Saturday, May 23, 2020


My newsletter, Number 10, Woodworking at home with kids  was sent out yesterday, as we finish our school year at the Clear Spring School.

I loaded my Building Small Cabinets DVD to my youtube channel:

I'm beginning preparations for a 3D design class for woodworkers to be presented online through the Eureka Springs School of the Arts. This will be my first online class and part of a series of classes presented online via Zoom due to the coronavirus pandemic and the dangers of disease transmission involved in gathering face to face. Due to it being online, you can enroll from anyplace in the world. The class will present information useful to all craft artists, with additional information specific to our favorite material, wood. Technical support will be offered for those new to Zoom.

The photo shows superheroes designed by my daughter Lucy and her fiancé Nick. Making superheroes is this week's project presented in newsletter number 10, with the materials provided to kids at the Clear Spring School.

Make, fix, create, and assist others in learning lifewise.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

chisel in one hand, mallet in the other.

It appears we are hurtling through space at an ever fast pace, too often ignoring the people and things that most directly surround us. It is time to take stock. Slow down, adjust to a reasonable pace that leaves room for forests, wildlife, notice of the loveliness of the natural world, the morning sunrise, and as the sun sets.
"Things men have made with wakened hands, and put soft life into are awake through years with transferred touch, and go on glowing for long years.And for this reason, some old things are lovely warm still with the life of forgotten men who made them." -- D.H. Lawrence
But you must slow down to notice those things.

The hands, better than the eyes, bring important things more clearly into focus. Holding a chisel in one and a mallet in the other, provides the means to shape wood. It also provides the means to hold something even more dear... the creative spirit that inhabited the makers of the long generations that preceded our own.

Make, fix, create, and assist others in living and learning lifewise.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

3D design, online class

The Eureka Springs School of the Arts and I are offering a 3D Design Class for woodworkers and other craft artists on Saturday, June 13, 2020. Enrollment opened today. Use this link for additional details:

My online class is part of a series of classes to keep the school engaged during  the coronavirus pandemic.

The box shown in the photo is in the Norwegian Tine style and is  one I made from white oak.

Make, fix and create. Assist others in learning lifewise.

Part three, Rustic Furniture Basics

I got permission from Taunton Press to put my other two DVDs on my youtube channel. Rustic Furniture Basics is live to view now.

Building Small Cabinets will premier on Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 5 PM Central time. Both DVDs were produced as companions to books by the same names.

Please invite your friends to join me in my wood shop. I thank Taunton Press and video production cameraman and editor Gary Junken, for helping me share my work.

Make, fix and create. Assist others in learning lifewise.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

reading to Rosie

My first copy of The Guide to Woodworking with Kids arrived today.

Make, fix, create, and assist others in learning lifewise.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Making a new workbench...

As personal therapy during the coronavirus pandemic, I'm turning a 3 in. thick slab of maple into a new workbench to replace a thrown-together bench from years ago. It's an upgrade. It will have wheels and drawers and a bench vise that I ordered yesterday. The already completed dovetailed drawers were salvaged from a project I'd done years ago.

I enlisted the help of houseguests in wrestling the huge slab of wood through the bandsaw to square off the ends and cut it to shape.

Woodworking at its best is a collegial, cooperative operation, in which we share what we do with friends and in which we ask their help when it's needed.

Make, fix, create and assist others in learning lifewise.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

making a toy horse

I've been reviewing some of my old youtube videos as I plan a half-hour presentation about woodworking for kids. This ten-year old video shows my students at work.

Make, fix, create, and assist others in learning lifewise.

Friday, May 15, 2020

bench making for kids

In 2008, I presented a series of brief articles to the FineWoodworking website about woodworking with kids. One of the projects was making small benches for use at our preschool. It and others can be found there still. My article also presented the following rules:

 Rules for Grownups
1. Set an example of caring craftsmanship.
2. Supervise the kids, answer questions, and show them how to use tools safely.
3. Mill lumber to thickness, according to the cutlist. Make any preliminary cuts as specified in the instructions and make extra parts to allow for mistakes.
4. Leave project designs open for students to test their own ideas, create problems for themselves and find solutions. Encourage them to discover and test their own solutions.
5. Be a cheerleader for their best efforts.
6. Congratulate the kids on a job well done and be specific.

Rules for Kids
1.  Listen to what the grownups tell you. 
2.  Ask a lot of questions.
3.  Always use tools exactly as you’re told.
4. Have fun.
Rules for Working Safely
1.  No woodworking without adult supervision.
2.  No horsing around!
3. Use clamps or a bench vise to hold work for cutting, sanding, or drilling.
4. When using a saw, either hold it with both hands or put one hand behind your back.
Make, fix, create, and assist others in learning lifewise.