April 24, 2006

Sides of Ian's sideboard of teak with European beech interior showing mortises, doweling and console holes just prior to assembly. The fit and finish of this piece is exceptional.

Final curved applied edge is applied to Brent's demilune tabletop. The applied beech edge was pre-bent using a hot pipe, a method commonly used in instrument making. With much of the surface preparation and finishing complete, Brent is now focusing on the stand joinery.

Doug's drawer compartment dry fit. Doug has developed exceptional hand skills since arriving in September. Doug has the substrates prepared for the curved and tapered curly maple veneered serving tray, which will rest above the drawer compartment and will be captured in position using the legs, which protrude the top.

Jason's showcase cabinet dry fit showing marquetry. There was a moment of silence in the shop when Jason dry fit his cabinet and removed the cardboard protecting the finished surfaces. We are pleased that Jason will be co-teaching a number of classes here at the school this summer while serving as one of our three Resident Craftsman.

Caitlin's bench dry fit. The twin-mortise and tenon joinery is nicely fit with slats of ash set aside to settle. Following the cutting of the joinery, each of the legs where cut on the bandsaw then shaped by hand using a spoke shave. Caitlin has enlisted the services of a local wool artist who will be hand crafting felted wool seat for the bench.

Bruce uses a set of ducks to layout curve of his wall sconce; which will be made with tapered laminations of wenge. The cabinet is complete with curved front drawers currently underway at his bench.

Detail of Michael's spalted maple veneers inset into veneered doussie doors left slightly proud with softened edges. Michael used the double bevel marquetry method with final fitting done by hand using a needle file.

Nicole shaping yew handle with small spoke shave. Students at Inside Passage are encouraged to develop a sensible balance between the use of hand and machine tools. As we approach the end of this year¹s program I am very pleased to see this progression in our students and delighted to see the fine hand skills they have developed.

Eric's table base dry fit. The front rail will be split now that joinery is complete and the bottom section will receive a subtle arc, which is accentuated by the graphics of the wenge. Mockup handles taped in place to curved drawer fronts to be made of sterling silver and African black wood. Eric has served as a fine leader in the benchroom and we look forward to his return for a second year at some point.

Stephen doweling using horizontal mortising machine. These rails will be joined to the leg using a twin-mortise and tenon joint and attached to the drawer frame with dowels carefully fit. The drawer of this table will be made or doussie and run through the ends. Stephen has maintained the no compromise approach to our craft and it shows in his work.

With his parquetry cabinet of Claro Walnut almost complete Federico begins to cut the joinery for stand of wenge. Federico brings wonderful enthusiasm to his work and we are pleased that Federico will be co-teaching a number of classes here at the school this summer while serving as one of our three Resident Craftsman.

Cody's tabletop tansu cabinet glued up. Cody has applied the edges to the top and has since moved onto the drawers and sliding doors. Cody has experimented and decided on a green/ brown patina for his brass handles. The handles will be surfaces prepared with 400-grit sandpaper and covered in wood shavings mixed in with a Cupric Nitrate solution. Cody will co-teach a class this summer while completing his year of residency at the school and will be returning to take part in our Journeyman Program in the not so distant future.

Peter's wall hung humidor glued up with lower partition. A humidor has several functional considerations, which can significantly impact the design. Peter will be returning to Brooklyn New York following the Seattle show where he will work independently as a craftsman. Peter will be joining us in the future as part of our Journeyman Program.

With literally Hundreds of dowels, splines and mortise and tenons later, Ian's sideboard glued up! The top is underway and should be attached in a day or so. At that point Ian will focus on sliding doors and drawers as the show deadline approaches.

The Benchroom this week ...

April 17, 2006

Back of Federico's Claro Walnut parquetry cabinet. When Federico began applying finish to the parquetry panels and the back the tones, figure and grain of this exquisite wood came to life. Watching our students develop their abilities as craftsman is one of the most rewarding experiences a teacher can have. We are so pleased that Federico will be joining us for another year of study.

Doug's Serving tray and stand of Jatoba dry fit.

