01 Nov 2015

NBSS Week 7 – Turning a mallet, hand cutting a mortise and tenon, more chair design, a visit to a furniture auction, and a slight change in the blog

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With the start of this week I’m going to slightly revise my initial plan for the blog and the information I relate here. Up to this point the blog has served as a general summary of each week and the projects and content of our classes and lectures. It’s been a good way to review the week for myself but not quite the best way to relay useful information to you the reader. So with this week I’m going to change to content to less of a “week in review” and more a “what I learned this week”. So, let’s jump right in.

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18 Oct 2015

NBSS Week 6 – Drafting a tool box, making a marking gauge, an intro to chair design and cutting our first woodworking joint by hand

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This week began with a new drafting assignment. Our first two projects in the NBSS curriculum are building a shaker side table and then designing and building our own tool box. After having completed all of the other drafting assignments but not yet to the point where the class is ready to start with the shaker side table, I was allowed to start drafting my tool box. This process is relatively straightforward as we must design within the size and style parameters for the exercise. I have planned my toolbox to be 26” wide by 16” deep made out of cherry with a curly/quilted maple panel insert and knobs. The designing and drafting of the project took most of my spare time on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Read more

12 Oct 2015

NBSS Week 5 – More drafting & turning, wood preparation for a mallet, and I install a vice (oh and a quick visit by Tommy Mac!)

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I started off this week with more drafting! I spent a solid three days between last week and the first half of this week completing the Queen Ann slant top desk and then moved on to drafting our first Chair, a Chippendale Ladder back. I’m happy to say I finished it Friday morning and so I have now completed the 5 full-size drafting exercises, yeehaw!

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12 Oct 2015

NBSS Week 4 – Hand plane and chisel exercises + an intro to the lathe, new restaurants, and a card game called 45

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This week began with our first hand plane exercises. Everyone received a 12” long piece of 4/4 poplar in the rough and we were tasked with flattening and taking the board to final thickness with our newly tuned hand planes.

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29 Sep 2015

NBSS Week 3 – Hand plane tune-up, machine safety and large scale drafting…

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We started this week learning the fundamentals of tuning and using hand planes. Many of us had purchased older used planes last week at the MJD tool auction in Nashua, NH and many of those tools needed a bit of TLC to work properly. We focused specifically this week on our #4 smoothing planes. We learned first about the function and parts of the tool, and then we learned how to repair and tune those parts. My plane was a Stanley Bailey that I picked up for $25. Monday we worked on flattening the bottom (sole) of the plane.

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20 Sep 2015

NBSS Week 2 – Drafting, sharpening, a tool auction, oh my

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Week 2 began with a return to drafting. We have 20 woodworking joints to complete and then we move on to 5 full-scale drawings of furniture. As I’ve been talking to many current and former NBSS students, they have all recommended trying to complete the drafting drawings as quickly as possible so that you can start the building part of the program sooner. With that in mind my goal this week was to finish the woodworking joints, check!

 

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20 Sep 2015

North Bennet St. Week 1- Drafting and more drafting…..

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It’s here, I made it! Returning to school is a bit different later in life, but that same excitement/dread that you experience when you’re younger still happens. I packed up my backpack and my PB&J bag lunch, hopped on my bike and headed out to the North End of Boston for my first day.

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13 Sep 2015

A woodworking trip to Maine disguised as a vacation…

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It’s our last weekend with the car before giving it up for a year, how do you sell your wife on a woodworking trip to Maine? Disguise it as a real vacation! Not hard to do when it’s Mid-Coast Maine. So off we went, first to dinner at Mabel’s Lobster Claw in Kennebunkport (lobster day #1: check). We traveled on to Bar Harbor and Arcadia, and had a lobster enchilada at EL EL Frijoles (lobster day #2: check). But wait you say, what about the woodworking part of the trip? Sounds like pretty standard vacation stuff so far…

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13 Sep 2015

Sharpening redux… yet another opinion

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You’ve read it all before, so and so method is the best. Use this brand and your results will be faultless. I wanted to believe it every time. I bought the products thinking it would solve all of my sharpening woes, but they didn’t and you know why: technique. In short you have to be consistent in the way you present the tool at whatever angle to whatever tool sharpening product you have.

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13 Sep 2015

An internship sidetrip… the search for Heady Topper

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So while interning in Vermont this summer one of my Charlotte friends asked if I would try to pick up some Heady Topper beer for him. I said sure without realizing what that entailed. For those of you who don’t know, Heady Topper is an IPA that Beer Advocate rated one of the best beers in the world. The problem is that it is only distributed within a 100 mile radius of the brewery in Waterbury, VT. After doing a bit of research and realizing I would more than likely have to try a few places, I planned a route out that included Barre, Montpelier, Waitsfield, and Warren, and left on a beautiful Thursday afternoon (I know most of you are already shaking your heads). My first two stops in Barre were a no go, SOLD OUT.

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