Monday, October 22, 2012

[WIA] Thoughts from those who attended (and did not)

Everyone enjoys playing cooper!

I am planning to share some of my thoughts on Woodworking in America with the organizers, and would love to hear what you would have them know, as well.

What would you look for in a woodworking conference?

If you did attend, what did you most and least enjoy? What would you like to see change?

Part of my feeling was that the seminars themselves had an appealing focus; lots of nitty gritty discussion of traditional techniques, methods, and contexts. However, there was very little discussion about plugging this into the modern real world.

The marketplace had the usual suspects as far as hand tools go, but there was not as much hands-on or demonstration type exhibits as I would hope. I could do something about this, personally, and plan to if I return. I think a tiny joinery bench, a simple toolkit, and a stack of boards would go a long way to letting people see (and feel for themselves) the beauty of traditional methods.

One of my favorite aspects of the event was connecting with a couple younger woodworkers who had the passion and interest but simply did not know where to start. Next time I am there, I would like to have some better answers than I did this time. I feel it is vital to the community and the craft in general that younger people are taken seriously and welcomed earnestly. They need mentors available and I feel like the clock is ticking all too rapidly.

I certainly have some other, more complex reactions to the event and some of them I might flesh out here over time, others need a bit more thought and introspection. Nonetheless, these events are, in my opinion, very important to helping rebuild the networks of real-world interaction that are lost as a craft becomes a mere "hobby", often with only websites like this one to provide any sense of personal connection.

If you have anything to say about the event, or what your ideal event would be, feel free to post a comment here or send me a note. I will compile your thoughts and present them to the event organizers in hopes that the options for building woodworking community in the future will only improve.

a new old shop

In other news, I am excited regarding a new shop space (hinted at in another post). It looks like this is moving forward and I will have a spacious new shop available in the future.

Ironically, perhaps, is that I will not be doing a lot of woodworking in this shop despite living next to it, because I am happy to announce that this winter I will be attending the Port Townsend School of Woodworking's intensive program. 3 months, 5 days a week, 9-5 (or more) of solid woodworking instruction and practice, meaning I will not be doing a whole lot outside of that. I'll still be updating the blog, and detailing what it is actually like to be immersed in a traditional woodworking program.

Much more soon.

This is the time of year when many of us can finally get back into the shop a little more earnestly, and also when the reading becomes more interesting for the armchair craftspeople. I hope that as this year winds down, health and peace are with you!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

[WIA] Pasadena Pics

I'm finally home after a long trip to Woodworking In America West, in Pasadena. This had a side-trip to Port Townsend, WA tacked onto the end.

My trusty Lumix camera finally gave up the ghost, but Tim Lawson saved me by letting me borrow his, so I was able to get a few shots.

Blue Spruce tools always impress, and it is always a joy to talk to Dave Jeske, their maker.

There were some power tools, too.

An example of marquetry:

A bench almost too nice to use:

It was especially great to meet and speak with Chris Vesper, an Australian toolmaker. It is not possible to word how lovely his tools look and feel. They are not cheap, but he explained that he basically makes minimum wage because of the labor involved in producing them. I want one of the bevel gauges.

Christopher Schwarz led a talk on rapidly building a saw bench without having a sawbench to use. He also stuck with hardware-store tools. He did this atop an amazing bench built by Erik Mortensen, but refused to use the holdfasts, vises, and other workholding features as he was prentending to be using a "kitchen table". Erik was justifiably proud of his bench and I think found this hard to watch.

Roy Underhill is just the same in person as he is on his show.

He was trying out a POV camera, giving him an odd cyborg appearance and a very interesting video backdrop, especially when he looked at the screen and ripped a hole in the spacetime continuum via video feedback.

Dinner with friends

I had a number of complex reactions to the event and where it could or should go in the future, but that will be another post. I just wanted to get some images out there while they are somewhat fresh. There will be more to come, but for now I am glad to be home and will hopefully get a little shop time in after all of this talking about woodworking and not doing any!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Woodworking in Pasadena

I'll be traveling to Pasadena to attend Woodworking in America later this week. I'll be spending some time helping out at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking table, and will also be attending the First Annual Feast of the Ribald Society of Old Moxonians on Saturday evening. Come say hi!

In workshop news, the workbench is getting pretty close to complete, although I am still waiting on the vise hardware which is holding up the final assembly since I want to drill the leg in advance. I've learned a lot about drawboring and boring in general. It is not boring.

I also had a chance to talk with Chappel Ellison at the Etsy blog about my experiences with learning traditional woodworking. She seemed to really get it, and I was pleased with the resulting story.

Not sure if I will be able to provide timely coverage of WIA, but I will if I can. Otherwise, more on the other side!