Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bentwood Boxes with Steve Brown - Fall 2011

John Vonpronssen's Carved Box

I've always been amazed by the traditional bentwood boxes used by the First Nation's people of the Pacific NW both for the way they are constructed and the gorgeous carved and painted exteriors.

This class was two masterclasses in one. First, in making a bentwood box from some beautiful clear tight grained yellow cedar. John Vonpronssen demonstrated a router based jig and bought along a magnificent steaming box. Second, was Steve's tutorial in form line and design. Just look at the slideshow to get an idea of how the Thunderbird design evolved as Steve drew it on the board.

We'll consider offering this class in a longer form in the future - it was clear that the students  also wanted to carve the surfaces under Steve's guidance and there is not enough time in the weekend. Watch this space.

Incredible Generosity!


Sometimes you just get knocked sideways! During a class, this summer, one of the students (who prefers to remain anonymous) asked us if we could use some hand planes. He had a collection that he'd like to donate.

Last week we got a call and the donor arrived at the School on Saturday. It took about 10 minutes to unload the van. We received a total of 55 hand planes all in amazing condition. We now have almost a full set of hand planes for each workbench and can consider how to help out intensive students to build up a tool kit.

Our hats off and deep gratitude. Thank you sir!

We are keen to build a reference collection of old tools. With the School's 501(c)3 status we can recognize gifts in kind at a realistic market rate. Please contact if you have some interesting old tools in great condition - we'll make sure they have a great home.

Port Townsend Woodworker's Show - November 2011

Ron Talbert's Rocking Crib
The Port Townsend School of Woodworking is a sponsor and co-organizer of the Port Townsend Woodworker's Show every November. This year's show was the 7th since we revived the show in 2005 and got a great turnout. A little lower than last year but, I think, a higher level of engagement - more people had heard of the school and came to check us out. It was great to see many alumni there and  hear their stories and answer their great questions about the 2012 schedule.

We reduced the number of exhibitors this year to give everyone more space to display. I was very encouraged by Jaap Romijn's new designs for for built from local harvested and dried wood. The pieces are at the beginning of the slideshow below.

For the 2012 show we're asking all exhibitors to include a piece made of local wood. My personal interpretation of local is within 25 miles but the rest of the Splintergroup are happier with an "abutting counties" definition of local.

Click on the slideshow for high resolution images.

Heck of a Halloween Sunset


On Halloween I stepped out of out Office into the most amazing evening light. And since I keep the camera at hand.....

Enjoy the slide show. We're so lucky to be based at Fort Worden where nature blends with the beauty of the old buildings. Don't forget to bring your camera when you visit the School - sunrises are pretty spectacular too!

Carving Bowls and Ladles with Steve Brown - Fall 2011


Another great carving class from Steve Brown. There was a lot of enthusiasm in this class and, how shall we put this politely, borrowing of work for the class photo. Mike Cable (at right) is holding a magnificemt serving bowl carved by Steve.

This group is keen to organize a carving group to work together on projects for a day or so each quarter. The School will host the first of these events in March - watch the school's website for details.

Bowl Turning with Bonnie Klein - Fall 2011


Bonnie Klein made her annual pilgrimage to Port Townsend in the middle of October. The classes are well attended and great fun. We're having Bonnie back in September 2012 for her first intermediate class and another round of bowl turning. Inspired by folks, in this class, bringing along freshly felled Holly we invite the next round of students to explore using local wood for turning.