Volume: 138
Issue: April - May 2012

Learn from the Masters

Story by Jerry Beutel

Guild members are always looking for educational opportunities.  Note the popularity of the Fall Seminar.  We also like small classes that allow getting in close to watch a demo and more one-on-one interaction with the instructor.

Aware of your interest in learning about woodworking tools, techniques and processes a few Guild members got together to see how to meet that demand.  In a meeting held at Al Frank's house three master woodworkers, Craig Johnson, Rich Gotz and Mark Laub offered to put on small group demo classes in their home workshops.  It was agreed that the classes would be held on Saturday mornings in the early spring and the cost would be a minimal $30 per person.  I volunteered to handle the administrative duties.

Craig taught a class on handcut dovetails, Rich on three way miter joints and Mark on inlay embellishments.  Our initial plan was to offer one session of each class, with 6-8 participants per class.  One day after the announcement went out it became apparent that demand was outstripping supply. Fortunately all three instructors were willing to run two sessions. That allowed everyone who requested one class to attend it, and almost everyone who wanted to attend 2 or 3 classes also got in.

The classes were held in February and March, and afterwards Mark, Craig and Rich received quite a bit of positive feedback.  Each instructor has also said they enjoyed the experience.  Discussions have started about a repeat performance.  The details could change, but something similar is being discussed.  Please let us know what you would be of interest to you.   Send your comments to Jerry Beutel.

I personally attended the Inlay Embellishment class and found it fascinating. It is always helpful for average woodworkers like myself to see inside someone else's shop and find out about the tools and techniques they use. And when that shop belongs to someone of Mark Laub's caliber there is an awful lot to learn.  My brain hit the full point way before Mark finished talking, but still the day after the class I was scouring Craigslist for a scrollsaw.  Darned if I didn't find one that was way better than what I need.  For better of worse, the excitement of trying some of the scrollsaw techniques Mark demonstrated overcame my usually tight pocketbook.  Now, I just need to practice, practice, practice.