Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lots to talk about

It has only been four weeks since our last post, but here at Inside Passage, four weeks is like 3 months in the normal world.  We will try to keep you more up-to-date in future posts.  For now, just grab a cup of your favorite beverage, sit down, relax and enjoy a large dose of Tales from the Creekside Craftsmen.  We have tales of illness traveling through the class, a wedding amongst our resident craftsmen, a new feline addition to the shop as well as a familiar guest instructor those familiar with the school will be glad to see shaping our students' minds, hands and hearts.
Please Enjoy...

Bruce is not often stumped, but here he seems to be either contemplating the next step of his Wabi-Sabi cabinet or just scratching an itch.  Not only does Bruce have a good woodworking eye, he also has quite the photography eye.  If you notice an increase in the quality of the photos for this post, it is due to Bruce.  All of the photos below were taken by and compiled by Bruce.  Thanks for the contribution Leonardo.

Barb is not only famous at IP for the quality of her work, but also for reminding us all to take a break.  Students at Inside Passage must be present for class from 9-5 Monday through Saturday.  Several students this year, including Barb, are here from 7-7.  Most days at 3pm Barb walks over to the class bell and rings it remind us all to take an occasional break.
In the pic below, you can get a sneak peek at Barb's current project.  She is producing Curly Sycamore marquetry on a Boxwood background.  The piece she is planing is an exterior side of her showcase cabinet.

Steve is not often seen sitting down and relaxing in class.  After just telling you how hard all the students work at Inside Passage, it is not without a sense of irony that we use this rare pic of Steve.  He is reading The Impractical Cabinetmaker, the second of five books by James Krenov.  Many of the students gleam inspiration from Jim's work and writing.  Steve was actually planning his next project, now currently underway.  The project is a showcase cabinet of veneer construction using Pear for the cabinet and Claro Walnut for the stand.  The front of this beautiful work has two concave curved, glass paneled doors.  At Steve's usual pace he should be done in a few days :)

 Above, Jason is showing us why we call our style of craft, "Workmanship of Risk," a phrase coined by Dr. David Pye.  Each piece of wood is unique and mistakes can be costly, but not taking the risk can be even costlier to one's level of workmanship.
The piece you see above is the interior for a desk that Jason has been working on.  The interior creates two drawer boxes complete with "let-go" and "wrap around" grain graphics.  In a future post we will explain what these terms mean, but for Jason they mean extra work, planning and risk.
He is placing dowel holes in each of the four corner posts to create reference points for his doweling template.  We look forward to seeing the finished product, but not as much as his new wife, Corey.  Unless someone puts up an offer they cannot refuse, the desk will be her wedding present.
Corey and Jason got married along the Swannanoa River in Western North Carolina on October 17th, 2009.  Their trip back to Roberts Creek took the place of their honeymoon and we are excited to have a new member of our Inside Passage family.

Daisuke is famous at the school for his attention to detail.  Often times, Robert will even use Daisuke's keen eye to check his own work, knowing that Daisuke will not shy away from telling Robert the truth.  Fortunately, Robert's level of work rarely puts Daisuke in such a position.
Below, he is using a new technique we have been calling the sock clamp.  Further below that pic you will find the cost of maintaining such high standards of work.  Work hard, rest hard.


 Byron has been quite the first year craftsman at Inside Passage this year.  Another student brought a hand saw into the school and Byron liked it so much he made his own, (pic below).  Byron has not only managed to raise the level of work in the school but has also quickly become apart of the Sunshine Coast community.  He has been seen on a local soccer pitch as well as joining up with a local Search and Rescue group.  It definitely adds something to the Inside Passage experience when you can find time to join the community here.


While Bruce has been documenting this year's class in photographs, his benchmate Don, has done so in note taking.  With the script of an engineer, Don diligently takes notes during lectures.  This practice has definitely translated well into his craft.  Don is a great example of the level of detail that the school not only expects, but cultivates in a craftsman.

Above, Don and Ian scrutinize a Wabi-Sabi Cabinet.  One of the traits of Inside Passage that is held most dear is the level of sharing within the class.  One could think that with so many perfectionists and hard workers in one room, that a competitive environment would be natural.  We definitely push each other at IP, we just do so through a sharing and open atmosphere, rather than through competition.

