February 26, 2007

Jim Krenov's lecture this week dealt with marquetry, parquetry and setting up a small shop. He reflected back on his time with Carl Malmsten and in his little shop in Stockholm. Jim's silver chest will be the topic of an upcoming lecture. We are grateful for Jim's involvement with our small school.

Lael's exceptional first piece concave frame and panel wall cabinet of Swiss pear and red cabruva. We are in the process of having our student work photographed, when completed their work will be posted in student gallery on our website.

Last week we made our yearly pilgrimage to see Robert Prinse, a local sawyer and friend of the school. From left: Ian, Robert Prinse, Jacques, Lael, Steve, Claire, Juliette, Jason and Cole. I finally managed to convince Robert to part with a piece of curly, spalted maple that I have coveted for many years.


Jon bending sides for his classical acoustic guitar. The wood is an unknown tropical hardwood from New Zealand, which resembles goncalo alves.

Jon cutting the back of his guitar. The back is book matched material, edge jointed and planed and scraped to a final thickness of just over 1/16".

Robert assists Jacques in selection of the material for his cabinet of doussie and curly spalted maple.

Juan's bent laminations of bubinga for his stand. The laminates required a hot piped pre-bend in order to make the tight inside radius of 3/8".

Scott's cabinet sitting on a dry fit, sculpted stand of red cabruva. One can spend hours discovering and enjoying the many subtle delightful details in this piece.


Team work is where it's at. Juliette, Jason and Ian apply glue to the dovetailed joinery during glue up.

Detail of Scott's dry fit stand which features mortise and tenon construction. It includes mitered corners to minimize short grain.

Students were introduced to marquetry this week. Jason followed up his lecture with a demonstration using the double bevel method. Jason is a fine craftsman with a warm and gentle way of sharing his craft. We are
grateful to have him with us and hope to see more of him in the coming years. He is in the process of setting up his own shop in rural northern British Columbia and already has several commissions in queue.

Jacques' veneers with a negative template used to select pattern. Jacques managed to get fourteen veneers out of his 8/4 stock only jointing as required between cuts on the bandsaw.

Ian uses a simple fixture to hold a curved laminated rail in place for mortising. Ian's chair will serve as a complete overview to many aspects of chair making. With the side frame joinery dialed in, Ian has moved onto the joinery for the tapered laminated frame, which will support leather upholstery.

Federico's curved parquetry doors of macassar ebony and wenge. The wenge veneers are slightly thicker creating a step, which is lightly softened using needle files.

Jacques uses a shooting board and plane to shoot the edges of his veneers prior to edge gluing.

Students were introduced to parquetry this week. Federico used the back panel for his piece as a tool for showing students the many possibilities available with veneer. Federico is a fine craftsman and teacher and it is always a pleasure to watch him share his craft with others.

Cole pares his second set of tails of his traditional Japanese hibachi. Cole has been a pleasure to watch. He comes in, puts his head down, gets it done, and well!

Jason unselfishly put his piece on hold to allow Robert to spend some time at his bench. It was long over due and Robert continues to enjoy this special gift from Jason. At this point the joinery is nearly complete. Robert expects to be moving onto shaping next week. Todd Sorenson arrives from California next week and will replace Jason as our visiting journeyman.

The Benchroom this week ...

Feb 5, 2007

Jacques uses XY table on one of our Davis and Wells boring machines on mortises for angled joinery for stand of wenge. Students are asked to use the free had method for their first piece. When they get into compound angle joinery and joinery with curves the XY table is employed.

Lael's cabinet awaiting doors just prior to student show which took place I our gallery on January 27, 2007. We are currently photographing first semester pieces. Watch for them in the student gallery section of our website.

Second year student Federico discusses drawer fitting with first year student Juan Carlos. Juan's drawers have a piston fit. With the cabinet now complete Juan has turned his attention to the bent lamination stand of Bubinga. Juan's architectural background is evident in his work.

Federico uses a template to check the faring of the interior curve of substraight of his doors. The interior shaping is done with his coopering plane built during the first semester of his first year.

Cole uses a shop made chisel to fit his shop made hinges in his curved and tapered door. Students are shown machine and hand tool methods shown advantages and disadvantages of both and encouraged to uses the method or combinations of methods that feel right for them. Our experience has shown that many of our students use the machines to rough out their work and use their hand tools for refining the final fit.

