Fall and Winter Tutorials

The Corner Cabinet with Wooden Hardware is ideal for keeping tea and spices, or other special things. This one is in the Langsner's log living room. Below: Corner cabinet detail. A hardwood spring can be added.

Registration is now open for our fall and winter 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



Winter 2012 Tutorials
January 16 - 20: Ladderback Chairmaking
January 30 - February 3: Rustic Windsor Chairmaking
February 13 - 17: Carving Bowls and Spoons
February 27 - March 2: Making the Hearth Chair
March 26 - 30: Making a Corner Cabinet
April 9 - 13: Rustic Windsor Chairmaking


This Hearth Chair is in the permanent collection of The Southern Highland Craft Guild.

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 Butter Knife Project

Reported by Drew Langsner
During the past month we have added 6 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.

Ray Medieros, Jr; Meb Boden, Mary Bennett

Richard McHugh; Zach Whitridge; Drew Langsner

Our friend Norman Stevens is known for his collection of over 200 teaspoons created by wood carvers around the world. Lately, Norman has sent us spreaders made by 3 of his spoon-carving friends. Thank you Norman, for sending spreaders made by Raymond Medeiros, Meb Boden, and Richard McHugh.

Ray Medeiros is a production carver from Lebanon, CT. Meb Boden and her husband operate as Meb’s Kitchen Wares, with their shop in S. Woodstock, CT. Mary Bennett (Rougemont, NC) began carving at a Country Workshops course with Wille Sundqvist many years ago.

Richard McHugh (from Rumford, ME) likes to write about his way of seeing woodenware in the trees. This is an excerpt from a recent hand-written letter.

“...I’ve been carving since I was a boy. Spoons and utensils are a natural to me.
… A ‘simple’ spreader/knife must meet a variety of requirements of form and function. Of the human hand, intended uses, and structure of the wood it’s made from.
…The human hand is a complex mechanism of various joints, cables (tendons), sensors and a variety of grip and release devices.
…All my spoons, spreaders, knives, forks and spatulas have handles designed to fit the human hand.
… And balanced to stand up on their handles to reflect upon where they came from standing in the living tree, as well as being a touch of fine art sculpture into the kitchen in a usable form.”

Zach Whitridge (residence Planet Earth) was our 2011 summer intern. He is now a graduate forestry student at Yale. Known for his dry humor, Zach said ‘someone told me that a finger is the best spreader.’

My latest spreaders are almost 2 inches shorter than numbers 27, 28 in the collection. The older version would often fall out of the small bowls that we use for serving spreads like pesto or humus. Black birch, with acrylic painted handles top coated with flax oil and a little citrus peel thinner.


Jeff Dean's Kindling Brake

When it comes to splitting firewood it’s the big chunks that get all of the attention. How many cords are you trying to stack up and season before the next winter? Do you use a splitting maul (called a “go devil” around here), wedges or a hydraulic splitter? Or do you collect round wood in various diameters?

To start a fire -- in a wood stove or on a camping trip -- you also need a selection of small, dry kindling. Most of us use a smallish hand hatchet. The technique is to hold the stuff upright on a chopping stump with one hand while wielding the hatchet with your other hand. Let’s face it, this can be dangerous, especially when you’re splitting large amounts, or doing the work in the dark with a flash light or with bulky gloves during winter.

Jeff Dean is an artist-craftsman who enjoys making buildings and many other things that are unique, work well and are beautiful. The Deans (who live in a spectacular setting in Homer, AK) use lots of firewood, and that means lots of kindling. Recently, Jeff e-mailed a photo of his new Kindling Brake. It’s designed for safety reasons, and also for efficiency. The clamp is operated by the foot treadle. The rubber hose grippers are sacrificial, to preserve the device. My e-mail reply was that I like the idea, but that it seemed un-necessarily complicated. A few days later I received this computer sketch of a much simpler version.

The much simpler version; not yet made and tested.

Jeff says that the post should be dug into the ground, but it could have some kind of a sturdy base. The swinging side members (similar to those on a bodger’s shaving horse) needn’t be curved. That’s Jeff’s aesthetic poking into the discussion. I’m tempted to make one of these, while I still have 10 fingers.

Are there other home made devices that solve this need for a safe way to split kindling? Alternatives and suggestions will be reported in future editions of the Country Workshops e-newsletter.


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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