This is year at WIA is going to be the best ever. Just when I wonder how Popular Woodworking is going to come up with fresh classes we really want to attend, they put out this crop of classes that make you yearn for the brisk days of Fall. Enough talk, check out this list of goodies.
Sound joinery is impossible without tried and true surfaces. In his typical style, David Charlesworth has decoded the process of flattening stock to the point where it is understandable, empirical and repeatable — even for the novice woodworker. Using your pencil, eyes and handplane, you can make any wooden surface flatter than achievable by machine.
Sharpening with David Charlesworth
More than any other living craftsman, David Charlesworth has changed the way woodworkers sharpen. He has devoted his life to making sharpening simple, repeatable and easy, even if you have never sharpened before. David has refused to rely on historical dogma and has instead forged a new way of sharpening tools that is as effective as it is fast and simple.
The Secret of the Rising Dovetail
Every since Roy Underhill demonstrated the “rising dovetail” on his show “The Woodwright’s Shop,” woodworkers have been clamoring for details on how to cut this amazing self-tightening, knockdown joint. Underhill shows you how to lay out and cut this joint, and how you can incorporate it into your next workbench – or mallet.
Panel and Frame by Hand Methods
Make your own darn doors! Starting with laying out the guide sticks, Roy Underhill takes you through cutting haunched and scribed mortise and tenon joints, plowing the grooves and fitting and raising the panels. As Joseph Moxon said, “Dovetail – Schmuvtail! It’s panel and frame where you earn your biscuits!”
Cutting and Carving Wooden Screws
Many woodworkers want to learn to make their own wooden screws for their workbenches. But how can you possibly do this complex operation without a CNC lathe? The host of “The Woodwright’s Shop” shows you how make the screwbox and tap as well as how to lay out and cut threads by hand.
The Maloof Leg-to-Seat Joint
A great chair joint has mechanical strength, has maximum glue surface, can be easily adapted to various angles and is visually stunning. This joint can be crafted with a table saw and 2 common router bits. It may look complex but is very simple. Learn how to design with your projects utilizing joinery that will set your work apart from the rest. Charles will demonstrate how to first cut the joint and then fit it using a router plane and a sanding block. A question and answer session will follow the demonstration.
Sculpting by Hand and Power
Have you grown tired of working flat, square boards? Have you been dreaming about crafting a piece of furniture that looks like it is moving even when it is standing still? Charles will demonstrate how he sculpts chairs to become flowing, organic pieces of art. Even if you are more of the engineer than the artist, you will be able to design and build using curves. Your work will never be the same. You will learn to use hard and soft lines to transition between surfaces and furniture parts. Charles uses both power tools and hand tools to create furniture that will move you to start thinking in lines, shadows and curves, Oh my!
Saddling a Seat
A deeply contoured, coopered seat makes a great invitation to sit down and rest some weary bones. The coopered seat (or saddle) has highlighted the work of Sam Maloof and other contemporary chair makers for years. Charles will clue you in on all the angles and how to join them together. He will demonstrate the process of sculpting the contours using the band saw, angle grinder and die grinder as well as rasps and scrapers. He will provide a question and answer session to allow you to find out how a coopered seat can be adapted to your next chair, stool or bench project.
The Sculptured Rocker – A Study of Form and Function
The sculptured rocker is a true American art form as inspired by the work of Sam Maloof and others. Find out how why this rocker is so comfortable. How it is crafted to endure the stresses of rocking. Learn about hard and soft lines and how they invite a sitter. Explore the design uses of the flattened “S” curve and how they enhance the chair’s form while adding support to the sitter. Charles will explain every part of the chair from geometry to construction and answer your questions after the presentation.
Learn how 17th-century joiners made magnificent pieces with a basic tool kit that seems quite simple by today’s standards. Axes, planes and chisels do the bulk of the work, saws make a minor appearance. Peter Follansbee, the joiner at Plimoth Plantation, returns to Woodworking in America to spread his passion and knowledge of 17th-century techniques.
Carving Chests with Peter Follansbee
Some of the most beautiful and elemental carving ever executed in this country was by joiners in 17th-century New England. Peter Follansbee, the joiner at Plimoth Plantation, demonstrates how the seemingly complex carvings on these frame-and-panel chests are actually quite simple once they are broken down into their basic forms. Layout is simple. The carving requires only a few tools. The results are stunning.
