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CW 3

 

I spend a lot of time thinking about connections and chronologies. If you have read my blog much, you know that most of my woodworking connections came through one place, and in that place one family; Country Workshops, and Drew & Louise Langsner. I have been made to feel a part of their family since the early-to-mid-1980s, when I became a regular student at the workshops there. In 1988, I spent several months living with them and their daughter Naomi, who was then about the age my kids are now, 8-9 years old. We’ve been connected ever since.

 

A big shock came through last weekend, when Drew & Louise’s new son-in-law, 32-year-old Teo Reha was killed in a logging accident in western North Carolina. It’s heartbreaking news; Naomi & Teo had just moved back to the Langsner farm last fall, and set up the old cabin there as their home. They got married on the farm in June. I saw Naomi last summer for the first time in many, many years, and we chatted about when she was a kid, how much she was looking forward to coming back home – that sort of thing.

Louise sent a couple of notes about the burial – it sounded amazing.

“Hello, Peter. We had a very beautiful burial today, up on our pasture looking out over the mountains. All of our friends have been super supportive and giving. Teo’s friends dug the grave and were here to tell stories and make us laugh. Naomi is surrounded by her women friends. Her [biological] mother Kay has been here with her constantly to give guidance and ceremony. It is an incredible feeling to know we are part of such a strong web of friendship and community. It is a terribly painful time. We all had so many dreams of how we would grow old together. It has been especially wonderful to get to know both Naomi and Teo’s friends better and to know they will continue to be part of our lives. Curtis [Buchanan] came and pulled weeds in the garden and returned to build the coffin. It meant so much to us. ..There are no words.

I have never met Teo, so again I’ll let Louise’s words do the job:

“about Teo. He loved his job and was very good at it. He and his boss Joe had a dream of helping people log sustainably and helping the forest be more healthy. He loved poetry and explosives, hunting and animals. He was dedicated to the land and forests, family, community, and most of all Naomi. We only knew the tip of the iceberg of this young man, and even that was larger than life. Our friends are carrying us through this, but it is unbelievably painful. Love to you and your dear family. Louise”

I asked the Langsners if I could write something here on the blog; and Louise said yes. They have given so much to our woodworking community over the years, if you were ever there, then you know how much of themselves they put into Country Workshops. I’m back here in Massachusetts right now, but my thoughts are with my friends back on that North Carolina mountain.

Beyond that, all of us are in debt to a logger somewhere. Every stick of wood that hits our benches, lathes, shaving horses or laps; a logger, either amatuer or professional, felled the tree. Let’s all keep them in mind, and hope for their safety as they carry out this very dangerous occupation which we all rely on so much. To us, they are all but invisible, but they have names, families and loved ones out there.

Love to Naomi, Drew & Louise, from Peter, Maureen. Rose & Daniel

 

New box, July 2012

You’ll recall that I was Schwarz’d not too long ago. Also quit my day job – so I have been (thankfully) deluged with teaching offers for 2015. I’m working on sorting out the schedule now, and will know much of it pretty soon.

One that’s mostly nailed down right now is a carved box class in England – with the New English Workshop folks – Derek Jones and Paul Mayon.

http://newenglishworkshop.co.uk/

I’m not sure of the exact dates and specifics; but July is the month. They tell me there’s 5 spots taken already. Get a hold of them if you’re inclined. Me, I can’t wait. I haven’t been to England since 2005. Hope to see some oak carvings…

Here’s the details, such as they are.

http://newenglishworkshop.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/the-axeman-cometh/

You might remember Chris Schwarz writing about this new program over there – Derek and Paul are bringing several American woodworkers over there. Chris will be back..among others. Stay tuned for more.

It quickly became apparent that we needed to hustle if we were to get anywhere in this class. Roy found a way to speed things up.

