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I am blessed with a wonderful job, and the best part of it is convincing people who really know their craft to share their talent and experience with our readers. This week, photographer Al Parish and I headed to southern Indiana to shoot photos for an upcoming article written by Dale Barnard. I’ve known Dale for for few years through the Greene & Greene group on Yahoo, but I hadn’t met him personally until last summer when we were at the Woodworking in America conference in St. Charles, Illinois. Dale was there with a booth full of Stickley and Greene & Greene style furniture promoting his school.

Dale has an impressive body of work, and a great story to go with it. As we pulled off the road and headed up a long driveway through the woods, I found myself filled with envy. In the middle of 89 acres of woods, sits a wonderful shop, and a very nice house. Both the shop and house were built by Dale and when we stepped inside the house, we found ourselves surrounded by his work; hardwood floors, impeccable trim and great furniture.

Leaving Al to work, Dale and I walked down the hill to the shop, and Dale told me his story. He’s been working with wood since the 1970s, and on this piece of land for the last 25 years. He built the shop first, and went to work building houses, millwork, cabinets and furniture. When he wasn’t in the shop, he was working on his own house. Trained by his father, who was trained by his father, Dale knows his craft from the ground up.

Both the shop and the house fit the site as if they had always been there. Made from recycled materials, the shop has a comfortable feel with hardwood floors and nice equipment, including a SawStop cabinet saw and central dust collection. Our shop at the magazine is nicely equipped, but we suffer with a concrete floor, and nothing much to see outside our windows. The environment you work in makes a difference, when you’re comfortable you can concentrate.

Dale’s article will be published in a few months, and in it he shares his technique for locating multiple through tenons. If you’ve ever wondered how this can be done effectively and efficiently, Dale will show you how. Dale also teaches classes in this shop, offering a number of projects tailored to developing skills while building nice furniture. In addition to being a great craftsman he’s also a great teacher. Class sizes are kept small, the prices are reasonable and there is a commitment to sending students home with new abilities and completed pieces.

If you’re interested in learning how to make Arts & Crafts style furniture, spend some time checking out the Barnard School website, watch the video from the HGTV series Modern Masters, and the gallery of Dale’s work. You’ll see some great examples and find out the details of classes being offered. It’s a trip worth taking, and taking again.

Click here to visit the Barnard Woodworking School website.

Bob Lang

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