Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New Lathes! Thank you AAW!

Shrieking in the title may seem a little excessive but we are deeply thankful to the American Association of Woodturners for a second Education Opportunities Grant. 

We've used both grants to invest in buying lathes and we've just added three more lathes. Two 10" and one 12" mini lathes. We now have seven lathes. We've been given some big architectural turning lathes too but we're waiting for a larger facility before we bring those on-line.

The new lathes will be christened in Bonnie Klein's woodturning classes this fall. Bonnie is with us for seven days, teaching her signature topics (spindle turning and lidded boxes) in the Intermediate Turning class (September 10-14, 2012) . This is the first non-beginner's class Bonnie has taught at the School and we're looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and some new faces.

Bonnie will also be teaching her Beginning Bowl Turning on September 15-16, 2012 - a fabulous class to get started in turning. No experience necessary - just enthusiasm.

Rafter Tail Table with Darrell Peart

Darrell Peart is teaching his new Rafter Tail Table class at the School this week (6/25-6/29, 2012). Most of the students are making a couple of tables and will have the templates to make more when the go home at the end of the week.

Everyone seems to be really enjoying themselves. Darrell's excellent preparation of stock and thoughtfully designed jigs makes the setup and running of this class straightforward. The progress is impressive.

If you are in Port Townsend this week feel free to stop by and say hello to Darrell and the class. If you're not able to make it here - enjoy the slideshow. We're adding more pictures each day.

On Friday, as with all our weeklong classes, we hold a potluck lunch at noon. It's open to everyone - feel free to come along. Salads from the Coop or bread from Pane D'Amore are always welcome. Home cooking scores big brownie points!

Late update: we're going to the Banana leaf downtown instead of doing the potluck at the School. Join us there.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Introduction to Mask Carving - June 2012 with Steve Brown

Mitch and Mike left a little early and missed being in the Class photo.

Small class size is a mixed blessing but what a gift for the students in this class! Everyone got a lot of personal tuition from Steve and made significant progress - Steve was very impressed.

Watching Steve carve is a real joy - an amazing combination of delicacy, precision and power. I stopped by several times during each course and the evolution and refinement of each design was clear at each step and the increased confidence with the tools. I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished masks.

We're running a longer version of this class in August - you should be able to complete the carving and decorate the mask in that class. It'll be exciting to see the refinement and clear definition of the form lines in those masks. There is still space in the class.

Short slide show of the class - Images by Chris Artman and Tim Lawson:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Centennial Rhododendron Garden at Fort Worden

The Centennial Rhododendron Garden at Fort Worden is one of those real gems that only shines brightly for the late winter and  spring months each year. Last Sunday on my way to the School I purposely left myself fifteen minutes to go and take some pictures. I chose fifteen minutes to force myself to focus on composition and exposure - a little hit and miss but here is the slide show of those images.

If you are visiting Fort Worden in the Spring I encourage to take 15 minutes (or more) to explore the Garden. There are some 1200 (I think) different species and hybrids. They start flowering in late February and are still going strong in June. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Green Woodworking with the WCC - June 2012

It's always a delight to have the WCC crews as part of their training session in June. This year we offered a Green Woodworking class - making a three legged stool starting with a tree.

The School has an agreement State Parks to use trees that have to be felled as "emergency trees". These are trees that pose a potential hazard to people on the trails and at campsites. For this course we started with two good sized Douglas Fir logs and this crew sawed, hewed and rived to make blanks for the legs and stretchers.We used a couple of fir board that we'd sawn out of logs earlier in the year.

This class had a lot of fun and worked really hard to complete the stools in the four day class. I hope the big grins come across well in the slideshow.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Build a Wooden Foreplane - May 2012

Maybe showing the instructor as primary image on the blog entry is not kosher but Abel's grin says it all. This was a great class. Dick Culp rated it as the "best class he'd taken at the School" and Dick is up there as a champion student.

