Friday, May 27, 2011

Chairmaking with Tom Dolese - May 2011

These guys had a great week with Tom Dolese at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. This may look staged but watch the slideshow below - these guys got on well and had a lot of fun together. 

Plus they put on the best potluck lunch we've had so far. Russ's wife Nun is Thai and she prepared some amazing curries which, combined with great bread from Pane d'Amore, stunning cookies and good salads from the local Coop, created a wonderful array. And it was sunny during the meal!

Tom's energy and enthusiasm are contagious, The quality of the finished chairs was impressive. They decided that black for upholstery is the new cool.

Tom's shop assistant Abe joined them for a couple of days in the middle of the course. Thanks Abe!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dale Brotherton - Sensei

Dale Brotherton
Since Teresa and I acquired the Azumaya built in Dale's Japanese Woodworking class at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking - it became obvious that we need to put a floor in it. We had to go to Seattle this week so I arranged to pick up some Port Orford Cedar from Dale.

Dale has a large warehouse where he keeps his stock of wood and prepares the packages for the buildings he creates. Some of the lumber there was truly impressive. I also admired his Japanese built planer which has an infinitely variable feed speed! (Why don't other planer manufacturers pick up on that?). Really low speed for for those squirelly woods and high speed for initial rough milling.

However what most impressed me was Dale's workshop - in a mezzanine above the doors into the shop. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out what was different. Literally there were no machines in there. Just handtools - and all exquisitely maintained.

During his class Dale quoted  (more accurately paraphrased) Paul Discoe:
"To think of Zen in terms of woodworking, true concentration. Takes a deep knowledge of the materials, highly refined technical skills and speed achieved through dedicated practice.... and yet the concentration driving the practice is not "goal oriented". The aim instead is to be fully present in the act of working with wood."
 Dale lives those thoughts to the full. Hence my accolade of Sensei in the post title. Thank you Dale for the inspiration and the great wood!

Dale's Shop:

Greene and Greene Details I with Darrell Peart - May 2011

From 2011-05-20 Greene & Greene Details II
Another great class with Darrell Peart at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. A lot of happy faces!

Darrell is teaching his Details II class on June 3-4. There is still room in the class - you don't need to have taken Details I first. These are standalone classes.

Students - if you can a copy of the photo click on the link above and you can download a full size image.

Out of Square with Seth Rolland - May 2011

From 2011-05-20 Out of Square
Seth never fails to impress or inspire his students. All these guys achieved some impressive work in class and they know how to complete their projects when they get home. The slide show below will give you some idea of what they were trying to achieve. We also need to buy a bunch more clamps - even with Seth bring two large buckets of clamps - they ran short. Anybody got a bunch of clamps (in good condition) thay want to donate?

There was a clear request from the class for a two week version of Seth's Class at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. We're seriously considering it for next year.

Thanks to Phyllis Marckworth!

The School has marked several major transitions in the last month. We've moved into an office! We're hired a new bookkeeper and we got our 501(c)3 status - making us an official non-profit.

This was cause for a celebration and a big thank you to Phyllis Marckworth. Phyllis has worked as the unpaid bookkeeper through the last two years and had been tireless at keeping us in financial order. With the growth of the organization it made sense for us to hire a bookkeeper to work at the new office and let Phyllis get back to her  first love - Gardening. We're looking forward to seeing the new plants from Far Reaches Farm .

The Board deserves a big round of thanks too. A lot of hard work went into the 501(c)3 application and into setting up the board. This board really enjoys each others company as you can see:

Friday, May 20, 2011

Building an Azumaya with Dale Brotherton

Close to it's final resting place

In the five days, leading up to the Timberframer's Guild Western Conference, Dale Brotherton has been teaching a course on building an Azumaya (a "garden watching structure") at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking.

The course was attended by a mixture of timberframers, contractors and enthusiasts. The class has been a revelation to everybody. The students have been working hard and learning through creating the structure. Dale had spent much of the previous week preparing the package. At the beginning of the class the students helped Dale unload the Port Orford Cedar, used for the beams and rafters and Red Cedar boards used for the roofing.

It's a real tribute to Dale's skill that the students produced good tight joinery and that the structure went together smoothly Plus all the wooden members of the board were planed smooth - never has a timberframed building felt so good!.

As you'll see from the slide show Mother Nature turned fickle and started raining during the assembly session this afternoon. Our good friends at Centrum helped out by lending us some large poles used to support scenery - and delivering them to the School - I think we owe them a beer or two. These poles allowed Dale and the students to sling a tarp over the structure and keep working.

The Azumaya will be auctioned off at the Timberframer's Guild Auction on Saturday April 14th at the Fort Worden Commons. They worked with Dale to supply all the timber. My thanks to Joel McCarty and all the folks at the Guild for their help.

Update and clarification:
Pacific NW Timbers (based in Port Townsend) donated the lumber for the Azumaya to the Timber Framers Guild. The Guild in turn gave it to us for the course. We in turn donated the completed Azumaya back to the Timber Framers Guild for their auction on the Saturday Night of the Western Conference. At the Auction I was the only bidder for the Azumaya. My wife Teresa got a wonderful birthday present. My thanks to the 14 or so members of the Guild who help carry the Azumaya into our front yard. We hope to have it installed soon!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Final Few Days of the Foundation Class

(How did it take me so long to get around to posting these pix?)

The Foundation Class finished up on the first of April, 2011. The students were working hard to make the most of their access to the Port Townsend School of Woodworking to get their projects to the point where they could finish them at home.

Dianne finished her chair in the week after the course ended. Mark hauled his table home in a rental trailer - planning to make and fir the top at home. Justin's chest just needed to have the hinges installed. Melanya's roll top desk was close to structurally complete and we're looking forward to seeing pictures of the finished item. Alex finished the carcass of his tool chest and has been working on the trim. Kia's altar (I think of it as a Tokonoma) had it's base added two weeks after the end of the course.

All of the students on the course achieved levels of skill and tackled problems with aplomb and grace. Kia's single minded drive to use steam bent Madrona was inspirational - we're grateful to Charlie Smith of Marrowstone Island for coming up with a wonderful board out of his stash of stunning wood.

I'd like to thank all the students for putting their trust in us and making this first course such a positive stepp for the School. WE'll be offering the Foundation course Fall and Winter going forwards.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cabinetmaking April - May 2011

John Marckworth just finished up teaching two weeks of cabinetmaking at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. The students spent the first week learning the basics of cabinetmaking and the second week building and installing some kitchen cabinets for the dorm accommodation at Fort Worden.

The kitchen in 225 Down East (in Fort jargon) has been adopted by several of the partner organizations  at the Fort as preferred accommodation for some of their courses.In particular Madrona Mindbody Institute has spent a lot of time refurnishing, hanging new curtains and painting to make the space comfortable and welcoming. Out contribution is to let students get real world experience designing and installing cabinets as more than a workshop exercise. Everybody benefits.