Practical Furniture Making
Feb
22
to Feb 24

Practical Furniture Making

I’ve been invited by the Central Florida Woodworkers Guild to give a weekend seminar on what I call PRACTICAL FURNITURE MAKING, followed by a 2 day class on ELEGANT DETAILS.

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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Elegant Details
Feb
25
to Feb 26

Elegant Details

Details can be fun and add interest, but they are also practical — softening an edge or lightening the visual weight of a part. We will explore lots of practical details and techniques — at your pace — making delicate string or line inlays, cutting in surface inlays such as panels or diamonds, making patterned bandings, and using non-wood materials such as metal,  shell, or bone. 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 discussed.  We are even going to make some of those hand tools, amazing scratchstocks used to cut precise inlay grooves and small molded surfaces.


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NWA Showcase
Mar
30
to Mar 31

NWA Showcase

Every spring the Northeast Woodworkers Association has a huge exhibition of member work and a woodworking show in wonderful downtown Saratoga, New York. You can find inspiration, woodworking classes, old and new tools, wood, supplies, and lots more.

I’ve participated many times over the last 20 years and have been invited back. I’ll be doing 2 classes each day on:

5 ESSENTIAL HAND PLANE TECHNIQUES

Hand planes are highly efficient, accurate, and for some work superior to machines. We’ll do some edge jointing, smoothing, fine true the shoulders of a joint, and a few other techniques that will persuade you to get out your hand planes and use them.


DAZZLING DETAILS 

Details can be fun and add interest, but they are also practical — softening an edge or lightening the visual weight of a part. Garrett will demonstrate some of his favorite dazzling details, from fine inlaid lines to beads and proud cockbeads, and a little about using shell and metals. 

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Apr
12
to Apr 14

Annapolis Woodworkers Guild

Friday, April 12th, all day
PRACTICAL DESIGN

Good design isn’t simple; it’s by far the most challenging part of building furniture.  One of best ways to become a better designer is to look at and make sense of furniture that appeals to you.  Guided by furniture maker Garrett Hack we will look at many images of furniture from antique to contemporary to understand what makes a design great — or not so great.  How do you use proportion, line, shape, detail, contrast, color? Where do you start the process of designing something, what materials do you use, which joinery or other techniques do you build it with, and what details might enhance the work. 

Beyond looking at images we will consider ways to generate pleasing curves getting started, making full scale drawings, how to choose the best wood for the project and organize your cuts for economy and quality, and how to develop a construction strategy for working accurately and efficiently. It all adds up to good design. 


Saturday/Sunday April 13/14 HANDS-ON workshop

PRECISION WITH HAND TOOLS

Good hand tool skills allow you to work more efficiently, accurately, and enjoyably. We will practice many practical hand tool techniques typical to building any piece of furniture — flattening surfaces and smoothing them to a polish, cutting end grain, jointing edges such as for joining two boards, cutting and fitting some joints, cutting beads and curves, and simple molded edges. We will even make a hand tool, one so simple and effective that it will amaze you with its range of uses. And of course we’ll talk about sharpening and tuning your tools so they work as effortlessly and accurately as possible, and even about how to integrate hand tools and machines in your process. 



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Fine Woodworking LIVE
Apr
26
to Apr 28

Fine Woodworking LIVE

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

Fine Woodworking’s annual LIVE gathering of woodworkers, with classes, demonstrations, tools and lots more for sale, and plenty of opportunities to meet and talk.

I am giving a class about building strong, light, and stable CURVED DOORS, using a traditional technique with a solid staved core overlaid with layers of veneer. I am also giving a morning presentation on DEVELOPING AN EYE FOR DESIGN, which I liken to a visit to a really good furniture museum with an insightful curator.

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CHAIRS/DETAILS 201
Jun
24
to Jun 28

CHAIRS/DETAILS 201

For my 16th year teaching at Rosewood Studio, in the beautiful town of Perth, Ontario, two classes.

CHAIRS

Chairs are enough of a challenge that many woodworkers avoid building them. So let's be honest, a week class isn’t long enough to complete a chair, at least not one you would be happy with. But we can explore many aspects of making chairs such as comfort, elegance, and strength. 

Your work will be drawing, making parts, and cutting joints for your own prototype 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, and then engineer and cut durable joints to join it all together.  I want you to know which materials to use, critical dimensions and angles, about steam bending and laminating to make extra strong curved parts, and even about making a seat frame for upholstery. I’ll bring along a started chair and use it to illustrate some of these important ideas.

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Saturday/Sunday June 29/30
DETAILS 201

Let’s assume you know how to make a scratchstock, can make a clean inlaid line (a string inlay), and have some experience with inlaying pieces into a surface. Hopefully you have taken DETAILS 101, but if not we can do a quick refresher before we explore and expand on these basic techniques.

We can try some curves (against a pattern), some new ways to highlight an edge with a diagonal or solid wood inlay, use bone, shell, and metals, and create some fans or other shapes to inlay. We will do a lot with panels inlayed at the top of a leg or into a tabletop, since they are particularly good places to creatively combine different materials. And we could make some complex bandings. There is so much to explore, what are you are curious about? 

We will work almost entirely by hand, so naturally sharpening, tuning, and using hand tools will be an important emphasis. We will make small sample boards to practice designing and using these decorative techniques. Bring along any interesting materials you would like to use, and I’ll have some on hand too.

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DRAWERMAKING
Aug
5
to Aug 9

DRAWERMAKING

  • Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, Rockport Maine (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

We are going to build some 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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Aug
26
to Aug 30

PRECISION WITH HAND TOOLS

  • Port Townsend School of Wooworking, Port Townsend, Washington (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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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Sep
14
to Sep 16

Santa Rosa Woodworkers

PRACTICAL FURNITUREMAKING

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.

We start by looking at lots of images of well designed furniture and talk about design. From there we explore some important hand tool techniques which are efficient, accurate, and enjoyable. We will use them to cut two essential joints — a mortise and tenon and a tapered sliding dovetail. We finish with a focus on the DETAILS that can really add delight and pizzaz to a piece. 

Contact me for more information.

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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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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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PRECISION WITH HAND TOOLS
Jul
30
to Aug 3

PRECISION WITH HAND TOOLS

  • 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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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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