The small class size allowed the students to explore more shapes, totes, types of totes and really focus on the sharpening and tuning of the mouth. The size of the mouth and cleanness of the fit of the wedge to the blade were key to getting the planes to work well.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Steve Brown at Goddard College - March 7th

Goddard College's Interdisciplinary Arts program explores the relationship between art and artists and, in this case, native and non-native artists working in the Northwest Coast Arts tradition.

Join Steve Brown and Shaun Peterson for a conversation about "Ethics, Cultural Traditions and Art Practice" on Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 at  1:45 at JFK Hall, Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend (Map).

Admission is fee. You do not need a Discover Pass to park at Fort Worden to attend this event.

Steve Brown
Steve has been making his living by woodworking in one form or another since 1969, and has concentrated a large portion of those efforts in the field of Northwest Coast art, both as a carver and as a teacher. Steve has taught classes in traditional carving since 1975, and has worked in Native and non-Native communities in Southeast Alaska and Washington State. 
Teaching venues have included the Totem Heritage Center in Ketchikan, Alaska, the University of Alaska/Juneau and Sitka, the villages of Hoonah, Craig, Wrangell, Metlakatla, and Kake, Alaska, the Shuswap School of Woodcarving, and the Longhouse at the Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington. Steve has participated in extensive totem pole carving projects in Wrangell, Alaska, and for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe in Washington. Steve enjoys teaching carving and toolmaking, and sharing his knowledge and experience in this field. 
Steve is the founder of the NW Coast Arts program at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking.
 Shaun Peterson 

Shaun Peterson was born in Puyallup, Washington in 1975. He began pursuing the art of his Native heritage (Puyallup) shortly after graduating from high school. Much in the way of his ancestors Shaun sought out the guidance of master artisans to share technique, insight, and discipline to the complex world of Northwest Coast Native art. 
Among the first of artists to share his experiences was artist Steve Brown. Brown's curatorial knowledge lent to Shaun's development in being able to characterize the artistic distinctions from one cultural group to the next. All along Shaun's pursuit to utilize new media, Shaun has created many works in way of screen-printing, painting, wood sculpture, metal and glass. 
Shaun Peterson's Full Bio at  Stonington Gallery's Website

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Handcut Dovetails - Winter 2012

What a pleasure to teach this class! Students from Austin and the Bay Area joined a crew of Washington based woodworking enthusiasts.

All the students made great progress over the weekend - we covered precision sawing, saw sharpening, paring, chisel sharpening. layout, dovetail geometry and made dovetails in a variety of woods. A couple of the students had made dovetails before but all were uncertain and thirsty for direction.

I was very impressed by the quality of the dovetail joints produced by the end of the weekend. Everybody got, and I know will practice, the need for precision sawing with a sharp western style saw.

Foundation Course 2012 - Week 4

Steam coming out of their ears? No - out of the steam box. This is the second week of the tool tote project. We decided that the handle of the tote could be steam bent using bending oak (air dried white oak) which is readily available from Edensaw. The bending oak is used to make knees and planks in the local wooden boat industry,

This steam bending may have been a little ambitious for this project but there were a lot of good object lessons learnt: Length of the steaming, size of the box relative to the stock, sturdiness of the bending jig, working as team. We'll post pictures of the finished totes soon.

Hand Plane Essentials - Winter 2012

Hand Plane Essentials - this class also really benefited from the expansion of bench tools and teaching tools, each student was able to fully engage with with a wide array of planes and really experience the difference using the right tool for the job makes.

We're also starting to lean towards using a #3 as a general purpose smoother. It's much more able to clean up those small areas in the middle of a board. We'll be bringing them into use over the next couple of months.

Foundation Course 2012 - Week 3

We're maintaining the tradition started in the 2011 Foundation Course of having a  potluck lunch every Friday from 12-1. Anybody is welcome to join us. It's a great opportunity to meet the students, see their work and to visit the school.

