Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Eagle has Landed

OK, maybe a bit of overkill, but I am proud to say that the final print edition of "Chairmaker's Notebook" is shipping to all the folks who pre ordered and who are currently placing orders. You can order it from
I've been spending time getting ready for my trip around the country. I will be in South Carolina teaching at Caleb James' shop and then on to Iowa for Handworks and then to University of the Rio Grande in Ohio to teach a class to a Sapfm chapter. There are a couple of spots that have opened in the class in Ohio that are available if you are interested. You can contact me and I'll forward your email to Eric Matson who will give you the lowdown.

I have managed to sneak away for a proper vacation, which was a welcome and needed break. I was in Costa Rica with my lovely companion Stephanie Hubbard. Here we are in La Amistad International Park. It's the largest protected area in Central America.
We hiked three hours up this riverbed to get to a waterfall and saw a deadly bushmaster snake, bullet ants and poisonous spiders the size of your face. A great time to be sure.

Here is a quick plug for the lodge we stayed at. It's called Selva Bananito and is off the grid and nestled in the rainforest. The owner was very generous with us and is obsessive about keeping his land as habitat for all the pumas, jaguars and other large cats and wildlife that roam around. Knowing that our vacation dollars were going to help made a beautiful place all the better.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Jo got Schwarzed

I have a whole post written to announce the availability of the hand bound editions of "Chairmaker's Notebook" the Johanna Smick is producing. But I'm away from the office and Chris already posted on it, reducing the number of available copies from 45 to 15, so I figured I should post quick to give Chairnotes readers the chance that I promised them! Visit to order yours and check back in for a proper post about the book (although Johanna has great posts on her site all about it)

Friday, February 27, 2015

I will not be intimidated...much

My toolbox build is progressing in tiny bits between other work and chipping ice off my roof. I've decided to focus on putting the chairmaking essentials in this box and then to make another for jigs and common tools. I want to be so comfortable working out of these boxes that I can stop the tedious packing and unpacking cycle that constantly invades my world.

 I'm following much of Jim Tolpin's advice and creating organization of the tools first and then designing to fit them. I mocked up a few boards and loaded it with weight and found that at 25" tall X 26" wide and 12" deep that it was just a bit unwieldy. I plan on moving this thing around a lot, so while cramming in 80lbs of tools sounds great, I know that one wrong move will be enough to ruin my day (week).

Now the box is 9-3/4" deep X 22-3/4" tall and 24-3/4" wide. It's a similar dimension to a box that I used for years, just a bit taller.
The hardest part so far is not actually cutting dovetails for the first time in 15 years. It's the two North Bennet Street toolboxes in the shop mocking me while I cut my joints.
This is Charlie Ryland's box. So you can imagine that when I reached for my trusty dovetail saw, I felt a pang of self consciousness.
Yes, this is my weapon, Stanley's finest $7 saw. I filed the teeth off and cut new teeth with zero set. The handle is no joy, but it tracks beautifully and cuts a laser thin kerf, which is helpful when you are as rusty as I am at this. Of course, unlike Charlie and his white oak, I am cutting my joints in pine... lovely forgiving pine.

My mock up box gave me some practice, and after making some rookie mistakes, I got back in the groove. No, I will not be showing the mistakes, those toolboxes are still staring at me.