November 26, 2007

It’s a girl!

Inside Passage School of Fine Woodworking is delighted to announce the birth of Franka Scout McKague Larson. Franka Scout, which means free woman, was born on October 25, 2007 at 10:35pm. Congratulations Adam & Jodie. Welcome to the world little one, you are very fortunate to have such loving parents.

Considering taking a program at our small school? Remember to visit our testimonials page of the website. Artisan, Guest Faculty and the Craftsman Programs are all beginning to fill. If you would like to register or would like more information please contact the school on our toll free number 1.877.943.9663.and ask to speak to Yvonne, our faculty, advisors, alumni or current students.

Our desire to make use of local resources has been greatly enhanced with a generous donation by an alumni (who has asked to remain anonymous). The 36” Alaskan chainsaw mill will enable our students and faculty to enjoy the benefits of locally fell trees such as arbutus, maple, Port Orford and yellow cedars, fir and hemlock. Milling will be added to the curriculum for both our Craftsman and Artisan Programs.

Juan & Doug presented their recently completed pieces to the class, alumni, family and friends. Everyone was treated to great food, martinis and stellar music. These two have definitely raised the bar on presentations.

Doug’s serving tray on a stand “Grace’s Fire”. The stand is Jatoba featuring twin through and wedged mortise and tenon, curved and tapered veneered tray of curly western maple. The drawer is accessible from both sides and is made from jatoba and beech with snake wood pulls, a gift from Juan Carlos. Like much of the work done here at the school it began with two precious pieces of wood which were a gift from a dear friend. This piece is filled with subtle details.

Juan Carlos’ wall cabinet, “Zulu”. The curved veneered cabinet is of bubinga with a carved pear panel. The drawers are of plum and eastern maple with pulls and handles of Palasandar rosewood. The hinges and wall hangers were shop made to work with the curves and angles of this elegant piece. There are many discoveries in this finely crafted piece.

Jim’s weekly lectures continue to inspire all of us at Inside Passage. In the last few weeks, Jim has shared with us his thoughts on drawer making and fitting, doweling, frame & panel, coopering and design and mockups. Each of his lectures led to discussions on craft and his tremendous life experiences.

Erik puts aside his Zona saw and turns to sawing dovetails with a brush saw. Erik is mocking up a Danish inspired bench for his first piece and is looking at using kwila and Danish Cord. This is an ambitious first piece however based on his progress during fundamentals I feel he is up to the task.

Daisuke lays out for the carriage bolts on his shooting Board. Daisuke has a small tabletop cabinet mocked up which will incorporate many of the skills covered in the first semester. Daisuke, who has an obsession for sharp tools and fine shavings, has shown to be a bit of a sleeper. His work is meticulous. He never seems to be rushing but things get done and done very well.

Paul chopping pins for drawer front. Students were given a variety of woods during fundamentals. This allows the student to discover the different working properties of various woods available to them. Several students bring wood with them from home. Paul brought with him a few sweet planks of China Berry from Alabama. It resembles red elm and is filled with lovely red and orange tones. Paul has a small tansu inspired cabinet mocked up and maybe using doussie with China Berry panels. While at Gilmers Paul will be looking for wood for a chair, which he will be making as a second piece.

Robert demonstrates the sizing of drawer parts on the bandsaw and drawer assembly.

Second Year Student and Resident Craftsman Doug Ives with mockup of second piece, which will incorporate, curved veneered parquetry panels and tapered laminations in Zebrano and aframosia. Doug is our school's student representative to the Furniture Society Doug also publishes an alumni newsletter keeping graduates of the program abreast of alumni news.

On a lovely fall afternoon the class walked down to Robert and Yvonne’s home and moved and stacked some locally harvested arbutous and maple planks. From left Adam, Paul, Daisuke, Michael, Doug, Douglas, Robert, Walker, Matt, Ed, Dan & Erik. Missing is Ian (Working in his shop) and Juan (Seattle).

Adam & Yvonne enjoy the lovely fall day.

Dan offered to take on the nastiest job at Inside Passage. The cleaning of the bags in the dust collector and did it with a smile. Dan has some incredible local arbutous in mind for his first piece. His mockup is already taking shape and he has moved onto a practice set of dovetails. Students are encouraged to mill the wood for their pieces and set it aside to settle for a few weeks. Mockups are then refined, joinery in the actual wood is practiced and any required tools are made during this time.

Robert’s chair with arm shaping underway. Too view this piece and new work by students and faculty plan on attending our annual Open House the takes place at our school the 26th of January 2008 from 1-5pm.

