We have just returned from our annual pilgrimage down to the Gilmer Wood Company in Portland Oregon. Recent changes with Canada Customs have made the process of importing wood a difficult proposition. While our student as individuals do not seem to experience the same challenges as the school as a commercial entity; we will be working with Canada Customs and Agriculture Canada in streamlining this process. We will continue to stock our wood from several sources. Having the access to the resources at Gilmer’s is not something I am welling to let go. Jim came in on his day off to share with our new students his knowledge of wood and lumberyard etiquette. He joined us for a late lunch at the local Mexican restaurant.
We also returned Powell’s Books where we bought all remaining copies of JK’s books, new and used for our reference library. A few new additions to our library
include The Fine Art of Marquetry by Craig Vandell Stevens and Classical Guitar Making by Jack Bogdanovich, both College of the Redwoods graduates.
The group stayed at McMenamin’s Edgefield in Troutdale. We were first introduced to McMenamin’s a few years back by Craftsman Program alumni Evan Bush. It truly is magical place surrounded by art, with onsite restaurants, winery, brewery, locally harvested food and soaker pool; some would say is worth the trip alone. The historic Poor Farm has been transformed into a hotel, with very reasonable accommodation and is an easy commute to both Gilmer’s and Powell Books. Our trip home was uneventful with the exception of having to change the alternator on our 1987 Westfailia on the side of the road in Lynnwood Washington.
The first year students will be moving onto drawer making and fitting this week and frame and panel as we wrap up the Wabi Sabi exercise next week. While we will still need to complete the Sailing and Upward Spiral exercises, this year students have been encouraged to begin to think about the Passage exercise early. Many have begun selecting wood, an exciting time at the school.
The second year students and I are completing of the shaping of our chair parts. We will be mortising the lumbar rail and begin assemblies this coming week. Their enthusiasm for Vidars Exercise has carried through to our first year students, several already talking about a second year of study.
Over the break, our son, who is mechanically inclined, came out and maintained all of our machines and changed the knives on JK’s jointer and both planers. Melissa took time out from shaping chair parts to change the knives on both General jointers. Today I will complete the change over of parts from the tired Poitras shaper to our new vintage model 2800 General shaper, a gift to the school from Artisan alumni Dan McCallum.
Congratulations to 2007 Craftsman Program alumni Lael Gordon who was awarded Alaska’s biannual prestigious Earth Fire and Fiber jurors choice award for his Greek Key Cabinet shown above. Lael continues to divide his time between teaching Mathematics at the local college and working in his Seward shop.
Yvonne and I would like to take the opportunity to welcome local firm Great Bear Web design who will be undertaking the long overdue completion of our website. We would also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our students past and present; this school not only exists for you but because of you.
Be well and enjoy your work, Robert