October 30, 2006

The Benchroom this week ...

Oct 30, 2006

We are pleased to announce our guest faculty taking part in our Journeyman Program for the 2006-2007 Craftsman Program.

Stephen Esdon, a graduate of Inside Passage School of Fine Woodworking will be joining for November and December. Since graduation Stephen has been busy setting up a cooperative shop intended for graduates of our school. Stephen will use his time at the school to complete a piece for our annual student, faculty and alumni show which takes place the middle of May of 2007.

Jason Klager a graduate of Inside Passage School of Fine Woodworking currently working out of his shop in Prince George British Columbia. Jason will be joining us in January and February of 2007. Students will benefit from another set of eyes and observe a fine craftsman in action as he prepares his piece for our annual May show.

Todd Sorenson will be joining us for March and April of 2007. Todd is currently teaching at the College of the Redwoods and has studied extensively with Ejler Hjorth-Westh also an teacher at the College of the Redwoods. Todd was the first craftsman to take part in our Journeyman Program last year and was very well received by our students. He is a fine craftsman and teacher and we are please that Todd will be joining us during a very busy time as students are preparing their final pieces for our year end show during which time Todd plans to build a piece for the College of the Redwoods twenty fifth Anniversary Show which will take place at the Highlight Gallery in Mendocino California in September of 2007.

One Friday of last week, Students and faculty were treated to a field trip arranged by Gary Kent. Bradley Hunt and his two sons Shawn, to the left and Dean center at their shop in Davis Bay just down the road from our school. These three craftsman are in the midst of a large commission which includes a couple of totem poles currently underway. Their work and approach to their craft is inspiring and we are grateful for them making time for us.

The following pictures show the progression of the crest rail for the chair Robert is making for our first semester student and faculty show and open house which takes place at our gallery January 27th 2007. This chair was designed by Vidar Malmsten, a friend of Jim Krenov's and the son of Carl Malmsten. Vidar made the originals in Jim's basement shop in Stockholm Sweden and is used daily by Jim and Britta Krenov.

The crest rail is cut in two planes and typically requires 12/4 or 3" stock. Finding 12/4 stock can be a challenge so the following process was used to orientate 8/4 or 2" stock on the diagonal allowing the double curve to be cut while achieving the desired graphics.

Wenge laminated between poplar carefully laid out ready to cut.

Four cuts have been made and the blank is squared up leaving the wenge running on the diagonal.

Templates are used to layout the cuts to be made from the front and the top. Careful cutting on the bandsaw requires only minimal fairing prior to shaping by hand.

The first cut reviles desired graphics. After all these years predicting grain graphics I still get a sense of satisfaction when careful planing leads to the desired result.

Crest rail showing desired graphics ready for shaping by hand. When cutting a double curve, rift sawn material is used so that the grain follows each of the curves. In this case flat sawn material was used on the diagonal essentially creating a rift cut, this allows the grain to follow the curve on all four faces.

Jacques planes coopered doors of English Brown Oak. Each of the staves are cut on the bandsaw and shot with a hand plane at the desired angle constant with the shop drawing derived from the mock up. The staves are glued up and shaped in pairs before the pairs are laminated. This allows the maker to concentrate on one joint at a time. A combination of a friendly wood, a fine plane and a skilled craftsman produces a nearly invisible joint and lovely shape.

Juliette and Robert discuss grain graphics for her spice box of Imbuya. Material selection including graphics and tones are such an important aspect of our craft.

Ian's sketch considering ergonomics. Ian's mockup is underway, with his attention to detail and his abilities as a craftsman we can expect a rocking chair is as comfortable as it is beautiful. Aesthetics, ergonomics and structural integrity all play an equally important role in chair making.

With Scott's mock up dialed in and his wood, in this case European beech re-sawn and set aside to settle, Scott does a more detailed mockup of the sliding doors compartment to determine grooving and rabbit depths.

Jon is making a convex cabinet of satin walnut. Jon uses a spoke shave to shape the two edges of his doors which meet on a double curve in the center. Once this fit is dialed in a rabbit will be run along the curves prior to the shaping of both the outside and inside surfaces using his coopering and smoothing planes.

Cole shares during walk around. Cole has really embraced tool making aspect of our craft. This week, while mocking up Cole recognized the need for a compass plane which he made while allowing the parts for his cherry cabinet to settle after re-sawing. Walk-arounds are a wonderful opportunity to our students to share their work with their classmates.

Lael explores the possibilities using a precious bit of color found in his plank of pear. Sometimes re-sawing can lead to disappointments, other times it reveals new possibilities.

