Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Around the Corner: FORP II

In one week we'll be settling in at the woodworking utopia that is Wyatt Childs Inc. for seven days of tannin-stained, sweat-soaked adventure. After a lightning fast year from when we first announced the event, the FORP II is happening!

Here are some pics of a souvenir poster we printed today for FORP participants and volunteers. Designed by Wesley Tanner, Benchcrafted, and our old pal A.J.

These are printed on off-white Tyvek. Yeah, house wrap. It's tear-proof, waterproof, looks like old parchment or vellum, and takes ink beautifully.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Norwegian Wood

We finally made a trip to the Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, IA. Wow! What a treat for woodworkers.

I've long known about the museum, and even dropped in on an acanthus carving class some 20 years ago, but have not returned since. The museum is the dedicated to the Norwegian immigrant experience, and as one of the museum staff told us, Norwegian culture is about wood, wood, and wood.

The range of woodwork was impressive, from simple carved spoons and ale bowls, all the way to elaborately carved high-style furniture. What stood out however was the quality and refinement of the carving. What we saw was simply stunning in design and technical execution.

One particularly impressive piece was a life-size carving by Fred Cogelow. The mix of superbly refined surfaces (the delicate eyelids) with retained gouge marks was perfectly executed.

The basement was full of chests, simple, carved, and painted.

This chair struck me. Looks like something out of the mid 20th century. It was made in 1800.

Then I turned the corner and saw this ensemble. Exquisite carving.

Even the entry to the gift shop was fully carved.

If you're in the area, we highly recommend a stop in Decorah. The museum is not too huge, a good 2 hours and you can see the whole thing leisurely. There are also several outdoor buildings on site that you can access on a guided tour (we didn't have time for this.) Other things to do in Decorah are Dunning Springs Park, the Ice Cave, plus your typical antiquing and outdoor activities. Decorah is in the heart of the Driftless region, so there is also beautiful landscapes, sightseeing, and some good trout fishing if you're into that.

For the full set of pics, click here.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Buy This Poster

If you like old-looking woodworking stuff, go buy the "Hammer and Hand" poster now offered by Lost Art Press. I got myself one a few weeks ago via carrier pigeon (that's how all vintage posters ship) and used some hand-wrought screws to install it in my nail cabinet. It fits right in with my Cracker Barrel wall. It is my favorite novelty item yet from the Lost (Art Press) Boys. It's printed on heavy paper, and the printing really does look old and hand made.

Get your poster here:

William Ng Cranks Out Some Roubo

William Ng ( has been building some benches. Roubo-style benches completely outfitted with Benchcrafted vises. We're quite proud to see another woodworking school outfitting their facilities with our products. William has long been known to us as a ridiculously meticulous joiner, and the skills he's bringing to this build are something to behold.

William has been making regular posts to his Instagram page documenting he and his fellow joiners' progress. Take a look here: for some great pics and videos.