The Perfect Edge is… Essential!

This just in from Megan Fitzpatrick at the Popular Woodworking Editor’s Blog:

Furniture & Cabinetmaking magazine has in its winter 2012 issue honored Ron Hock’s “The Perfect Edge” (Popular Woodworking) and Christopher Schwarz’s “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” (Lost Art Press), as well as Robert Wearing’s “The Essential Woodworker” (Lost Art Press), for which Chris is the editor and publisher.

Also on the list of 12 titles are such luminaries as James Krenov and Charles Hayward; Ron and Chris are in excellent company.”

My thanks to the editors at Furniture & Cabinetmaking and Popular Woodworking Magazine. And thanks, Megan, for the shout out.

NYC Trip Report, Part 3

Linda and Joel study the Nakashima table (that you can actually sit at and touch and everything!)

The day after our Makeville Studio spokeshave workshop Linda, Joel and I visited the Metropolitan Museum in Manhattan. The Met is so large, the collection so vast that it defies description. Joel grew up nearby so this was one of his playgrounds. He led our tour of the various galleries and collections, particularly the ones with all the furniture.

Really nice furniture

But there was one table that we couldn’t figure out.

Three hinged tops?

Two leafs, simple: pull the table out from the wall, extend the extra leg that’s hiding behind, flip the top leaf over to double the table top surface and deal the cards. But three leaves?

Hinges on each leaf

Joel thinks you can swap out tops for different game boards (checkers or backgammon, perhaps). I decided that the middle leaf would just stick up to form a barricade between the two sides for playing battleship. We asked the guards but they had no idea. They did keep an eagle eye on us, though, because they sensed that we were that close to opening that sucker up. I asked Linda to create a diversion but Joel stopped us from going through with it. He hates handcuffs, apparently. Maybe something from his past. Anyway, does anyone out there know about these and how they work and what they’re for and and?

Anyway we saw remarkable things, many many remarkable things, and I doubt we saw a small fraction of the collection. Just amazing. Highly recommended.

Carved Balustraude — Joel’s learning to carve and spent some time gazing at this wonder
Incredible marquetry behind the two hams

Cloudy but warm; a walk-in-the-park day — which we did.

Central Park in late October
In Alice’s lap — Joel commented on how much easier it is to climb up there than it was when he was a kid

It was a great day in New York. One I’ll remember.

NYC Trip Report, Part 2

I was going to post these in more or less chronological order but decided this needed to be said sooner. As you must know by now Super Storm Sandy devastated a huge portion of our continent last week. Many thousands of people lost their homes and businesses, and some their lives. I join the legions of those asking for you to help in any way you can. I found this article from the Christian Science Monitor that lists nine relief agencies that are on the scene in devastated areas that need your donation. Please give what you can. Oh, and there’s another nasty storm on track to land today (I’m writing this Wednesday morning) so get generous. They need us.

I wrote all that first because, truth told, our hurricane experience was so boring that you may not read to the end of this post.

Linda’s at the door of our 1894 brownstone inn in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Here’s how Sandy blew for us. I got an email from Virgin America on Sunday that our flight to SFO for Tuesday was cancelled in anticipation of the storm’s arrival. When I finally got through on the phone (a three-hour wait time was announced but it was only about an hour and half) they said it wasn’t cancelled. So we were breathing easier until official announcements that JFK would be closed and our flight was really and truly cancelled. Another hour on hold and we were able to rebook for Friday (assuming the airport would be open by then). Our inn was happy to extend our stay, we picked up a few easy-to-cook things at the local market and hunkered down for our first hurricane.

We live in Fort Bragg, California — a lovely little town on the northern coast. We get a couple of respectable storms every year with winds as high as 75 miles an hour. Turns out, Sandy, for us anyway, was not much different than one of those. The wind blew noisy gusts and some rain fell. But not that much. We were never without power, water, TV, internet or cell phone reception. Except for the lack of transportation it was business as usual as we kept up with friends, business, etc., in spite of the damage to the west of us and in the low-lying areas that got inundated by the storm surge. I told you this would be boring. We  walked the ‘hood a bit, ate some tasty Caribbean food, and Wednesday even ventured on foot to the Brooklyn Museum which we had pretty much to ourselves. Thursday we caught a cab to downtown Brooklyn, visited the very cool NYC Transit Museum and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Brooklyn Bridge from the eponymous park. That’s Freedom Tower, left, in the distance.

We had arraigned for a ride to JFK when we extended our stay. Turned out to be a very good idea as our driver, planning ahead for us, saved enough gas for the trip (the lines for gasoline appeared infinitely long). We arrived home to unusually warm, sunny weather after an uneventful flight and drive.

I consider our trip to New York to be a rousing success. We accomplished all we set out to do and had to endure nothing more than some “enforced down time”. So many others in the area had, and are having, not such a great time. Let’s all do what we can to help them out.

NYC Trip Report, Part 1

As promised in a previous post, Linda and I flew to New York City two weeks ago for a spokeshave-making workshop and plane tuning clinic at Makeville Studio in Brooklyn. I apologize for taking so long to tell you about it but I have a good excuse. Yes, hurricane Sandy delayed our departure by three days but I’ll write more about that experience in a subsequent post. We had a number of things planned, woodworking-related, family-related and just plain fun in New York-related. We managed to accomplish pretty much our whole itinerary before the storm had us under house arrest in Brooklyn for three unscheduled days. In spite of that inconvenience, it was a great trip.

Candice and Joel at Makeville Studio
That’s me making sharpening fun for all

The workshop and clinic were a great success, judging by the attendance and general lively ambiance during both. They happened simultaneously so I was busy bouncing back and forth from one session to the other. I’m ever so grateful to Joel Moskowitz of Tools for Working Wood (co-sponsor of the events), Annie Raso of Makeville Studio, Candice Groenke and Linda for all their hard work helping out. We managed to build 15 or so spokeshaves, all of which worked beautifully, and we tuned and at least partially rehabbed a number of vintage planes — most of which also worked beautifully after we beat them into submission. Some just needed a new blade and an adjustment. Others needed a bit more sweat equity before they started making wispy shavings.That evening I gave a short talk, answered some good questions about steel and such, while the last of the shaves were finished up.Then the Tools for Working Wood gang took us out for a great dinner at Bar Tano and then down the street for a nightcap at Lucey’s Lounge, the best bar, with the most energetic and creative bartender, ever. Thanks to all for a great afternoon and evening!

Next post: Linda and Ron (and everyone else on the eastern seaboard) hunker down for the storm of the century.