We've been incredibly lucky with the mild winter. Even with the snow we've been able to eat outside at the picnic table three times (out of a possible four) so far this year.

Come along a join us!

Hand Saw Essentials Winter 2012

This was the first time we've run Hand Saw Essentials, the first class in our Basics of Woodworking series. A full class and very engaged bunch of students justified our belief that learning to effectively use and maintain saws is one of the first skills every woodworker should learn. The plethora of different power saws has eclipsed the hand saw but that light is starting to shine again.

Sawing precisely means matching the saw to the task and keeping the saw sharp. Between the School's collection and Jim's personal collection we have a pretty complete set of saws for you to experience. Recently we dedicated part of a spare bench as a saw sharpening station and this makes a big difference when, like honing a chisel you just need to touch up the saw.

We'll offer this class later in the year. We'll publish the date when we schedule it.

Foundation Course 2012 - Week 2

The second week of the Foundation Course is a slightly modified version of Hand Tool Heaven. We added an initial segment on dimensioning boards. We converted a bunch of jack planes into fore planes by putting a heavy camber on the blades. Jim also has a couple of wooden fore planes that allowed the students to do comparisions. Then into a flurry of making straight edges, winding sticks and squares.

Monday, February 6, 2012

New Old Tools

Stanley #45
Just before New Year I collected a wonderful toolbox of old(ish) Tools from Dale Brotherton (Dale teaches our Japanese Woodworking Classes). The toolbox contained a phenomenal array of saws, planes, saw sets and a couple of mitre saws. These are a tremendous addition to our teaching tools but it will take us a couple of months to get them restored and operational. We have have visions of a dedicated mitre saw station.

Thank you Dale!

New Tools, New Tool Rack

We've been putting some real effort into ensuring that we can provide a great hand tool experience for everybody who takes a class the School. Since Christmas we've upgraded the tools at each work bench to include a holdfast,  jack plane, foreplane, carpentry mallet, mortice chisels, paring chisels, rip and crosscut carcass saws and new marking gauges.

Plus Abel Dances built a wonderful storage unit for all the teaching tools. Abel is our full time class lead for the Foundation Course and is doing a great job!

Our thanks to everyone who helped with the tools - our anonymous donor for all the Jack planes we converted to foreplanes, Lee Valley Tools and Woodcraft for helping us get the best tools.

You don't need to bring tools to a class but we'll encourage you to bring your own tools so that you can tune them and begin to master them!

Foundation Course 2012 - Week 1

Three Legged Stool - Week 1
The 2012 Foundation Course started on January 9th, 2012 (where does the time go?).

We have a wonderful bunch of people on the course from around the world, the country and the region!

Sasha flew in from the Ukraine bringing his wife Svetlana and daughter Katrina with him! In getting Sasha to join us we've established that anybody can get a visa and join us for an avocational course. We cleared this with INS and have a copy of the appropriate regulations if you want to join us for a course!

Ryan drove across country from New York and Alec flew down from Juneau. Sam join us from Vancouver, WA; Colin from Portland, OR; Jim from Bainbrdige Island, Mary from Poulsbo; Boone from Olympia leaving Ben as the only Local!

The first week established several firsts: the largest Foundation Course yet (nine out of a possible ten students); our first Green Woodworking class; everybody made a piece of furniture in their first week in class; and we had our first potluck Friday lunch outside!

Plus we got Charlie Smith in to mill up a whole bunch of Doug Fir and Cedar for future projects at the School and at the Fort.

Solstice Stroll at Fort Worden

We should take everyone who takes a class at the School for a stroll round Artillery Hill (the hill behind the School). The views from some of the fortifications are spectacular and there is a lot of good birdwatching as well.

On the Winter Solstice it was clear and cool. So just to give you a hint here's a small slideshow enjoy.

PS - I'm really impressed with the capability of my little Olympus SP-800UZ. All of these shots are straight of the camera. No Photoshop here.