June 29, 2008

Artisan A - Hand & Machine Tools

from left Grig, Brian, Miriam, Doug, Lisa, Jacqueline, Robert, Hannah, Dan, Michael, Juan Carlos & Chi Chi, Charles, Rick with daughter in law and grand daughter (from Venezuela) & Uri

Artisan B - Plane Making & Surfaces

from left Sascha, Daniel, Juan Carlos & Chi Chi, Grig, Charles, Robert, Rick, the Unknown Craftsman, Hannah, Lisa, Philippe, Uri, Michael & Brian

JK Lectures

Over the past couple of weeks, Jim spoke about sharpening and the making of planes which he continues to make and refine the process. Jim continues to carefully steer off topic and talk about the many facets of the craft that is so dear to him. This coming week Jim will be talking about making and fitting drawers.

Jim's inspiring words will soon be available on our website. In the interim I will be transcribing snippets of his lectures and publishing his words beginning August 10, 2008.

Artisan Program

Uri from Caracas Venezuela carefully cleans up the shoulders on his tenon during the leg exercise which takes students through an introduction to grain graphics, shaping and joinery. Uri did a fine job on his grain graphics, shaping and joinery exercise and followed up by making a couple of very sweet planes including one in kingwood a priceless gift from Juan Carlos. Uri has taken full advantage of his time here at the school and on the coast.

Brian from Saltspring Island British Columbia presents the first of six planes he made during the second week of the program. Brian made a smoother, a jointer, a coopering, a compound curved bottom, a compass and a scraping plane a fine start to a collection.He used jatoba, afromosia, wenge, cocobolo, osage orange and bocote. We try and introduce our students to as many woods as possible during the program so that they become familiar with the working properties of a variety of woods. Brian is a fine young craftsman who always makes time to assist his classmates. Brian hopes to join us for next years craftsman program, as do we.

Hannah from England with her smoothing plane with locator pins in place. Hannah who's background is in sculpture and finish carpentry has a jointer plane underway in wenge featuring a shop made iron and chip breaker which she is making from a leaf spring. Hannah missed the first few days of the program however has done a fine job in catching up starting the grain graphics and shaping exercise on Saturday afternoon with Robert and still managed to make a wooden spokeshave in the morning.

Sascha from Germany checks the rear ramp of his plane for flat and square. Sascha first heard about our school in an article written by Artisan Program alumni James Astorian. The article is written in German which Sascha has offered to translate for us. A special thank you to Jim for sending this fine young man our way. Sascha arrived late for the start of the program but following the optional Saturday session he has made up for lost time. Sascha made a beautiful wooden smoother and is busy completing his grain graphics and shaping exercise. Next week students will be moving onto the making of a drawer and fitting it to the pocket of their student cabinets. Students will also be introduced to tool making where each student will make a paring chisel and knife.

Lisa from Bowen Island British Columbia completed a entry level trades training in Joinery at British Columbia Institute of Technology prior to attending our school She is enjoying the emphasis of hand tools at our school. She has already made a couple of planes and has developed a fine balance between the use of hand and machine tools at the school. Lisa is very focused and has done very fine work. She is camping while on the coast and commutes daily by bike taking full advantage of the beautiful place in which we live and work.

Grig from Romania is a dentist by trade. It is not difficult to see that the hand skills used in dentistry have had a strong impact on his ability to pick up our craft. Grig hopes to return for a future Craftsman Program. We will be welcoming him back with open arms. In the second week of the program Grig made a lovely wooden smoother and is nearing completion of two other planes in wenge.

Jacqueline from Vancouver uses a spokeshave from one of our student tool kits to cleanup the surfaces on her grain graphics, shaping and joinery exercise. Jacqueline is a potter from Vancouver here for her second class this summer. We hope to carry her work in our gallery this fall. She has a fine eye and good hand skills. We will look forward to her return.

Dan from Squamish British Columbia uses one of our student wooden planes to cleanup the inside surfaces of his leg during the grain graphics, shaping and joinery exercise during the first week of the Artisan Program. Dan donated a few pieces of wood for the school including some beautiful old growth yellow cedar and lightly spalted western maple. Dan hopes to return for Artisan B - Plane Making & Surfaces and Artisan C - Dovetails & Tool Making next summer. We will be very grateful to have him back.

Miriam from Portland Oregon sets up here block plane for the planing exercise during the first week of the Artisan Program. This is Miriam's second program at the school. Miriam particularly enjoyed the grain graphics and leg shaping aspects of the program and did some very fine work at the school. We will look forward to her return.

Charles from Maine uses a spokeshave from one of our student tool kits to shape his leg during the introduction to grain graphics, shaping and joinery exercise during the first week of the Artisan Program. Charles made a couple of fine hand planes that fit his hands like gloves and performed equally well. Charles will be returning to complete the program over a couple of summers. A sweet and focused craftsman.

