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Traditional Woodworking Techniques

My path as a designer has led me through an incredible journey of learning traditional woodworking techniques.  After developing strong fundamentals of working with power tools and machinery, I grew to foster an appreciation of older techniques involving hand tools like saws, chisels, axes, and planes.  I learned about staked furniture and discovered Swedish carving techniques, which gave me a deeper intimate understanding of how to work wood and to embrace grain structure, splitting, and wood movement.  This also led me on a path of building my own tools like a shavehorse to rive logs with a drawknife into spoon blanks and spring-pole lathe to turn spindles and bowls.  Below are a few selected projects from my woodworking journey.

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Moravian Workbench

Inspired by the writing of Christopher Schwarz and woodworkers like Paul Sellers and Roy Underhill, I started wanted to build a workbench using mainly hand tools with strong mortise and tenons and dovetails. 

After researching dozens of historical benches from various different cultures, I came across Will Myers' adaptation of a Moravian bench at the Old Salem collection in New Salem, N.C and decided to build my own in a smaller scale. 

It is made with hand-planed and cut joints using red oak and pine with a hard maple wood screw vice from Lake Erie Toolworks.  The bench has a left-handed orientation with dog holes that accommodate 3/4" holdfasts finished with Danish oil.

This project satisfied my urge to restore and sharpen some one-hundred year old tools found at flea markets and eBay, while refining my handcrafting skills, and ultimately has become an indispensible tool that will last a lifetime.

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Architectural Built-Ins

Another project I worked on involved building a maker space for children in an elementary school in Chicago.  This involved building custom work-furniture based on architectural plans and rough Rhino 3D models and then delivering the partially assembled work furniture to the space and final built-ins on site.

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Japanese KUMIKO Joinery

As an avid woodworker, I have become enamored by traditional hand-cut Japanese joinery techniques such as these Asanoha patterns used in Shoji sliding screens.  I used this opportunity to learn how to create angle jigs to cut precise angles needed for joints that can hold together tightly without glue.

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