PRECISION WITH HAND TOOLSI
Jul
30
to Aug 3

PRECISION WITH HAND TOOLSI

  • Center For Furniture Craftsmanship (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

I'm headed back to the Center For Furniture Craftsmanship for my 22nd year — hopefully not my last — for one of my favorite and most useful classes. 

PRECISION WITH HAND TOOLS is a class to ramp up your hand tool skills — smoothing surfaces, jointing edges, fitting joints, cutting beads and curves. Only we’ll link those tasks to the reality of building a fun little table with lots of design possibilities. The Fun-O-Meter is going to be pegged.

We’ll use machines lightly where they work best — bandsawing legs and cutting mating mortises and tenons — but otherwise work by hand through a range of typical tasks hand tools do best: flattening, truing, shaping, and smoothing surfaces to a polish. We’ll talk about ways to integrate hand tools in your process, sharpening, tuning, and lots about design and detail.  Our tables will be small, but they are an ideal project to hone some hand tool skills and try out some new design ideas.  

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CURVES
Aug
4
to Aug 5

CURVES

This workshop will explore four techniques for producing curved parts —various types of laminations useful for curved drawers and chairs, shaping out of the solid with hand tools, coopering for curved panels or case sides, and steam bending  One of the first questions we will answer is which method should I use? 

Day one we will do some steam bending while we talk about making forms, what woods bend well, what tools are needed, and how to do it all simply. We will also glue some curved laminations, a slow but sure way to make very strong curved parts from any wood.

Day two we will cut some shapes from solid material such as a table or chair leg.  Your challenge will be join your curved part to another, after first making a full scale drawing. Coopering and some of the interesting shapes possible with this technique will finish out the day. 

 Coopered corner cabinet

Coopered corner cabinet

 Typical lamination, yielding strong and light curved parts

Typical lamination, yielding strong and light curved parts

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San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association Fall Seminar
Sep
7
to Sep 9

San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association Fall Seminar

During this three day seminar I'll be designing and building a small hanging cabinet in front of a large crowd while explaining my process and answering questions. Although I have made many similar cabinets, I return to it as a teaching tool because it contains so many lessons about good case construction — an essential furniture form. The ideas can be expanded and used for a large chest of drawers or a whole variety of other case pieces. 

Topics to be covered include: How do you build a strong cabinet simply and efficiently, choose appropriate materials, build with solid wood and allow for seasonal wood movement (yes, even in California they have to deal with this), build in drawers and the structure to support them, make a strong case back, and build and hang a door with butt or knife hinges?  I will also show some appropriate decorative details such as moldings at the top and bottom, highlighted case corners, and shelf edges. I might even be able to include a secret compartment.

Naturally hand tools will figure prominently in this demonstration, which ones to use, how to tune them, and how I use them efficiently for the work at hand. 

 

 

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Jun
2
to Jun 3

Decorative Details

 

   Over three millennia ago Egyptian craftsmen were decorating their work with inlays of small intricate patterns of ebony, ivory, and other exotic materials. We will learn the same technique, after first making some of the necessary tools — micro chisels and scratch stocks. 

 This class will cover delicate string or line inlays, larger surface inlays such as panels, making and inlaying patterned bandings, and using non-wood materials such as silver and shell. We will also look at complementary decorative edges, side beads and proud cockbeads used to highlight the edge of a table apron or drawer. 

 We will work almost entirely by hand, so naturally sharpening, tuning, and using hand tools will be an important emphasis. Students are encouraged to make small sample boards to practice designing and using these decorative techniques. As for materials, we will have most of what you'll need. But if you want to inlay something unusual — exotic or native, curly, figured, birdseye, crotch  — bring it along.

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May
28
to Jun 1

CASEWORK ESSENTIALS

For over 15 years I have been teaching at Rosewood, and it is always a pleasure. Ron Barter and Mary Anne Melvin run a well organized school in Perth, a small town of mostly stone buildings with a very European feel and a canal running through the center.

CASEWORK ESSENTIALS is a favorite class of mine, mainly because it is full of useful information, practical techniques, and you finish up with a sweet little cabinet. 

Solid-wood case construction is at the heart of fine furniture making. Participants in this workshop explore the fundamentals by designing and building their own small cabinets and case pieces with Garrett’s expert guidance. Projects may have drawers, doors, shelves, secret compartments, or all of the above. Garrett emphasizes hand skills, such as the use of hand tools to size, smooth, shape, and fit parts, but also integrates machines to make the building process efficient and accurate. 

