Newsletter No. 52 - June 2015


Beginning in December of 2008, the Country Workshops newsletter has been produced on a more-or-less monthly basis. More recently, scarce office time has precluded getting these out as often as in the earlier editions. Going forward we have decided to designate each new issue with the calendar year followed by an Edition Number. We intend to keep every issue both newsworthy and informative on a practical woodworking level. As always, you can subscribe by sending us an e-mail with "newsletter" typed into the subject field.

Class Calendar Update

Enrollments going forward - As of June 22, 2015

Rustic Windsor students fit a low-back arm bow.

All courses are currently tutorials, limited to 4 registered students, plus the possibility of 1-2 interns. Tuition includes class materials, use of our high quality tools and equipment, lodging in your private room, and our quite famous garden-fresh meals. Drew Langsner is the instructor.

At Country Workshops there are no add-on fees for registration or your materials. This is also an excellent opportunity to examine and to use the tools offered at the CW Store. Registration can be by phone (828 656 2280), e-mail, or post. The tuition deposit for 5- and 6-day tutorials is $350. The tuition balance is due 4 weeks before class. We accept personal checks, Visa/MasterCard and money orders.

For full courses we can start a waiting list in the case that there are cancellations.

Summer Tutorials
July 20 - 25. Rustic Windsor Chairmaking1 opening
August 17 - 21. Carving Bowls and Spoons - Full

Fall Tutorials
September 26 – October 1.
Drew will be teaching Rustic Windsor Chairmaking at Lie-Nielsen Toolworks in Warren, Maine

November 2 - 6. Carving Bowls and Spoons - Full


We have decided to discontinue winter tutorials. It's wonderful to be in our workshop on a snowy winter day, but classes during this time of year necessitate dealing with what can be an icy mile-long driveway, and keeping plumbing and heating systems working in a shop that started out as a tobacco curing barn. In addition, after 38 years, Drew and Louise are looking forward to more time for personal projects. (You can see some of what Drew is up to at

2016 Spring/Summer tutorials will be announced in a forth coming newsletter. And of course the calendar will be posted on our web site.

H-166 - Karlsson sloyd axe (A)
S-32 - Djarv little Viking (B)
S-31 - Djarv baby axe (C)
GB-01 - Gransfors carving axe (D)
GB-04 - Gransfors small forest axe (E)

News from the CW Store


The Country Workshops Store offers a select line of world class, high quality hand tools for traditional woodworkers -- most particularly chair-makers and woodcarvers. Our major suppliers -- H. Karlsson and S. Djarv -- are small, family businesses located in Sweden.

In recent years international interest in both chair-making and carving household woodenware (mostly spoons, ladles and bowls from split half-logs) has exploded at an unanticipated rate. The result is that both H. Karlsson and S. Djarv are continually behind on orders from us and their other distributors in Europe.

Both makers decided from their inception that they were not interested in becoming manufacturers, with multiple employees and automated equipment. These guys got into toolmaking because they wanted to be toolmakers. Not bosses and salesmen. They are currently striving to increase efficiency while they remain dedicated to maintaining high quality.

The result is that the CW Store is now frequently sold-out for many of the tools that we offer. We have increased inventory numbers in our purchase orders, but of course this results in longer waits to receive our tools.

We continue to offer our full line-up. At times we may actually have what you wish to purchase on the store shelving. But itís also possible that your purchase will go into our back-order file. Then we will send out your tools as your name comes up in the listings. Waiting times can be several months. We try to have an idea of when the next shipment will arrive. But often we are waiting, along with you, our customers.

Because we are not offering on-line ordering with an automated database of tools from a "punch and crunch" factory, we are not able to contact customers to tell you when your tools have come in, when they were mailed out, etc. We send your tools as soon as possible after they get here. In contrast to instant gratification digital suppliers, we are happy to discuss your tool selection, and help with questions about the tools. Drew has been using many of these tools for over 30 years now. Our shaving mules, books, DVDs and DMT sharpening products are usually in stock. You can order by phone, e-mail or postal mail. Please do not ask tool questions by e-mail.

Shaving Mule siblings.
Z work-support is adjusted with a cam-like device on the Z Mule.
Classic rachet/elevator Shaing Mule.

The Z Mule

The March-April CW newsletter featured a story on the revolutionary double-hinged Z work-support shaving horse. This innovation allows the user to adjust the work-support to any height and any angle while maintaining the optimum ergonomic position for working with a drawknife or spokeshave (or other tools.) And for big and little shaver persons!

We have offered Tom Donahey's ratchet/elevator shaving horse (which we call a shaving mule) for many years now. It's a highly evolved device, so we were particularly pleased when Tom agreed to produce another version that utilizes the new double-hinged Z work-support.