Stephen pares a practice set of pins in eastern walnut. Students are encouraged to cut practice joints to become familiar with their woods working properties while their parts settle after re-sawing.

Juan's mockup has revealed some of the challenges associated with solid wood construction. Mocking up and working drawings give students the opportunity discover potential problems and work appropriate solutions.

Federico's model and side to door mockup of compound curved veneer cabinet to be made of Macassar ebony. Federico has completed a number of mockups and scaled models allowing him to work out many of the details of this very complex piece. The core material has been laminated, veneers cut and shaping templates refined. Federico will now focus his attention on the shaping of the lumber core material prior to the cross banding of a very thin shop sawn mahogany veneer. The surfaces will then receive baked in edges and parquetry veneer of Macassar ebony.

The Benchroom this week ...

October 23, 2006

Students and Faculty are busy at work preparing pieces for our second annual first semester open house and show which takes place January 27, 2007 and includes fine cabinets and chairs.

Robert lays out the legs for a chair in wenge. Grain graphics is so important and was JK's lecture topic this past week.

Lael demonstrates hand planing to his wife Catherine who was down from Anchorage Alaska for a visit.

Federico's test for a compound curve veneered panel with a shop made lumber core substrate. Robert has spent the last year holding back the Federico's reins and has let up. Federico's compound curved veneered parquetry cabinet in Macassar Ebony with stepped shop sawn veneer is sure to turn a few heads at our second annual student and faculty open house and show that takes place January 27, 2007.

Lael celebrates a birthday. As is tradition at our school the previous birthday recipient brings the cake, in this case Jon.

Robert scrubs a plank of Afrormosia looking for chair parts that were not to be.

Ian presents his sideboard of teak, bocote and beech to the class. It features four NK drawers to sliding drawers and many hours of work. And yet he and his partner Marnie still made time for buying and renovating a home not to mention have a baby. This piece as well as Federico's parquetry cabinet were purchased by Jim Astorian from Germany. Jims commitment to our school is significant. It comes at a very good time for these two craftsman during their second year of study.

The workmanship of this piece is exquisite. It is moments like this that makes teachers extremely proud. Ian is a fine addition to our teaching staff and is currently working on a rocking chair that is in mock up stage for our first semester show.

Federico presents his parquetry cabinet of Claro walnut, wenge and African blackwood with interior of Spanish cedar, mahogany and yew to the class. This piece also purchased by Jim Astorian, is allowing us to hold these two pieces at our gallery for the next two years before being shipped Kronberge Germany.

Zeppy, Jon and Jaylene's daughter takes a nap under Jon's bench during the presentations.

Scott's mock up of his first piece. Five drawers and three doors. Ian and I wonder what he will do with the rest of his time. All kidding aside, students flew through fundamentals in an effort to increase project time. Scott is a very capable craftsman this piece is destined for his lovely daughter Isabella.

Cole tries a new method of mocking up using foam insulation which is easily shaped with surforms. Students use a variety of materials including wood, cardboard, and paper to convey their intentions.

Jacques and Lael look at one of the planks of English Brown Oak. Where to start with all the possibilities.

A partial group shot at Gilmers in Portland. A successful wood run. The group was also joined by Claire, Jacques partner as well as Beatrice, Juan's wife and her mom Beatrice. Lael's friend Lyric from high school and his wife Sarah put us up for the night at their home located only a few minutes from Gilmers. Their hospitality was very much appreciated.

Jacques debarking a rather large half plank of English Brown Oak. Jacques phoned ahead and when we arrived Jim McDermott had already pulled four of the most spectacular planks of English Brown Oak I have ever seen.

Scott, Lael, Jacques and Cole unload a massive plank of European Beech from the van. After clearing customs Robert missed the last ferry and slept the night in the van with the wood in Horseshoe Bay. The wood took priority leaving Robert only a narrow corridor.

After a day of looking through stacks of planks the class was joined by Miles Gilmer and Jim MacDermot for pints at the Pyramid Brew Pub conveniently located just a few blocks from Gilmers.

Chi Chi, Juan and Beatrice's dog arrived from Venezuela and is the newest addition to our family. Having animals around adds to the atmosphere in the shop.

Juan's initial sketch and mock up for a cabinet to be made of pear. Each of the boxes will house drawers of plum. Juan's strong architectural background is evident in his work.

Jacques lays out the parts for his cabinet on plank of English Brown Oak. The cabinet will house a few drawers and will sit on a stand of a wood yet to be decided. Another ambitious piece by a fine young craftsman from New Brunswick.

Stephen and Lael scrubbing planks looking for the possibilities. This is where it all begins with our work, with the wood.

Jacques' doors and sides of concave coppered resawn. The lighter wood toward the outside and darker towards the middle. on the concave doors.

