Saturday, November 22, 2008

Woodworking in America Conference look

Woodworking in America was focused for a weekend in Berea, Kentucky, but the world was a part.

You'll find my coverage of the conference was more about the stories and thoughts outside the classroom and tried to get a look into who are today's woodworker's.

You'll also find short Skype video reports from the conference posted over at the Folding Rule Blog. A daily rehash of going's-on at the conference. All four posts are accessible from this link.

The strength of internet woodworking as witnessed by conference coverage by other bloggers, is well done, and can also be found using the above link. You will also find a few words from the basement shop as I had the opportuntiy to talk with Matt Vanderlist the very first woodworking podcaster and creator of Matts Basement Workshop.

One last was a pleasure meeting all of you "furnitologist's" and thank you for the many kind words.

Enjoy........ Neil

Formats available: Quicktime (.mov)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Silas Kopf ........a day in marquetry

So Gigi and I took a road trip to East Hampton, MA to visit the famed marquetuer Silas Kopf. The time went to fast.

Silas took us through the making of a tulip that I've weaved in and out of our discussions on what form follows,  materials, creativity,  to what gets you excited, and even touch on searching for what's next.

Silas takes us on a shop tour and introduces us to his right hand and cabinetmaker Tom Coughlin. He discusses a current cabinet in production and we hit on traveling to visit historical objects.

Silas has written a book titled A Marquetry Odyssey, that has a place in the woodworkers library and also the coffee table to enlighten those who visit.

Enjoy.......a podcast doesn't get much better than this!!

Formats available: Quicktime (.mov)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Justin DiPalma at the Wheaton Arts Craft Fair

So I met Justin DiPalma for the first time face to face in May 2008 in my kitchen. Our first introduction was through the internet and we decided to drive up to T-Chisel's shop in Boston for a woodworker's weekend together. A good friendship evolved. We talked woodworking and the direction of woodworking, his personal preferences to woodworking, dream pieces to build and then he mentioned a juried show he applied to. Justin hadn't heard if he'd been accepted yet. the 12 hour, the acceptance letter came. The BIG Hustle was on.

Under real tight time constraints, Justin met every objective including the completion of one of his dream pieces.......his interpretation of a Delaware Valley  Lowboy.

After observing Justin work in Boston and seeing his passion for the craft,   I had to see him in his first Craft Show.

Here's to Justin DiPalma.....stepp'in up a level.


Formats available: Quicktime (.mov)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wendell Castle Interview - Part 2

Here's the conclusion to our time with Wendell Castle. We dive in again and touch all aspects of his career. Starting where we left off at "Extreme" to how he uses the digital world in his work today. Wendell in passing even mentions the weak dollar and its effect on his building.

I hope you enjoy the conclusion as much as I enjoyed preparing us for Wendell Castle. 

Remember, Wendell Castle showed us how to look at furniture differently. So whether we are designing a Delaware Valley interpretation of Chippendale or entering the Design Process intent on a personal build..... look differently and move the target back!!!!!!


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wendell Castle Interview - Part 1

This is a very important interview for the furniture design and woodworking community as a whole with Wendell Castle.

Those of you who follow the blog are prepared for this interview. You have been exposed to his web site, gone through his design process, and I have built a piece inspired by Castle in stack and bent lamination, techniques that Castle brought to the forefront in pushing furniture design. This interview is the culmination of presenting to you, a very important figure in our craft.

We all know Maloof, Nakishima, and Carpenter, but it was Wendell Castle who pushed the boundaries of art and furniture. And one of the original 5 to open the Smithsonians', Renwick Gallery.

Enjoy part 1 of the interview, I'm excited to be with Wendell, and we go into areas other individuals wouldn't know how to get to.

Prior to our sit-down, Mr Castle menioned he didn't know the answers to many of my questions, but that's OK, lets just go somewhere. What a great opportunity this approach provided me and it played out to the max.

Enjoy.................. history will prove this interview to be very important.


Formats available: Quicktime (.mov)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Charles and Ray Eames US Postal Stamps

Hi everybody...........I'm on a roll, what a past 2 weeks. And now it ends with US Postal Service Commemorative Stamps all about the Eames.

Herman Miller, DJ DuPree, George Nelson, Noguchi.....we've been exposed to Eames and should surely appreciate this stamp.

I always buy a sheet to tuck in one of my woodworking text. Kinda fun finding it a few years down the road.

Pick up a sheet, if you're a follower of the blog you know the "Eames Team".


PS......editing now, look for a very special interview in the coming days. It's over the top.

Friday, May 23, 2008

My Design Process inspired by: a Wendell Castle Build

This is my entry into the Fine Woodworking Maple Build-off Challenge. Come along for a trip down my design process on this multi-functional piece of furniture.

Gigi calls it: "Morning Coffee and a Crossword" the piece is her crossword puzzle work station. Is the unit a lighting fixture? an end table? a magazine rack?, it's all three.

Learn more of Wendell Castle and investigate the genius of Achille Castiglioni.

And let me know what you think of this Wendell Castle inspired, functional sculpture.


Here's the Popular Woodworking Blog post seeking your work.

