Thursday, October 24, 2013

Woodworking in America Part 2

Roy Underhill educates and amuses on the subject of mitered breadboard ends
Sorry about the bad photo but I was using my phone and the lights were low. Anyway, picking up where we left off...

The keynote dinner was a really nice way to wrap up the first day. The food was actually pretty good, and Roy Underhill and Peter Follansbee speaking made for plenty of laughter. Not to mention sitting and relaxing with new friends for a while.

I kicked of Saturday morning with Chairs: Style and Substance, presented by Ejler Hjorth-Westh whom I consider to be one of the real surprises of the conference. Ejler's presentations, of which I attended three, were part philosophy of craft, part craft technique, and part humor which I found really enjoyable. Also, In his afternoon session, Working With Curves: Design and Execution, I got the information and demonstration that made the entire trip to Covington worth it. He showed us how to sharpen and burnish a card scraper. To see someone do it was illuminating. I had really been doing it all wrong with the burnisher and not enough work with the file and the stones. This little bit of info has changed my world.

In between chair design and scraper revelations I caught Mary May's linenfold carving class where she was bringing realism to carvings of various fabric motifs. I really loved how she would highlight the important parts of keeping the illusion of motion and dimension, like keeping a continuous line along the "fabric" folds and exaggerating depth by quickening the radius of the curve near the edges of the carving.

After a break to complete the Hand Tool Olympics events it was off to see Roy Underhill on the topic of mitered bread board ends. I always learn something woodworking from Roy but I like to go and see him present. Since I've been doing some presentations on woodworking of my own no one can teach you how to present this material like Roy, he's an amazing presenter.

After Roy wrapped up it was time to unwind with a few beers and head off to dinner with some friends. The Rookwood, in the old Rookwood Pottery above downtown Cincinnati, is not to be missed. Fans of good food and drink, Arts and Crafts pottery, and creative repurposing of historic buildings will not want to miss an opportunity to dine here. It will be on my list whenever I'm in Cincy.

Finally on Sunday morning Ejler was again presenting, this time on doing commission work for clients, which was an extremely honest and unflinching look at the business side of custom furniture through his experiences as a working craftsman. I wish I had the ability to relate all that was said in this session via this blog. Perhaps I'll try a little later.

After that wrapped, it was right in the car to head home to family. It's always nice to go but it's always better to return home. Maybe I'll make it out to WIA again next year.


  1. Regis,

    What were you doing wrong with scraper sharpening?


    1. What was I doing right would be the better part. In general I could stand to prep my scrapers a little more carefully, with more more edge filing, and more work on the edge with the sharpening stones to get a finer burr in the end. The real revelation was watching him burnish the edge to form the hook, just a couple of strokes on each edge with light pressure while holding the scraper in the other hand. Unreal. I was clamping the thing in the vise and burnishing it with a lot of force. I was probably rounding the edge over so far it wouldn't cut or breaking it off. The difference it makes to see someone do something instead of just read about it.