December 2010 E-NEWSLETTER

Winter 2011 Tutorials with Drew Langsner

These courses are limited to 4 students. The tuition includes project materials, meals and a private room. Specialized tools are provided for all of these courses. Drew Langsner is the instructor. Registration can be by phone (828 656 2280) or e-mail. Further details are at:

January 10-14: Ladderback Chairmaking
January 24-28: Rustic Windsor Chairmaking
- Full
February 7-11: Carving Bowls and Spoons -
1 opening
February 21-25: Ladderback Chairmaking
March 7-11: Rustic Windsor Chairmaking
- Full
March 21-25: Make a Hearth Chair
- 2 openings
April 4-8: Rustic Windsor Chairmaking

Spring Weekend Tutorials

Limited to 4 students. These short courses are an excellent introduction to traditional woodworking and willow basketry. Tuition includes materials, your private room, meals and use of required specialty tools.

April 16-17: Bowl Carving (with Drew Langsner)
April 30-May 1: Make a Windsor Stool (Drew Langsner)
May 14-15: Willow Basketry (Louise Langsner)

Summer Workshops with Guest Instructors

Class size averages 6-8 students. Tuition includes materials, room and meals, and use of specialty tools (except for Japanese Woodworking where tuning your tools is a major part of the course.)

June 6-11: Ladderback Chairmaking (Drew Langsner)
June 20-24: Make a 17th Century Carve Box (Peter Follansbee)
July 11-16: Japanese Woodworking (Carl Swensson)
August 1-6: Post-and-Rung Rocking Chair (Tom Donahey)
August 15-19: Carving Bowls and Spoons (Drew Langsner)
August 29-September 3: Coopering (Carl Swensson)


Our tour group assembled in front of our lodgings a few miles from Mino city. Left to right, beginning at the back row: Robert (from Indiana), Juan Carlos (Columbia), Sandra (Hawaii), Christina (Oklahoma), Doug (with hat, Arizona), John (Minnesota); second row: Lucy (Australia), Maria (Columbia), Kathy & Marlin (Tennessee); tour staff on bottom row: Masashi (Japan), Drew (North Carolina), Erina (Japan).

By Drew Langsner

Country Workshops recently completed our fourth traditional craft tour of Japan. The tour was for 10 days, October 19-29. My personal stay was expanded to 4 weeks. As in 2008, I was invited by the Japan Green Woodworkers Association to teach a class in making a ladderback (post-and-rung) chair. Also, Louise and I had a week for travel and visiting friends near Tokyo and in Sasayama. We had 11 tour group members who came from the US, Australia and Columbia. Tour guide duties were shared by Osamu Shoji (our Japanese woodworking teacher last summer) and Masashi Kutsuwa. Erina Horiuchi was very helpful with planning, translating and handling the daily finances. Thanks are due to all who made this a very memorable experience.

For our tour, we decided to focus on Gifu Prefecture. This area, which is located on the main island roughly between Tokyo and Osaka, is the home to many interesting craft traditions. The photos present a few of the many highlights.

Click here for more photos


Starter tool set for bowl carvers.

The most common question that we get from new bowl carvers is "what do you recommend as a starter tool set for someone on a budget?" Our Swedish supplier, Hans Karlsson, currently produces over 500 different woodworking tools. The Country Workshops Store selection of gouges, drawknives, inshaves, knives and adzes have been chosen as the most appropriate for the courses we offer. This is our suggestion for getting started with bowl carving.

The gouges, which are forged from ball bearing steel, are beautifully made and come sharpened and ready to use. The Karlsson sweep system is based on the curve of a circle designated by the radius measured in millimeters. The gouges pictured are from Drew Langsner's personal set; some have been used for over 20 years. Because the photo shows the blade curvatures, the profile view is not apparent.

The Karlsson adze heads are forged from Swedish Uddeholm steel, Arne SS1672. This adze has a slightly flattened curve at the cutting edge and a distinct exterior bevel, at just the right angle for hollowing a medium to large size bowl. In Sweden, the short handle version is very popular. We generally prefer the 20-inch bent handle, which makes the tool easier to control while minimizing stress on the hands and wrist.


40 mm width, #55 Karlsson sweep. Double hooped and bent. This is a large roughing gouge that can be struck with a steel head hammer.



40 mm width, #90 Karlsson sweep. A bent paring gouge used for refining the shape of the bowl interior. It will also clean up the rougher tracks from the double hoped gouge. The squarish handle is comfortable, and it won't roll around on your workbench.



45 mm width, #150 Karlsson sweep. This dog-leg gouge is used to pare the bottom of a bowl interior, which is hard to reach, and where the grain converges from all directions. It can also be used to bring down the tool tracks of the more aggressive gouges.



The list price for the set of 3 gouges is $286.00. Our sale price until March 1 is $257.00.

The list price for the set of 3 gouges plus the hollowing adze is $586.00. Our sale price until March 1 is $527.00.

Click here to see photos and descriptions of our other Hans Karlsson carving tools.


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Phone: 828 656 2280 (9 AM to 6 PM, Eastern time, any day)
Address: 990 Black Pine Ridge Rd.; Marshall, North Carolina 28753