Spoons with Follansbee & Reamer-Making Class

I’ve been looking forward to doing this class for a few months  – I first learned to carve a spoon properly in one of Peter’s classes and he is such a laid-back, entertaining fellow that the idea of teaching with him sounds like great fun.  We’ll carve a spoon similar to the one in the photo above, with Peter demonstrating the technique and me following along under Peter’s supervision.  Should be a hoot.

SPOON CARVING CLASS Pt. 1: HEWING THE BLANK January 9th, 1pm Eastern

SPOON CARVING CLASS Pt. 2: KNIFE WORK January 16th, 1pm Eastern

I first started making reamers about 15 years ago.  They were pretty bad back then, but I’ve made a few thousand reamers since and have learned quite a bit. I’ve wanted to write a reamer-making series on my blog for years, but technical writing is quite fussy work and I never quite got to it.  So I’m excited to be able to do it on video, where you can see what the heck is happening.  We’ll cover everything from making a blade from a piece of scrap steel to adding an adjustment screw, with lots of time spent on getting the reamer to cut well. I am also selling a reamer kit of the wood and metal you need to build a reamer to go a long with the class (but you can also scrounge the materials locally – we’ll talk about that during class).

MAKE A REAMER Pt. 1 with ELIA BIZZARRI January 23rd, 1pm Eastern

MAKE A REAMER Pt. 2 with ELIA BIZZARRI January 30th, 1pm Eastern

Here’s a few clips from the democratic chair series:

Kiln Construction and Drying Wood
Read more ›

Posted in Classes, Craft Films

Green Wood Source List: By You for You

Where do you get green wood? I get this question regularly and it’s a hard one to answer. Seth and I sell oak splits for chairs, but it’s not exactly cheap if you need a bunch of parts. My blog has general suggestions for where to look, but wouldn’t it be nice if there was a list of specific places to call near you. I hope this will become that list.

This is an online spreadsheet that anyone can edit. There’s spots for sources anywhere in the world. Add any sources you know about.   And spread the word to your green woodworking friends. Together we can make a valuable resource for green woodworkers. Thanks!

Green Wood Source List

Here’s a short clip from the Democratic Chair Series for your edification and entertainment:

Shaving Horse Geometry (how to get a good grip!)

Posted in Chairmaking Tools and Supplies, Classes, Craft Films, Kiln

Democratic Videos and Upcoming Online Classes

Peter Follansbee and I are planning on a few spoon carving classes in the new year, plus I’m hoping to do a series on making a chairmaking reamer. In the mean time, Curtis and I are doing the last two classes of the Democratic Chair series on October 5th and 12th (we might possibly add a class on the 19th if need be).:

BACK ASSEMBLY Dec. 5th, 2-4pm Eastern
We’ll bore crest mortises in the posts, tenon the crest, bore spindle mortises, then tenon and clean up the spindles. With any luck, we’ll have the chair fully assembled by the end of this class. Plus Q&A session.
MILK PAINT FINISH Dec. 12th, 2-4pm Eastern
We’ll talk about preparing the surface of the chair for paint, mixing and applying milk paint, bruch choices, rubbing the paint out to create a sheen, and top coat options. Plus Q&A session. (this is probably the last class of the Democratic Chair series, but there’s a chance we’ll need to add a class on Dec 19th to finish things up).

Here’s some clips from the first couple classes:

Posted in Classes, Craft Films

My First Chair

Lots of Antiques!

An 18th Century Sack Back

A whole set of loop backs, probably early 19th century. The bows are incredibly thin on these chairs – it’s amazing any of them survived this long.

My pride and joy. It’s pretty comfortable, despite it’s fairly flat seat and round arms.


Posted in Antique Chairs, Chair Stories

GreenBook: A Book List for Green Woodworkers

Bob Simmons put together this spreadsheet of Green Woodworking books.   Feel free to add your favorite books and edit however you see fit – this is truly a communal book list, by you for you.  Happy reading!


