Monday, November 2, 2009
Port Townsend, Washington
The Port Townsend Woodworker's Show is here again.
This weekend (November 7 and 8) woodworker's from around the area will be showing their latest work. A highlight will be the new Gypsy Wagon being built by Steve Habersetzer.
Admission to the show is free.
The show hours are:
Saturday November 7th - 11:00am to 8:00pm
Sunday November 8th - 11:00am to 3:00pm
The school will have a booth there and we'll look forward to seeing you. Feel free to ask questions about the new 2010 Schedule.
See you at the weekend!
Monday, September 21, 2009
From the release:
Please join us for this workshop, networking, and discussion featuring Mark Gerth, Communications Manager of the Washington State Arts Commission, on Saturday, November 14 from 11 am to 3 pm at Centrum, Fort Worden Commons Room A, Port Townsend.
Increasingly, arts organizations and artists are relying on web traffic to drive sales, increase audience participation, and provide vital information to their constituents. Designing your site to be found and rank high within the search engine results is a task that requires knowledge, skill, persistence, a little luck, and the ability to follow the rules. This workshop for artists and arts organizations will provide the basic information you need to compete, avoid pitfalls, and improve your web presence - including an explanation and tips on onsite and offsite optimization, specific do’s, don’ts, and “these will get you banned!”, social networking tools, and other resources.
Mark Gerth has been the Communications Manager for the Washington State Arts Commission since February 2004. He oversaw the redesign and launch of a new agency website in 2007 and publishes a monthly eNews letter that is received by over 3,000 subscribers throughout the State. Before moving to the Pacific Northwest in 1996, he worked as a manager for a firm specializing in fundraising and marketing for cultural nonprofits including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Dallas Symphony, and The Vancouver Playhouse in British Columbia.
Attendance is FREE and open to the public/ no host Deli will be open
Registration is appreciated - contact Sherry Kack at email@example.com or call 360-385-0386.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
In mid-August, I went to the Woodworking in America design conference to give a presentation on a topic that has been of great (and growing) interest for me since I first started teaching hand-tool woodworking at the school: the distinct differences that arise between the artisan and the industrial approach to woodworking. As I got into hand tools after having worked (I should say machined) wood with power tools for a living for almost three decades, I began to see that fundamental differences weren’t just showing up in the processing but also right at the start of the project in the design phase.
When developing my “Handtool Heaven” course, it dawned on me that I while I often found it useful to draw out a project in full-scale I didn’t really need to show students how to apply numbered dimensions or angles to the drawing—because you don’t need those numbers to generate a cut-list. I realized that numbers were for machines. In processing the wood in the power tool realm, you use numbers off a cut list to set fences and cutting angles to numbers inscribed on the machine. But as a hand-tool artisan you are working, not machining, the wood and you don’t need any numbers whatsoever to do so! Instead, my presentation in Chicago described how I show my students to simply mark ticks on a stick to transfer the dimensions of a part represented on the full-scale rendering to the piece of wood that will become that part! Angles are transferred directly with a bevel gauge. (We transfer curves by making a template from the drawing). At the end of the project, it’s possible that you may not have dealt with one number throughout the entire process, from design through completion!
“But where do the dimensions of the project come from in the first place to make a full scale rendering—don’t you need to start with some numbers?” asked someone in the audience? Well that’s where we really start having fun: To make a step stool, I showed how you can take all the dimensions right off your own human body: the step top is as long as the spread of your shoulders (which is two spread-out hand-widths); the width of the step is a foot (your foot!) and the height is whatever is a comfortable step-up for you (which turns out, amazingly enough, to be one spread-out hand width!).
“Well that’s all well and good for a stool you are making for your self”, pipes up another person, “but what about a chest of drawers? You certainly need numbers to define that project, don’t you?” Well this is where it gets interesting—because it turns out that there is little evidence (according the some of the experts speaking at this conference such as George Walker and Jeffrey Greene,) that pre-industrial artisans probably didn’t use numbers to design anything. Instead, what I learned was that furniture design was based on the classic orders of proportion—which were essentially whole-number ratios of squares and portions of squares. Drawings of designs were likely rendered entirely with a straight edge and dividers without a ruler in sight! (Rulers of those days were fairly crude, by the way—the divisions rarely went below 1/8-in.) Experts at the conference such as George Walker (who, by the way, has a very good DVD out on creating furniture designs in this manner) surmise that rulers were only used for giving a general description of a piece, not for design or process.
