The New Legacy 2012 workshops begin

A New Legacy continues to grow

I was excited as I entered the New Legacy Workshop this morning and several smiling attendees greeted me around the bench. These are just a small part of the new-genre woodworkers I have come to know through the last couple of decades. Smiling, open-faced, a but nervous, expecting. I feel myself reaching out to them as they pick out their bench. The class is mixed in with 4 women and 5 men. Some nervous banter begins as they doff their jackets and hats and pack their belongings under the bench. Both sides of the pond it’s been the same. I think back to last week and recall the faces as I taught the master classes at the Woodworking Shows. Not much difference, except these students will today have their hands on the tools throughout the day.

Back behind the bench on the UK side.

I lecture for the first hour. They ask good questions continuously. Whatever they have read about and gleaned from elsewhere will soon become hands-on reality for them today. It’s fairly mixed: Counsellor/teachers, a general-practice doctor, a retired energy engineer and a lawyer. My friend Alex from Classic Hand Tools came along for the ride, working on the same bench as Agnes, a woman who really wants to work wood. For some it’s chance to set goals and change an occupation, others enjoyed woodworking as youths in school and want to pick it up now for the very real reason we all have; they always wanted to do it.

Advancing skills is important to everyone.

Laura teaches children here in the Woodland School at Penrhyn Castle. She’s developing her hand skills to advance her ability levels in teaching.

These are all the real woodworkers and are very much a part of their own Real Woodworking Campaign. You see they are already on track. They do not yet know what they will become.



Bert wins his first award with his second ever chair.

Bert here came to me about five years ago in the US. As a judge in California he went through my foundation course and then later asked if we would teach him how to design and make a chair. We took his thoughts, adjusted the design to match his ideal and taught him to develop a plan and make it. He left with his chair and entered it in a Minnesota state-wide competition for furniture making and took first place. Though not the goal, an opportunity came and the outcome gave a sense of value. He made his family a very fine set of dining chairs.

Joseph works with the students one on one.

  New Genre Woodworking as part of the real Woodworking Campaign is not fully developed in terms of our defining it because it’s an evolving entity, but in terms of its goals and objectives it is quite fully orbed. What I in my individual ability and with only minimal ties to any commerce (beyond my own work as a craftsman and teacher) want to freely give others a way of life working wood. A way of life I enjoyed for nearly five decades.

Back from the USA tour, I slide into the first UK workshop for 2012. 

Anyone and every one can have what I have, whether they earn their living from it or not, whether they are professional or amateur, whether they are skilled or not. It’s choosing to master skill as a fully orbed way of working with your hands and enhancing your working life, your rest, recreation and relaxation. It’s this then that really matters to me.

Scientist Dave went through my foundation course and a few years he realised one of his greatest ambitions in making his first violin.

Here you see life as a new-genre woodworker and the Real Woodworking Campaign in action. It’s proactive, progressive, informative and life-changing. People are becoming something they aspired to be for years. Through dedication and training they carve and shape their future as diverse as mine has been, is now and will be in time to come. Who knows where it will all end. We work only real wood not man-made concoctions of powder and resins. We cut wood with handsaws and chisels finely sharpened and honed to surgical perfection. Our hand planes grade uneven levels as we feel the grain and reject the three G’s of gimmicks, gadgets and gizmos. We master hand skills that complement the machines we dimension wood with. That’s balance and that’s what we strive for in restoring the lost and dying skills.