Summer Workshops and Fall Tutorials

Post and rung rocking chairs, almost finished and ready to take home. The instructor is Tom Donahey (grey beard).

Registration is still open for our August summer workshops. Tom Donahey’s Post-and-Rung Rocking Chair workshop is an opportunity to improve your chair making skills, and to take home an heirloom piece of furniture. (Past students tell us that the finished chair is worth more than the class tuition.) Drew Langsner’s classic class, Carving Bowls and Spoons, is currently under-enrolled. Sign up and you will experience what amounts to a pricier tutorial for the lower cost of a summer workshop tuition. We still have one opening in Carl Swensson’s Coopering workshop.

Remember, at Country Workshops your tuition includes materials, room and meals, and use of specialty tools.
Summer Workshops
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) – 1 opening


Registrations are now being accepted for fall tutorials. These courses are limited to 4 students. Tuition includes materials, meals and your private room. Specialized tools are provided for all of these courses. Drew Langsner is the instructor. Further details are on our web site.


Fall Tutorials

October 3-7: Ladderback Chairmaking
November 14-18: Rustic Windsor Chairmaking
December 5-9: Carving Bowls and Spoons


Registration can be by postal mail, phone (828-656-2280) or e-mail. The tutorial deposit is $350, with the balance due 4 weeks before each course begins. The cancellation policy is on our web site. The web site also has a printable registration form.

Our 2012 print catalog with listings for winter tutorials, weekend classes and next summer’s courses with guest instructors will available this fall. If you’re not on our mailing list (or maybe not sure) just e-mail us with your full name and postal address.



The Carolina wren is rather common, but undeniably a cutie.


Peter Follansbee’s class – Make a 17th Century Carved Box – was fully enrolled. Everyone had an especially good time. The student learning curve was very real, and fun at the same time. In his non-teaching moments Peter did some rather serious bird watching around the workshop. Over the week Peter observed 25 different species, and he identified 6 other species that were up somewhere in the tree cover, too high to see.

Here’s Peter’s list:

Pileated woodpecker Blue-gray gnatcatcher
Rose breasted grosbeaks (M&F, or juveniles) Indigo buntings (M&F, or juveniles)
Bluebirds Black throated green warbler
Carolina wren Hairy woodpecker
Red bellied woodpecker Tufted titmouse
Black capped chickadee Cardinal
Crow American White breasted nuthatch
Ruby throated hummingbird Great blue heron
Scarlet tanager (M&F, or juveniles) Phoebe
Red eyed vireo Cedar waxwings
Black & white warbler Robin, American
Goldfinch American Northern parula
Song sparrow  
(Peter missed it, but Drew and others saw wild turkey hens with their chicks on more than one occasion.)  

Birds that were heard in the woods (but not seen) included:
Hooded warbler Black throated blue warbler Eastern towhee Ovenbird
Wood thrush Blue jay Mourning dove
(Intern Zack heard an owl over by the dormitory.)  



Peter Follansbee's instructional DVD "17th Century New England Carving" is now available.



Peter Follansbee’s recently released DVD is titled “17th Century New England Carving.” It’s not quite the same as being at Country Workshops for the class, but this is a really good instructional video. The material is well organized and presented, with sections on Tools and Materials, Postures and Grips, and a series of practice exercises in technique and design. Produced by Lie-Nielsen Toolworks, now available from our CS Store.

LN-01 17th Century New England Carving DVD $25.00


Our new engraving knife from Svante Djarv.

When Jögge Sundqvist was teaching his Country Workshops classes in bowl and spoon carving during the summer of 2010 he told us that his favorite engraving tool is a knife made by our Swedish friend Svante Djarv. These were strong words – Jögge is one of the most skillful and artistic wood engravers that we know of. With this advise, we have decided to add Svante’s karvsnittskniv to our selection of “SD” tools. The blade is 5/16 x 1-3/8 inches, with the razor sharp bevels formed along the straight edge. (In contrast to bevels along the curved edge, as with the various “sloyd” knives.)

SD-08 Svante Djarv karvsnittskniv (engraving knife)


The Butter Knife Project
During the past month we have added 7 butter knives to our design/study collection. The photos below are of the profiles only. Top view photos for each piece are included in The Butter Knife Gallery on our web site.

26 - Joe DesLauriers; 27 - Drew Langsner; 28 - Drew Langsner

Butter knives carved by Morgan Albritton, 6th-grade student at Ras Tanura School, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
32 - Spreader by Naomi Langsner.

Number 26. Our friend Joe DesLauriers (Brasstown, NC) has been coming to Country Workshops classes for 30 years. One of his special areas of interest has been Swedish handcrafts. It was a great surprise to see Joe’s take on butter knife design. “Fit for a King” was carved from Quaking Aspen (Populus Tremuloides). Work was done with a carving knife, acrylic paint and mineral oil. 8-3/4 inches.

Numbers 27, 28. While teaching how to use a sloyd knife and how to carve a butter knife, Drew Langsner recently worked up this design. Conceived with function as the first requirement, these are very different from his previous series, with the exception that he has retained his signature acrylic painted handles. Both of these are yellow birch, with a soaked flax oil/citrus peel solvent finish.

In previous e-newsletters we have reported on woodworking and woodworking poetry from Steven Smith’s classes at the Ras Tanuda School, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. With wood rather scarce in the desert, Steve’s students have been using dry beech imported from Eastern Europe. The butter knives are cut out with a coping saw and then shaped with rasps and sandpaper.

Numbers 29, 30 and 31 were all made by sixth-grader Morgan Albritton. The finish is walnut oil.

Naomi Langsner (full disclosure; she is Drew’s daughter) has recently been getting interested in woodcarving. She has finished a small serving bowl, made from a split tulip poplar log, and a number of butter knives. (Spoon carving is next on the list.) Practice butter knife projects were carved from air-dried white pine. Real user
pieces are made from freshly cut yellow birch blanks. After splitting with a froe, all shaping was done with a sloyd knife. After drying in a micro-wave (5 to 6 20-second bursts, full power) Naomi’s butter knives are sanded, and then soaked over-night in a mix of flax oil and citrus peel solvent.

Thanks to Joe, Morgan and Naomi for your contributions to our collection. If you are into spoon carving, or want to be, making a butter knife is a great way to test your tools, develop knife grasps, check out different types of wood, and play with designs. Please consider a contribution to the collection. We now have 32 very interesting pieces, and hope to see many more. The entire collection is on our web site at Spreader World – The Butter Knife Gallery. And of course the collection is available for in-person appreciation (including handling) if you have an opportunity to visit Country Workshops.


As a sanding aid, Drew has made a simple support stand that is clamped next to the jaws of a tabletop bench vise. This allows you to do rigorous sanding (fast and clean) without overly squeezing (and denting) the work piece in the vise jaws.



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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