In Shop Blog

We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. However, this does not impact our recommendations.


Jerome Bias at work in the Joiner’s shop at Old Salem (sorry for the motion blur…phone shot).

Jerome Bias, the joiner at Old Salem (in Winston-Salem, N.C.), sent us a press release about a cool two-day finishing/color theory workshop he’s organized for February 8th and 9th, 2014, at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA).

They still need a few participants for the class to happen, so if you’re in the area (or have time for a weekend trip), it’s an excellent opportunity not only to learn some new ways to stain wood, but to see behind the scenes at the museum (which has a mind-blowing collection of Southern Furniture, among other art and artifacts) – and not a few pieces I’d like to replicate.

And it’s more than just lecture and looking at stuff; day two is a hands-on workshop, “actually taking the different colors of Transtint stains with a finishing guy who can help you laugh at your mistakes and then show you how to get just the right shade of brown and shiny,” Jerome writes.

The workshop, led by furniture maker and conservator Martin O’Brien, covers:

Day 1
• Explore the world of color theory and finishes through lecture and demonstrations
• Presentation of finishing recipes for woods such as walnut, poplar, pine and mahogany
• Tour the MESDA collection to see how these techniques were used on various pieces of furniture that Martin has conserved

Day 2
• Experiment with stains and finishes to expand your finishing repertoire
• Focus on staining and finishing hard-to-handle species and situations

Registration is available for one day or both. For more information, e-mail Jerome at or download the form below. Registration deadline is Dec. 31, 2013.


— Megan Fitzpatrick

p.s. Read Jerome Bias’ article on the 19th-century furniture maker Thomas Day, free. And for more on the furniture and MESDA, including a fascinating essay on the history of and influence on this vernacular style, get “Furniture in the Southern Style,” a hardcover book by Robert W. Lang and Glen D. Huey with 27 shop drawings from the MESDA collection – it’s on sale right now for just $7.50 (!!) at

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search

Using a Stanley #80 to prep the surface of a board