Eat, Polish, Carve, Drink

We have slots open in four upcoming classes at Covington Mechanicals – what we call the not-a-school at Lost Art Press, 837 Willard Street, Covington, Ky. And it really is not a school; next year will seem a lot less as if it were, as we’ll be offering only a few classes. So now’s your chance.

In order, those Covington classes are:

Eating Spoon Master Class with JoJo Wood
June 18-19

The perfect eating spoon should be a balance of smooth aesthetic, and function. It should feel great in both hand and mouth, carrying food comfortably without any spills. JoJo’s spoons are at the top of their game, performing exceptionally and looking beautiful. In this course she will teach her technique for bringing out the best spoon from each piece of wood, with all her tips and tricks from years of carving.
This two-day course is aimed at people who have carved and would like to push it through to the next level.

French Polishing with Derek Jones
July 11-12

Despite the fact that we’ve all heard of “French polish,” it’s amazing to think that very few of us actually know what it is and how to do it. It has a reputation for being difficult to master, time consuming and not nearly as robust as some other finishes. Here’s the bottom line. None of the above is true. Sure, you’ll need to keep your wits about you when you’re doing it but if time spent taking care of the details is wasted time then just maybe it’s time to find another hobby. The fact is, a perfect shellac finish will be touch dry while the first coat of oil is still attracting bugs and dust. And as for fragile, don’t you believe it!

In this two-day course you’ll mix your own shellac polish from flakes and create your own blend of wax polish from raw materials. You’ll learn to assess and manipulate the colour temperature of a project, disguise undesirable features or faults in the timber and mask repairs. You will be supplied with enough materials to make approximately 250ml of Dewaxed Blonde Shellac polish. We will use approximately 100ml during the course so the rest is yours to take home and practice with. Your sample polishing boards will be two pieces of mahogany approximately 450 x 250 x 25mm. They are also yours to take home.

Make a Carved Oak Box with Peter Follansbee
July 29-Aug. 2

Explore the construction techniques and decorative carving styles of oak boxes made in New England during the 17th century. Using quartersawn red oak and white pine, we’ll size the materials, cut rabbets to join the corners and fasten them with square wooden pins. Fitted inside the box is a lidded compartment called a till. The white pine bottom is attached with hand-made iron nails. The lid, also white pine, opens on a wooden pintle & cleat hinge.

Much of the focus is learning the carving style. Using about a half-dozen different gouges and simple layout tools including an awl, square, compass and marking gauge, we’ll go through numerous patterns in practice sessions prior to carving the actual box. We’ll study reference photographs of period carvings, learning how to lay out and cut them based on the tools and some basic geometry.

No experience necessary. Some basic tools required; a list will be sent to participants. (Follansbee will have some extra carving tools for students’ use.)

Build a Wall Cabinet with Anne Briggs (aka Anne of All trades)
Oct. 7-11

Build a Whiskey Cabinet (or toy collection display or toilet paper cabinet – you can use it for anything really) as you refine your dovetailing abilities, cut dados, make a frame-and-panel door, install hinges and drive square-shanked nails.

The cabinets will be made of cherry and if time allows, a hand rubbed oil finish will be added. Note: The “Proud” style dovetails seen in the photo will only be an option for more advanced students since they add several degrees of complication to the project, as will the middle stile in the door assembly. Less experienced students should plan for a single door panel and flush dovetail assemblies.


Chip Carving with Daniel Clay
Oct. 19-20

In this two-day class, students will receive comprehensive instruction in the fundamentals of chip carving, a decorative technique in which faceted “chips” are removed from a wooden surface to produce geometric patterns, stylized images, lettering and ornamentation. Through demonstrations, guided practice, skill-building exercises, and the completion of a decorative wall hanging, students will leave class with all the knowledge, experience and confidence to pursue chip carving on their own. One of the most attractive aspects of chip carving (especially for beginning woodcarvers) is that it can be accomplished at a high level with minimal tools and materials; all you need to become a great chip carver is a sharp knife, some suitable wood and a little practice.

And I still have room in two of my classes elsewhere:

Build a Dutch Tool Chest
June 24-28, Port Townsend School of Woodworking

With dovetails only at the bottom, this chest is less of a dovetail death march than a full-size ATC, and it teaches more joinery lessons. The basic shell goes together in two (long) days…or three more relaxed days. Then, we’re going to dress it up both for good looks and longevity by making a top with breadboard ends and a hand-tool-cut fingernail moulding, as well as a hand-raised panel on the fall front and a hand-cut tongue-and-groove back. Time allowing, we’ll use casein-based milk paint to add color, and while that dries, kit out the interior to store chisels, panel saws, planes, layout tools and more – all the core furniture-making tools. Finally, we’ll install the hinges and lifts. While our goal is to complete this chest in five-days, it is likely that will be challenging.

The skills that you learn – dovetails, dados, rabbets, cut-nail joinery, breadboards, mouldings (along with rules for carcase construction) – will serve you well for all your projects to come. 

Four Hand Tool Corner Joints
July 20-21, Lie-Nielsen Toolworks

While there are myriad joints suitable for boxes and drawers, four of the most common for hand-tool woodworkers are a simple rabbeted and nailed joint (perfect for workaday pieces such as tool chest tills and kitchen drawers), a finger joint nailed with decorative iron (a nice touch when you want a relatively quick but handsome look), through dovetails (for the ultimate in joint strength) and half-blind dovetails (the classic drawer-front joint). In this two-day class, students will learn layout and techniques to cut each, using a small kit of hand tools.

About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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1 Response to Eat, Polish, Carve, Drink

  1. Great job, Your wood design looking nice

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