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A Tour of David Savage’s Workshop and School

David Savage in his personal shop at Rowden.

For the last two weeks I’ve been teaching a course and taking a class in veneering at David Savage’s school and workshop, which sits on a farm in rural Devon. It is an inspiring place where amateurs and professionals hone their skills to the highest level – piston-fit drawers, London-pattern dovetails, drawing, design, veneering and French polishing. And unlike many places I’ve taught, the makers there make no distinction between […]

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Movie: Cutting Saw Teeth on a Hand-cranked Retoother

Movie: Cutting Saw Teeth on a Hand-cranked Retoother

There is always something going on at The Woodwright’s School in Pittsboro, N.C. Today as Roy Underhill and I were rehearsing to shoot two shows of the “The Woodwright’s Shop,” Tom Calisto was teaching a class at the school on making a dovetail saw. During a break in the action, Tom show me how to … Read more »

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Design: From Shaker to Snaker

Design: From Shaker to Snaker

Trying to teach design is like trying to push water uphill – or so I’m told. Despite the warnings and eyerolls from some fellow woodworking instructors, I’ve tried to build in a design component to the classes I am teaching this year. My design process is different. No heart chakras will be opened. No power … Read more »

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Roorkhee Chair Design Document

Roorkhee Chair Design Document

Whether you know it or not, you’ve probably seen a Roorkhee chair (or its children) at some point in your life. The chair was supposedly invented at the end of the 19th century for the British military. But it had a long life that extended into the 20th century and influenced many modern designers: Marcel … Read more »

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Tuning Bench Planes at Vesper World Headquarters

Tuning Bench Planes at Vesper World Headquarters

Honestly, I’ve tuned so many dang metal planes in my lifetime that I’ll never worry about having enough iron in my diet. They might mine my carcass for the mineral when I’m dead. For me, it has always been an analog process: Do it by hand with inexpensive supplies. Today I spent the day tuning … Read more »

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Video: Sharpen the Tricky V-chisel

Video: Sharpen the Tricky V-chisel

I spent Saturday watching and photographing carver Mary May teach a class on ball-and-claw feet at the Woodwright’s School in Pittsboro, N.C. Mary, a traditionally trained professional carver, lives and works outside Charleston, S.C., and teaches carving classes all over the country – you can see her at Woodworking in America this year. And if Continue reading»
 

Workbench Assembly. With Glue.

Workbench Assembly. With Glue.

Assembling workbenches in the old-school manner is a nail-biter. If the drawbores are too close together, then you drive the peg in and nothing happens. The tenon isn’t pulled into the mortise. You start looking around for your framing nailer. If the drawbores are too far apart, you drive the peg in and it explodes Continue reading»
 

Do You Need Glue?

Do You Need Glue?

After three days of work, we are going to start assembling the workbenches we are building at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking tomorrow and are coming to a familiar fork in the road. Should we assemble the benches using glue or not? My gut says these benches don’t need glue. The legs are immobile Continue reading»
 

Build a Hand-tool Bench With Power Tools? Yup.

Build a Hand-tool Bench With Power Tools? Yup.

Talking about the motivation for building a French-style handwork bench using lots of power tools is always a discussion that feels like a hall of mirrors. Many of the 16 students in my workbench class at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking aren’t infatuated by the gorgeous machinery the school offers. They don’t seem impressed Continue reading»
 

My Favorite Japanese Pullsaw

My Favorite Japanese Pullsaw

It’s funny how my chainsaw skills have gone through the roof since I started to build lots of workbenches in 1999. Today I cut down a buttload of 6 x 6 x 16’ Douglas Fir beams for a bench-building class at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking that I’m teaching next week. And when you Continue reading»
 

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