Outside the siding is going on, painting too. Hung cedar shakes transform the insulated innards to visual texture and colour in keeping with a counter-facility to the factorial production facilities so common today.We reach into the future with an alternative reality as we establish both a furniture making workshop for hand made products and furniture and a training facility others from around the USA and abroad can learn in. My classes in the UK are hosting people from Ghana, and Eastern Europe as well as other places too. Spreading the real woodworking campaign is happening and we hope to continue expanding the possibilities. Do people still buy hand made furniture and learn to work with wood with hand tools. You bet they do.
A makeshift tarp-tent on the back of a flatbed truck makes a safe spray-booth for oiling the benches with an HLVP spray rig and the side porch ois now tied into the main roof so the stays have been removed and the posts stand on their own secure foundation. All great progress inch by inch to the opening day. Tool boxes are quite critical to my wellbeing and so too the cupboards in which I keep the expanded range of tools and equipment I need for sanity in my work. I confess feeling uneasy with my tools still scattered in cardboard boxes and in about 11 days time the New Legacy School of Woodworking doors will open for the first time to a full class of students.
My daily tools are neatly placed in my new toolbox and I am not concerned for them. It’s creating the sphere where I work that’s important to me now. In my UK workshops I have spent three years defining my workspace as many of you know. It works perfectly for me. No matter how large or small a workspace you have, it’s always key to recognise economy of movement. Large kitchens are great but when the fridge is ten feet from the cook stove and ten more from the kitchen sink you have problems. It’s not to different in the workshop. For the hand toolist, the anchor to all is the combination of workbench and vise. It’s the heart of the shop and the epicentre of good work. Thankfully it’s not fixed in and of itself and so moving it is simplicity itself. In violinmaking, one of the key elements in producing perfect sound is something we call the sound post. This dowel of spruce stands between the top and back plate and adjusting it thousandths of a millimetre give perfect “voice”, projection and clarity to the instrument—so too the workbench. Though not so small, the workbench determines the reciprocal arrangement of the tool cupboards and toolboxes and for me the whiteboard and teaching equipment I use in my classes. I cannot forget that I am still a working craftsman making pieces for exhibition, galleries and to sell, so my creative workspace must be defined by these elements too.
I am building cabinets to hold my tools. These are my tools and no one will in general use them. My tools must eventually develop a home within my tool boxes and cupboards and they will go in and out exactly the same way for the coming years. I may refine their positioning for personal comfort, economy of movement and protection that minimizes harm to them, but my goal is to get it right first time where possible. Because my cabinets work so well in the UK, I am replicating what I have with some slight modifications. In this case I am building cabinets in three pieces; two base units 48” wide, 40” tall and 24” deep. The top unit is 48” wide, 48” tall and 17” deep. I am using spruce for the all frame and panel construction and ½” plywood for the panels. I like the traditional look of hand painted (not sprayed) cabinets. Spruce is lightweight and strong, easy to work and takes paint well. It also absorbs sound and vibration, which I especially like.
As with the bench, I want my cabinets to be moveable within my sphere. Micro adjusting their position enables me to find the unity I want in the relationships between the workbench, the saw horses and of course my work area. I am restricted in the classes because of space. Outside of class time, when the student benches can be repositioned, I will rearrange to suit my furniture making as needed. Your work areas may well be different. If you have others working with you you must arrange accordingly. I like my grandchildren to come into my workshop and so I have an additional workbench at my home workshop in my garage. The extra bench is handy and so too the extra vise.