Hearing what some of the other experts had to say made me feel that I’m on the right track with my thinking that there really are some profound differences in the way we—as workers rather that machinists of wood—must approach not just the working, but also the conceptualization of the projects that we build by hand. It confirms in my mind that to fully understand the way the pre-industrial artisans work we have to understand more than just the tool set, we have to grasp the mindset as well!
Monday, August 31, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Owners of older homes in the Pacific Northwest will be particularly interested in this fall's series of classes and lectures at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking, as it continues its Historic Preservation program. Maintaining old homes presents major challenges: paint peels, wood rots, floors sag. Heat leaks through old single-pane windows, uninsulated walls, and gaps in the siding. Understanding traditional construction methods can help homeowners make intelligent decisions on how to maintain and insulate without compromising the the historic fabric of their old buildings.
Continuing its Historic Preservation classes, Port Townsend School of Woodworking will present "Maintenance of Old Homes in the Pacific NW" on October 3; "Weatherization of Old Homes in the Pacific NW" on October 4; and a two-day "Wood Window Restoration Workshop" on October 17-18. Taught by Kevin Palo, a historic preservation consultant and wood window expert, the "Maintenance" and "Weatherization" classes mix lecture, site visits and hands-on practice. The Window Workshop will be hands-on: by restoring windows in a building at Fort Worden, students will learn how to remove old windows, carry out minor repairs, re-glaze, re-rope a double-hung sash window, and weatherize windows.
In the first of a new Historic Preservation lecture series, on September 17 at 6:30 p.m., consulting architect Gee Heckscher offers a "A Primer on Seismic Stabilization." We live in an active earthquake zone, so many of our older buildings are at risk from seismic damage. Gee will explain how earthquakes affect buildings; identify the types of seismic risks of various types of building construction; and describe structural solutions to buildings with seismic risks that address foundations, frame stiffening, and tying building components together. Gee was responsible for designing the stabilization for the Jefferson County Courthouse Clocktower; he is on the board of the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation and serves on the City of Port Townsend's Historic Preservation Committee. The lecture will be at the School; admission is pay-as-you-can.
Earlier this year at the School, veterans from Clallam and King Counties learned the fundamental theory of Historic Preservation and completed the restoration of the eastern facade of the Motor Vehicle Pool building (Building 365) at Fort Worden. These classes, offered by the School for the Washington State Veterans Conservation Corps, were supported by a generous grant from the Friends of Fort Worden and with materials and staff assistance from Fort Worden State Park.
Looking ahead, there are big plans afoot for the Port Townsend School of Woodworking: we are in early stages of planning for transition to non-profit status and we will be partnering with the City of Port Townsend, the Fort Worden Collaborative, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission to create a center for Historic Preservation at Fort Worden.
The Port Townsend School of Woodworking is located at Fort Worden, Port Townsend, in Building 315 (the Old Power House -- behind Copper Canyon Press).
Port Townsend School of Woodworking
200 Battery Way, Fort Worden
Port Townsend WA 98368
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
|Plan on joining us this fall to make some shavings and sawdust, with a bonus of Port Townsend fun! Early fall is a great time to be here: we have some of the best weather of the year, and some amazing events: the Wooden Boat Festival, the Sea Kayak Symposium, the Port Townsend Film Festival, the Kinetic Skulpture Race, Art Port Townsend and, of course, the Woodworker's Show. You can find a fuller listing here |
Fall 2009 ScheduleThe fall schedule has been firmed up. We're still developing some Historic Preservation courses but we'll announce those separately.
