Woodworking in America 2011: My Favorite Classes
I would be flat-out lying to you if I said we planned out Woodworking in America for you, our beloved readers.
That’s crap. The truth is that we plan out Woodworking in America for us, the staff of the magazine. We sit around our conference table and wonder: Who would we like to meet? What would we like to see? What would be cool to do at night?
The fact that you guys are invited to the conference makes it better (it’s always fun to do stuff in mobs).
For the last couple months I have been working with the staff to plan our 2011 conference, which is back in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area where we held it last year. And while the venue is the same, a lot of things are going to be different.
1. We have hired more instructors than we ever have before.
2. We have more classrooms.
3. We have more optional (but fairly cool) evening activities planned.
4. We nixed the rubber weasel banquet and are going to give you lunches instead.
Registration for the conference – with full details on pricing – will open in three weeks or so. Until then, here are some of the classes I’m looking forward to attending.
You can come, too. This is, by the way, just a small sampling of the classes – I haven’t even listed nearly all the instructors. If you want to be notified the minute that registration opens, sign up for our newsletter at WoodworkinginAmerica.com.
— Christopher Schwarz
The Secret of the Rising Dovetail
Every since Roy Underhill demonstrated the “rising dovetail” on his show “The Woodwright’s Shop,” woodworkers have been clamoring for details on how to cut this amazing self-tightening, knockdown joint. Underhill shows you how to lay out and cut this joint, and how you can incorporate it into your next workbench – or mallet.
The Maloof Leg-to-Seat Joint
A great chair joint has mechanical strength, has maximum glue surface, can be easily adapted to various angles and is visually stunning. This joint can be crafted with a table saw and two common router bits. It may look complex but is very simple. Learn how to design with your projects utilizing joinery that will set your work apart from the rest. Charles will demonstrate how to first cut the joint and then fit it using a router plane and a sanding block. A question and answer session will follow the demonstration.
The Best Oak Money Can’t Buy
Before the advent of powered saws, it was simpler and easier to prepare oak boards by riving the wood using simple tools. And the resulting radially split stock is the best quality a log will yield. It’s very stable, milder and easier to work than sawn stuff. Peter Follansbee, the joiner at Plimoth Plantation, takes a log to pieces during this demonstration of the 17th-century joiner’s art.
Make mouldings, grooves, dados and rabbets with the much-misunderstood combination plane. Housewright Ron Herman shows you how to choose, set up and use these versatile planes, which Stanley advertised as a single tool that replaced a toolbox of iron and beech moulding planes.
Jay van Arsdale
Shoji – sliding Japanese rice paper screens – are a joinery-lover’s paradise. Japanese joinery expert Jay van Arsdale shows you the basics of designing and building the iconic shoji. plus you will be able see examples of shoji work and view demonstrations of them being built.
Tenons & Sliding Dovetails with Routers & Jigs
Chairmaker Brian Boggs has built some of the world’s most ingenious jigs for cutting tenons using off-the-rack hardware and routers. In this class, Brian demonstrates some of his router jigs that can cut double and angled tenons with great ease and accuracy. If you have ever wondered how to take your router joinery to the next level, this class from Brian is a first and significant step.
Dovetails Three Ways
Learn to cut through-, half-blind and stunning Bermuda dovetails with a minimum amount of fuss. Master craftsman (and we don’t use that term lightly) Chuck Bender might be one of the best dovetailers alive today. He is fast, proficient and can teach you to become just like him. And if you have never seen Bermuda dovetails, you owe it to yourself to watch Chuck’s amazing demonstration.
A Winchester Desk – Taken to Pieces
Jeff Headley & Steve Hamilton
If you want to know how traditional furniture was built – really built – there is no better learning tool than assembling and disassembling it piece by piece. Period furniture makers Jeff Headley and Steve Hamilton offer you a rare opportunity to see how a piece of furniture from Virginia was constructed from the plinth up. They have reproduced this piece, but all the joints are unglued. So they reveal how all the assemblies work by taking them apart piece by piece before your eyes.
The Contrarian Cabinetmaker
What is the appropriate joinery for non-period furniture? This seminar will challenge the accepted ideas about what is “best” and what is “quality” by looking at the engineering of case goods and box building (including drawers). It will also touch on the question of why woodworkers are so chained to the past when it comes to styles and methods of work. Does it not strike anyone as contradictory that woodworkers are eager to learn SketchUp so they can head to the shop and build 18th-century furniture using a lot of hand work?