Posted in Chairmaking Tools and Supplies, How-To

A Urn and Democratic Class Schedule

It’s been a busy month for us.  My wife’s brother Gabe, who has been fighting cancer for nearly two years, took a turn in mid-September.  So we’ve been driving to Berea, KY every couple weeks to visit and help take care of him.  He died nine days ago.  Here’s a photo of him last summer shaving his beard as my wife Morgan holds the mirror and mama Rita takes the photo:

When Gabe asked me to make his urn, I showed him Follansbee boxes and dovetailed boxes, but Gabe wanted something I knew I couldn’t make by myself:  a mitered walnut box with maple splines.  Think of the precision required!  Yikes!

Kelly Mehler has been a friend of the family since before Gabe was born.  I shipped chair parts to his school back when Curtis Buchanan was teaching there, but I had only met him once.  Last weekend, I spent three afternoons with him in his shop building Gabe’s urn together.  Morgan just walked into the shop and took a picture of it:

I think it’s the most precise thing I’ve ever made in my live. It’s sitting on my hewing stump that I pulled out this afternoon, getting ready for Saturday’s Democratic class with Curtis.  Speaking of which, my schedule has firmed up so I booked a few more classes today:

After whittling the spindles and crest, we’ll bend the crest and talk about drying the parts. We may get into choosing and flattening the seat as time permits. Plus Q+A session

While our green parts dry, we’ll planing the seat and then bore boles for the legs and posts and start reaming the holes to fit. Plus Q+A session

CARVING THE SEAT Nov. 14th, 2-4pm Eastern
We’ll saw out the front of the seat with a bowsaw, then spend some time learning to use the inshave and start start carving the seat. Plus Q+A session

BEVELING THE SEAT Nov. 21st, 2-4pm Eastern
We’ll finish carving the top of the seat and start beveling the sides and underside of the seat with a drawknife. Plus Q+A session

The subject matter for each class is a guess – we’ll fit in as much as we can each class and keep going till we’re done. You can find more info and register for the classes (on a donation basis) on my website.


Posted in Classes

Spoon Carving Videos with Curtis Buchanan

Last weekend’s spoon carving class with Curtis was a blast. It was great to be able to teach with him and I learned a new way to carve a spoon. We’re busy figuring out how to get Curtis’s camera into his shop and buying lights for my shop before our Democratic Chair class series starts next month (get your order for parts in by Sunday). Here’s some clips from the class (the full video is available for donation on my website):

Steam Bending a Spoon Blank

Using a Drawknife to Carve a Spoon

A Hollow-Grinding Jig for Sloyd Knives

Posted in Classes, Craft Films Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Democratic Chair (and Spoons) with Curtis Buchanan

I’m super excited! I started an apprenticeship with Curtis Buchanan 18 years ago and I’ve been teaching chairmaking myself for 15 years, but we have never taught together – until now. We’re going to teach a series of 10-15 online classes on building Curtis’s Democratic chair and to start things off we’re going to do a spoon carving class.

We’re trying a new payment system this time. All classes are still paid for individually and cost $40 each, but if you can’t afford that you can donate whatever you want (well, it has to be at least $1). We don’t want anyone to be kept out because of money. You can also donate extra to help cover someone else’s tuition.

If you want to build this chair along with us, Seth and I are offering free shipping on a set of Democratic rivings and seat blank (the first time I’ve ever sold seats).  I’m also adding some one-on-one zoom classes in between the large classes in case you need extra help.

Visit the online classes page for more info and to register.


September 19th, 2-4pm
First we’ll whittle a blank, then boil it in a pot, bend it, then carve a serving spoon. We’ll talk about materials and tools as we go and we’ll laugh a lot.



Curtis Buchanan designed this chair to be an easily accessible project – it requires fewer tools to build than most Windsor chairs and allows for a wider variety of woods. Curtis will join me as a co-teacher for all of these classes.

STRETCHERS, POSTS AND LEGS October 10th, 2-4pm
We’ll talk about wood selection and how to split the parts out, then whittle as many parts as we have time for. And we’ll answer all your questions.

After whittling the spindles and crest, we’ll bend the crest and talk about drying the parts. We may get into choosing and flattening the seat as time permits. Plus Q+A session

More Democratic Chair classes at the end of October and in November.

Posted in Classes

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