Last week was one of the two advanced course sessions that we offer at the shop each year. The advanced course is amazing in more ways than one and is open to Practical Woodworking alumni. This course definitely takes things up a notch or five.
Quickly, the stacks of milled walnut and cherry pieces that Rob and I worked on two weeks ago morphed into a room of stunning accessory tables complete with dovetails, breadboard ends, floating shelf, and drawer.
As I did the Practical Wood class, I doubled as a student and apprentice for this course. While being on call to lend a helping hand in any way I could, I also got the chance to watch all the lessons, learn all the new techniques, and construct a table of my own!
The course is filled with lots of hand detail, new machinery (as compared to the Practical Woodworking course), and, of course, jigs!
Jeff, Rob, and Eoin conduct the usual riveting and informative demos each day so that students can see the processes carried out correctly and safely before they try their own hand at it. The demos include (but are surely not limited to) handmade dovetails, machine-made dovetails, how to make and use buttons, Greene & Greene style breadboard ends, cloud lift making, drawer construction, and shelf construction. Naturally, we used the knowledge acquired from the Practical Woodworking course to create mortise/tenon joints, biscuit joints, sand properly, assemble and glue up, rip, joint, and plane.
I could really appreciate this class because although it was an ongoing challenge for six days, it was incredibly rewarding to see the progress unfold before your eyes. The finer details that make Lohr and Spiece furniture so unique and beautiful are taught to you by the masters themselves. Because so much of this course is hand detail and another dose of days worth of new information, I'd say it's quite a bonding course. It's easy to sit and chat/encourage/share with your classmates as you sit and perfect your buttons so the environment is calm and inviting.
I hope that my fellow May 2013 Advanced Joinery graduates will send along some photos of their oiled/finished tables so I can share them. Moreso, I hope they find the satisfaction and gratitude I did in the final stages of the project's completion.
I am more than pleased to have stepped into a deeper level of woodworking knowledge. I am thankful to be constantly surrounded by masters, teachers, students, and creative, driven minds.
Look out for a Zelli Bar post in the next day or two; the progress continues on the classiest drink-slinging apparatus you'll set your eyes on!