Hand Tool Classes
Hand Tool Classes with Garrett Hack in September
The response to our planning for classes with Garrett Hack in September has been fantastic! There are just two open slots left for the two day Decorative Details class on September 14-15 (Monday and Tuesday). This is a wonderful opportunity to learn from a master craftsman.
The Art and Craft of Working with Wood Lecture Series
Measure Once, Measure Not at All? with Jim Tolpin
on Thursday August 20th 2009 at 6:30pm
Jim is working on a new book on hand tools. The research he had done and his experience with hand tools are making him rethink the practise and philosophy of how hand tools are used and gives him even greater appreciation of how the old furniture makers worked.
The old furniture makers worked in a much more organic (should I say analog?) way. The furniture was fitted to the space and the wood fitted to the piece of furniture - largely without reducing dimensions to feet, inches and fractional inches. The precision of the joinery was more important than the measurement.
In this lecture, Jim contrasts the traditional approach and the modern measurement intensive approach. Jim explores each path and shows you how to work efficiently with either approach.
Illustrating the hand tool-primary approach, Jim will mock up a footstool to show how story sticks, full-size drawings and layout patterns drive the design and construction process.
Note: For residents of Whidbey Island and places east we will provide a shuttle service from to and from the Port Townsend / Keystone Ferry. So you don't need to bring a car or worry about a reservation. Please let us know if you need a ride.
Free presentation at the School
Monday, July 13, 2009
Click on the link in the lower left hand corner of the slide show to go to the Picasa Gallery and download the images. Enjoy.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Port Townsend, Washington:
Some images from Day 3 onwards of the Out of Square class at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. The first few days were demos, sketching, making models. Now, enthused by Seth's vigorous teaching style they get to build the forms and stand bending the wood.
Keep watching to see how the designs evolve.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Four of Port Townsend's Splintergroup headed out to examine some redwood slabs that have been through the dehumidification kiln at Miller Manufacturing in Port Angeles.
One of Michael Hamilton's clients has a family property outside Sequim that was homesteaded in the late 19th century. The land was cleared and the family planted trees that grow up and down the West Coast to see how they would grow near Sequim. One set of seedlings included some Redwoods. One of the trees blew down in a storm a couple of years ago. The family kindly offered the tree to the Splintergroup as part of their "Gotta Tree" program that rescues and reclaims lumber from around Port Townsend.
This first (uppermost) part of the tree was sent to Guy Miller's dehumidification kiln to see how it would dry. We met with Guy last week to see how the wood fared in the kiln. Guy showed us round his operation, which primarily makes flooring but he does rent out his kiln (around $350 per thousand board feet) to dry small batches of lumber for landowners.
The dehumidification kiln is made from a converted refrigerated container with dehumidifier added and baffles to control the airflow in the kiln. The temperature can get up to about 150F (which is needed to set pitch in fir or pine).
There are other kilns in the area but Guy's is the only dehumidification kiln I, now, know about. I'll be posting more information about kilns and other local resources over the next few months.
The Splintergroup will be making rustic outdoor furniture from the Redwood. The furniture will be auctioned off for charity at the Port Townsend Woodworker's Show in November 2009.
We checked the moisture content of the Redwood at 14% which is a little high but not a surprise as these boards are 3 1/4" thick. OK for outdoor furniture!
Miller Manufacturing, 255568 Hwy 101, Port Angeles, Washington - (360) 452-0932
Monday, April 20, 2009
I went out to Blyn, about 30 minutes west of Port Townsend on the way to Sequim, to meet with Dale Faulstich. Dale has generously agreed to give the next presentation in our "Art and Craft of Working with Wood" lecture series. Dale will be giving his presentation at the School on the 21st of May at 6:30. The admission is free.
I feel privileged and awed to watch these carvers at work and to see this healing themed totem pole emerging from old first growth cedar.
The carving shed is at the Jamestom S'Klallam Tribal Center in Blyn - the carving shop is down behind the Art Gallery there on the North Side of Route 101. It's a full time job and the carvers are there business hours weekdays. They welcome guests to drop in and watch them at work.
We're thinking about hosting classes with carvers of Dale's calibre - feel free to drop us a note or post a comment if you'd like to know more or make suggestions.
