November 2012 #200

Popular Woodworking Magazine November 2012 CoverThis month marks the 200th issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, and to mark the special occasion we’ve changed up our format. Inside you’ll find profiles of some of our woodworking heroes – all talented innovators that keep the craft thriving, and inspire us create projects with our own hands and from our hearts. In December we’ll be back to our standard format with all the woodworking projects and features you know and love.

Christopher Schwarz visits the always-excited Roy Underhill, host of “The Woodwright’s Shop,” at his shop in Pittsboro, N.C., and takes a look back at his long, illustrious woodworking career in “Roy Underhill: Still an Agent of Subversion.”

You may know Wendell Castle’s beautiful sculpture, which includes the exquisitely carved Ghost Clock from 1985 – but do you know the man? Scott Gibson talks with Castle, now nearing his 80th year, on the techniques that launched his career in “Wendell Castle: The Art of Furniture.”

Artist and carver Mary May recently launched an online carving school. In “Mary May: Classical to the Core,” Christopher Schwarz relates her journey through Greece, Malaysia and South Carolina to get where she is today.

After years as a professional woodworker, Dale Barnard is now performing the most important mission of any craftsman: passing the knowledge along. Robert W. Lang has the story in “Dale Barnard: Handing Down Tradition.”

Before Brian Boggs became the legend he is today, he picked tobacco as a seasonal worker to scrape by. In “Brian Boggs: The Chairmaker Evolves,” Matthew Teague tells us how his story continues to be written.

In “Jameel Abraham: Benchcrafted Tools,” Steve Shanesy introduces us to the woodworker, luthier and toolmaker behind one of today’s best woodworking tool shops.

It’s a been a few years since Norm Abram, possibly woodworking’s most recognizable personality, signed off from his classic show. Jefferson Kolle finds out what he’s been up to in “Norm Abram: Life After ‘New Yankee.’”

Finally, Megan Fitzpatrick visits blacksmith/whitesmith Peter Ross in his shop where he forges custom tools and hardware in “Peter Ross: Controlled Irregularity.” His philosophy: In the modern world we are too focused on perfection.

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Like most smiths who work in forged iron, Peter is always on the lookout for raw materials. He keeps piles of his finds behind the outbuildings on his property (below).

Controlled Irregularity – Peter Ross

By Megan Fitzpatrick Pages 64-68 November 2012, issue #200 Today, we aim for too much perfection; period work wasn’t like that,” says blacksmith/whitesmith Peter Ross. Handwork, Peter Ross says, is a culmination of learning to do things quickly with few tools and little fussing, whether that’s working with iron or working with wood. With...

Roy Underhill

Roy Underhill: Still an Agent of Subversion

More than 30 years on TV hasn't softened his approach to the craft, tools or people By Christopher Schwarz Pages 14-19 It’s a typical day at The Woodwright’s School in Pittsboro, N.C. Sunlight floods the storefront room through two enormous plate-glass windows. Six students carve ball-and-claw feet at their German workbenches while 1930s-era music tinkles through the...

wendallcastle

Wendell Castle: The Art of Furniture

On the cusp of his 80s, Wendell Castle revels in the techniques that launched his career. By Scott Gibson Pages 20-27 It is a cool June morning, and a light northwest breeze is clearing out yesterday’s squalls over western New York State. By 9 a.m., Wendell Castle is in his studio, alone, working on a drawing of...

MaryMay

Mary May: Classical to the Core

A trip to Europe, a phone call and an undying love of carving led her to the creation of an online school. By Christopher Schwarz Pages 28-31 Many traditional woodworkers daydream about serving a formal apprenticeship, working as a skilled and independent craftsperson and then passing on his or her hard-won knowledge to the next generation of...

barnard

Dale Barnard: Handing Down Tradition

A journey from carpenter to furniture maker to teacher. By Robert W. Lang Pages 32-37 Dale Barnard got an early start in woodworking and he paid his dues the old-fashioned way. As a teenager, Dale worked for his father and learned on the job. Apprentices in trim carpentry literally start at the bottom, running baseboard. He had...

boggs

Brian Boggs: The Chairmaker Evolves

From journeyman to elder, a craftsman redefines his role. By Matthew Teague Pages 38-44 The story of Brian Boggs’ first foray into building chairs has become almost mythical among furniture makers: Then a struggling artist in his early 20s who picked tobacco in the fall and did occasional carpentry, Brian stumbled across a copy of John D....

abraham

Jameel Abraham: Benchcrafted Tools

This Iowa-born toolmaker, woodworker and luthier strives for perfection. By Steve Shanesy Pages 46-52 Family has clearly played an important role in the development of Iowa-born woodworker and toolmaker Jameel Abraham. In 2006, Jameel, along with his brother, Father John Abraham (an Orthodox priest), and their father founded Benchcrafted – makers of a handful of high-quality, primarily...

New Yankee Workshop

Norm Abram: Life After ‘New Yankee’

Can America’s most recognizable woodworking personality actually retire? By Jefferson Kolle Pages 54-62 Norm Abram first stepped in front of a television camera in 1979 as the lead carpenter on “This Old House,” a show on which he still appears. A decade later, Norm began “The New Yankee Workshop,” and for 21 seasons he taught a glued-to-the-screen...