Lecture and demonstrations address topics such as strong case joinery, choosing appropriate materials, working with solid wood and wood movement, building drawers and the structures necessary to support them, and fitting and hanging doors with butt and knife hinges. In addition, Garrett covers the design and construction of backs and bases, case corner details, attached moldings, and edge profiles for case tops.

 

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May
7
to May 11

Classes in Tel Aviv, Israel

I've been invited to teach two classes in Tel Aviv – PRECISION WITH HAND TOOLS, and DECORATIVE DETAILS. This is a first time for me in Israel and I am very curious to see the country and see what sort of woodworking goes on. 

Both of these classes are hand tool oriented, practical and useful, and should be lots of fun. Descriptions of both can be found in this section of my website under CLASSES

Contact information: Mishael Levron, tooleden@outlook.com

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Apr
17
to Apr 22

Guild of Oregon Woodworkers, 3 Classes

I will be doing three classes for the Guild of Oregon Woodworkers: a one day look at DESIGN, 3 days of hands-on building a small fun table in  PRECISION WITH HAND TOOLS, and 2 days of learning some of my favorite DELIGHTFUL DETAILS. Check their website for details and availability. 

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Apr
13
to Apr 14

Woodworkers Guild of Corvallis, Oregon

I have been invited by the Corvallis Guild to present a talk Friday night, April 13th on PRACTICAL DESIGN/ELEGANT DETAILS, and a hands-on class the following day. 

Friday's talk is at the Arts Center in Corvallis.

Saturday's class on ELEGANT DETAILS is at the Crescent Valley High School wood shop

 

 

 

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Mar
17
to Mar 18

Practical Furniture Making

The Omaha Woodworkers Guild has invited me to Omaha for two days of discussion and demonstrations, all related to what I call PRACTICAL FURNITURE MAKING.

Why are some pieces of furniture so appealing, elegant, and well made? Design is a factor, but so are the many choices the maker makes, which techniques, joints, woods, and details. We will explore this building process, looking at design, hand tools, strong joinery, wonderful details, and how to work efficiently and accurately — practical stuff and very useful.

Any related topic is fair game....... and we will have lots of fun.

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Mar
10
to Mar 11

Elegant Curves

  • Furniture Institure of Massachusetts (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Curves and curved elements can add elegance, allure, and in some cases strength to your furniture designs. We will explore and make several different curved parts — various types of laminations useful for curved drawers and chair parts, by shaping out of the solid with hand tools, and by coopering, a way to make curved panels or case sides. Steam bending as an alternative method will be included in this discussion. 

We will talk about how to generate pleasing curves, drawing them (and for the joinery later), and which technique might be best to produce that curved part.  Each student will make a lamination and/or shape a curved part out of the solid and then cut the joinery as if it were a drawer face or chair rail into a leg. There will be time to experiment with coopering and some of the interesting shapes possible with this unusual technique.

 Outside In, 2017, Douglas fir, cherry, 20 other native woods, paint details by Carolyn Hack

Outside In, 2017, Douglas fir, cherry, 20 other native woods, paint details by Carolyn Hack

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Dec
2
to May 5

Saturday Series 2018 — Curved Cases with Drawers and/or Doors

This is the tenth year of the Saturday Series, where we meet once a month in my shop in Thetford and explore all aspects of building a specific furniture form. In the past we have built chairs, demilune tables, desks, cabinets and others. I build a piece of my design (often challenging) and the class either follows along or designs something more personal. We talk about design and technique, with plenty of demonstrations of nearly every step of the process. 

CURVED CASES are challenging aesthetically and technically because things are no longer all "square".  We will discuss how to build the case with strong joinery, choose pleasing curves for the facade or other elements, how to integrate and build shelves and drawers in the interior, and many ways to build curved doors. We will laminate them with solid wood and bending plys, build a solid core door sheathed with shop made veneers, and cooper a curved door (for the case sides too). Of course we will delve into details and making curved moldings. 

 

 Duet, 2014, music cabinet in Engelman spruce, birdseye maple, ebony, poplar, paint details by Carolyn Hack

Duet, 2014, music cabinet in Engelman spruce, birdseye maple, ebony, poplar, paint details by Carolyn Hack

 

 

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Spanish Adventure II
Oct
23
to Oct 29

Spanish Adventure II

Last year was my first time teaching in Spain, and what fun it was. The classes were organized by two craftsmen who live nearby, Israel and Lorenzo. I'm back again this year for two more new classes. If you were ever considering combining a bit of travel and vacation with a woodworking class, this is the place to go. San Sebastian is Basque country right on the Atlantic coast, with surfing, wide sand beaches, elegant architecture, and tapas everywhere! The food alone is worth the effort to get here. 