Jon and Scott looking for inspiration. The tones, the graphics, the grain a place to start.

Juliette paring a set of dovetails. Juliette received this chisel by mistake in a recent tool order. I could be wrong but I don't think it fits the scale of work we do.

Lael uses a negative template to find suitable grain for his top and bottom. Lael is looking at some local Arbutus for the panels which should go quite well with the amazing pear to be used for the carcass. The doors will be coopered panels set into curved frame and panel doors.

Scott holds part of a large pear plank for Lael as initial cuts are made prior to heading to the bandsaw. If I was to describe the benchroom today I would sum it up to teamwork and shavings, and lots of both.

Scott lays out parts for his cabinet. A large plank reveals many possibilities and curiosities.

The Benchroom this week ...

October 16, 2006

Students, Alumni, Faculty and Friends all gathered at Robert and Yvonne's fro a thanksgiving supper, it must have been fun because no one remembered to take any pictures. This year we were joined by Juan's mother in law who is visiting from Venezuela. Beatrice's mother also brought Venezuelan chocolate. The great thing about thanksgiving is that we can do it all over again in another month with our students and their families visiting from the United States.

Students and Faculty are busy completing the last of the fundamental skills prior to moving onto first projects next week. Since the last benchroom this week. Students have covered drawer making and fitting including carved pulls. A casework exercise which included doweling, partitions as well as the making and fitting of a frame and panel back. Robert also gave the students a demonstration on sharpening of Japanese saws.

Over the next few days student will complete their coopering planes already underway and use them and their previously completed jointer planes in a coopering exercise. On Saturday Ian will take students through a sketching workshop in preparation for the mockup process which JK will cover in his weekly lecture on Monday and followed up with the hands on demonstration by Robert on Tuesday. Walkarounds, a favorite of last years class, will commence on Wednesday. Ian and Federico will treat the class to the first presentations of 2006-2007 later in the week.

Ian demonstrates cutting of the open mortise and tenon joint. While Robert and Yvonne took part in the recent Victoria Woodworking Show Ian led the students through doweling, partitions as well as frame and panel.

Federico assists Cole with his jointer plane. Our students have really embraced the tool making aspect of the program this year. In addition to making several planes each student has made a number of carving knives, chisels, spokeshaves, chair scrapes and layout tools including bevel gauges and even a scribe. All of these tools will see use here at the school and for many years to come.

Cole cuts the rear set of pins for the back of his drawer. Once each student completes the drawer with the front of local cherry, sides and back of eastern maple and bottom of Alaskan yellow cedar bottom the drawers are carefully fit to their tool cabinets. Working in a variety of woods allow students to become familiar with working properties of each.

Jon cleaning up set of rear tails of his drawer. Shop made chisels and knives make this task much easier and more enjoyable. This only emphasizes the close connection which exists between the maker, the tools and the material.

Scott displays his handmade scribe of cocobolo, steel and brass. Students are encouraged to make many of their own tools. Scott demonstrates the the possibilities are endless. Scott has done some fine work here at the school.

Lael cleans up the rabbit of dowel exercise carcass prior to glue up. Students make a small dowelled carcass, complete with a splined partition and fitted frame and panel back. This is a wonderful exercise which allows students to put together many of the skills required in fine cabinet making.

Sorry Jacques, I couldn't resist. Jacques discovers the downside of fitting drawers from the front of a cabinet without access to the back. A drawer that goes in a smidgen to far and... Oh well it happens to the best of us. Jacques made up for this with a fine job on the joinery followed by a sweet fit. Jacques has shown me a few initial sketches of a cabinet on a stand with coopered doors for his first piece. A true Krenovian, almost dropped out of College after reading "A Cabinet Makers Notebook" to become a woodworker.

Robert & Juliette discuss her jointer plane glue up. The plane has since made shavings and is bound to serve Juliette for many years to come.

Its hard not to cherish a finely made tool. This jointer of bocote works as good as it looks.

Steve giving his coopering plane a final check prior to glue up. Prior to any glue up students are encouraged to sit down at their bench and go through the glue up step by step in a dry run. This ensure all appropriate steps have been taken and all required materials are available. Students are also encouraged to glue up in pairs as a second set of eyes is always an advantage.

Juan checking the shape of forward ramp of his coopering plane prior to glue up. We eliminate the need for an insert, at least initially by pre-shaping the front ramp to the honed iron. Once complete the ramp placement can be dialed in and the plane can be pinned with locator dowels.

Isaac Breau, Jacques father joined us for a day in the shop. Under Jacques careful eye Isaac made a small bevel gauge.

Friends Juliette and Tadi