(There are a few captions on the slideshow - but the images speak for themselves.)
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Another bunch of happy students get to grips with a great set of fine detail and the ways to make them with Darrell Peart's new Greene and Greene Details class.
Just click on the link in the lower left hand corner of the slideshow to go to our Picasa site. You can download the images from there. Enjoy.
Feel free to comment, please.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
They were giving me grief this morning. So here you are immortalized for posterity!
That said they were having way too much fun. Ankle deep in shavings; delicate staves appearing from split chunks of white ash; a delightful array of drawknives, spokeshaves gracing the benches.
They broke down an used the bandsaw this morning to cut out the seat. I think they're making steam tomorrow. Shout if you hear the whistle.
Mark is training Kielan as a service dog so he (Kielan) is allowed in the school and around the buildings at the Fort - so this is the (permitted) exception to the rules about pets at the Fort.
I'll be adding to the slideshow each day. Or nearly every day. I wasn't able to get to the school to take pictures at the end of class but if any of the students have images of completed chairs please send them in and I'll add them to the slide show.
The White River Valley Museum celebrates the history, art and craft of woodworking with the exhibit “Woodworks, Things of Use and Beauty” that opens April 22 and runs through July 26. The collection honors the skills of carving, joinery and cabinetry focusing on three cultural traditions: Coast Salish Native, European and Japanese.
Caveat - I know nothing about the Museum but I laud the goals of the exhibition. If any of you live near enough and go to the exhibition please post a comment and let the rest us know whether we should visit.
More details here.
Monday, April 13, 2009
I met Naoko at Art Port Townsend in 2007 and was astounded by her wonderful dyed wood mosiacs. We persuaded Naoko to exhibit at the Port Towsend Woodworker's show in 2007.
Now she goes from being a juried winner at Art Port Townsend in 2007 and 2008 to having a joint show at Seattle Art Museum (SAM) from April 14th -May 8th.
I encourage you to go and see her work. You'll be forgiven for mistaking her work for a painting!
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Close the end of the Woodworking for Women Course I persuaded these woodworker converts out for a brief break in the sun and a photo opportunity. I have to apologise for asking Martha to sit on the ramp but she was delighted to show off her new knees working properly. These folks were so keen that they came back on Saturday morning to spend extra time working on their projects!
Thanks to Martha for so clearly inspiring and teaching these women.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
This class was great fun. Just before the class Michael had realized that he has spent 40 years in the finishing profession - as a finisher, formulator and writer about finishing.
Michael shares a huge amount of information about the finishes, how they are used, how they differ and more. He showed us the brush he has been using for the last 30 years - still in perfect condition and then shared the secrets of brush maintenance.
Michael blasted aside myths and misconceptions about finishing. We experimented with a vast array of finishes on many different woods. He's working on an article of green finishing and I'm looking forward to his conclusions - they might not be what we expect!
Michaels' tales of adventures and misadventures in the finishing trade were alone worth the price of admission.
We'll be re-running this course in August.
We've been tardy getting these images of Darrell Peart's new Greene and Greene Details II course up on our blog. As you can see the participants had a great time. I'll get John to add some more details shortly but we wanted you to get a real impression of what it is like to take the course.
Friday, March 27, 2009
These wonderful pictures by Al McCleese (courtesy of the Centrum Foundation) were taken during the Port Townsend School of Woodworking Course taught by Kevin Palo. All the attendees on this course were from the Veteran's Conservation Corps. We're grateful to Mark Fischer and Ed Bowen for their support. Most of the images were taken at Fort Worden. The last few were taken in the Hastings Building in Downtown Port Townsend. We're deeply grateful to Heather Poulsen of the Hastings Estate for access and encouragement.
Copyright for these images remains with Al McCleese.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
This is an important subject for Port Townsend and Fort Worden. There is a proposal from the Planning Department that many of the older buildings (even such your ones as a '50's rambler) could be subject to a historic preservation review. That is the stick.
