resident Craftsman program students have begun their chair making exercise. Each student has made a complete set of templates and working drawings of Vidar’s chair and have moved onto the selection and breakout of material for their chair. They began looking for the material for the crest rail, a double curve requiring very straight 75mm by 75mm rift sawn stock. This can be an arduous task, even if 12/4 stock is available. My solution is documented in a previous edition of the journal during which time I was making the chair and has become the basis for an advanced graphics exercise which each of our second year students have begun. This coming week the Resident Craftsman program students will be moving onto final stock preparation and joinery for their chairs.
Our Programs have been aligned in such a way that from the beginning our second-year students, while continuing on that upward spiral are undertaking work, which provides first year students the opportunity to see further possibilities, which exist in our craft. All of our programs at Inside Passage School of Fine Cabinetmaking are founded on the teachings of my James Krenov and will continue to explore the wood, the tools and the details of fine cabinetmaking is he suggested.
First Elephants was held at our home on Friday evening following class. This year’s class was joined by several of our Artisan, Craftsman and Resident Craftsman alumni. Artisan Alumni John Leinemann made the trip all the way from Kelowna to join us and brought along a couple of billets of apple wood he harvested himself. The evening began with a tour of Robert’s new benchroom, and an opportunity to see some of the work of our students and faculty including our recently acquired cabinet on a stand made by Jim, the year I was in school. Wonderful food and conversation, the evening concluded with a bonfire.
Yvonne and I would like to thank all our alumni for their letters, packages, phone calls and e-mails, in the past few weeks wishing us well with our new group. One of these little packages included a lovely vintage pencil sharpener. It has been installed in your old corner Steve, and will remind us of the pleasure one feels when doing things by hand. I am reminded that this school not only exists for you but because of you, and Yvonne and I are very grateful for all your support and for making the creative and supportive environment, which exists at the school.
I did not get much work done in my own shop this week, however after much reflection, I have decided not to proceed with the integrated pulls that I had previously mocked up. At the school, students are encouraged to commit to any decision only when it becomes necessary. While this has served me well in my own work, and in the work of our students; I think perhaps we spend too much time thinking and not enough time doing. This craft in its purest form requires flow or rhythm in ones work. A connection to the material, a respect for the process and the enjoyment that comes as a result. I am beginning to regain that connection, respect and enjoyment which brought me here.
Be well and enjoy your work,