Sunday, July 28, 2019

The Difference Makers

New Book From Marc Adams
I have been very fortunate in my life to know many of the best woodworkers in the world.  Some have become good friends.  Others are a real inspiration to me personally.  I have learned something from each of them, and I want to believe I have provided something in return.

Since I live in Southern California and most of these artisans live either on the East Coast or in Europe, it has been necessary to leave the bench and seek them out.  I enjoy traveling and have done a good bit of it.  I do miss being at work, but when I am in the workshop of another sympathetic soul I feel that I am at home.

Marc Adams has just published his latest book, "The Difference Makers."  It was expertly put together by Christopher Schwartz at the Lost Art Press.  Very high quality product.  I strongly recommend you find a copy and support Christopher in his business, as well as investigate classes offered by Marc at his school.  My previous post listed the classes I will be offering soon.

Since I have been teaching for several years at MASW I have been able to meet new friends and other professional woodworking instructors who are gathered in one location.  Although the weather in Indianapolis cannot compare with San Diego, the intellectual environment is without equal.  Marc is always busy and personally supports his teachers, providing everything they might need to do a good job.  

And he keeps the ice cream machine working...

"The Difference Makers" is a book with stories about 30 instructors that Marc selected from the hundreds of well qualified teachers he has employed over the past quarter century.  Each chapter tells the story of that person, with personal comments from Marc, and samples of their portfolio.

Here is my chapter:

Mug Shot with Satinwood Pembroke Marquetry Table Top
Second Page:

My Early Work

Third Page:

After Paris: The Influence of Pierre Ramond

Fourth Page:

Was I Ever That Young?

As I read through the contents of this amazing collection, I am humbled and honored to be included.  I am pleased to see many of my good friends and compatriots included, and look forward to meeting others when I return to MASW in future years.

In my long career I have produced several television and video programs, instructed at dozens of adult education and institutions of higher learning, published professional articles, taught students from ecole Boulle in my workshop, held classes at Marc Adams, and enjoyed hundreds of students at my school, the American School of French Marquetry.

I am a woodworker and a teacher.  However, I think I am a better teacher than a woodworker.  I may retire some day from woodworking, but I will never retire from teaching.

Hungry young minds need to be fed to grow the future.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

New October Classes at Marc Adams

I just received the notice from Christopher Schwartz that Marc Adams' book, "The Difference Makers," is ready to ship.  I am excited  to see it and to get a chance to read about all the instructors that Marc decided to include in his book.  Over the past quarter century, Marc has worked every day to build the largest and most comprehensive woodworking trade school in the country.  He has engaged hundreds of professional artisans to teach classes, and has always provided both the teacher and the students with the support and encouragement needed to flourish.

I don't remember exactly, but it was about 10 years ago when I first started teaching there.  Marc built 8 French chevalets and each year I return for a couple weeks to teach students about traditional French marquetry.  I also have included some weekend classes, like French polishing, veneering a column, protein glues, and other topics.

For this October, I decided to offer some completely new classes on the weekends, which I hope will find interested students.  If you think you might want to meet me, now is the time to contact MASW and register for these classes.  Just go to MASW

Since I am one of the instructors Marc included in his new book, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss my career and the lessons I have learned about making a living as a wood worker in America.  Therefore, the first class I will teach this year is on Saturday, October 19 and it is called "The Business of Woodworking by Hand: 50 Years of Success with Patrick Edwards."  In this one day class I will offer detailed information about every aspect of my business, and how I have managed to make a good living working with wood, using only hand tools and traditional methods.  The key word for this class is "diverse income streams."  I will focus on how to price your work, where to find clients, managing your time, and cost effective promotion.

The next day, Sunday October 20, I will offer a class on a completely different topic: Antique furniture locks and keys.  This may be the first time a class on this topic has been offered at MASW.  I will discuss the evolution of furniture locks and keys, and how to repair them.  How to fit a missing key to a lock, as well as how to "break in" to furniture which has been locked and the key lost.