The Best Oak Money Can’t Buy
Before the advent of powered saws, it was simpler and easier to prepare oak boards by riving the wood using simple tools. And the resulting radially split stock is the best quality a log will yield. It’s very stable, milder and easier to work than sawn stuff. Peter Follansbee, the joiner at Plimoth Plantation, takes a log to pieces during this demonstration of the 17th-century joiner’s art.
The Joinery Challenge – by Hand
Master housewright Ron Herman takes you through his “joinery challenge” – a set of joints that assemble a frame and introduce you to a wide range of joints and processes. Herman has been teaching apprentices the basics of handwork using this exercise, and now for the first time, he is teaching it to amatuer and professional woodworkers at Woodworking in America. This class is a must for those attending Glen D Huey’s class: Joinery Challenge – by Power.
Saw Sharpening Demystified
Few living crafstmen have mastered the art of saw sharpening like housewright Ron Herman. After years of sharpening saws, Herman has distilled the process to remove all the misinformation and dogma that has stymied woodworkers from sharpening saw. His methods are so effective and straightforward that you will be able to sharpen your own saws after a single demonstration by this master house carpenter and joiner.
Shooting Boards that Work
Shooting boards are the most important workshop appliance. With a proper shooting board, you can trim end grain to a perfect 90° or 45°. You can shoot long edges that are straight and square. And you can make case miter joints that are airtight. Herman uses shooting boards every day as he builds houses, and he knows how to make a good one and how to adjust it to make any joint as tight as possible. This is one of our most popular classes. Show up early so you won’t be disappointed.
Make mouldings, grooves, dados and rabbets with the much-misunderstood combination plane. Housewright Ron Herman shows you how to choose, set up and use these versatile planes, which Stanley advertised as a single tool that replaced a toolbox of iron and beech moulding planes.
Unlocking Japanese Planes, Chisels & Saws
Jay van Arsdale
While Japanese saws and chisels have been embraced by Westerners, the Japanese plane is still a mystery to many in this hemisphere. Jay van Arsdale, a long-time student of Japanese tools, helps unlock the secrets to making these incredible tools work in the hands of Westerners. Plus van Arsdale offers details on Japanese chisel construction and use, and advice on using Japanese saws that will produce better results and saws that last longer.
Japanese Joinery 101
Jay van Arsdale
Japanese joinery appears to be a puzzle to many Western woodworkers. The joints are intricate, precise and sometimes inscrutable. Japanese joinery teacher Jay van Arsdale takes you on a tour of the joinery traditions of Japan that will both demystify and illuminate. He will show finished examples and cut some of these intricate joints during the session.
Jay van Arsdale
Shoji – sliding Japanese rice paper screens – are a joinery-lover’s paradise. Japanese joinery expert Jay van Arsdale shows you the basics of designing and building the iconic shoji. plus you will be able see examples of shoji work and view demonstrations of them being built.
Nailed Furniture of the 18th Century: The Other Traditional Furniture Style
In a 1632 court decision, London’s trade guilds decided the Joiners Guild alone would be permitted to use dovetail and mortise and tenon joinery in furniture, settling a 200-year dispute between the city’s Carpenters and Joiners guilds. For the past 25 years, woodworkers have exclusively looked at “joined” furniture as the only traditional furniture form. But London Carpenters found ways to build useful furniture with nails instead of dovetails. Period Woodworker Adam Cherubini will examine the other traditional furniture form; nailed (boarded) furniture forms, and joinery.
Chisels Through Ancient Eyes
The chisels in the modern toolkit would be almost unrecognizable to the early woodworker, who relied upon them for a surprising number of tasks. Find out how the chisel of the past is superior to the chisel of today, which is too heavy, too thick and entirely unbalanced for proper joinery. If you want to master traditional joints, a small set of traditional chisels will be one of the most important aspects of your toolkit.
Rabbets, Dadoes & Grooves by Hand
While dovetails get all the ink and all the love, it is the basic rabbet, dado and groove that get the job done. Learn how to cut these essential casework joints using simple handtools, and how these three joints can help you build a surprising number of projects without having to learn more complex or difficult joints.
Understand Wood; Understand Joinery
You cannot hope to build projects that are stable, durable and beautiful unless you understand the properties of wood, your raw material. Woodworker Brian Boggs has spent a lifetime learning to exploit wood’s strengths and weaknesses to produce joints that are tight, strong and stable. Learn how Boggs looks at a piece of wood to shape it to produce the strongest joint and most beautiful show surfaces.
