Great Woodshops: Rosewood Studio


This Canadian school has its roots in the College of the Redwoods.
By Christopher Schwarz
Pages: 79-83

From the August 2004 issue #142
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The photographic image of cabinetmaker and teacher James Krenov looks down from the door of Robert Van Norman’s tool cabinet as he carefully pulls out the planes, spokeshaves and chisels he has fashioned to build chairs and cabinets of his own design.

Picking up the rear post of a chair from his bench, Van Norman matches the sole of a wooden compass plane to the inside radius of the dramatically curved piece of wood. What is immediately apparent by this simple act is that the plane has been made with as much care and skill as the post. Chip-carved into the stock of the plane are a series of small depressions on the sidewalls and on the top of the tool’s toe. Though the carvings are indeed decorative, they also allow the user to grip the plane with remarkable force. The tool feels like an extension of the woodworker’s arm.

“Toolmaking is an important part of what we do here at Rosewood Studio,” says Van Norman, an instructor at the Almonte, Ontario, school. “We get into metalworking a little bit here – it helps the woodworking.”

From the August 2004 issue #142
Buy this issue now