Steve's walnut box complete in time for the show opening. His first piece includes many of the skills covered in the first semester. Hand cut dovetails, open mortise and tenon, frame and panel, surface preparation, edge treatment, hinge making and installation and finishing just to mention a few.

Juan Carlos' carved ambonya (red narra) burl panel sits in place for glue up. The design of this cabinet meant careful observation of wood movement issues. This carved panel is captured between the four interlocking boxes of pear and plum. This piece has since been glued up ad Juan is currently working on the stand.

Shop made brass hardware used to attach stand to cabinet. In the true spirit of community Cole, having already completed his piece made the hardware for Jacques who was busy completing the stand in time for the show.

Jacques' cabinet of English Brown Oak and stand of Wenge in place just hours before the show. Jacques left the shop after 2:30am the morning of the show and was back at 8am to attach the stand.

Yvonne holds Maaike, Ian and Marnie's daughter. Maaike wore her Inside Passage Carhartt bib overalls for the open house and show. Children really prove how insignificant any thing we make really is.

Over the past few weeks first year students have been introduced to veneer construction. Robert demonstrated flat and curved panel work including form making and using both vacuum and mechanical presses. Ian followed up with tapered laminations which he is using for the interior upholstery frame for his rocking chair.

Jon uses a file to refine the template for for guitar. Since this photo was taken Jon has made many of the jogs and templates required, sawn the material and edge jointed his plates for the front and back and has began bending the sides.

Federico uses a method previously used by Robert to hold the plates for a violin during the shaping process to make a form for veneering compound curve veneered panels. The low expanding foam is placed in a shallow box the panel is wrapped in plastic and held in place in the mechanical press while the foam dries. Once complete a perfect negative of the door remains. The form is then used with a vacuum or mechanical press to apply the veneers to the core.

Scott's drawers fit with let go. The drawers are tapered slightly from front to back and run smoothly in the drawer pockets, also tapered to produce a silky run and tighten slightly just before they leave the pocket, preventing drawers from getting dropped.

A beginning, sketches and sample patterns created using the natural prismatic of the material. In this case the hemlock will be cut on the diagonal at approximately 8 degrees and then sawn into veneers of 3/32" which will be arranged, cut and shifted to create the intended pattern. The pattern Lael intends to use will also require inlay work. As a result a router bit needed to be modified with a 3 degree taper.

Ian discusses the joinery for his chair during recent walkaround. Walkarounds continue to serve as an opportunity for students to share and learn what is going around them with their classmates.

This week we had three presentations. Cole, Steve and Lael presented their pieces to the class. In keeping with tradition students are asked to present their pieces once complete to the class. An opportunity to talk about their inspiration, the material, triumphs and tragedies along their journey.

Lael's parquetry cabinet mockup to be made of hemlock, port orford cedar and yew. Warm tones of local woods.

Scott's cabinet of beech nearing completion. The joinery for the stand is complete with the shaping of the legs and rails and pulls left to finish. As with all our first semester pieces students were asked to make all the hardware for these pieces. This was a very ambitious piece and incorporates everything covered in the first semester and is being made for a very special little person, his daughter.

Jacques built up substraights receive baked in edging prior to shop sawn spalted maple veneer. We are pleased that Jacques will be joining us for a second year. His commitment to the school and his craft has been most evident since he arrived.

Cole's mockup for traditional Japanese hibachi. The larger box will be constructed of solid teak using hand cut dovetailed joinery and lined with patinaed copper. The small box will be veneered construction with hand cut dovetailed drawers and shop made brass hardware. An this ambitious piece is moving along nicely.

Ian continues work on his joinery. With the machine operations done he now turns to his hand tools to refine the fit of his joinery prior to the extensive shaping done by hand. The upholstered frame is also underway which will wrapped with leather. Ian continues to set a high standard of craftsmanship respected by all.

With Juliette's spice box nearing completion she has continued to carve spoons as a side activity. The box will now contain hand sewn packets of lovely fabric with attached carved spoons of boxwood. The knife shown was a gift made by Cole one of her classmates.