I once had a t-shirt I got at an Arlo Guthrie concert that read “we know it’s stupid, that’s why we’re here.” goodness only knows what it meant, but a similar notion must have run through the minds of these students -a very good-natured group of would-be joiners who came down to Roy Underhill’s school to attempt to make a joined chest in a week. 10 students means 10 chests. each chest with about 25 pieces of riven oak in it. Plus extras in case something goes wrong…

more oak 2

Roy & I dreamed up this idiotic course, “let’s make a joined chest in a week!” And we booked it & it filled up. well, it became a reality (of sorts) and on the first day, these students split, crosscut, & rived out over 200 piece of oak for said chests. That’s a lot of oak. Here’s the beginning of just one small pile of parts:

growing piles of oak

 

We tried to sort and count them as we went, but it was doomed.

more oak

 

We need over 70 panels; about 8″ wide by 12-14″ long. SEVENTY!

panels

We scurried back to the woods to get more of this amazingly straight-grained oak. what a tree!

cross cut 2

I don’t know who this is, but he was not alone.

creature

Thankfully, we found that with proper supervision, it only took Kat a short while to bust out all the oak. it’s not that hard, really.

it's not that hard really

 

Next, they plane all the long rails, layout the joinery, chop mortises, plow grooves & cut tenons.

Museums are full of stuff. objects, art, artifacts, documents – things I don’t even know about. But when you go to work in a museum, it becomes about people. It’s never about money. The people who work  in museums are there because of their interest and passion for study, for their collections, history – all that intertwined educational vibe. When you get involved with folks like that, it’s contagious. And memorable. I’ve made connections with people in museums that will stay with me always…

I read the news about Jay Gaynor’s sudden death today. http://anthonyhaycabinetmaker.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/in-memoriam-jay-gaynor/

I have known Jay for over 20 years, and always enjoyed our visits and work together. Jay knew tools, tool history and their relationships, forms, makers – he was a tool history fountain. Like many museum professionals I have known, what always struck me about Jay was even after decades of research and study, he was still passionately excited about the subject – in this case, woodworking tools.

 

plow plane, early 18th c

plow plane, early 18th c

 

One of my most memorable visits to Colonial Williamsburg, Jay, Jane Rees, Alexander & I, Mark Atchison and maybe Nathanial Krausse all spent a whole Sunday morning poring over the tools in CW’s storage collections. Jay kept pulling more & more tools out, telling us each one’s story, where it was made, by whom – how he got it…great stuff.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I can still see him & Jane Rees, sitting in the front row while I bantered away at Plimoth when EAIA came there not too long ago. All the while, I kept thinking, “what am I doing, lecturing these 2 about tools?” – but they were both encouraging, friendly and engaging. We’ll all miss Jay – even the jokes.

Reggie Shaw, a left-handed blog reader, (he doesn’t read left-handed blogs…but is left-handed…oh, forget it)

sent a note that this right-handed J R Fuchs hatchet is for auction on ebay. I already have 2, and don’t have the money to get in a bidding war…but someone will get the best hatchet going. Lose that godawful red paint, and it looks ready to go.

here’s the link. maybe one of you?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/J-F-R-FUCHS-CANNSTAT-GERMANY-TIMBERFRAMERS-HEWING-AXE-/291191647602?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43cc5fed72

 

Bob Van Dyke’s Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking is a mecca for period furniture makers. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/ Great classes, great instructors – it really is a first-rate place to learn the ins & outs of period style furniture in depth.

Follansbee frame and panel UPSIDE DOWN

But Bob himself doesn’t know which end is up – to some of my carvings, I mean. He sent me this picture, asking “where’s the top again?” He’s notoriously freaked out by the images he thinks he sees. I see a vase of flowers and leaves – he sees faces, faces & more faces. But in his twisted mind, he thinks the above photo is right-side up. What torment!

Oh, well. He doesn’t have to know how it goes – but I’ll show the students when we get together there for a 3-day class in early October to make an oak frame & panel. This course was designed to be a crash course in the basic elements of 17th-century joinery. We’ll use a combination of riven and sawn oak, plane the stock, cut the mortise and tenon joints, and carve designs on the panel (and frame perhaps, if you are inclined). Plowing grooves, beveling the panel, fitting the whole thing together with drawboring and tapered wooden pins. it’s the whole show, compressed into 5 pieces of wood.

Sign up with Bob. Tell him you’ll help him to understand.  http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/woodworking-classes.html#Speciality_Weekend_Classes

 

fitting door panel

carving oak panel

carving oak panel


drving pegs in drawbored joint
leslie diggin the posture

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