I’ve spent two decades training woodworkers of all skill levels and from all backgrounds and I see now that both novice and expert woodworkers generally have one unifying factor governing how they work. With most instruction keyed directly to working by machine methods only, handwork relying on the development of skill has become increasingly rare. Yet it’s become increasingly apparent that these hand skills not only prove exemplary with regards to quality of work, but also leads to higher levels of creative fulfilment.
This summer New Legacy New York, and later in the year New Legacy at Penrhyn Caste, will host one of my month long workshops for the first time. This gives ten woodworkers the opportunity to build a series of three projects designed to provide an artisan apprenticeship unique to the new-genre woodworker. With this level of focussed woodworking, my goal is to help each student discover realms of working wood they never experienced before. The heirloom pieces they make provide a total immersion covering those critical elements necessary to create fine woodworking yet have the security of knowing that they can get the experienced help they need at any minute.
I want students to know everything they need to know about things like proper wood selection and how to develop a project from drawings to completion, concepts of design, choosing the right joints and different options for finishing their projects. I know how important it is to work practically and to achieve quality levels of workmanship, so my course will take each participant step by step through each stage so that they become well equipped, competent and confident to tackle future woodworking projects.
The apprentice work begins with the building of three large projects; a solid oak coffee table, a fine mahogany tool cabinet replete with drawers, raised panels and through and lapped dovetails, a Craftsman-style rocking chair in oak. To conclude the final week I combine a series of hands-on finishing workshops for students to discover finishing options for their pieces. Interspersed throughout this final week we create a series of handmade hand tools I consider essential to fine woodworking and furniture making.
The dates for the Summer class in the USA are: 16 July to 11 August with a compulsory (and free) three day (12-14 July) preparation course if you haven’t already done the foundation course. To register and for more info click here.
In the UK the dates are: 29 October to 16 November and the compulsory three-day preparation class is 25-27 October. To register and for more info click here.