Green Wood Chair Joinery
When the wood is green, the rules of joinery are a bit different. Chairmaker Brian Boggs explores how the wood’s wet state can be exploited when building a chair to create a finished result that is incredibly enduring. Boggs began his career building green wood chairs and has an intimacy with and understanding of the material that is unmatched.
Tenons & Sliding Dovetails with Routers and Jigs
Chairmaker Brian Boggs has built some of the world’s most ingenious jigs for cutting tenons using off-the-rack hardware and routers. In this class, Boggs demonstrates some of his router jigs that can cut double and angled tenons with great ease and accuracy. If you have ever wondered how to take your router joinery to the next level, this class from Boggs is a first and significant step.
Dovetails Three Ways
Learn to cut through-, half-blind and stunning Bermuda dovetails with a minimum amount of fuss. Master craftsman (and we don’t use that term lightly) Chuck Bender might be one of the best dovetailers alive today. He is fast, proficient and can teach you to become just like him. And if you have never seen Bermuda dovetails, you owe it to yourself to watch Bender’s amazing demonstration.
Furniture: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Few woodworkers have handled as much antique furniture as Chuck Bender. Heck, few furniture historians have seen the number of pieces that Bender has studied. This class is a rare opportunity to understand early American furniture through the eyes of someone who has devoted his life to studying it and reproducing it. Bender uses a multimedia presentation and actual furniture examples to separate the masterpieces from the stuff that should never be reproduced.
Secret Drawers and Hidden Compartments
Woodworkers love secret compartments – both building them and finding them. And few woodworkers know more about secret compartments that Chuck Bender. Get an inside look at how secret compartments are made and hidden in traditional casework. And learn how you can incorporate hidden compartments in your projects that are simple and astonishingly complex.
First Principles: The Veritas Handplane
When Veritas set out to design bench planes, the company didn’t want to imitate historical forms because they weren’t designing for the customers of 200 years ago. So the tool designers went back to “first principles” and designed their lines of planes from the ground up to suit the modern woodworker. Learn how Veritas designed its successful line of planes through the eyes of company president Robin Lee.
Tradition Improved: Lie-Nielsen Toolworks
The hand tools made by Lie-Nielsen Toolworks are both familiar and foreign to the long-time woodworker. While they certainly look like the Bailey- and Stanley-style planes we grew up with, they perform at an astonishingly higher level than many original. Thomas Lie-Nielsen, the founder of the tool company than bears his name, explains how the tool company took old forms and improved them using modern technology.
A Winchester Desk – Taken to Pieces
Jeff Headley & Steve Hamilton
If you want to know how traditional furniture was built – really built – there is no better learning tool than assembling and disassembling it piece by piece. Period furniture makers Jeff Headley and Steve Hamilton offer you a rare opportunity to see how a piece of furniture from Virginia was constructed from the plinth up. They have reproduced this piece, but all the joints are unglued. So they reveal how all the assemblies work by taking them apart piece-by-piece before your eyes.
Period Bed Construction for Today’s Mattresses
Jeff Headley & Steve Hamilton
Early American bedsteads weren’t built like modern beds. But before you break out the ropes (and the ensuing doctor’s bills), check out this seminar from period furniture makers Jeff Headley & Steve Hamilton. They show you how to make period beds – some of the most beautiful forms ever constructed – that will accommodate modern mattresses.
Shh! Secret Compartments and Their Utilitarian Uses
Jeff Headley & Steve Hamilton
Yes, yes, we know. Chuck Bender is already doing a seminar on secret compartments. But our readers have been clear: They love secret compartments. So rather than limit your choices on this fascinating topic, we decided to expand them. Period furniture makers Jeff Headley and Steve Hamilton give you their take on secret compartments and how to incorporate them into your furniture projects.
Cheating at Dovetails
Glen D. Huey
Learn to make dovetails that look undeniably homemade using the help of a few power tools, such as a band saw and drill press. Long-time professional woodworker Glen D. Huey shows you how to coax your power equipment to lend a hand to your hand-cut dovetails. The results look exactly the same as hand-cut joints because the critical surfaces are cut by hand. Huey has figured out how to use power equipment to ease some of the laborious grunt work to speed you along.
