Monday, August 31, 2009

from Marc Adams class

Leonard James, one of my students from Marc Adams School sent me a CD of images from my Decorative Box Making class including this one of my Gifkins Jig Dovetail demonstration. A number of my students made boxes using the jig. The photo below is the miter sled that Leonard made when he got home, customized and refined over my basic model. Nice "T" track for the stop block and the hold down clamp is a great safety feature.

turned dowels

Reader Hal sent the photo of his box with dowels turned using the drill press... presenting an interesting variation of my boxes from Basic Box Making.

Friday, August 28, 2009


I have been hearing from my students from Marc Adams School, and it is a delight for me to know that what I have shared has been meaningful and of use. The following is a note from Rick, edited slightly for length:
I was in your box class and as the saying goes, "the jigs alone were worth the price of admission." My family and friends will be the first to tell you that I am very critical of my work, I see things that 99 percent of the population would never notice or see. Since coming home from the class, I have built most of the jigs we saw in the class. In the past I was frustrated because after reading many articles on how to build cut-off jigs or trying to cut mitered corners, it never seemed to work out. After your class I came home and made the jigs and they came out great. I can cut miters with confidence and my boxes come together with precision like never before. Even I am pleased with the results and my wife will tell you that I am never pleased. Just the other day I made a small box out of white oak that came from the hand rails at work before they remodeled the floor and I gave it to my boss. It was white oak with a walnut top and walnut keys. He was absolutely blown away, and kept asking how I did this or how did I do that. Thanks again for a great class.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Interior Architecture for Box Making

Today I demonstrated linings, dividers and the making of drawers along with general discussion of materials, techniques and designs. I had demonstrated making regular dividers in the class last week, so these were cut at an interesting angle, forming diamond shaped compartments.

In a nearby room, Alan Lacer was teaching a parent/child woodworking class. Many of the kids and parents had never been at a lathe before. It was a good introduction to creativity in wood. Let's hope some of it sticks.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Day five at Marc Adams

Today we finished my box making class at Marc Adams and tomorrow I have 19 students for my class on interior architecture. It is called "thinking inside the box." Or is it? Maybe we will have outside the box thinking and design for inside the box. In the photos below, my students will recognize some of their wonderful boxes.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Day three at Marc Adams

Today at Marc Adams School in my box making class, we began installing hinges, making inlay and I demonstrated the Gifkins jig. All the students are making interesting boxes and some are also making jigs from scrap plywood so they can continue using some of the same techniques when they get home.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

day two box making at Marc Adams

Today, students were continuing to make boxes. Some were box joints made using the box joint sled we made yesterday. Some boxes were mitered and students used my hidden spline jig to cut hidden spline slots. Other boxes will be made with keyed miter joints. One student asked whether we would all be making exactly the same kind of box, but in my classes, students make and learn what they want. We have a wonderful staff at Marc Adams School, staff with whom I have worked for several years past. So together we make a very fine learning team and it doesn't seem that any students are left without assistance when needed. I think one improvement over years past is that I introduced two joinery techniques at the beginning so we managed to avoid very much waiting in line for the first boxes to be made.

Tomorrow we will learn how to install hinges, how to make inlay, and add one more simple joinery technique. Later in the week you will see finished boxes.

Monday, August 3, 2009

First day of box making

Today in my box making class at Marc Adams we had a very long but interesting discussion on design, then began making sleds, and cutting miters and box joints. What a great start for a 5 day class.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

ready for class

I am settled in at Jamison Inn in Indiana and ready for my first day of class at Marc Adams School. Check in over the next few days to meet my students and see our progress.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

interior architecture

Boxmaking is such a wonderful way to learn woodworking. I leave for Marc Adams School of Woodworking in an hour or so, and am packing up boxes to use in illustrating box design. I've found that providing concrete examples also gives starting point for discussion. My box making class will be very much like the others I've offered at Marc Adams, in that each class is actually unique... shaped nearly as much by my students as by me. From moment one, there are relationships to form, discussions to take place, and my students offer a great deal of encouragement to each other. It is a week I look forward to.

Then on Saturday, I teach a new class on interior architecture, about what happens on the insides of boxes. I am taking along a variety of examples to illustrate possible starting points for exploration. One is my "reliquary of wood" shown in the photo above. It was the grand prize winner, "Best of Show" at the Springfield Art Museum's 4 state regional exhibit, MOAK a number of years ago, and was also featured in my second book, Simply Beautiful Boxes.