During the entire week of October 21-25 I will be teaching the French marquetry class using the traditional "chevalet de marqueterie."  This class is limited to 8 students, and you do not need any prior experience to be able to create wonderful marquetry pictures.  I will teach different methods, such as Boulle, Painting in Wood, and the Classic Method.  I studied at ecole Boulle, in Paris, under Dr. Pierre Ramond, and his book, "Marquetry" is the best textbook in the English language on the subject.  You can find a copy online, using book search engines.

My next class is on Saturday, October 26, and is a simplified variation of the traditional French polish class.  However, instead of all the trouble and fuss required to make a high gloss French polish, this class will focus on what I consider the most common method of finishing using shellac.  Nearly everything I have built or refinished over the years is just finished with brushed shellac, rubbed out with a paste wax.  It produces a nice semi gloss polish which is non toxic and easy to repair.  All you will need is a good brush, some shellac and alcohol.  There are tricks to rubbing out with a paste wax which I will demonstrate.  This is a one day demonstration lecture so all you need to do is watch and learn.

The following day, Sunday October 27, I will teach a one day class on traditional upholstery.  This will include demonstration and instruction on how to stretch jute webbing, tie springs, tack materials, and work with curled horsehair and cotton.  This class will provide you with the basics needed to make your upholstery foundation strong and comfortable.  Note that there will be no use of staples or synthetic materials, like foam.  This type is instruction is rare these days, and I think you will find it very informative.

Just before I travel to Indianapolis to teach at Marc's school, I will offer a one week class here at my workshop, the American School of French Marquetry, in San Diego.  We already have two students registered, and the class is limited to 6.   If you would like personal instruction on the traditional techniques I learned in Paris, now is the time to contact us and reserve a place.

Here is the link:American School of French Marquetry

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Climb Every Mountain

If This Is What You Wake Up To In The Morning, It Is Going To Be A Great Day!

Patrice and I have been discussing for two years what we wanted to do to celebrate the completion of the Treasure Box III project, and I have been planning for longer than that how I wanted to celebrate 50 years in business.  We decided to spend three weeks in the Andes Mountains in Peru.  Part of that trip was spent hiking the Inca trail into Machu Picchu.

Fortunately, I am in pretty good shape, and have never had any problem with altitude sickness.  I raced bicycles for 35 years and have walked to work every day for longer than that.  Patrice and I have been camping and hiking for some time, and along with our friend Anna, we are known as the "Middle Earth Tourists."  Unfortunately, Anna had to work, so we had to go without her.

On Top Of The World
Hiking along the Inca Trail is a dream of a lifetime.  Just thinking about the civilization that created cities of stone and connected them with thousands of trails, paved with rocks, which are still intact after more than 500 years of use, boggles the imagination.  Not only were they able to transport stones which weigh as much as 70 tons up and down thousands of feet of mountains, they somehow were able to fit them together as tight as I fit together small pieces of veneer.  I have no idea how they were able to do this.

The Famous Stone Of 12 Angles In Cusco
As I hiked along the stone trail, I gradually moved back in time, soaking in the sounds of the jungle and breathing the rarefied air of the mountains.  Modern problems faded away.  The spirit of the Inca philosophy took over:  Don't Steal.  Don't Lie.  Do Not Be Lazy.

Inca Trail
Along the trail we found ruin after ruin, left standing after centuries.  Each one was carefully laid out, with windows, doors, stairs, and even bathtubs with running water.

Stairway To Heaven
When we reached the Sun Gate we were able to see Machu Picchu for the first time.  It was shrouded in clouds and mist, and as the sun broke through in the early morning, it revealed itself completely.

Machu Picchu
We had perfect weather during the entire trip and were fortunate to have excellent guides who educated us about the history of the site and the culture of the Inca civilization.
Just Imagine What Life Was Like When This Was Alive With Inca Peoples
During the trip, I was drawn to the mountains, and had some wonderful dreams.

This Was The View From Camp At 14,000 Feet
Standing in the city of Machu Picchu, I felt a strong urge to create a Haiku poem about the experience.  I offer it here for others to enjoy.  We were there during the Summer solstice, June 2019, when the Milky Way lined up perfectly with the Sacred Valley.  A great time to be alive.