Bob Van Dyke doesn’t know which end is up


Bob Van Dyke’s Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking is a mecca for period furniture makers. 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.


fitting door panel

carving oak panel
carving oak panel

drving pegs in drawbored joint
leslie diggin the posture

4 thoughts on “Bob Van Dyke doesn’t know which end is up

  1. Jennnie here
    The three day frame and panel workshop is a nifty idea. You get to join with drawbored mortise and tenon,you get to carve and meet the wonders of oak.And on and on. You disclose the secrets of a fascinating lost craft. I like it!

  2. Hi Peter , I enrolled today in the three day class at CVSWW . This will be my second class ill be taking there with you at the helm . For someone like myself who practices this art as a living I know all too well the importance of a great teacher . I am constantly asked where did I learn this form of woodworking from and inevitably after a few chosen others the conversation leads to you . So with that said , I would like to thank you for continuing to teach this truly time honored craft . See you in October . Michael

  3. Great! just Great! You put this on the web-I figured I would finally get the answer- but no- I still don’t know which end is supposed to be up!!-If I turn the panel the other way I see even more faces! and don’t get me started on the panel you are putting into the frame in the blog post (the picture with you in the green shirt)
    I have to go cut some dovetails- at least I know which end is up on those!!!!

  4. Well, when you put it that way: upside down, some of the leaves do look a bit like those Punch and Judy puppets that I’ve always thought were disturbing…

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