January 23, 2006

This week we have photographs of the details of the pieces on display to show the quality of the work produced by our students. Photographs of the students and their work are shown in the Student Collection and Resident Craftsman Collection of our Gallery page.

Dovetails set slightly proud on a curve. Carcass in yellow cedar, panel of curly boxwood and carved pull of olive. The closer you look, the facets left by the knife used to carve the pull, the gentle curve of the panel. The pull's shoulder of the tenon had to be fit on the curve. This piece is filled with warm tones and fine craftsmanship.

Brent's open mortise and tenon Anegre door showing the rabbit nicely fit with friendly edges. A cushion of air is felt when the doors close. Tight joinery and careful selection of materials are evident in this cabinet. Sliding door with Olive panel is a sweet surprise when the cabinet is opened.

Doug's back panel of Aframosia, London Plane and spalted sycamore. Jim Krenov says "you don't have to stand on your head!" Woods should compliment not fight one another. Even the tones in the stand of Wenge work well with the frame and panel back. Machines have their limitations, fortunately for the skilled craftsman these are obstacles which can be overcome.

Bruce's drawer of Cherry and Eastern Maple with carved Jatoba pull. The drawer is quite deep and will receive a tray. The grain graphics of the drawer are carried through the panel in the back of the opening to the right. A drawer wider than deep can be a challenge to fit. Bruce rose to the challenge, well done.

Federico's wall cabinet bursting with gentle curves. A challenge to photograph, one best seen first hand. The door is convex side to side and concave top to bottom along the sides. Words do little justice to this piece.

Jason's cabinet of doussie showing pulls of cocobolo. Each of the pulls was carved and fitted with through mortise and tenon. Knives and needle files, two underutilized tools used by the sensitive cabinetmaker are capable of very fine work... in the right hands. The pull in the foreground is larger than the drawer pulls which vary in size only a few millimeters, sometimes this is all it takes.

Ian's dovetailed carcass of doussie showing the wrap of the grain and subtle curve of coopered door. A brittle wood often filled with nasty surprises. That said, incredible end grain and rich tones that only get better with time has often been considered a favorite of Jim Krenov's. Righteous workmanship in a sweet wood.

Michael's panels of Mendocino cypress, frames of Agathis. The cut in the doors follow the grain and are careful softened using needle files and draw ones eye to the carved pulls which are currently underway in doussie. The workmanship in this piece is as nice as I have seen. Jim Krenov once said to me "the closer you get to an object the more little details one should see". I could sit here all day and just discover. Lovely work.

The end grain and tones of the doussie leveler (bottom right) complement the warm flowing pattern of Stephen's cabinet of agathis. The closer you look the more you discover. Careful selection of wood, kindly edges tight joinery. Check back soon to see the back panel of Mendocino cypress which melds so nicely with the Agathis.

Nicole's dovetails in pacific yew. The grain was selected to wrap around the box. The yew, a hard local softwood is brittle and a challenge to dovetail.The fit is nothing less than on. The top is underway and is coopered with continuous carved palls. On the underside of the top the scallops left by the carving tools have been left revealing the makers fingerprints.

Caitlin's Cabinet of Muhuhu and back panel of Zebrano. The mortise at the upper left of side will accept a carved hanger which will be brought through the side and wedges and pillowed. Funny how things develop. The Zebrano was originally intended as a primary wood for the cabinet. A difficult wood to work it was set aside before arriving with the muhuhu which despite being a very dense wood full of silica, planes quite well. When a back panel was needed, she didn't have to look far, the Zebrano was a easy match, the tones couldn't be nicer.

Cody's carved post and bail pull of doussie on a door frame of pear, veneered apple wood panel and shoji paper panel set just behind lattice. All this complements the ten drawers of satin walnut .

Pete's baptismal font, a piece commissioned by a local church in Davis Bay. The shaping of the legs of this piece are exquisite. The craftsmanship is impeccable, things we have come to expect from our resident craftsman.

The Benchroom this week ...

Jan 16, 2006

The Benchroom this week is a photo overview of activities at our school the past week. If you require more information about any of the activities please contact any of our faculty by email or phone.

Robert assisting Stephen with glue up. Stephen, as most of our students have been putting in significant work after hours and has embraced our school's low tech, no compromise approach to our craft.

Caitlin's door ready to fit hinges. Muhuhu is very dense and when surface preparation is complete requires very little finish if any at all. Interior hangers for necklaces will be attached with through and wedged twin mortise and tenons which will be pillowed and be visible from the exterior of cabinet.

Federico ready for glue up. Dowel construction is often referred to as a less than ideal method of construction however when done accurately it provides the structural integrity required. The back panel is of spalted maple which has a similar hour glass shape to the front and has pinkish tones. Pear is a consideration for the interior drawer front.

Doug's back panel in place with Tasmanian blackwood selected for drawer front. The careful selection of material in this piece provides a very quiet, understated feel. Oh the details in this piece.


Five of Cody's ten drawers. The rest are underway as is the curved shoji paper panel which will have an acetate core (used for making film). The paper is applied to the core using Nori glue.

One of Michael's Doors showing split detail. The panels are a bookmatch of Mendocino cypress, cut along the grain with the edges softened. The caramel tones of the agathis meld well with the cypress.

