the rest of my teaching schedule for 2016

An update about classes remaining for 2016, and slightly beyond.

spoons & bowl

First up is spoon-carving at Lie-Nielsen, on Sept 24 & 25


I have lots of new tricks I learned at Spoonfest and Täljfest, so come to Maine & we’ll explore all kinds of ideas. I also have some new spoons by outstanding makers to study, as well as a couple old ones.


October begins with the opening of the full-tilt chest class at Bob Van Dyke’s Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking.    We did this last year, one-weekend-a-month, for five months. One by one, students from last year have finished their chests, here’s one from Dwight Beebe:

This class is the best way to learn all the steps in making a joined chest with drawer.

This year, we’ll include a trip down to the Yale University Furniture Study, to examine the chest we’ll base ours on. Riving, hewing, planing, joinery, carving – the whole thing. One weekend at a time. First class is coming up, Oct 1 & 2.


Later in October, we’ll do the riving class with Plymouth CRAFT – right now we don’t have it listed yet, but a weekend in October, I think the 15/16 . (I’ll post it here, and Plymouth CRAFT will send out its email as well, if you’re not on their list, you want to be, even if it’s just for Greenwood Fest next year!  )

UPDATE: Here is hurdlemaking:
We are excited to be returning to the wonderful venue we used for Dave Fisher’s bowl carving class in July. That massive marsh should be gorgeous in the autumn light.


In this class, we split apart an oak log, learning how to “read” the log for best results. Then using a froe, we further break the stock down, and make garden hurdles. So, riving, hewing, shaving at a shaving horse, mortising – a busy weekend full of old techniques still applicable today.

test fit

THEN – Paula Marcoux reminded me about the spoon carving at Plymouth CRAFT on Dec 10 & 11,  at Overbrook house in Buzzard’s Bay, Massachusetts.

stay tuned to Plymouth CRAFT for details…

UPDATE: And here is spoon carving:
For this one we’ll be back at our beloved winter home, Overbrook House. Always cozy; always fun.

3-footed turned stool


It feels like a long time since I’ve written about furniture-making. Shop-building & spoon carving have taken up a lot of space here. This week, I’m building a stool that reaches back to the beginnings of this blog in 2008. Here’s one I made many years ago for the museum where I used to work.  These things don’t exist in the wild – not 17th century ones anyway. Chairs built along these lines are common in England and elsewhere. Not New England. These stools are found frequently in Dutch paintings. Note that the three stretchers are at different heights. The seat rails are all at the same height. More on this below.


I am a joiner who does some turning, not a turner by any means. Especially these days. My lathe had been packed away in storage for 18 months. That’s a long hiatus between turnings! This is almost where the lathe will be in the shop, I plan on moving it further back into the corner when the real setup happens. The pole is up in the peak, about 14′ above my head.


These turnings are pretty basic, just a large gouge & a couple of skew chisels. Wood is straight-grained ash. Riven & hewn before mounting on the lathe.



one main feature of these stools, and the related chairs, is the joinery at the seat level. All the seat rails are at the same height, so the joints intersect. A large rectangular tenon gets pierced by a smaller turned tenon. Like this:


Here I am scribing a centerline on the end grain of the seat rail. This is the basis for the layout of the tenon.


Sawing the shoulders.


Splitting the cheeks.


Paring to the finished dimension.


The seat rails get a groove plowed in them to receive the beveled panel that is the seat. Here’s how I held it to the bench for cutting with the plow plane. The rectangular tenon is pressed into the teeth of the bench hook, and a notched stock pressed against the round tenon. Holdfast keeps that stick in place. I eyeball that the rectangular tenon is parallel to the benchtop, then the groove goes in the resulting top center of the rail’s surface.

setup for plowing


boring and chopping joinery next time.

here is the same information, in one of my first posts


Another trip I’d like to make some day


Just a pointer to go read about Terence McSweeney’s visit to Tamás Gyenes’ house in Hungary. Terence & I met last year when he came to a box-making class I taught in Somerset, England. I was thrilled to hear he made it over to Hungary. What an experience that must have been! I swiped his photo above…but for the real thing, just go see his write up. It says part 1, which implies there’ll be a part 2…thanks, Terence & Tamas.



some shots from Greenwood Fest 2016 part the first

working an event like this, you don’t get to see it much. I saw some stuff last night on Instagram. here’s a few photos I shot in preparation and while walking over to where I was working on Friday afternoon – the opening of Greenwood Fest 2016.

JoJo warned me she likes to ruin pictures:

she warned me

Beth Moen (foreground) and JoJo Wood in back, finding some yellow birch to see how it works.

north american woods

Moving in – wow.

moving in

“I’m so happy” he said.  He always says that…


I'm so happy

Tim & I looked at an old ladderback chair, always fun.

found a chair to show Tim

Are you proposing to me?

are you proposing to me

Don’t you people have anything to do?

don't you people have anything to do

one of those Plymouth ponds…

long pond

Will there be any stars in my crown?

will there be any stars in my crown

Save one for me…

save me one

waiting to hew…

pret & rick's site

Waiting to carve…

waiting to carve



I told him to stop all this free learning…Darrick couldn’t wait.

I told him no free learning

Somewhere in the mayhem, Paula found time for a laugh with Ben Brewster & JoJo Wood

found time for a laugh

Hey Jarrod – I shot it too – on your back.

I shot it too

I think I have too many tools

It gets better & better. I forgot to add a short television clip Tamas Gyenes sent me; so here is that.“>
But I also received a short film about another Hungarian making one of these riven beech chests. Frederik Uijs (whose blog is here: sent a link of this 1955 film, that to my mind could almost be shot in 1555. Watch it & count the tools – probably less than 10. Axes, hammer, saw, chisels, that twybill-like tool, compass, drawknife, auger – not many more than that…astounding.“>

more about the riven chests of Tamas Gyenes

More photos from Tamas Gyenes, See the first post here:

Carving through the surface to expose the lighter wood –


Here’s how the surface is prepared for that work:


The grooves aren’t cut with a plow plane, but with this tool. It seems to me like a small twybill. Detail of the grooving follows.


Shaving of the week right here:

cutting the groove


His note told me he’s working on his 69th chest! And that’s in addition to working a job, having a family, restoring old pieces and writing & researching about the chests. Hmm. seems familiar. Thanks again, Tamas. I’ll keep in touch.

Tamás Gyenes’ riven beech chests

I continue to be amazed at the connections we can make so easily these days. Remember way back when I stumbled across references to these chests:

Der Henndorfer Truhenfund

That ultimately connected to another blog post about some visitors to my old shop,

Well, that post brought me a new connection the other day. I got an email from Tamás Gyenes of Hungary. His note said “ I myself build similar chests – from riven beech with medieval methods “  When I asked for photos, he quickly sent some amazing shots.

Untitled attachment 02338

Great, great stuff. I first saw one of these chests at the Brimfield (Massachusetts) Antique show. I passed on buying one for $300 and kicked myself ever after. I had the money and the space then, have neither now.

Tamas & his wife splitting out some beech:


Grooving the framing parts – an ancient method. 


The shaving horse – an indispensable piece of equipment. 


Tamas with a work-in-progress


The decoration: 


a couple of shots of the original chests that Tamas studies for his inspiration: 


These are old ones he owns, from what I understand. 


One of his before color & decoration. 


Tamás’ shots of his working on them are so inspiring – and look timeless, don’t they? Thanks so much for contacting me & sending photos, Tamas. Keep in touch, 

His website is