Rick from Gibsons completes the introduction to grain graphics shaping and joinery exercise. Rick was one of our first registrations to date and has completed three programs at the school. Last week Rick completed three planes including a smoother out of jatoba, a compound curved plane and a large jointer both out of cocobolo. Rick is fine local craftsman who recently completed a lovely writing desk for his partner out off Australian lacewood. Rick is a frequent and generous visitor to the school.

Michael from Caracas Venezuela joined us for the first two weeks of the Artisan Program. A sweet man with a wonderful sense of humor. He will be dearly missed at the school. During the second week Michael made two planes including a smoother with an lignum vita insert which on the final day took shavings in maple of .0005".

Dan from Gibsons British Columbia via Virginia with his first plane, a smoother ready for locator dowels. Dan went on to complete two more planes, a jointer and a edge plane and came back on Saturday and made a wooden spokeshave. Dan first came by the school for our first semester show. Robert lent him his copy of a cabinetmakers notebook which spoke to him. An architect by trade he has a fine hand and very good hand skills. We are very grateful to have Dan at our school.

Philippe from Surrey uses a small chisel to cleanup the round tenons of his cross pin. This is Philippe's second program at the school. A nice man with a big heart and an even bigger file! Philippe completed two planes at the school this week including a a liptus jointer with an applied sole of lignum vita, a gift from Robert. Philippe's young family joined him for the week on the coast and were frequent visitors to the school. We have been very fortunate to have so many lovely families come through our doors. We will look forward to his return next summer.

Resident Craftsmen

Doug Ives from Gibsons British Columbia works on the mockup of a commission he received from a Vancouver client. Doug and Juan Carlos are slowly settling into their new benchroom. Doug has set aside his Dragonfly cabinet to meet with clients and set up a number of commissions to take him through the coming year.

Juan Carlos from Caracas Venezuela shares with the class the the process of removal, honing and replacing the jointer knives. Juan continues to develop as into a fine craftsman and teacher. Juan has put his piece on hold while he and Doug make the transition into their new benchroom. The walls have been painted, cabinets made, shelves hung and new benches tuned.


Resident Craftsman & Teacher Robert Van Norman made a 3/4" small fluting plane from a piece of unknown hardwood. This replaces a plane that Robert passed along to Paul Nielsen earlier this summer. Robert also made the iron from a piece of old file and the chip breaker from a piece of spring steel. This semester's Artisan Program students, like many of our past groups, have really embraced the tool making aspect of the program. On the optional Saturday Robert walked the students through the making of fine wooden spokeshaves of palmwood donated by the widow of a local cabinetmaker.


It Works!

Two very sweet men.

Philippe and Brian present the Evolution of the Wooden Hand Plane.

Brian carved the school's logo in his board following the first planing exercise. Brian is a fine craftsman and talented carver who has been working in Mexico for the past decade. Brian has generously offered to carve the new sign for our office & gallery.


While our gallery renovations are still underway we are nearing the completion of our extensive renovations at the school.

New Facility Floor Plan

Our new Wood Room. At the end of the Artisan Program, Robert will be heading out on a wood run to add to our already impressive Current Inventory of local and imported hardwoods and softwoods. The short have now been relocated to the mezzanine above the kiln and press table. It is so nice to have a quiet place to peruse lovely wood and explore the possibilities.

Robert's New Benchroom with ample natural light and separate entrance conveniently located adjacent to the woodroom. With the addition of another part time teacher currently in training at the school we are optimistic that Robert will make the return to the craft which is so dear to him.

We have installed a JDS air cleaner in the benchroom to improve the air quality at the school during cleanup times. We will be adding a second in the machine room in the spring.

Alumni Bench Order Arrives from Sweden

Unloading the first of six benches from the crate. We will be placing another order next spring. If you are interested in purchasing one of these fine benches please contact Yvonne at the school 1.877.943.9663. For more information visit Målilla Hyvelbänkar


Just a reminder to all our alumni the opening of the gallery will coincide with the weekend of first elephants, September 13, 2008. We hope that you can join us.If any of you are interested in presenting work please contact Yvonne at the school 1.877.943.9663.

Artisan & Craftsman for Programs 2008 -2009

There is limited space available in our Artisan Programs for 2008. If you would you would like more information or would like to register call Yvonne toll free at 1.877.943.9663. Alternatively registrations may be faxed to 1.604.885.9711.

We have confirmed our first-year students for the 2008-2009 Craftsman Program. The group consists of men and women from Japan, Ireland, Columbia, United States & Canada. We are currently accepting applications for the 2009-2010 Craftsman Program.

Artisan Program Schedule for 2009