Brent's door with joinery complete showing selection of panels. The inside stile of the left door is slightly wider to accommodate the rabbit which will be cut after assembly. The panels are from a different plank than the cabinet and has a lovely streak of color towards the outer edges.

Jason's doussie dovetails in curved front underway, the pencil below gives scale to the drawer. This piece simply put sweet wood and fine craftmenship together.

Ian's setup for chopping through pins in curved front. Dovetails cut in curved fronts require more preparation. Cradles and chopping blocks need to be carefully matched to work pieces. The doussie, although brittle is nice to work and over time develops a warm patina.

Eric's frame and curved panel lid ready to fit. The curly boxwood panel has a tenon on each end which is fit into the frame prior to gluing up the frame. The panel lifts at the leading edge and allows the aromatic scent of the yellow cedar to escape. The frame uses open mortise and tenon joints which are required to be cut on the curve. Eric is currently mocking up a pull which will likely be carved from a piece of olive.

Nicole running angled rabbit with radius inside corner which will later accept lid. Simple wedge attached to fence with double stick taped provides necessary support.

Bruce's cabinet in Cherry and spalted sycamore with drawer joinery underway in foreground. Well thought out and of very small scale there are Many subtle details in this piece. Door is underway and will mirror the panel in the upper right.

Pete's mockup of chair with parts milled for one in kwila and another in ash. Pete has lived with this mockup a while and has made significant improvements to its design. The joinery will be twin tenon and the seat of Danish cord.

The Benchroom this week ...

Jan 9, 2006

Caitlin's Cabinet of muhuhu (Brachylaena Hutchinsii) and zebrano (Brachystegia fleuryana). The subtle tones of the muhuhu work very well with the very linear zebrano. The cabinet will be used to hold necklaces that Caitlin's partner, Ellen, has been collecting from their travels.

Doug's back panel; machines have their limits and much of the profile was done with carving tools. The tones of the afrormosia (Afrormosia elata) and plane are complemented with the use of shellac and or wax.

Nicole's dovetails in yew (Taxus baccata), impeccably done! The local yew is hard and brittle with very little room for error.

Eric's open mortise and tenon joint on a curve. Using simple fixtures the joint is cut on a machine and refined with hand tools. The underside of the front and the back rail receive a very slight hollow using a coopering plane.

Brent's back panel. Michael had offered Brent a lovely piece of maple for the back panel. The tones were there however it seemed to compete with the olive. Going with anigre (Aningeria altissima) kept things quiet. Sharing of materials and opinions ads greatly to the experience here at the school.

Brent's cabinet in anigre showing sliding door with olive panel

Jason's cabinet with a sneak preview of the back panel. For a better look you have to see it in person. Our first annual student show and open house takes place at the school January 28, 2006.. Please call our toll free number 1.877.943.9663 for more details.

Stephen and Ian assist Michael with his final glue up. For many weeks we fuss over little parts and one day they all come together. All the preparation pays off.

One of Cody's ten curved front dovetailed drawers in satin walnut and maple for pear cabinet. Cody has set a fine example of the no compromise approach taught at our school.

Ian's door fitted with dovetails flushed off. The inside surface of the door was shaped and finished with a coopering plane made earlier in the program.

Stephen's back panel layout using negative templates.

Doug's wenge (Millettia Laurientii) stand joinery. Twin live tenons through and wedged tenons complement the whimsical feel of this fine cabinet. Righteous joinery and subtle tones!

The Benchroom this week ...

Jan 2, 2006

This is week 18 of our Craftsmen Program and students are working on their pieces to be displayed at our first annual Student Show and Open House on January 28. If you are in the area please visit our school during the Open House from 1 pm to 4 pm or the Show that starts at 7 pm. See attached poster.

The top and bottom of Michael's cabinet oiled ready for assembly. Feet for stand roughed out. Look carefully how the grain follows the subtle curve of the leg.

Ian's dovetail cabinet in doussie. Notice the careful selection of grain transition from the partitions to the sides. Lovely work in a brittle wood.

Brent's sliding door in Anigre and olive. Subtle tone variations, impeccable attention to detail and finely crafted.

Caitlin's coopered door in muhuhu and back panel of zebrano milled oversize. Warm tones, subtle curves provide a pleasing feel for the piece.

Federico's curved cabinet in Canadian Rosewood (eastern maple). Federico looks at our native woods with the same excitement that we do working woods native to his part of the world. There are very few straight lines in this cabinet.

Eric's curved dovetails in yellow cedar fitted ready for a light coat of shellac. Pins and tails will finish slightly proud leaving very little room for grain consolidation. The joints are impeccably executed in a friendly yet unforgiving wood.

Inside is as pretty as the outside of same joint!

Nicole chopping dovetails. Yew's warm friendly feel is deceptive. The lid for this box bears the careful tool marks left by a gouge.

Jason's back panel in doussie with a surprise under the blue tape. Come to our 1st annual student show and open house on January 28th to see what is behind the blue tape.

Interior detail of Doug's cabinet of afrormosia. Intricate frame and panel back is underway. The frame of afrormosia and back panel of sycamore harvested from a neighbor.