Early spring Greetings from Inside Passage!
We have just finished our first week of the new spring session at the school. With five returning students in the advanced programs, collectively known as the Apprenticeship program, it is shaping up to be an exciting term with many different projects in the mix.
For the Upward Spiral students, this week has been focused on reacquaintance with their hand planes, flattening and squaring a piece of Eastern Hard Maple by hand in the Perfect Board Exercise. It is a challenging and often frustrating task, but pays off with a deeper understanding and skill with our most essential of hand tools.
At the same time, material for projects is being pondered and selected, with the graphics of grain and colour the foremost consideration. It is a very exciting time with boards being opened up, first cuts being made. I am so looking forward to seeing these beautiful woods transform.
As a central focus in our work, we introduce the concepts of grain graphics to our Impractical Studies students in their very first week at the school - how the different cuts of wood display their grain in various ways, and how to rotate the grain to yield graphics that work with our intentions for each piece.
In the Gumby Leg exercise, the students straighten and rotate the grain of their leg blank, then cut the curves on two faces. The resulting grain lines flow with the curve, gently accentuating its shape. The leg is now ready for shaping with spokeshaves and chisels, a story all of its own...
Robert topped off the graphics lecture with a demonstration on the Vidar's Chair crest rail. This part, though slender, curves up and back simultaneously, and was thought to require 12/4 stock. Several years ago, a spark of ingenuity led Robert to discover in his own shop that he was able to obtain the crest rail with just 8/4 stock while preserving ideal grain graphics - a moment of great creative triumph, the fruits of which we are very lucky to enjoy!
Thank you all for a great first week back in the shop!