TABLES will be our focus for the first class, making fun small tables that will improve your hand tools skills and expand your design vocabulary. I might have made 25 of these tables over the years, no two alike, and each one a chance to explore some new design idea or technique. 

The second class, 2 days (October 28, 29), will focus on DETAILS. I'll demonstrate edge details such as chamfers and beads, line inlays, and cockbeads for around a drawer and under a table apron. You'll have plenty of time to try each one, and maybe even work with some new materials such as metal and shell. 

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Hanging Cabinet with Drawers
Oct
17
to Oct 21

Hanging Cabinet with Drawers

To be honest, this class is really about making well constructed and sweetly running drawers. But to really understand about fitting drawers, you need to have an accurate and strong case to support and guide them. So we'll make that case, which is a fun project in itself.

Drawers can be built in a nearly unlimited variety of sizes, shapes, and ways they are  supported.  We’ll explore the best of these variations, along with dovetails, using solid wood bottoms, determining the thickness of the various parts, and dealing with seasonal wood movement. Most of these ideas can be distilled to a simple and elegant drawer design that works for nearly every situation. We’ll build one or two such fine drawers, ones that can serve as models for every drawer you go on to build.

 

 

 

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Precision With Hand Tools
Oct
15
to Oct 16

Precision With Hand Tools

  • DICTUM workshop Niederalteich (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

This will be my eighth year teaching for DICTUM, and it has been a lot of fun.  DICTUM is a tool maker and seller and has been for a very long time (over 200 years!). They offer an incredible array of courses on how to use their tools, from how to butcher a deer to making a smooth running drawer. I have mainly taught at the Neideralteich workshop,  part of an ancient monastery right on the Danube River, about an hour and a half east of Munich. 

My first class is two days of working with a variety of hand tools — planes, saws, chisels, marking tools —  ramping up your understanding and refining your hand skills. We will do the typical tasks one would making furniture —  flattening boards to polished smoothness, jointing two edges to an invisible glue joint, fairing curves, shaping and chamfering edges, making an inlay, and cutting a joint or two. Naturally we will talk about sharpening and tuning a variety of tools.

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Curved Coopered Cabinets
Sep
13
to Sep 22

Curved Coopered Cabinets

  • Port Townsend School of Woodworking (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

The technique that gives barrels, boats, and bongos their interesting curved shapes is essentially coopering, joining together individual staves or planks. It's an efficient way to create simple to complex curved forms, and one we'll explore to build a small hanging corner cabinet. 

What makes this a fun project is the variety of the curves we can create by how we shape our staves, taper them, or detail them with beads or shallow coves, Beyond the interesting curved facade of our cabinets, we have the practical concerns of supporting a shelf or two, building and hanging a curved door, and cutting some curved moldings.

 As with every HACK class, we will work a lot with hand tools to shape and join the staves, smooth the flat backboards and shelves, adjust joints, and shape the curved door and moldings. Design is going to be a part of our discussions as we look at where this useful technique of coopering can lead. 

 

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Build a Round Plane
Sep
11
to Sep 12

Build a Round Plane

  • Port Townsend School of Woodworking (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

One of my favorite places to visit and teach is the Port Townsend School of Woodworking, on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. Its a stunning place of huge trees, sparking blue water, snow capped mountains, and long sand beaches. I walk along one of those beaches to class each day when the tide is not too high. The town of Port Townsend is funky, laid back and hip. I'll be there for my usual two weeks starting just after the annual WOODEN BOAT FESTIVAL, not to be missed.

The two weeks starts with a 2 day class on building a molding plane. The round bottomed plane we'll build (it cuts a cove or hollow) will be useful in the second class for smoothing the back of the curved doors we will build for our curved coopered cabinets. Being able to make a plane is a useful skill for whatever your needs might be. We will lay out and chop an angled bed for the blade, shape a round sole on the solid beech body (your choice), heat treat and sharpen a round blade (we'll start with a piece of white paper steel), fashion a shapely wedge to lock the blade in position, and tune our planes.

 

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Aug
5
to Aug 6

Decorative Details

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Lie-Nielsen is known for their exceptional hand tools, but they also run classes during the summer months at their "factory" in Warren, Maine. It's a very interesting place to visit, to see them milling and shaping and polishing brass and steel parts, turning them into handsome tools. 

During our 2 days together we will explore different decorative techniques and make some of the necessary tools — small chisels and amazing scratchstocks.  We’ll talk about ways to use each detail and variations that are possible. Most of the time will be yours to work on a sample board of the decorative ideas that most appeal to you. 