Doug's Serving tray: Shows the tight shoulder tolerances of the live twin tenon joinery with shaping complete prior to assemble. Doug spent several days at his bench with a shop made wooden compass plane, spoke shave and chair scrape before burnishing and applying an oil mixture finish.

Back Panel of Jason's showcase in East Indian Rosewood and Pear showing curved glass and with marquetry in Imbuya, a suggestion by Jim Krenov. The joinery of this panel includes dowels and micro (1/8") twin mortise and tenons. Simply put, curves, angles, righteous joinery and sweet surfaces.

Bruce's entry table final glue up. Bruce has the Wenge wall sconce underway. The arcs will be made of tapered laminations with an increasingly tighter radius towards the ends. Each of the laminations must be pre-bent using a hot pipe, a method commonly used in instrument making prior to form glue up.

Walkarounds are a time for sharing and reflecting on the weeks previous work. Brent explains his drawer frame construction during a recent walk around.

Shaping of legs of Michael's linen cabinet of Doussie and spalted Maple. The subtle pillowing of the leg and step, just another detail to discover on an impeccably done piece of fine furniture.

Nicole finishing off the last of the panels of her nightstand of local Cherry and Cypress. Two woods which respond very well to a hand plane. The shavings are indicative of hours of planing. The cherry and cypress is a lovely match. The interior of Cypress will receive just a few light coats of shellac, but not enough to mask the lovely citron fragrance.

Stephen's sofa table of Honduras Mahogany and Doussie dry fit. Stephen is currently refining the shape of the legs. Once the case work is complete it will house a through drawer of Doussie that will be aligned using rare earth magnets carefully fit just below the surface of the rails. Stephen has shown remarkable progress as a craftsman since arriving at our school with no prior experience working with wood.

With her joinery complete Caitlin returns to the serenity of the bench room where she uses a spoke shave to shape the legs of bench of local cherry. After weeks of scraping Muhuhu in her previous piece Caitlin is enjoying the friendly properties of the local cherry. Caitlin has developed fine hand skills since she arrived at our school.

Ian's teak sideboard dry fit. The joinery is very well executed, as is the surface preparation.

Ian's teak sideboard: Shows the back and side panel construction dry fit with a temporary spline. The panels are doweled into the top and bottom. The legs are attached to the frames using twin mortise and tenon. It will be almost a shame to glue up this piece as it incorporates so many of the methods and skills taught this year. As I watch this piece being made I am reminded of "A Cabinetmakers Notebook" where Jim tells the story of Peder Måås, a well-known Danish cabinetmaker who sent a chair to Orient by ocean freight. As the chair is being unloaded from the ship an elephant steps on it. The only thing left intact is the joinery; the rest was smashed to splinters.

The parts of Cody's tabletop tansu cabinet with joinery complete, prefinished and ready for assembly. The richness of the Kwila and Jatoba are brought out using an oil mixture finish. The interior of Spanish Cedar receives only a few light coats of shellac which still permit the fragrance to come through.

Lip detail of Eric's entry table top of Wenge. The Case is complete and curved drawer parts cut and ready for hand cut joinery. The stand joinery is currently underway with all the shaping complete. The drop leaf pulls of sterling silver and African Blackwood are underway and serve as a fine after hours activity. Eric has been a tremendous leader in the shop. He does it in a quiet way. Eric has expressed interest in coming back for a second year in a year or two. He will be welcomed back with open arms.

Brent's parts with finishing nearly complete. The drawer compartment joinery is complete where the sides are attached to the front apron using half lapped dovetails. Bent has fabricated the jig he will use to cut the twin mortise and tenon joinery, which will be used to join the curved aprons to the legs. The sunburst top is nearly complete with the front steam bent edge banding.

Pete laying out a mortise for a lock on his Pau Ferro and Kwila humidor. The slot, which will accept the bolt of the lock, must be mortised accurately into the cabinet prior to construction. A series of partial mock-ups determine the placement of the lock.

The Benchroom this week ...

10 April, 2006

Robert was invited to speak at the recent Vancouver Island Woodworkers Guild. With nearly two hundred in attendance he spoke about our school and his passion for craft. He was reunited with a few former students and looks forward to returning for the Furniture Society Conference which is being held in Victoria Summer 2007. As a graduate of the College of the Redwoods Fine Woodworking Program, Robert received an invitation to submit work to the Highlight Gallery's 25th Anniversary show to be held in Mendocino September 2007.