Ian assists Douglas with doweled cabinet assembly. Each student had the opportunity to make a small doweled cabinet with splined partition and fitted frame and panel back. Many have taken added another fitted drawer to the exercise. Douglas has a small box in mind for his first piece, which will feature, angled dovetails. Douglas, his wife Danielle and son Lukka will be joining us for our pilgrimage to Gilmers.

Plane Making is out of control at the school. On one morning last week Michael and I did a tally of planes completed and counted nearly sixty with several underway. Two of the instigators of this, shown are Michael and Dan’s cabinets filled with several nicely made and finely tuned instruments.

Michael cleans up frame for frame and panel exercise. Michael continues to be the first one to arrive each morning. Robert has enjoyed having the early morning company. In addition to putting in a string of twelve-hour days each week Michael commutes forty five minutes twice a day. We are so grateful he does as his smile and enthusiasm continues to brighten all of our days. Michael will be making a curved frame and panel door cabinet for his first piece of a wood yet to be determined.

With his drawer complete, Adam fits the drawer during the drawer making and fitting exercise. Each of our students have had the opportunity to make a drawer and the fit the drawer with “let go” to their tool cabinets. “Let go” is a term to describe the method we use in which we create a tapered pocket and plane a trifle of taper in the sides in the drawer creating a pinch as the drawer reaches the end of its run. Once the drawer has been fit students have the opportunity to uses their creative talents to design and carve and fit a pull for their drawer. Adam has mocked up a wonderful letterbox, which he planes to make of African padauk, which he bought at a local wood auction in September.

Ed uses his block plane to shape the bottom of coopering plane. Once shaped students use their planes in a coopering exercise where students create a small coopered panel with a subtle taper. Ed will be putting several of the skills learned during fundamentals as he undertakes his first piece, a small table in kwila originally made of Rio rosewood by JK in 1968.

Walker makes an exploratory cut on piece of eucalyptus firewood. We receive calls on a regular basis from local people with wood to donate to the school. This material varies from containing incredible figure and color to unusable. Walker has selected English Brown Oak for his first piece and will be searching for chair wood for his second piece while at Gilmer’s.

Second Year Student and Resident Craftsman Juan Carlos Fernandez with sample compound curved panel. Juan’s second piece is underway and will feature compound curved cabinet it redwood burl and tapered lamination in a wood not yet determined.

Following Ian’s sketching lecture, Ian and Matt discuss concepts for Matt’s first piece. In the final week of fundamentals students are taken through sketching, mockups, wood graphics and rendering working drawings, templates and cutting lists. They will need to have completed each of these exercises prior to our wood run which takes place next week. Matt has selected air dried European Beech with a precious streak of color for his first piece and has the wood cut oversized and stickered while he works our the details in his mockup and practices cutting dovetails in this beautiful wood. Matt will be looking for stand material as well as material for his second piece.

Following Robert’s introduction to mockups, Juan Carlos shares with the class his process of mocking up three of the pieces he has made since arriving at the school. Juan Carlos suggested that while he may spend more time mocking up initially it saves him time later on. We are very fortunate to have the second year students we have, they continue to serve as mentors for our first year students and demonstrate a level of craftsmanship for which all of us to aspire.

Juan Carlos prepares the substraight for his compound curved parquetry veneered cabinet. He was able to squeeze in the making of a few fine planes while waiting on wood.

Paul and Adam discuss edge treatments on mockup. Our small school encourages the sharing of ideas. Students not only learn from our faculty but from each other. In a few weeks we will begin our weekly Walkarounds where students and faculty have the opportunity to share the triumphs and tragedies in the composing and making of their pieces.

Juan & Beatriz made a generous donation to the school, a set of seat cushions which have made sitting at the bench much more comfortable for all of us. They have been especially enjoyed during JK’s weekly lectures. All of us at the school are very grateful for their donation, even more so for having the two of them with us for another year.

As this year¹s class wraps up fundamental exercises we bid farewell to Ryan and Kevin. From all of us at Inside Passage School Of Fine Woodworking, teachers, staff and students, we would like take this opportunity to thank them for their patronage and wish them continued success in their future endeavours.

Matt (foreground) makes initial cuts in an air-dried plank of European Beech. Walker in background scrubs plank of English Brown Oak. We have such a wonderful group this year and the karma in the shop has never been better.

Start them young. Tadi, Robert and Yvonne’s daughter spends some time at her dad’s bench chopping dovetails. Next week students and their families will head down to Gilmer Wood Company in Portland Oregon where faculty and students will look for inspiration in stacks of incredible timber from throughout the world. Yvonne, Robert and Tadi will be taking a few days and continue down to California to visit with family and friends. Robert will be taking this opportunity spend some time with JK.