Chris Schwarz's Blog

St. Roy's New Web Site and Class Schedule

At long last, Roy Underhill has launched his new web site with a complete list of classes and online registration for his school in Pittsboro, N.C.

If you were shut out of his classes next year, stop reading my drivel and get your hinder over there. Last year some classes filled up within minutes. The web site is http://www.woodwrightschool.com.

There are lots of classes from which to choose, from inexpensive one-day seminars on single topics, such as cabriole legs, dovetails and sash work (yay!). And there are three- and six-day workshops on building a tool chest or a Windsor rocker.

Underhill has also brought on a couple guest instructors to teach classes: Bill Anderson and Elia Bizzarri.

I visited his school earlier this year and was quite impressed with the school (read that account here), but not with my own abilities on his foot-powered grinder.

The school is in an awesome space, located in a cool little town and run by a nice guy. I highly recommend you check it out.

– Christopher Schwarz

7 thoughts on “St. Roy's New Web Site and Class Schedule

  1. Bruce Jackson

    Sean,

    You know, there were so many compositions about the 1930’s that your particular contribution likely escaped me. Thank you for that. The "voice" of that lyric rings true, and if you or I were to talk about life with many folks now in their 70s ad 80s, I’m sure Mr. Winchester’s piece would likewise ring true with them.

    Not too long ago, I watched a movie, title escapes me, based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, starring James Garner and Gena Davis, about a relationship between a cabinet-maker and a woman, following their lives from the 1930s to their deaths in the 1990s. The cabinetmaker plied his trade with planes, some longer jointers made of wood. I mention this because how the cabinetmaker was dressed as a young man in the 1930s was very much like how Roy dresses now, naturally with similar hats.

    Around the same time, I finished reading an FDR biography, and you’ll find the title "Traitor To His Class" very much in line with the Winchester piece. FDR was hero to working folks of those days. To be "fair and balanced", the 32nd President was deeply reviled by many who were old (and young) money.

  2. Sean

    Bruce, have you ever heard the Jesse Winchester song "Tell me why you like Roosevelt"? A few choice lyrics – from memory:

    In the year of 1932
    we had no idea just what we would do
    all our finances had flown away
    til my Dad got a job with the WPA
    and that’s why I like Roosevelt
    poor man’s friend
    that’s why I like Roosevelt
    poor man’s friend
    good God a-mighty
    he’s the poor man’s friend

    Good stuff.

  3. Jonas Jensen

    I would like to attend a course if it wasn’t such a long way to travel. The tuition fee seems very reasonable.
    By the way Cris, could you perhaps persuade Roy to make an article on the mystery mallet for PW like the article on the joiners tool chest?
    Jonas

  4. Bruce Jackson

    If I may answer the last one, Roy is a period woodworker. His school is set up so that you are in the ambience of the 1930’s – the Depresson Years. If you see other pictures of Roy’s shop, on the entry door is a WPA sticker. I think the alphabet soup stood for Work Projects Administraton, an FDR program for employing out-of-work artisans, craftspeople, and tradespeople. Having studied English and history decades ago, I became aware that many of the "modern" artists, writers, and craftspeople of the ’40s and the ’50s got their start as employees of the WPA. If memory serves me right, many Art Deco buildings which went up in th 1930’s were WPA projects. Most of those buildings continue to be used today, almost 80 years later. So the WPA was more than make-work, the products served to increase the skill level of workers, thus rebuilding our economy.

    You may also want to look at Chris Gleasons’s book on old school jigs and fixtures. In the very beginning was an essay from the early 1930’s by (I believe) Ray Duncan, which appeared in one of the very first Deltagrams, published by Delta Tools (yes, of Unisaw fame). In it, Mr. Duncan spelled out how a man could recover from the Depression by taking up woodworking as a way to make a living and gave some good examples of guys who turned their woodworking into sustainable ventures.

  5. Bruce Jackson

    That picture chsnged it for me, too. I have already done two sets of that joint for edgework to hide the ugly plies of the 1/2-in pine ply I used for shelves on a book case I built earlier this year. It’s not bad. I used a band saw, a hand mitre saw box (one of the few places I absolutely had to use a handsaw – the chop saw had far too much room for error), and chisels to fine-tune the set-up. If you work with pine, be sure your dry-fit goes together easy, not even a muscle twitch, let alone Popeye arms to pull the joints together. The middle of a glue-up is not the time to learn first-hand of the miracle of glue-induced pinewood expansion. And pine will expand when touched by yellow or white glue.

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