March 16, 2007

Jim Krenov’s lecture this week dealt with a number of areas which directly related to work underway at the school. He began with applied edges and talked about the considerations including graphics, dimensions and shaping. He then talked about process of mocking up stands for a cabinet and emphasized the importance of grain graphics. In our work, craftsmanship and the careful selection of grain is often what differentiates what we do from other craftsman. Jim has emphasized this point in many of his lectures this year.

Todd's mockup underway of easy chair. Todd has since moved onto arms and the crest rail. When designing a chair the craftsman has to be conscious of all of the aspects of making fine cabinets with the added concern of ergonomics and perhaps a greater degree of structural integrity.

Todd demonstrated the process of making drop pulls this week. Shown are some notes and the beginnings of a drop pull. Drop pulls ad a formal element to any work, and while they are not suitable for every piece they are but just another option.

One of Lael's door panels awaiting the inlays which have been positioned to ensure correct prismatics. The parquetry for this piece uses conventional and inlay methods. The panels have undergone several processes to get to this stage. Lael has returned to Alaska to be with his wife Catherine over the spring break.

Steve sorts through his claro walnut and yew veneers. Steve has to stretch is claro walnut veneers and has had to saw up a lot of yew to find appropriate interior veneers. A fine example of the workmanship of risk. Steve, with many of our students, has enjoyed having Todd at the school and are taking full advantage of another set of eyes.

Lael uses the mechanical press to set in his inlays for his parquetry. The mechanical press with fixtures can be used for curved work, it excels with flat work especially when having to do small pieces such as the inlays in his parquetry.

Juliette checks the fit of the joinery for her frame. Juliette used a thorough mockup which included the joinery in poplar before moving onto the imbuya which will later receive a figured imbuya panel.

Jacques uses a spline to attach rail to veneered panel. With the joinery complete, each piece will now undergo surface preparation and refinishing prior to glue up. Joe Amaral, one of Roberts former classmates was consulted on the finishing of the spalted maple which has the reputation of sucking up finish. A thinned down epoxy will be used as a sealer coat followed by polish or shellac with perhaps a few coats of wax. Jacques has a sample panel underway which works with our “Don’t commit until you have to.” approach.

Cole flushes up baked in edges on one of his substraights. Cole's final piece incorporates nearly all of the aspects covered in the craftsman program including joinery, selection of material, solid and veneered construction and metal work.

Ian dry fits one last time before he begins a series of glue ups of his rockers side frames. The sculpted components are pre shaped and will be later refined following assembly. Exceptional work in a demanding wood.

Jacques uses a simple jig to size his shop made hinges. Our students are required to make the hardware for their first piece, many enjoy the process and have continued making the hardware for their second pieces. There is a quiet satisfaction knowing one has done all the work in a piece. Jacques has been an enthusiastic student taking full advantage of the after hours access to the school and has made significant progress as a craftsman since arriving at the school.

Juan Carlos' substraights with baked in attached and applied edges chosen. Not shown are the forms that were made to bend the substraight. Curves add significant work and a larger material waste factor. The subtle curves and panel detail of this piece are well worth the time involved.

Scott celebrates his birthday with a cake made by Jacques. It appears Jacques’ talents extend beyond the benchroom. As is tradition the person who celebrated their birthday last is responsible for brining the cake.

Scott begins to look for parts for his chair in part of his plank of narra over five inches thick. One of the special planks that was brought back from Gilmer's in October. Scott finished his cabinet a few weeks ago and has hit the ground running with every intention of having his chair complete for our year end.

The Benchroom This Week...

Mar 09, 2007


JK's Lecture this week began with a thorough review of cabinet and card scrapers. Jim then introduced NK drawer construction which will be demonstrated later this week and discussed the possibilities and considerations for hung drawers. Jim's talks continue to inspire the students and faculty of our small school.

Lael cleans up the edge of his parquetry panel. Lael is submitting this piece for jury consideration in the upcoming "From The Edge Of The Forest" Objects made of indigenous British Columbia wood show which takes place June 15 to July 14, 2007 at the Cityscape Community Art Space 335 Lonsdale Avenue North Vancouver British Columbia.

Jacques presents his first piece to the class. Jacques finished this piece some time ago and is already well into his second, a veneered showcase cabinet of doussie and spalted maple.

Juan Carlos presents his first piece to the class. Juan has moved onto a curved veneer wall cabinet with an amazing frame and panel door. Beatrice, Juan Carlos' wife made "arapas", a Venezuelan specialty for
the presentation which were amazing.

Scott presented has cabinet on a stand to the class and is already nearing completion of his chair mockup. This piece covers many of the methods covered in the first portion of the program with the only exception being coopering. His first piece titled "Isabella's Treasures" was made for his daughter who he and his wife Kathy adopted almost a year ago. The cabinet is nicely done with many lovely details to be discovered. We have enjoyed having Scott and his family here at our school.

