Chris Schwarz's Blog

First Look: Woodworking in America

This fall, our magazine is sponsoring the first-ever weekend conference devoted to hand tools and learning to use them.

We’re calling it the Woodworking in America conference, and we’ll be bringing together the country’s best hand-tool woodworkers and manufacturers for a symposium in Berea, Ky., on Nov. 14-16.

There will be more than 40 short classes on tools and techniques during the long weekend, plus a marketplace where toolmakers can display (and sell) their wares, social events with the demonstrators and toolmakers and more.

So who is going to be there? Here’s the list of people who have agreed to teach seminars during Woodworking in America as of this date (with more to come):

Roy Underhill: Known as “St. Roy” to the legion of fans who watch “The Woodwright’s Shop” on PBS, Roy worked at Colonial Williamsburg and then launched his show about traditional hand tools.

Frank Klausz: One of the country’s consummate craftsmen, Frank is a professional New Jersey cabinetmaker who trained in Hungary and has a lifetime of experience with the full range of handwork.

Michael Dunbar:
Founder of The Windsor Institute, Michael has single handedly revived the craft of building Windsor chairs, has trained thousands of woodworkers and is a passionate student of the art and history of handcraft.

Adam Cherubini:
The author of Popular Woodworking‘s popular “Arts & Mysteries” column, Adam is a devoted 18th-century woodworker who builds period pieces using period tools.

James Blauvelt: A Connecticut cabinetmaker, joiner and carpenter, James owns Bluefield Joiners and is a student and teacher of Japanese tools and traditions.

Robin Lee: The president of Lee Valley Tools in Ottawa, Ontario, Robin has been a driving force behind the expansion of the Veritas line of premium handplanes and a caretaker of the company’s immense tool collection.

Thomas Lie-Nielsen:
The founder of Lie-Nielsen Toolworks in Warren, Me., Thomas has been making and selling premium traditional hand tools for 27 years. Thomas’s company was the trailblazer in reviving many traditional forms of tools that had been lost.

Larry Williams and Don McConnell: Two of the principals behind Clark & Williams in Eureka Springs, Ark., Larry and Don are bottomless wells of information about traditional tools and their workings. Both are accomplished woodworkers, planemakers and tool historians.

John Economaki:
The founder of Bridge City Tool Works in Portland, Ore., John has long been a pioneer in developing new (and very beautiful) forms of hand tools for woodworkers.

Konrad Sauer:
The owner of Sauer & Steiner Toolworks in Ontario, Konrad is one of the leading makers of custom infill handplanes.

Wayne Anderson: Wayne specializes in designing and building custom infill handplanes that are deeply rooted in the past but are each a completely original work of art.

Ron Hock: One of the earliest and most important players in the revival of handtools, Ron makes high-quality replacement plane irons, chipbreakers and marking knives in Ft. Bragg, Calif.

Mike Wenzloff: The founder of Wenzloff & Sons sawmakers in Forest Grove, Ore., Mike is a long-time woodworker and expert in saws and saw sharpening. His premium saw business has exploded in the last two years.

Joel Moskowitz: The founder of Tools for Working Wood and an expert on woodworking history, Joel has recently been making many traditional hand tools, as well as selling them through his catalog and web site.

Clarence Blanchard: The publisher of “The Fine Tool Journal” and the president of Brown Auction Services, Clarence sees more old tools in a week than most of us see in a lifetime.

Kevin Drake: After studying under James Krenov at the College of the Redwoods, Kevin founded Glen-Drake Toolworks, where he combines woodworking, toolmaking and education. His innovative tools have received numerous awards; we named his Tite-Mark one of the “Best 12 Tools Ever.” 

If you are interested in attending, please visit the web site that is dedicated to this conference at WoodworkinginAmerica.com and sign up for the conference’s newsletter (the sign-up box is on the top right of the page). You’ll then be the first to be notified of when registration will open (it will be before July 1) and the pricing for this event.