Our starting point will be smoothing a surface to a polish right off the plane. This leads to edge details: chamfers cut at different angles or that change in width as they move along an edge, decorative starts and stops to those chamfers, underbevels that lighten the appearance of an edge, molded edges, and inlaid edges

Next will be fine inlaid lines known as string inlays and their many variations. We will cut neatly mitered corners, create some fun lines of dots and dashes, and attempt some curves. This leads nicely into cutting larger solid wood inlays of diamonds and panels, and how to use other materials such as stone, silver, ivory, bone.

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Jul
31
to Aug 4

Precision With Hand Tools

  • Center for Furniture Craftsmanship (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

This is my 21st year at The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship. Over the years I have taught a variety of classes from details to projects such as casework and tables, but PRECISION is a favorite class I  keep coming back to. It's core material that will ramp up your hand tool skills no matter what your skill level. We will use a variety of hand tools to build a fun little table, with plenty of individual design expression possible. 

See more information above, for class in June at Marc Adams School of Woodworking. 

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Jun
5
to Jun 9

Precision With Hand Tools

  • Marc Adams School of Woodworking (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS
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Hand tools open up new vistas of efficiency, accuracy, and enjoyment for woodworkers, even those with modest skills. This is a class to ramp up your hand tool skills — smoothing surfaces, jointing edges, fitting joints, cutting beads and curves. Only we’ll link those tasks to the reality of building a fun little table with lots of design possibilities. The Fun-O-Meter is going to be pegged.

We’ll use machines lightly where they work best — bandsawing legs and cutting mating mortises and tenons — but otherwise work by hand through a range of typical tasks hand tools do best: flattening, truing, shaping, and smoothing surfaces to a polish. We’ll talk about ways to integrate hand tools in your process, sharpening, tuning, and lots about design and detail.  Our tables will be small, but they are an ideal project to hone some hand tool skills and try out some new design ideas.  

 

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May
1
to May 6

Chair Design

Chairs are enough of a challenge that many woodworkers avoid building them. So let's be honest, a week class isn’t long enough for each student to complete a chair, at least not one you would be happy with. But we can explore all of the aspects of making chairs -- from comfort to joinery -- and I'll demonstrate it all by building a chair I'll bring partially started. 

Don't worry, you'll get plenty of hands on work drawing, making parts, and cutting joints for your own chair. My goal is to teach you the necessary skills so that you understand how to go about designing an attractive and comfortable chair, draw it full scale and use that drawing to produce patterns and shape parts, configure and cut durable joints, add a few decorative touches, assemble all those parts,  and finally build a seat frame for upholstery (or a woven seat if you prefer). 

A good starting point to work out the overall shape and design of a chair and its three dimensional joinery is a drawing of the front view, side view, and plan view (from above). We will discuss how to use these drawings to orient the parts to one another cutting the joinery, critical dimensions and comfortable angles for  the back and seat, appropriate materials for chairs, making parts by steambending vs. lamination or cutting out of the solid, and even considerations for efficiently making a set of chairs. 

Please bring to the class ideas for a chair you would like to build. Some scale sketches would be enough. Or you can follow the design I will draw. Emphasis will be on modern chairs, and more specifically a dining or desk chairs. 

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Apr
21
to Apr 23

Fine Woodworking LIVE

  • Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

The second live event organized by Fine Woodworking to bring together experts and interested woodworkers of all types. There will be classes and plenty of time to mingle, talk, and look at furniture and tools. 

My class will be: USING HAND TOOLS TO CREATE CUSTOM MOLDINGS. I'll talk about tuning and using molding planes as well as other planes to make some interesting and useful moldings.

Stay tuned for more details from Fine Woodworking.    

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Mar
11
to Mar 12

Decorative Details

  • Furniture Institue of Massachusetts (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

DECORATIVE DETAILS

Over three millennia ago Egyptian craftsmen were decorating their work with inlays of small intricate patterns of ebony, ivory, and other exotic materials. We will learn the same techniques: making delicate string or line inlays, cutting in surface inlays such as diamonds, making and inlaying patterned bandings, and using non-wood materials such as silver and shell. We will also focus on complementary moulded edges, chamfers, side beads and proud cockbeads used to highlight the edge of a table apron or drawer. 

We will work almost entirely by hand, so naturally sharpening, tuning, and using hand tools will be an important emphasis. We are even going to make some of those hand tools, amazing scratchstocks used to cut precise inlay grooves and small molded surfaces. 

 

 Demilune table with inlays of ebony, holly, and crotch yellow birch

Demilune table with inlays of ebony, holly, and crotch yellow birch

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