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Do you like the look of the strapping doctor in the plaid shirt above? That’s my dad. Today he learned about the power of a blog, and he just asked me if I could use it to find him an attractive female companion.

Me, I use the powers of the blog only for good (read: beer). I wouldn’t use it to look for a meaningless (or meaningful) relationship. But hey, it is my dad. So bring it, ladies.

Today as we were drilling the holes in our seats to receive the spindles, a reader stopped by and dropped off a nice Belgian Trippel from Allagash (thanks Matthew!). My dad was a bit stunned.

“People just bring you beer?” he asked.

“Sometimes, yeah,” I replied.

“Do you ask them to bring you beer?”

“No. But sometimes I mention that I like good beer. They do the rest.”

I hope that the reason people bring me the occasional beer is that they are trying to do me a favor. And “favors” was definitely the theme of the third day of our class at The Windsor Institute.

We made a lot of progress on our chairs , we legged up, drilled holes for the spindles and stumps and we fit and shaped the arm. We also made a lot of mistakes , or we almost made mistakes. I was getting ready to drill a hole in my leg for a stretcher when Dan, a fellow student, stopped me short.

“Wrong way.”

He was right. I was about to drill the hole in my leg at the exact opposite angle I needed. It would have been an embarrassing and time-consuming fix. But his two words saved me. And that was the scene the entire day , it was like an AA meeting on a tight wire over a pit of emaciated and perturbed piranhas. I caught at least two fatal errors before they happened. And everyone else had at least as many saves.

That’s something that people don’t really talk about much about woodworking classes. Working with other students keeps you on track, out of trouble and highly amused. It’s a contrast to when I try to learn new things in the shop by myself. My progress is slower and riddled with false starts and dumb errors.

So tonight as I am sipping my Allagash Belgian ale and typing this, I am thankful for my fellow woodworkers. They keep me out of trouble in the shop during the day and in deep, barley-fueled trouble in the evenings.

– Christopher Schwarz

Other Woodworking Schools I Like

– Kelley Mehler School of Woodworking (

– Marc Adams School of Woodworking (

– Northwest Woodworking Studio (

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Showing 14 comments
  • Glen Van Cise

    Are you sure you posted the right picture of the "strapping doctor in the plaid shirt above"? I’m having a hard time seeing him as your dad, too. I checked to see if someone else had hacked your blog.

    Maybe he’s your older brother. I’d go with that.

  • Wood_Wench

    What kind of tools does you Dad have to bring to the relationship. And I am of course referring to woodworking tools. I’m in search of someone with a nice oneway lathe and perhaps a small milling machine. Please send picture of tools.

  • Speaking of the Northwest Woodworking Studio, when are you going to make it back to Portland?

  • Tony

    If I married your dad, I’d be your step-father. And you’d buy me a beer.

  • Matt Cianci

    That guy is your dad?!??!? Was he 14 when he had you??!?! Dang….I’m gonna build me a farm, too!!!!

  • Bill Melidones


    Think you’ve re-iterated a comment I made monday about interaction with the students and staff being worth the cost of the class. Being taught by world class instructors is icing on the cake. What a SUPER learning environment.

    After reading your blog I took a class at MASW several years ago, and have continued ever since. I can hardly wait to start on the classes I’ve reserved this year. They are the highlight of my year.

    Well, next to deer hunting in southwest Ark.

  • Andrew Gieselman

    Interestingly, this post comes on the same day as a Popular Woodworking email who’s subject reads "Get Dad what he really wants…". Coincidence?

  • Jerry Olson

    I figure your father must have been about 13 or 14 when you were born

    Did Fred tell you he likes to wear skirts on occasion?
    Too bad you won’t get to see a "Knighting".

    Sir Jerry

  • This is the "road test" by me, now that my tech guru figured this out. Chris Schwarz is the best.

  • Finally, it works.

  • I am having trouble posting comments, please let me know if you can read this.

  • John Cashman

    Does it have to be a female companion?

  • Michael Brady

    You are so fortunate to be able to do this with your dad. You will cherish the experience, and the memories the chairs evoke, more so than the craft that went into them.

  • Ron

    Ha! I see my problem now. I need to do all my projects in a class since I’m always making these darn mistakes. I need more eyes on my work.

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