Robert demonstrating cutting mortise for wall hanger on the horizontal mortising machine using an end mill.

Gary and Doug discuss construction of framework of drawer compartment of Doug's serving tray stand. Walkarounds continue to be an educational and entertaining aspect of the program.

Ian's teak sideboard bottom showing twin mortise and tenon joinery, bake ins and spline joinery. Complete with European Beech interior and Bocote pulls this Danish inspired sideboard will shine with Ian's fine craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Michael's rails of doussie linen cabinet showing twin mortise and tenon and spline joinery. Michael has been busy with surface preparation and finishing while completing his joinery. Michael continues to develop into a fine craftsman.

Stephen's Table Aprons with oil mixture finish. Two planks of mahogany have been used for this table. The first plank has been used for the legs and frame work the second for top and aprons. Stephen has shown remarkable progression this year. He approaches his work in a thoughtful way and is evident in his work.

Caitlin's twin mortise and tenon joinery of local cherry bench. Each of the floating tenons are fit to each specific mortise using files, planes and sandpaper; which when fit well produce "pop" sound when removed.

Back panel of Federico's parquetry cabinet of Claro Walnut and Wenge. Unfortunately no picture will ever do this piece any justice. The wood and craftsmanship are impeccable.

Doug's tray showing tapering or substrate laminates prior to baked in edges. Doug has already cut the curly local veneer for this piece and will receive applied edges of Jatoba.

This week Robert demonstrated making knife hinges, "L" hinges and wall hangers. Shown are some of the simple tools required and a few of the hinges completed and others partially complete.

Peter's humidor of pau ferro and kwila showing fit of bottom into pre finished side and post. The top and bottom are notched for the legs then doweled using a simple doweling template. Peter will make the transition to self employment as a craftsman following the program upon his return to New York.

Eric's wenge cabinet ready for drawer fitting. The elegant legs have been shaped using planes, spoke shaves and scrapers are shown to the left. The silver drop leaf pulls will be carved and polished using simple hand and machine tools.

Jason's showcase of pear and east Indian Rosewood showing twin tenon compound angled joinery. The workmanship of this piece is exquisite. Jason's curved glass arrived this week. His frames are currently under construction including twin micro (1/8") floating mortise and tenon joinery.

Brent's demilune table top of curly and spalted local maple. A lot to consider when laying out the shop sawn veneers for this piece. Color, grain and graphics joined with tapers narrowing towards the sides of the table.

Brent's demilune aprons showing half lapped dovetails where sides of drawer compartment are joined. Brent will use twin mortise and tenon construction to join the aprons to the legs.

Bruce's entry table in kwila showing side corner and back lip. With finishing almost complete Bruce has begun preparation of forms for tapered lamination base to be made of wenge.

Nicole hand planing applied edges of her night table of local cherry. She has her stand material, Jatoba has been cut and settling while she continues to work on the cabinet. Our local cherry reminds me of Euro cherry which I have not seen available for some time.

Sides of Cody's tabletop tansu of Kwila and Jatoba. There is a slight taper to the legs and side panels. The interior is of Spanish cedar. It will have two sliding doors veneered doors, three drawers with pulls to be made of patinaed brass.

Doug's serving tray frame partially finished and dry fitted. The shaping on this stand was done using planes, spoke shaves and chair scrape and is a joy to see and feel. The tones of the Jatoba and local figured maple are a fine match.

The Benchroom this week ...

April 3, 2006

The students and faculty sat down one evening and discussed 'Life After School '. During this session, the realities, both challenges and benefits of life as an independent craftsman were shared. We are excited to announce that Stephen Esdon and partner Susan will be setting up a woodworking cooperative shop just down the road for graduates of our school. Stephen and a few others recently ordered workbenches from Leif Carlson of Sweden. Leif is the son of the craftsman who made JK's bench and has also made a bench for Robert. Over the coming weeks students will be introduced to the making of hinges and handles of brass and silver, chair making and marquetry as well as sliding doors.