Attendance will be limited to a few hundred people (we want to keep the event intimate and manageable), so be sure to register as soon as slots become available. We are expecting the conference to sell out.

There are more announcements and surprises ahead that I cannot share with you right now, so please stay tuned to the blog and the conference’s newsletter.

– Christopher Schwarz

12 thoughts on “First Look: Woodworking in America

  1. James Watriss

    Berea Kentucky? That’s the home of Brian Boggs Chairmakers.

    Why there? Well, I attended one of Chris’ traveling Bench seminars last year, up at L-N toolworks in Maine. I also took a class that summer from Mr. Boggs at the North Bennet Street School, s it was fun to talk to Chris and Mr L-N after the seminar about Brian.

    Their comment? "Yeah, he’s pretty much the smartest guy we know."

    Having taken his class, I can understand why.

    Mr Schwartz, all I can say is that you had D!mned well better have a bonus issue lined up, specifically to cover this event, and/or have a series of digital voice recorders on at all times. specifically to cover this event. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make it, but I have a feeling that if you get all these people in one place together, something amazing will result. Cross-pollination of these different strains will clearly yield one hell of a crop of ideas, and while my own instinct sometimes is to keep such things squirreled away, I usually find that I don’t have time to get to all of them, and usually wish that I’d spread the love around a little bit, to see what other interested and interesting people will do with those ideas.

  2. Jack Camillo

    I’m there. One question – Why Berea, KY? Okay, question two – Where in the world is Berea, KY? Hope there’s an airport.
    Excellent idea from many angles.
    Jack Camillo,
    Sykesville, MD

  3. AAAndrew

    I’m there!! I’ve yet to be able to go to anything even remotely like this and it’s going to come up just before my birthday. I know what I’m getting for my birthday! Wooo Hoo (and probably Christmas too if I buy anything).

    Maybe I’ll have my bench finished by then. 🙂 It’s been slowed down a bit with having to get two throat surgeries in less than a month. With not being able to lift more than 10 pounds, all I’ve been able to do is glue up what boards I already had cut to length. Real bummer.

    Seriously, that’s one heck of a line-up of people. Combine that with the attendees and I’ll probably walk around all weekend as giddy as a start-struck teenager. I had some regular correspondence with Don McConnell a few years ago when I was a regular on the Old Tools list, and he’s as gracious and generous as he is amazingly knowledgeable. The others aren’t too shabby either!

    I can’t wait. Hope to see y’all there!

    Oh, and Berea is a great location. I’ve always enjoyed visiting there.

    Andrew

  4. Christopher Schwarz

    Doug,

    The program will start first thing Friday morning and wrap up Sunday after lunch.

    Chris

  5. Doug Boor

    Has the start time on Friday been decided yet? Should one plan to travel in the Morning and start the conference that afternoon and evening, or will it be starting first thing Friday morning? Hoping that I can get registered so I planning days off now. Thanks Doug

  6. Christopher Schwarz

    If this event is a modest success we plan to do it again, though it might be in a different venue (to mix things up).

    Chris

  7. Ron

    With the airlines having their problems, the price of gas, traffic in general – I have one thing to say: "You guys gotta come West! The Southwest – Arizona even!"

    Please!

  8. John B. Dykes

    Will the secret UK \ Berea College handshake get me a discount?

    You should fly in Boggs… 😉

    Charlesworth perhaps? I doubt a short\long course will ever be in my future, but I owe that man a great deal, and would like the opportunity to shake his hand.

    – John Dykes
    Denver, CO

  9. Jake Strait

    Technically, the name of Roy’s PBS show was The Woodwright’s Shop. The Woodwright’s Apprentice is the name of one of his books. His show is probably what subconsciously planted the hand-tool bug in my head.

  10. Pete

    Chris, I think you should try to add woodworkers to your list with some credentials, or at least some who are well known… More seriously, wow.

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