Federico's compound curved cabinet in macassar ebony and wenge dry fit to trace the curve of the door on the top and bottom for shaping. Federico has since completed the veneering of his parquetry back panel and has made the custom hinges for this deceivingly complex piece.

Steve edge joints his yew veneer for the interior of his claro walnut cabinet on a stand. Steve had to go through a lot of yew to find suitable material for his piece. He also had to be very careful to get enough claro walnut veneers and edging for his piece out of his plank.

Jacques assists Ian with the dry fitting of his chair enabling him to determine placement of stretchers. The workmanship of this piece is spot on and I know Ian is anxious to begin the shaping after all the intense joinery has been complete.

Jacques preparing the port orford cedar surfaces of the back panel interior of his showcase cabinet. Jacques and a few others continue to take full advantage of the extended shop hours available to our students.

Head piece veneers of Jon's guitar, with hand cut joinery for sides complete. So many of the methods we use in fine furniture making is transferable to instrument making.

Todd Sorenson, guest teacher from the College of the Redwoods has been a welcome addition to the shop. His sound knowledge of the material and his fine abilities as a teacher has been a pleasure to experience. We are grateful that Todd will be joining us for the next six weeks.

Lael edge glues the inlay squares for his parquetry cabinet of hemlock, yew and port orford cedar. This piece even in its early stages is stunning. Lael has a fine eye and good hands.

Cole put aside the dovetails for the time being as he works out his substrates for the veneered portion of his traditional Japanese hibachi. Cole is incorporating most of the methods covered thus far this year in this piece.

Scott assembles his chair mockup. Scott has really hit the ground running on his chair mockup no doubt at least in part by having our guest teacher, Todd Sorenson here from California.

Juliette uses her block plane to square the ramp of her coopering plane prior to running the slot for cap screw. Plane making, like many of the things we do encourages a sensible balance between the use of hand and machine tools.

Juan Carlos' curved panel substrates out of the press. Juan has begun the process of applying his baked-in edges. We are pleased that Juan Carlos will be joining us for a second year of study.

Todd sits in Scott's mockup. Todd's extensive work with Ejler Hjorth-Westh has been a tremendous asset as we have several chairs on the go in the shop including one that Todd is currently in mockup stages of building.

The Benchroom This Week...

Mar 04, 2007

Jason leads a walkaround. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jason for giving me the best week I have had since I began teaching; a full week of woodworking. Teaching has become a passion for me however if you are not practicing what you teach, sooner or later you run out of things to talk about.

Federico's parquetry back panel of macassar ebony and wenge prior to edge gluing. Federico has begun making the custom hinges for his cabinet which will allow the the doors to swing on his compound curved cabinet.

Lael's parquetry door and side veneers ready to be laid up on substraights. Lael has had to become very creative not only with his piece but with how he is working his material. Lael has a good aptitude for this craft and it has been a pleasure to watch his progress as a craftsman.

Ian's upholstery frame for his rocking chair showing tapered laminations with compound angle, twin-tenon joinery. There are many lessons in this chair, almost a shame to cover up all this joinery and tapered laminations with leather upholstery.

Scott's cabinet nearing completion will be presented to the class this coming week. Scott will be taking on a chair for his final piece where he will appreciate having Todd Sorensen at the school who is here taking part in our journeyman program. Todd is a two year graduate of the College of the Redwoods' Fine Woodworking Program where he has also taught on occasion. Todd has also worked extensively with Ejler Hjorth Westh who is know for his chair work.

JK's lecture this week primarily dealt with chair making, a subject he humbly claims to know little about. The lecture was informative, inspiring, thought provoking and as always, entertaining. With Jason here this week Robert managed to complete the joinery for his chair and gave him something to talk about.


Juliette uses a file to soften the corners of her dovetailed box made of imbuya. Carving, a developing passion, continues to occupy much of her time at the school.

Steve uses a negative template to search through his shop-sawn claro walnut veneers. Steve's cabinet will be made of a very sweet piece of curly claro walnut and some lovely local yew.

Cole chops a set of tails for his traditional Japanese hibachi of teak which will later be lined with copper. This week, in between cutting some fine joinery, Cole managed to make a pair of Chinese scissors. Cole's
innovation and enthusiasm for tool making has been exciting to watch.

Jon planes the scarf joint for his guitar neck of Spanish Cedar. Guitar making has much in common with fine furniture making including a sensible balance of hand and machine tools. JK talks fondly of George Bolin a resident craftsman at Carl Malmsten's School where he trained. Jim later on was instrumental (excuse the pun) in changing the life of one of his students, Jack Bogdanovich who has generously sent us a complimentary copy of his new book "Classical Guitar Making: A Modern Approach to Traditional Design".

Jacques celebrated his 26th Birthday this week. With his veneers laid up on substraights, Jacques has begun searching for the rails for his cabinet. Jacques took full advantage of having Jason here last week and continues to make fine progress on his piece.

Juan Carlos' completed cabinet of pear, bubinga and plum. Juan has since moved onto a curved veneered wall cabinet. In addition to having a good eye Juan has great hands and it shows in his work.