The students are taking advantage of the after hours time being offered at our school to complete their final projects to be shown at the Northwest Furniture Gallery in Seattle on May 11. Steve Skonieczny, one of our journeyman program teachers has arranged for a number of shop tours and has contacted the gallery membership to find accommodation for our staff and students. The students are also looking at the possibility of a year-end road trip to meet Jim Krenov and visit the place where it all began. A preview of year-end work will take place at our school the week prior to the Seattle show. Stay tuned for more details.

Ian's teak cabinet showing joinery and step on the legs. The teak is a joy to use. Although tough on cutting edges it work beautifully with both hand and machine tools. Ian has begun pre finishing his components and has the majority of machine work behind him. He will be using NK drawers in this piece.

During a recent walkaround, Cody shares the mockup of a tabletop tansu cabinet to be made of Jatoba and Kwila. This cabinet will have three drawers and two sliding doors.

Bruce's entry table of kwila with wall sconce mocked up in poplar. The stand will be made of tapered laminations, likely using Red Cabruva. Bruce's attention to detail is evident in his work.

Caitlin's mockup of bench to be made of some sweet local cherry with carded wool seat. The bench does not have a back and can be placed against a wall or in the middle of a room. Caitlin and her partner Ellen have two lovely little girls who I am sure will enjoy their Caitlin's work.

Stephen's mockup of sofa table to be made of Honduras Mahogany and Doussie. Stephen has his veneer work complete for the top and aprons and has begun the shaping of the legs. He is enjoying the workability of the Honduras Mahogany.

Doug's stand of Jatoba with joinery carefully fit. A challenging wood and joinery. The parts have all been carefully shaped by hand using spoke shaves, planes and chair scrapes made during the program.

Robert talking about template routing on the shaper, a method used commonly in chair making.

Jason using a double template for initial shaping of his legs. Jason has taken on a very complex piece. He has developed exceptional hand skills since arriving at the school and we look forward to big things from this young man when he returns for a second year of study.

Pete's kwila chair complete with Danish Cord. A finely made chair by a very skilled and dedicated craftsman. Once complete, Robert sat in it for about an hour preparing for the day. The ergonomics match the strong aesthetic value of this piece. Pete will be returning to New York following the program where he will be sharing a shop with another furniture maker. Pete has begun a humidor in Kwila, Pau Ferro and Spanish Cedar.

Brent top receiving baked in edges. As the curve towards the outside becomes quite tight each edge was bent using a steam pipe so as to make the curve without fracturing. Brent's celebrated birthday his birthday with us this week. Once with the class and again with Loragene & Philip Gaulin who operate a B & B where Brent is staying. Loragene made a fabulous homemade chocolate cake.

Nicole's veneer work in the press. Nicole has done a fine job sawing and preparing the veneers for this piece. The exceptional local cherry and cypress work very well together. The cypress, which will be used in the interior of her nightstand with perhaps a thin coat or two of shellac, has the fragrance of citronella.

Michael's rails showing twin tenon joinery of Linen Cabinet. Michael has his panels veneered and has even mocked up a drop leaf pull of patina brass which works very well with the doussie and spalted maple. Following the Craftsman Program Michael will be moving into a teaching role. His abilities as a craftsman will be complemented well with his ability to work with people.

Jason's shop drawing of the stand for his cabinet. Compound angles and curves. Not at all as simple as the drawing looks not to mention it is being made of Indian Rosewood.

Eric's wenge cabinet dry fit. This week he received the silver, which will be used to make the posts for the drop leaf pulls. African Blackwood will dangle from the silver posts, which complements the wenge.

Federico's applied edge, notice the alignment with veneer of front of door. Federico has done a fabulous job with this challenging piece. He brings a great deal of creativity to his work; at the same time working very accurately.

Brent's aprons, drawer fronts and frames laminated prepared for joinery. The highly figured western maple used in the aprons and drawer fronts will also be used for a sunburst pattern on the top. Check back next week to see the progress.

A side of Eric's table showing baked in, applied edges and doweling. Each of these sides is made up of sixteen pieces of wood including Baltic Birch plywood and Italian bending Plywood.