Woodworking in America Speakers – Phil Lowe - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Woodworking in America Speakers – Phil Lowe

 In Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs

WIA Header_ADJThe third Woodworking in America 2014 (WIA) speaker to be profiled is Phil Lowe. In 2005, he too won the Society of American Period Furniture Maker’s Cartouche award (an honor bestowed by the Society to Master Craftsman who have illustrated the highest standard of education, resource, and applied venue for historical appreciation). He is also the second presenter who taught at North Bennett Street in Boston; he spent a decade (1975-1985) teaching with last five years as department head. Phil is featured in the “Time Life” series on woodworking, and in videos with The Taunton Press including ” Carve a Ball and Claw Foot,” “Making a Sheraton Bed” and, most recently, “Measuring Furniture for Reproduction.”

Closegrain_PhotoPhil operates the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts that offers a full-time study in woodworking along with weekend and week night woodworking classes. Plus, you can take a summer woodworking class there as well. (The photo at the right is courtesy of the Close Grain blog site.)

At WIA, Phil has a couple of programs to attend. The first on the schedule is “Angled Joinery for a Queen Anne Chair” which is at 3:30 on Friday. In the class, Phil shows you how to calculate the seat angles as well as the stretcher angles, then how to set up and cut the joinery both by hand and machine to get consistently great results. Even if building a chair is not in your sites, learning angled joinery is a great weapon for your woodworking arsenal.

Lowe DrawingOn Saturday from 8:30 to 12:30, Phil discusses Orthographic Drawing, or how to draw three views that gives you a half-front and full-side view, and a full-plan view of any project. (An example of this type of drawing – taken from a photograph hanging in a woodworking classroom – is shown at the left.) Phil is a huge proponent of beginning each project with a solid plan. He writes, “Working from an orthographic drawing allows you to calculate angles for joinery and gives you full size patterns for all the parts including ones with curves.” This is a great class to attend. It’s sure to improve your work in the shop.

Additionally, Phil is one of the presenters that is to sit in on the Chairmaker’s Roundtable, where you’ll hear from accomplished chairmakers on their different approaches and techniques. That session is held Saturday afternoon from 2:00 to 4:30.

If you’re holding out on your decision to attend WIA 2014, it’s time to make your move. Register here. While you have missed the Early-bird sign-up time, there is something on the horizon that could make your conference even better than the already-promised woodworking fun and education. Stay tuned.

— Glen D. Huey


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  • Steve Branam

    That’s a great photo of Phil! Even better is getting to see him work in person. Don’t miss the opportunity!

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