The carrot is that you can get a property tax break on building improvements that are historically sensitive and retain original features. We hope to have members of the Historic Preservation Commision at the lecture
We're not planning to get embroiled in what will be a vigorous discussion around town.
Doing a good historic preservation job on an old home or building can be daunting. But when an old home is viewed through the eyes of a preservationist you begin to see that some of the problems are easily solved when you understand the construction methods used to build the house. Similarly the historic value of a house can be preserved by not indulging in wholesale demolition and replacement with modern windows or doors. Old windows with storm windows can have a similar, if not better, insulating value than modern replacement windows.
Kevin has joined our faculty to lead the Historic Preservation Program. Kevin has more than 30 years of experience in restoring Old Buildings. This lecture is a teaser for our Introduction to Historic Preservation course in March.
Thursday February 19th at 6:30pm
Free lecture at the school:
Building 315, Fort Worden State Park,
Port Townsend, WA 98368
When we teach sharpening, we teach a combination of the sandpaper and waterstone methods. I've done some research (and I'm sure it can be improved) to simplify the grain size dilemma.
The main difference is for sandpapers (for wood and Wet & Dry) both the American and European grain size use the same sequence of grit sizes 80 (coarse) to 220 (fine) but then at 320 the actual grain sizes diverge.
The US standard is known as CAMI and the European Standard as FEPA. The easiest way to spot the differences in the abrasives is that the European grain sizes have a P prefix (P120 for example). Canada uses the European Standard - so many of the Norton sticky backed sandpapers (our favourite) are sized to the European Standard.
Here is the chart of grain sizes I made to help you understand the difference. The last column indicates the use of the grain size in sharpening (You'll need to click through to read it):
When sharpening or sanding you proceed through the grits in sequence with the number getting larger (120- 150 - 180 - 220 - 320 etc). Where you need to be cautious is if you have a mixture of US and European Grits because going from a US 400 to a European P800 is no change in grit size. You'd need to go to a European P1200 to get a finer grit.
The moral of this post is that you need to carefully check the grit size and source when you buy your abrasives.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
I made this plain, box-like bench as an example project for my “Joy of Woodworking” class to demonstrate how two joints (a dovetail and a wedged through-mortise) work in concert to hold a structure together without the need for glue or fastenings. Perhaps more importantly, I also wanted to demonstrate how a one-off furnishing made with hand tools doesn’t necessarily require scale drawings or cutlists (which are more useful and necessary when setting up machines to make a cut.)
I developed the bench by simply selecting a board the width of my hand and the length of the spread of my shoulders. I then crosscut two more boards to hold it a step (my step height) off the ground. No numbers were involved—I just marked the top board to tick marks I made on a stick (that represented my shoulder width) and then cut the two end boards to the step-height length and to match one another! “How wide do you make the stretcher?” the students ask. “Well what looks right to you?” is my answer—I find they have no trouble deciding when they hold up some sample widths to see what looks too narrow to prevent racking and what looks too wide and clunky! “But don’t I need to know how thick the boards are to lay out the joints”? “Well no, you just set your marking gauge to the board itself and go from there!” I reply. “How wide do I make the mortise?” I hold up a chisel and say: “This wide—and you can use this chisel as a gauge to mark the width of the tenon as well!” Everyone seems to be surprised and then relieved to be free of measurements and cut loose from cutlists!
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I spoke to a great audience of 50 woodworkers who asked great questions and, graciously, laughed at my jokes. Lots of good questions - I really enjoyed the session.
I like the elegance of the association's logo that you can see in the wonderful insulated mug - my tea is going to stay a lot warmer for longer. Thanks guys!
Any other clubs or wood related clubs who would like one of us to come and talk please feel free to ask.
My next speaking gig is to the Evergreen Woodworker's Guild in October 2009 - I plan to talk about Ergonomics.
PS I know there were a bunch of folks taking pictures during the presentation. If you could send them to me I'd be grateful. (Click on my profile to get my email address).
Monday, January 26, 2009
I, me, myself, personally am working on ensuring that the blog entry titles are either screaming puns, song titles or just bad. You have been warned.