Monday, August 26, 2013

Advanced Joinery Class of August 2013!

Although my absence for a week may have suggested otherwise, we have not had a dull moment here at The Lohr School of Woodworking! Last week we were graced with the presence of 8 eager and animated gentlemen as they tackled the Advanced Joinery class.

Ted, Buzz, Mike, Steve, Stephen, Chris, Randy, and Randy aka Arkansas were dedicated and quite amusing as they learned the more detailed and intricate techniques necessary to complete the project for this course. The more intricate details I refer to include drawer construction, mortise and tenon joinery, dovetail (hand and machine cut) joinery, buttons, floating shelves, Green & Greene style breadboard ends, and so on.

All students are required to complete the Practical Woodworking course at our school prior to enrolling in the Advanced Joinery class. Because of this requirement, when these gentlemen walked through our shop door last week, it was their second stay with us. It seems that having spent 6 long and busy days with us during the Practical Woods class in the past causes students to walk through our door excited, comfortable, and prepared for round 2. The comradery was instantaneous and carried on throughout the entirety of week. Even though I haven't assumed any formal teaching role in the advanced course yet, and hadn't had the good fortune of meeting most of these men before last week, I still felt like I was hanging out with 8 close friends by the end of the week.

As you can see, the sanding pavilion was in full swing thanks to the weather treating us so well as the students learned and created some stunning walnut and cherry side tables. The men made jokes as they got their hands on countless additional Jeffry Lohr original jigs paired with the usual machines; bandsaw, mortiser, routers, and tablesaws. This time around, however, students get their hands on far more hand tools and operations than the Practical Woodworking course requires. The gentlemen had to fine tune their hand saw, marking knife, chisel and mallet, and detailed sanding and gluing skills. All the while though, Rob and Jeff were there to remind us that most any question can be answered with the Jeff Lohr mantra, "All things will be revealed."

One of the more interesting (and often frustrating) operations in woodworking is learning to deal with dovetails. The joinery is undeniably beautiful and strong but, the jigs aren't always willing to be easy on the user. After the bulk of one day of the course being dedicating to hand-cutting dovetails, the students move onto the routers. Jeff does a thorough job explaining jig types and how to adjust them in order to provide fitted and proper dovetails but, that doesn't eliminate the fact that each student needs to adjust those jigs when they sit down to being their drawer joinery. Luckily, we had a shop full of students like Steve (pictured left) and his constant enthusiasm to bring light to even the most challenging tasks.

As I said, comradery was not missing from this bunch of guys. When glue up day finally arrived, a strong desire for perfection was not lacking so teamwork was essential. In order for the tables to function as intended (drawers that open and close, shelves that float perfectly between legs, and breadboard ends that hold everything in place), all things needed to be level, square, and aligned. Just as they did throughout the week, the gentlemen showed full dedication and soon enough the room was filled with assembled tables. In six very busy, rather intense days of instruction and work, there were 8 beautiful tables ready to find their way home.

A huge thanks to the Advanced Joinery Class of August 2013! Although the week demanded a lot and was fast-paced at times, you all wore a smile and delivered in production. I am happy to have had the chance to spend the week with all of you gents and I hope to see some photos of finished tables in the coming weeks! A special thanks to Chris & his thoughtful daughter for making the staff some fantastic (and incredibly appropriate) t-shirts! We'll wear them with pride.

And, as a final note, I will mention that Rob will grace the cover of Woodcraft Magazine on October 1st's issue AND we are working on the construction of a new website so keep checking back with us to see it's official launch!

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