Not everyone has the gift of "vision". It is one of those attributes that comes from true artistry and there have been many in the past who had ideas and visions of what they wanted to accomplish and some have become well know names like Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles and Henry Greene, Gustav Stickely, Thomas Molesworth, George Nakashima, Harvey Ellis and many many more.
Today, we have even more exceptional woodworkers with a flare for new and innovative ideas and once in a while we get a chance to see some of their creations and modifications all in one place. Such was the that at the recent One Tree Exhibit hosted by the Robert Bateman Centre in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and in association with Live Edge Design. Robert Bateman of course is know world wide for is exceptional paintings, so who better to show of the works of fellow artist woodworkers.
The whole concept of the One Tree Exhibit was based on the concept that all the artists would use the one from the same tree. In this case, a big old Broadleaf Maple that had died some time ago which left portions of it spalted, some figured ...
I have always loved the technology of music. All the different musical instruments. It is so diverse yet always resulting in the same medium ... music, the common thread. I do have some experience in playing an instrument and some experience in making stringed instruments so I do understand what goes into making guitars. Never having been to a commercial electric guitar factory, I was intrigued to see what technologies they used and how much had work is still done.
Fast Guitars is commercial, electric guitar manufacturer ... BUT they recently began offering an amazing line-up of guitar components to everyone through their website. They do NOT currently have a showroom. If you are interested in putting together your own custom guitar, check out their website to see what they offer.
My goal was to make a video of the end to end process of guitar making for everyone to watch, enjoy and learn from. Kevin, was more than obliging and took me first to where the blanks are stored and "seasoned". What that means is all the blanks that will become guitar bodies, necks and fingerboards are weighed and labeled and allowed to acclimatize so there will be a little wood movement as possible. Basically a process of stabilizing the wood as much as possible. Even kiln dried wood needs to sit and acclimatize for a time to become stable.
I don't think there is anything more enjoyable than paying a visit to another woodworker ... except maybe paying a visit to 2 woodworkers. Not long ago I had the pleasure of visiting with a woodworking couple, both of whom are amazing woodworkers and between them have a wealth of knowledge. Cam Russell and Karen Trickett of Coventy Woodworks. To make it even more enjoyable I got to see their new woodworking shop, which has been, I believe about 3 years in the making, and worth every second. This is easily a "Dream Workshop" for most of us. The shop it'self is 24 feet wide and 32 feet long with a vaulted ceiling. At the apex of the ceiling there is another open area where you can open windows that helps to create a natural draft on hot summer days and keep the workshop cool to work in.
They have brought together some great tools that most of us would love to have. A large Powermatic Table Saw, a Makita Sliding Mitre with what looks like a 10 or 12 foot work bench for long pieces of wood. And then their is the Minmax combination 12" helical head, jointer/planer, and the list goes on ...
From time to time there are people who come along with such innovative ideas that without even trying, they have the ability to change industries. Maybe not wholesale changes, but subtle changes. Some of those people are of course, George Nakashima, Sam Maloof, Gustav Stickley, the Greene brothers, and Thomas Molesworth to name only a few. These people had different ideas and designs that people liked, were somewhat different that what woodworkers were doing, and for various reasons they influenced the industry to a degree. I believe the same can be said about Judson Beaumont. As woodworkers, we think of him as a woodworker, but like other famous woodworkers, he's really and an artist working in wood because he has a vision for creating things that are unique and appealing.
I had the pleasure of visiting his workshop some time ago and to see how the production is done and to get some insights into how the creative process works with him. I had the pleasure of seeing him speak ...
There are lots of places where you can buy doors, but there are NOT lots of places where you can buy custom designed and custom built doors. It takes a special person who not only has an artistic flare, but also vision for what a finished door or other wood project should look like and then ... have the skills, the determination and the patience to bring it all together. This is what I call a true woodworking artist and such is Arnim Rodeck. When you first meet Arnim you wonder how on earth, someone of his small stature can maneuver such larger timbers on that massive work table he builds these large doors, fireplace mantels and other projects on. Many of the doors he builds occupy 12 foot wide spaces and of course are 7 or 8 feet tall, and some even taller.
If you have ever had the pleasure of making a door, you will understand how important it is that all the parts fit together precisely. Then, remember that in many cases these doors are shipped hundreds or even thousands of miles away and often need to be installed by local finishing carpenters, so all this needs to be taken into account.
There is nothing more outstanding than when you approach a house and the door you are going to enter the house through, literally takes your breath away. It is very majestic to have a front entrance door that not only reflects the environment the house has been built in, but also the unique tastes of the owner. That is the kind of art that Arnim creates. If the house is built in the mountains, those mountains with their wildlife will be reflected in the door, if the house is on lake, river or ocean, then those features will be artistically used to create the door.
All that is on the artistic side, but if you are a woodworker, you are even more impressed with the joinery and the detail of how the door is made. How the 12 foot curved pieces are all finely laminated and glued together so that they look like one solid arched beam. The custom weather stripping slots that are built into a custom insulated doors that he has designed, that help to make the door solid, environmentally friendly and able to last at least as long as the house itself while maintaining the strength and wear and tear that all doors need to be able to withstand.
We often don't get the opportunity to see "behind the scenes" tours of businesses that we deal with on a regular basis, but today, we are making an exception. We have not only a behind the scenes look, but and actual guided tour of a bit and blade sharpening business called "The Edge". We get to see what the machinery looks like that sharpens our bits and blades and how it is use.
In this video you will get to see a variety of sharpening machinery and tools and in some cases we will get to see how they work and what they do. Our tour guide is sharpening expert and The Edge Owner, Tom Saxby, who has a remarkable sense of what it takes to provide sharp blades for specific needs at competitive prices. In this video we will get to see what a spiral sharpening machine looks like and how it work, we will see how blade sharpening machine for jointer planers works and including a variety of blade sharpening machinery.
There are two very fascinating machines that are particularly interesting. One is the CNC saw blade sharpener the other is a machine that actually makes shaper type blades.