The Joinery Challenge – by Power
Glen D. Huey
Senior Editor Glen D. Huey introduces you to all the major joints using the same joinery challenge employed by hand-craftsman Ron Herman. But Glen shows how to cut these critical joints using power tools to achieve air-tight fits with as few tool setups as possible. This class is a must for those attending Ron Herman’s Joinery Challenge class.
Mortise-and-Tenon – the Professional Approach
Glen D. Huey
Professional woodworker Glen D. Huey has cut thousands of mortise-and-tenon joints during his long stint as a professional custom woodworker. And his simple jigs and techniques make this essential joint a breeze to cut and assemble so all the surfaces are aligned and all the shoulders are tight. Huey shows you how to use your tenon jig on your table saw to make tenons with smooth cheeks, and mortises that are perfected centered on your stock – reducing your sanding chores.
Beginning woodworkers are often overwhelmed by the difficult and tool-intensive traditional joints required to build even the simplest piece. Isn’t there an easier way to build nice things for your home without years of study? Managing Editor Megan Fitzpatrick introduces you to the world of “I Can Do That” – where you need only hand-held tools, a little patience and our guidance to build furniture that looks good and is stout. Learn about the tools in the “I Can Do That” toolkit as Fitzpatrick builds a simple toy chest.
Your First Dovetails
Anyone can cut dovetails. All it takes are a few simple tools, an understanding of the joint and a few practice attempts. Managing Editor Megan Fitzpatrick walks you through the basic steps to learn how to cut this essential woodworking joint. With her guidance and approach to the joint, you’ll gain the confidence to attempt it in your shop.
The Mitered-Shoulder Dovetail
If you can cut through-dovetails, then you can easily learn how to cut this dressier form of the joint that has a tight and tidy miter on its front edge. While the joint looks complex and intimidating, Editor Christopher Schwarz shows you how it can be easily conquered once you know the tricks to laying it out and making the miter wicked tight without laborious trial fits.
12 Rules for Traditional Tool Chests
Modern tool chests and storage units are a poor substitute for a real, well-made traditional tool chest. Editor Christopher Schwarz has been working out of an 18th-century example for 14 years and has recently distilled his experience and research into building a tool chest that is simple, stout and properly sized for woodworking. Don’t take a class in building a tool chest until you take this course.
Robert W. Lang
SketchUp is a three-dimensional computer modeling tool that can make you a better woodworker, if you know how to efficiently use the software. This session outlines the stumbling blocks most new users face, how to overcome them and what to practice. Learn to build your next project on your computer, and head to the shop armed with detailed information about all the parts and how they fit together.
The SketchUp Gold Mine
Robert W. Lang
A good SketchUp model enables you to practice building a project before you get to the shop, and you can use it to gather detailed information about every bit and piece. You don’t need to learn how to make a model to make use of this. Hundreds of models are available online for free, and this session shows how to use an existing model to generate full-size patterns, exploded views, accurate cutlists and printed drawings.
Using Grinders to Sculpt Wood for Furniture
The Power of Plywood
Using plywood to your advantage, including types, best joinery techniques, building face frames.
12 Essential Measuring and Marking Tools
Using these tools for joinery layout, including the sector.
The Contrarian Cabinetmaker
What is the appropriate joinery for non-period furniture? This seminar will challenge the accepted ideas about what is “best” and what is “quality” by looking at the engineering of case goods and box building (including drawers). It will also touch on the question of why woodworkers are so chained to the past when it comes to styles and methods of work. Does it not strike anyone as contradictory that woodworkers are eager to learn SketchUp so they can head to the shop and build 18th-century furniture using a lot of hand work?
Veneer in Contemporary Work
In this seminar, Steve Shanesy makes case for working with veneer. This seminar will look at how veneer faces are made and pressed, what materials to use from substrates to glues. It will also discuss and show by example how to “compose” veneered furniture using balanced layout.
So who isn’t excited about Woodworking In America now? What’s wrong with you? So registration is supposed to open the first week of June. This is not firm yet as much work still needs to be done to the ever complicated reservation system on the conference website but you can be sure I will let you know once it is firm.
Now if you are anything like me you will want to print out this class list and begin planning your days to see if you can actually get to every class. Moreover there are some great extra-curricular events taking place in the evenings. Click and download these 2 documents and you will be ready to begin planning your WIA adventure.