Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Class Schedule for 2016

First of all I want to say I'm still here.........lots of you asked about blog entries and I look forward to getting back to more writing. I have a friend working on a new website for me which will update some much needed information. I have been posting lots of pictures on Insta Gram since my last blog entry.
 I'm glad to say I have finally put together a class schedule for windsor chairs for next summer 2016. Each class can have up to 4 students. Lunch is provided each day and the price of the class includes all materials. Some chairs can be made as a rocker but I will need to know ahead of time to turn the correct legs. All turnings will be provided. Thanks for following and I hope to see you in class next year.

Monday, April 20, 2015


Sorry for the lack of posts latley. I have been busy with classes and chair orders. I hope to meet a lot of you at Handworks in Amana, Iowa next month. I plan to have turning sets available for purchase and some miniature windsors. I also plan to demo some seat carving and other greenwood chairmaking activities. Please join me in the greenwood barn.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Fan Back Class in June

I have 2 openings for the June 22-27th 2015 Fan Back class.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Roof.....and more

I finally put a finished roof on the little shed before winter set in. I wanted to do a split shake roof but time did not allow. It has been almost a year open to the weather so I needed a roof quick and with all the teaching and chairs to make this will have to do. This is usually my life. Not enough time but I have fun.
 The first step was black tar paper to cover the rough sawn boards. This keeps you from seeing the foam insulation between the boards on the inside. Then the 2'' insulation goes on and then plywood.
 Another layer of tar paper then the asphalt shingles go on.
 Earlier in the fall I went to Marc Adams school in Indianapolis to teach a weekend live edge bench class. This is a two day class which was lots of fun.
 My son Logan came along to be my assistant. He loves working with people and talking to the students. His favorite thing all weekend was probably the hamburger at The Oak and Barrel. That boy loves to eat!
 One guy had to leave early and finished his bench on Saturday. I think he had to go to a Colts game.
 I brought the turnings but the students drilled, reamed and installed the undercarriage. Sounds simple but a lot is learned about the lower end of Windsors. I plan to add some of these weekend classes this year at my shop.
Back home in the shop I got to build a rocker for Bob Britton, a friend of George Gruhns. Another great customer who I had the pleasure to meet. I have many more chairs to make in the near future.
 Recently I had Travis Curtis here build a sack back rocker. I make this a 6 day class but Travis completed the chair in 5 days. Not bad for his first chair. He came back on day 6 to paint the chair. This was a first for Pennington Windsor Chairs. I have the best students.
 I'll be taking a short break from teaching to get caught up on the 30 or so chairs I have been commissioned to build for several customers. Winter has been very busy so far but I love the work.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Place for Blankets

 My dear friends Ziggy and April have returned back home to Berea, Kentucky tonight. Although the shop is quiet and lonely now I can't help but smile when I think of what we accomplished the last few weeks. A shaker blanket chest is no easy project even for the seasoned woodworker. Ziggy and April with their never ending energy made this look easy and they have never cut dovetails before. I knew what they were capable of so when Ziggy asked if they could make one I did not hesitate. So they went to work breaking down boards of beautiful wide curly cherry. 

 I always cut pins first but I showed them how to cut tails first. I think for wide case pieces this just seems better. Ziggy would saw and cut one end and April would do the other.
 There is a lot of dovetails on a blanket chest. Ziggy made fast accurate work with the western style dovetail saw.
 I was really impressed with their work and how accurate they were. I still don't know who did a better job but who am I to judge.
 The glue up of the case went well. Lots of hyde glue and constant motion.
 Lots of clamps and a dead blow hammer found the case bound together for eternity.
 April tuning up the tenons on the top for the bread board ends. We had a discussion why they call them "bread board ends" does anyone know this? We did not.
 Fits like a glove. No glue on this puppy. Seasonal wood movement must take place here. Pegs only.
 More dovetails on the drawer. What great practice with all these dovetails. Can you imagine how fast the shakers could chop these out? Do you think they enjoyed it as much as we do now?
 April fitting the moulding around the base. This is the only embellishment on the whole piece but it does a lot to bring it all together.
 Ziggy could not wait to oil the case even if it meant smelling the oil all the way back home. I'm so glad he did because what a treat to see the grain come alive. We used the linseed, varnish, thinner mixture that I use on my chairs.
 Rubbing out the final coat.
 April turned a couple of knobs while the oil was going on. These are mounted to the drawer with a 3/8'' tenon split and wedged through the back.
 Red cedar lines the bottom of inside the case. Love the smell of cedar. No oil in here.
 If this doesn't fire you up to make a blanket chest then I can't help you.
 This is cherry at its best.
 This is Ziggy and April at their best. I am so proud of them and what they were able to accomplish.
 I almost forgot to mention that April finished her spinning wheel and is ready to spin some wool. I meant to get a video of it in action but time ran out. Can't wait for those socks!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Heart of Music City

The last couple of weeks have been very exciting here in the shop. My friends from Berea, Ky. April and Ziggy have been staying with me along with a very talented friend of theirs. If you recall last year April built a spinning wheel. More on that later. First I'd like you to meet Jacob. He built the banjo that he's playing below. This is not a kit but a high end banjo built from scratch. Not only that but he built two banjos.
 I quickly learned that Jacob is a rare and talented individual. These were his first banjos and watching them come together was a great treat. I learned a great deal about how intricate and perfect everything must be for a banjo to be born.
 He used some nice maple burl on the top. He sawed and dried it himself. Aircraft aluminum is imbedded into the neck for strength. Everything must be aligned perfectly.
 Not only a true luthier, Jacob is an accomplished violinist as well as a timber framer.
 He lapped the body to the neck using sandpaper wrapped on the body. Did I mention alignment is critical.
 After the frets are pressed in and filed, the bridges are contructed. Lots of custom shaping by hand.
 Towards the end of the week and the banjo is ready for strings. Oh how we have all waited for this moment.
 Here is Jacob playing his first banjo and it sounded really great. I was truly honored to host such an incredible feat. This was a first for us here at "Around the Shop"

Friday, December 5, 2014

2015 Class Schedule

 Classes are coming along but have not sold out so I thought I would post this again. Look for weekend  live edge bench classes later 2015. Also don't forget to come see me at "Handworks" in Amana, Iowa in May. I will also be teaching at Kelly Mehler School of Woodworking in June.

Here are the classes scheduled for 2015. All classes include materials and lunch everyday. A tool list will be supplied to you when you sign up for a class. The turnings will be supplied but instruction on turning will be given in class. I can have up to 4 students per class. I may add some weekend classes in the near future on stools and benches.

Jan. 12-17    Sack back $1000

Feb. 9-14 Continuous arm $1000

March 2-7 Comb back $1000

April 6-11 Sack back $1000

July 27-31 Fan back $1000

Aug 10-15 Continuous arm $1000

Sept. 14-19 Comb back rocker $1200

Oct. 12-16 Hoop back $1000

Nov. 7-14 Writing arm $1650

Dec. 7th-12th Sack Back $1000