Formats available: Quicktime (.mov)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Build - Build - Build and inside the shop of a craftsman

This post intro's with a sound clip from the Chris Schwarz interview by Matt of Matts Basement Workshop. If you are a listener of the Basement Workshop, many of you will agree, that few just plan love the craft more than Matt.

I address and rededicate my passion for the Build and lead into a video produced for the Furniture Society Blog blogmaster David Richardson.

The video goes into the shop of David Ebner, where he graciously shares his craft in demonstartion. Mr Ebner will be a presenter at this years Furniture Society Conference.

Enjoy this post, it was fun to produce.

Formats available: Quicktime (.mov)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Design - in the Balance

The Element of Design.........Balance usually starts and ends in discussion with a piece having visual balance and structural balance.

Lets take the element of balance one step further in the Design process. A place where its never thought of.

Formats available: Quicktime (.mov)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Mollino, Wendell Castle and the Rough Cut Forum

So the motto over at the “Rough Cut Forum” is “less type-type, more chop-chop” and that’s meaningful to me. I’ve cleared some time, because I’ve been “chop-chop’in”.

When you are a builder, in our case in wood, each endeavor, demands laser beam focus. A bit of self evaluation has me noticing that I post more when my work is completed and I’m transitioning, a very good trait for a building woodworker. I get notes from the guys over in T-Mac’s Forum telling me to get “chop, chop’in” on Carlo.

Well yesterday, I put Carlo back in focus, along with a Wendell Castle inspired piece. The 2 pieces are in good phase right now, gluing-up on one and sculpting on the other is a nice mix. We’ll see alot of Carlo and peak-in on the Castle piece.

I’ve also taken on the nighttime challenge of being a part in the first that I know of, Furniture: Internet Classroom Blog Build.

Tommy MacDonald (AKA: Chizz, T-Chisel, T-Mac, Big-T) of Rough Cut Fame, with Al and a North Bennett Street School student, Eli Cleveland, have produced an internet woodworking podcast curriculum taking those interested through the building elements of the Federal Period. Yesterday we got our first look at the project, the forum, gives T-Mac a good chiseling and calls it the Crazy Leg table, but I see it as a great marketing tool. Which leg do you prefer?? Would you like satin wood or lace wood in the drawer front??? The bellflowers are an expensive option; would you like to include those????

T-Mac’s design has those building and those watching; making 4 different style legs’ of the Period, bellflower inlay, sand shading edges, making inlay banding, cockbeading and a top decorated with all kinds of inlay elements of the Federal Period. T-Mac’s thinking is that once the forum is exposed to the Federal Period, a Pembroke table, Demilune table and such, could be the next project. The project presentation will be geared towards evening shop time.

For those of you unaware, the Rough Cut forum is what I term, a “building or working forum”, not many posts show after 8am or before 6pm. That may change as the build gets underway. What I like about the forum is nobody tries to dominate knowing everybody on the forum is very knowledgeable and each woodworker has something to offer. After all the tag line is….. “a podcast for the serious woodworker”.

If you are interested in period furniture, or like me believe there is nothing wrong with “Mona Lisa’s Mustache” after all; I have done a Chippendale top in mica and metal and see value in mixing periods, jump into the Rough Cut Forum build or just watch the podcasts. There’s positive energy to feel and it should be interesting to be a part.

As for our blog…….. expect a lot of Carlo, peaks at my Castle inspired piece, an ICFF interview, and a visit into the shop of David Ebner who is presenting at this years Furniture Society Conference. That video is shot, I’m scheduled to shoot another Furniture Society player April 10th.

“less type-type……more chop-chop”………Neil

GO TO: Rough Cut Forum

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ep15 Carlo Mollino 06 Part 2

Here is part 2 of furniture designer, architect, Carlo Mollino and our interpretation of his bent plywood coffee table.

It's machining and shaping and thinking that keeps this Mollino piece a fun challenge to go after.

Between parts 1 and 2, we take Carlo's Plum Pudding and catch it up to Carlo's Birds-eye and the next step.

Enjoy........ I'm sure Carlo would be pleased.

Formats available: Quicktime (.mov)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ep15 Carlo Mollino 06 Part 1

Here is part one of laying out and shaping Carlo’s Plum Pudding. So many design elements to consider specific to the structural integrity of the Carlo Mollino coffee table and its ability to withstand the manufacturing process. In this episode we take the furniture design through the paces of machining and with minor safeguards and careful craftsmanship, the table, structurally takes the stress. The episode is loaded with design analysis of the piece and options to its final look.

Enjoy Part1 … Part 2 is right behind!!!

Formats available: Quicktime (.mov)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Fine Woodworking Book Review - Andy Rae

Here's a new twist to the offerings. We'll be reviewing a book published by the Taunton Press called Building Doors and Drawers: A Complete Guide to Design and Construction by Andy Rae.


One more loose end to pick up, Carlo is just around the corner.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

ICFF Hans Wegner and Knud Erik Hansen

January 26th 2007...... the Furniture Industry lost one of its Furniture Design Masters, Hans Wegner.

I had the opportunity to talk of Hans Wegner with Erik Hansen of Carl Hansen & Son a manufacturer of Hans Wegner's Designs.

Enjoy this interview and look further in thoughts of "Danish Modern", investigate the ethos of the Scandinavian woodworker.  There is do much to draw from.

Formats available: Quicktime (.mov)

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