Rarely seen away from his bench and project, Evan is a big fan of horse back riding.  It is hard to get the opportunity to ride though while studying at Inside Passage, so Evan borrowed his son's toy and stores his little vice under his bench at school.
Those familiar with the school will cringe at the below pic.  Evan is doing his part to become a member of the "I cleaned the dust collector at IP" Club.  Since this pic was taken, Rob Van Norman (Robert and Yvonne's son) applied his knowledge of machinery and made some adjustments to the dust collector.  No one has had to clean the filters since and we are crossing our fingers that this elite club is taking no new members.

Hong is not nearly as intimidating as this picture would lead you to believe.  He is incredibly nice and always willing to share his discoveries with his fellow students.  He is also not in trouble, as the below picture would lead you to believe.  If you have heard that Robert is the type of instructor that "Baby's" you along, you have heard wrong.  While very willing to provide you with sound advice and help you out of the jams we all get into, Robert does not do the work for you.  A very big policy of Robert's at the school, and one which all alumni will tell you made them a better woodworker.


Ian has a store of food underneath his bench.  Most students have wood scraps and unfinished projects under their bench but Ian is, apparently, an incredibly efficient woodworker and needs no storage for such things.  He is also not above making the mother of his new born daughter do his work for him.  In the pic below, Mylene is giving the hand plane a try while holding Rya.


Junior has been a fan of the school for several years now and is taking full advantage of his time here.   Below he can be seen sitting on the front porch of the school while working on the consoles for his Wabi-Sabi cabinet.  "Consoles" is the term we use for movable shelf supports within a cabinet.
At the school we celebrate important family moments.  One of our traditions at IP, is the last person to celebrate their birthday, provides the cake for the next birthday.  A wonderful tradition, unless your birthday happens to be in the summer.

Meredith continues her wide array of contributions to the class.  Not only is Meredith learning that she is a great craftswoman, but she has also been providing the class with endless rays of sunshine and laughter.  Never one to accept white elephants in the room, Meredith asks the questions that everyone else is thinking and never fails to give you her honest opinion.
Above, Meredith dons the new Inside Passage attire for female woodworkers- JUST KIDDING!!  Meredith found an article, from quite a few decades ago, describing proper woodworking attire for women and decided to give it a run on Halloween.  This trick was quite the treat for the class.

Michal O is always there for a friend but does not enjoy being the subject of photography, as seen below.  When the students complete their Wabi-Sabi cabinets they will have the choice of either keeping the cabinet or tossing it in the fire.  Michal says he will most likely keep the poplar cabinet you see below, as he is deservedly proud of the work.


Michael A is often seen camped out at his bench, hard at work on his cabinet.  Above, Michael is putting a beautiful surface on his shelf.  The level of surface quality that can only come from a wooden hand plane.
Even with two pairs of glasses on, six eyes were not enough for Morrie to see the sickness bugs headed his way.  Morrie has been absent for the past week due to an illness that spread through the classroom.  Any given day this past week, we had up to five students out, all due to sickness.  Morrie has been a true pleasure to have in the class this year.  Some of you alumni may recognize him, as he has been a fan of the school for quite awhile and came to visit frequently.  Below, he holds one of the younger members of our Inside Passage family.  The family atmosphere here at the school truly differentiates it from similar programs.
Morrie's wife is here with him and I am sure he would attest, as we all would, that family support is something we could not do without.

This year, the maintenance of the machines has fallen on all the members of the class.  It has been a great opportunity for the students to learn about the machines that assist us in our craft.  The school is geared heavily toward the use of hand tools, but without the help of the machines, we would have very little time to learn those techniques.  Neil is taking time to dial in the thickness planer.

Neil's clock is moving right along.  He has the components of the stand built and is perfecting the joinery that will hold it together.  The complexity of the joinery has forced Neil into practicing on poplar, prior to using his Padauk.  He is doing great work and the clock will certainly be an example of that. 
Steve has been a great addition to a very strong craftsman class at Inside Passage.  Currently, he is working on his mortise and tenon joinery exercise and his wedged tenons are structurally sound and beautiful.  Some students are making small saw horses that fit into the tool well on their work bench while others are making standard size saw horses.  Both sets are of european design and made out of Ash.  They make great companions in any shop and were made popular by James Krenov.

What blog entry would be complete without a couple pics of our shop dog, Lacey?  The last couple of weeks, Lacey has also had a new project to tend to.  She has been stalking our new shop cat, Josey.  Josey is a cat belonging to Rob Van Norman, and while he is in Roberts Creek helping out his family and the school, Josey has been spending her time in Robert's benchroom.  Lacey is ever watchful of an opportunity to sneak in and pester the cat, mostly out of curiosity- we hope.

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