March 2, 2014

This week at the school, we began the spring intake of the Impractical Cabinetmaker Program. We have students joining us from Canada, United States, Singapore and Cyprus enrolled in Impractical Studies, Upward Spiral and Composing. In the first week of Impractical Studies, Graphics & Edges, we have just completed the Gumby exercise. The exercise focuses on preparing our tools, careful selection of wood, and shaping including surface preparation and edges treatment. In the Upward Spiral program students have rough milled the stock for their solid wood piece and have moved onto dovetails. In the Composing program, students have selected the wood, mocked up, rough milled the stock for their pieces and have joinery underway. Our resident craftsman, Caroline Woon, who has just completed her second year of study, is taking a well desired break, joining her family in Europe for a few weeks.

A little over a week ago, JK’s original machines arrived in my home shop. I have spent the last week dialling in the placement of each and am awaiting the electrician to come by to connect them. I have begun the process tuning up each of the machines. I suspect this process will take several weeks, but will give me the opportunity to become familiar with the subtitles of each machine. This week, I began with the tablesaw and mortiser. I dismantled the chuck on the mortiser, cleaned and lubricated it which now runs freely and takes bits from 0-15mm.


This coming week I will remove the table and clean and lubricate the trunions which have not been moved much in the last decade. I will then turn my attention to the sliding table. I have included a few photographs of my little shop. The main shop is approximately ten by twelve feet and the adjacent wood room, which is also home to Jim’s old eighteen inch bandsaw measures about nine by five feet. His hand tools, hang above the bench and old mechanical press sits next to his old Italian shaper. Before he passed, he said he wanted his tools used. It was based on this comment, and a conversation I had with Yvonne that I have decided that the hand tools I have collected, pampered and used for more than twenty five years will remain at the school. As I sit in my shop writing this I am filled with a deep sense of gratitude, as I begin the return to my work.
Be well and enjoy your work,