CT Valley School of Woodworking, Open House 2013

As you might expect, I had nothing to exhibit this year at the annual Open House. But I did go and had a good time, running into old friends and teachers, all very cheerful. Another bonus–they tied it together with a Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool event. Yes, I ordered some goodies (plane floats), plus got an eyeful of great woodworking by other students. I also managed to take a number of photos with my newest hobby, B&W film photography. Yes, film. If I am willing to learn how to plane rough sawn stock down to be flat and true, surely I can learn how to take photographs without the aid of some engineer’s idea of how the world looks. So I brought my $10 Petri 7s rangefinder, loaded with some Ilford Delta 100, a handheld light meter, and snapped away. Then came home and got the chemicals measured and began developing. I did have to use the computer to scan in the negatives.

So be warned, many of my photos will be B&W from here on out, though I do have a nice digital camera and might shoot a few rolls of color (which is more difficult to home process). I’m sure, dear reader, you will forgive some of the imperfections that come home processed film. You also might see some camera projects in the future. Oh and hopefully my photos will improve as this blog continues on.

First some shots of the Lie-Nielsen demonstration areas and tools. As always, great folks demonstrating the tools and very helpful.




There were also demonstrators in attendance, and I tried getting a few pictures of Matt Bickford doing his molding plane demo, but it was tough with the layout of the inside demonstration area (there was a bit of rain threatening). Lots of turning demonstrations and I suspect I will be taking a few turning classes this Fall.







I got a few so-so shots of student or instructor work. It is not the best place to take nice furniture photos, with the lighting and somewhat cramped exhibition area.





Leaning cabinet of Krenov-inspiration…well ok, I snapped this one a little too quick without getting the camera in perfect ‘portrait’ orientation. I believe Mike Pekovich taught this class and it might even be his piece. I forgot to note who made this piece.

A few overview shots, with Mike Pekovich from FWW and Matt Bickford (background) author of “Moldings in Practice” and overall nice guy.



So a great way to re-introduce myself to woodworking, and such a valuable resource to have within an easy drive from my house.


CT Valley School of Woodworking, Open House 2012

I’m not sure how Bob Van Dyke does it, but he always schedules these open houses on some of the prettiest weekends of the year.  This year was no different, with a sunny, mid-70s day dawning after some threat of rain overnight.

Tool tailgate area.  I bought a drawknife, a caliper for turning, and a birdcage awl, all items that will be used in upcoming projects.

Some of Freddy Roman’s work on display both outside and inside.

That’s me in the mirror with the camera.  Now if only there was a mirror behind me, this could turn into a recursive photo which would cause my brain to ‘dump core’.  Bad programmer humor, sorry.

Mickey Callahan’s table showing cabriole leg shaping.  He also teaches a class for beginning wood carving, which sounded interesting.  And a weekend class, which makes it easier for me to attend with my work schedule.  These legs had turned feet, which after the joinery, is one of the first steps in making this type of cabriole leg.  I missed a shot of it, but Mickey also had a leg in a bar clamp, with the bar clamp in a vise, which seemed like an easy way to do the carving.  He also has a Jorgensen clamp (in the background of the photo below) which has a 90 degree cut outs to hold the square end of the leg, then the clamp is put in the vise for shaping.

A new demonstrator, Peter Galbert, whose Chair Notes blog on windsor chairs and spindle turning I’ve followed for a long time.  It sounds like he’ll be teaching a class sometime in 2013, maybe a week-long class.  I wish I had gotten a close-up of some of his turned examples, the turning was so crisp.  Very impressive work.

A close-up of the shaving horse.  As I was leaving, Peter was showing a youngster how to use it with the drawknife.  I saw a lot of young (pre-teen, teens) kids at the open house, which was great.  A local Boy Scout troop from Lebanon had coffee, donuts, hamburgers, hot dogs, etc for sale as well.

Will Neptune was demonstrating making tapered sliding dovetails for case work.  Very interesting work and an excellent teacher.  I’m going to have to take one of his classes someday.

The Central CT Woodturner’s Guild was also there demonstrating.  One boy was mesmerized by the bowl work done by this turner.  There is something fascinating about demonstrations like these–you see a hunk of wood become a recognizable bowl in a matter of tens of minutes.  Great stuff.

Lie-Nielsen, as always, had their tools available for test-runs or just oogling.  I got to talk with the LN rep who turned out to be the head pattern maker for the tools.  So every LN tool I own (save the back saws I’d guess) started with the patterns he created.  What a thrill.

And of course, the student’s work section.  I didn’t put anything in this year as I didn’t really have any great projects, just practice work for the most part.

The CT Historical Society also had a couple of chairs and a small table.  They had a flyer for an upcoming event in October, ATTIC, Antique Tools and Trades In Connecticut.  I hadn’t heard of the group before, but it might be interesting to attend.

Here’s a picture of the flyer I grabbed, just in case you couldn’t attend the Open House and might want to go:

All in all a fun weekend activity.  I ran into a few former classmates from previous classes, and it was nice to see them and find out what they are up to.  I brought my “Moldings in Practice” book just in case Matt Bickford attended, but I didn’t see him.  Last open house he had a demo table along with planes people could test out, and his basket-full of molding examples.

Upcoming: Traditional Crafts CT Hist Society

I’ve been in a bit of a woodworking funk lately and not much up to making shavings, chopping mortises, turning or anything else for that matter.  I did sharpen a hatchet.  I’m sure it happens to the most prolific woodworkers.  But coming up this weekend will be an event I hope will ‘juice’ up my woodworking.  At the CT Historical Society in Hartford (1 Elizabeth St) this Saturday from 10-3, they’ll have some live demonstrators of traditional crafts.  Of course woodworking is included, but I also will be interested to see the basket weaving (I missed that major in college) and tin punching.  Perhaps if they have this next year, I’ll be adept enough at the spring-pole lathe to demonstrate.

And a nice bonus: there will be free admission to the museum.  I’ll be interested to see the entries from “A Tradition of Craft” exhibit.  Have camera, will travel, then file a report here.

A short video on the event at ctnow.com.