the Woodwright Experience

the Woodwright's Shop

look where I was last week.

I have had very good fortune in my woodworking career – great teachers, friends, projects. All I could ask for…

One of the top highlights has been the chance for the past 10+ years to work on occasion with Roy Underhill. Roy saw my shop at Plimoth one day on a scouting trip he made through New England, looking for ideas for his show. I remember getting a phone message at work – “Roy Underhill called you” …”yea, sure” says me.

It’s hard to express the impact Roy’s books and shows have had on my work. I remember being in my early 20s, having just met Alexander & Langsner – and the green woodworking world was pretty small. Having found a television show about it was astounding…I remember watching the first couple of seasons on my lunch breaks at my part-time picture-framing job. I used to go to the local pizza joint & change the channel to see the show.

Years later, I ended up working in the living history museum field – and lo & behold, one of the books that addresses some of the challenges in that work is also by Roy – Krushchev’s Shoe: and Other Ways to Captivate an Audience of 1 to 1,000  (

So whenever I’m at a symposium, lecture, woodworking shows, etc where Roy is also on the bill, I try to make sure I get to see what he’s up to. It’s always worth seeing. Great teacher, presenter, lecturer, also can do woodwork – except he hasn’t finished a project in 32 years! Still worth it.

Last week, we had great students from many parts of the country, they had come a long ways, set aside time from their busy lives, all to let folks like Roy & I get to do what we love to do – share our ideas about furniture & woodworking.

students carving


learning to hew


many shavings

Ed Lebetkin’s store upstairs continues to swell w tools… if he doesn’t have what you’re looking for, he’ll probably end up with it soon.

tip of the iceberg


partial view of the whole iceberg up there. If you’re looking for something in particular, write to Ed  at


partial view of the whole iceberg

 Here’s a drawing my son Daniel did after watching an episode where Roy & I made spoons. To the right behind me are the finished spoons that were propped up for viewing in that episode. As well as a bunch of blocks that Roy brought in to make spoons from, behind him:

The episode is here, # 3108 

So if you have not yet made it to Pittsboro, NC for a class at the Woodwright’s School, put it on your list. It’s getting better all the time.

I feel that being a part of his Woodwright’s School is truly an honor, a real highlight in my career. Thanks for having me Roy, it means a lot to me.

BUT – here is the real kicker from the week down south: 

barred owl

6 thoughts on “the Woodwright Experience

  1. That tool store looks like to die for…Nice barred owl shot, saw one up close in the woods in south portland maine the other day, very cool. I got a copy of a book by Roy when I was a teenager (woodwrights compainion I think), up untell then my best influence was Eric Slone, I was amazed, someone else is actualy doing this stuff?!

  2. I had the pleasure of taking a one week class with Roy last September, the one where you “start with a tree…” and it was a blast. Roy is a great teacher, has good people around him (Elia, Bill and Peter Ross all helped out the week I was there) and he is also a fun guy to sit around and have a beer with. I highly recommend the school, and was very disappointed I couldn’t get there for the carved box class. Peter, any chance you’ll be doing the joint stool at Roy’s again?

  3. Great post, Peter. You surprised me with the reference to Roy’s book Kruschev’s Shoe. I think it is a great book for anybody involved in presenting to groups — or even if you don’t. Wonderful old Victorian engravings throughout. I know it is beneficial to me as a teacher. I had the pleasure of talking with Roy very briefly a few years back in Erie, PA. I mentioned to him that I had read and enjoyed Kruschev’s Shoe. He replied, :”Oh, you’re the other one!” So, anyway, I think many folks are missing out on a great, lesser-known book by Roy Underhill.

  4. Hi Peter,

    Happy ANZAC Day! Great post, it brings back lots of happy memories! I was sorry to miss your box class….maybe you’ll go back next year? Or someplace closer to Ottawa! Maybe the “Plantation” should offer a workshop!

    Great artwork by your boy! He captured Roy quite well! And his daddy of course! My boy is 14 months old…not quite ready to help daddy make wood shavings, but soon!

    Thanks very much for your inspiring work, and classes, and blog posts! They help to keep the crafts alive!


  5. I had the honor of being a part of the class last week. It was tremendous and beyond my expectations. You’re a superb teacher, Peter. I hope to be able to take more classes from you in the future.

    The Woodwright’s School is a great venue, also. Roy is a gracious host, super nice fellow and wealth of information. Ed’s hand tool Mecca upstairs is also fantastic.

    Keep the bird pictures coming!


  6. I’ve enjoyed watching Roy for almost 30 years. I always like seeing you, Peter, when you’re on his show. I bought, and read, Kruschev’s Shoe years ago when I started interpreting history at Ft. Vancouver in Washington state (I’m a blacksmith who enjoys a bit of woodworking). So, there’s at least 3 of us that bought Roy’s book!

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