Finding green wood

Green wood is everywhere. In fact, dry wood doesn’t usually exist in nature: trees are veritable pipes full of water and once they die the rotting process is fed by water. Yet finding green wood can be a daunting task for many modern woodworkers. Where to look?

Forest-Grown Oak

Forest-Grown Oak

What kind of wood do you need? Different project require different kinds of wood. Spoons, bowls, and other food related projects are best made from tight-grained species that won’t absorb much food. They can often be made from branches and other small piece of wood that would otherwise go to waste. Chairs and riven chests need species that are strong and rive predictably: ring-porous hardwoods like oak and ash. Because the parts need to be long and straight, the logs need to be big and of the highest quality. Read more ›

Posted in Chairmaking Tools and Supplies, How-To

Curtis’s Cradle

In June, Curtis became a grandfather. Since I’ve known him, he has wanted to build a version of one of the cradles in Santore’s book. He finally got the chance and what a beauty it is:

cradle Read more ›

Posted in Craft Films

Milk Paint DVD

My Popular Woodworking Milk Paint DVD has just come out.  While many paints hide the wood’s subtle surface quality or create a plastic looking finish, milk paint is an incredibly thin, natural-looking paint that allows every pore of the wood and every tool mark to shine.

The heart of this video is what I learned from Curtis Buchanan when I apprenticed with him: how to paint a black-over-red paint job (or other multi-colored paint surface). But I also did a lot of research for this video, learning how to make a viscosity measuring cup from a Pepsi bottle, how to make milk paint from scratch, trying different brands of paint and different painting techniques. I also explain how to identify fake milk paint, how to mix the paint, different brushing techniques, how to burnish the paint and apply a protective top coat, among other things.

Read more ›

Posted in Chairmaking Tools and Supplies, Craft Films, Finishing

Comb Back Rocker Class

I have added a Comb Back Rocker class to my schedule, May 14-19, 2018.  It is open to returning students only, since the spindles and bends will have to be made at home. This is the first time I have taught this chair in a group setting and I think it will be a fun class. More info on my teaching page.

Posted in Classes

Chair Stories: The Hardwood Forest

I first heard it today, as I was turning legs for a set of four Loop Back side chairs. The lathe is all you hear when it’s running. Yet each time I turned it off, the sound was closer. Finally, I looked up from my lathe. There the beast was, along the back side of my property line, eating trees like so many match-sticks. A mechanical tree harvester.

As a kid in the woods, I’d seen them before. It mesmerized me: two huge arms grabbing a tall oak in a bear hug. The huge circular saw cuts the tree, then carries it around vertically like some oversized Christmas Tree on a Macy’s float. Read more ›

Posted in Chair Stories

Subscribe to Elia’s Blog

711 Subscribers

Elia on Instagram


If you enjoy this blog and would like to donate, click the link below. Thanks!