Both models share many components and are primarily constructed from select yellow pine, with hardwood and birch ply where those materials are called for. Both have the comfortable, genuine leather padded sliding seat that Tom developed several years ago.

Which is better? We can't tell you, because we like them both. Of course it's fun, playing with the new version. You can also now buy plans (in English) for the original instant folding version designed in Japan by our friend Masashi Kutsuwa.

TD-01 | Tom Donahey's classic ratchet/elevator shaving mule, assembled and picked up at Country Workshops. | $345.00

TD-02 | Tom Donahey's classic ratchet/elevator shaving mule, disassembled and shipped (Minor assembly required.) | $405.00

TD-03 | Shaving Mule Plans Pack. This is now a free pdf download. The printed Plans Pack is still available for $12.50, while we have inventory.

TD-06 | Tom Donahey's new Z Mule, assembled and picked up at Country Workshops. | $345.00

TD-07 | Tom Donahey's new Z Mule, disassembled and shipped. (Minor assembly required.) | $405.00

E-mail from Masashi Kutsuwa:

How to Get Plans for the Orgami-Z Japanese Version

Shinsuke Kato is handling the Orgami-Z shaving horse orders. Go to:

Orgami-Z shaving horse.

The link above will take you to 'easypay' site.

If you proceed to click 'pay', you will get the plans by email. It is written both in Japanese and English, so the email might get stuck in the spam mail box, according to the setting of your computer.

You can download the file from the link in the email, up to 6 times.

Send us an enquiry to in case of any trouble.

1000 JPY is approximately 8 US dollars.
(Google '1000 yen to dollar' and you will get the latest rate!)

Peter Follansbee's New DVD

Peter Follansbee has been making a series of DVDs with Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. The latest is "Carving Wooden Spoons." These are very contemporary looking utensils, inspired by the traditions of Scandinavia now transported into the 21st century. (Quite a contrast from the 17th-century joinery that Peter focused on for many years -- but actually using similar tools and techniques, and of course freshly cut wood.) The 127 minute program includes sections on tool selection, materials, axe hewing, knife techniques, hollowing the bowl, and sharpening. Decorative chipcarving is also covered.

LN-04 | Carving Wooden Spoons | $35.00

What to do with old scraps of Shaker tape?
Andy McFate used 1" tape for both warp and weft.
Nate Chambers experimented with a 1" warp and 5/8" weft.

Shaker Tape Rebirth

Most everyone is familiar with the classic Shaker post-and-rung chairs that often utilize a seat of woven "Shaker tape." This is an especially nice material; it's cotton, easy to use, and available in a range of attractive colors. But truth be told, it's also a little boring. About the only variation that you'll find is the choice of 1-inch or 5/8-inch wide material, and sometimes a bi-color checker pattern.

We've been using Shaker tape for the chairs made in our ladderback classes for many years now. The large 75-yard rolls that we purchase wholesale break down into three smaller rolls of 1-inch tape, or two rolls of 5/8-inch tape. Usually about 5-7 feet are left over. These have accumulated in a box with the idea that perhaps someone will run short and need a few extra feet to complete the weaving on a chair seat.

Several years ago Drew had the idea that these "scraps" could be used to make a patchwork seat, possibly with a random pattern. The pitch didn't go anywhere until our recent ladderback course when Nate Chambers and Andy McFate decided to take up the challenge.

The guys used 1-inch material for their warp (the first layer winding on the front and rear rails.) Maybe because of lazyness, or maybe because we're guys, we spliced the joined ends on the bottom level of the weave with a heavy duty package stapler. Andy continued with 1-inch tape for his weft, while Nate decided to use the 5/8-inch tape. Andy worked within a selected color scheme; Nate didn't have much choice with what we had in 5/8-inch scrap rolls.

We are excited with the results. The experiment reveals that the upper round of rungs on a ladderback can be considered as a small frame for creating an interesting woven textile. What will chairmakers now come up with? For instance, a more conservative approach might be use a single color, but with a 1-inch warp and 5/8-inch weft. What will happen with a totally random non-pattern? Etc. Next time we'll probably sew the splices, or do a little better job of hiding the staples into the weave.

The Country Workshops Store offers both 1-inch and 5/8-inch Shaker tape. As of now, it's still available in rolls sized to fit our class project ladderbacks. We endeavor to stock a variety of colors.

PB-01 | 5/8" Shaker tape, 37-1/2 yard roll | $27.50
PB-02 | 1" Shaker tape, 25 yard roll | $27.50


Butter knives, which are also called spreaders, are carved wooden utensils that can add a special hand-made touch to any table setting. Making a spreader shouldn’t be difficult, but designing one that functions well and has a personal, artistic signature is a challenge. They can also be an excellent gift, or a comfortably priced hand-carved item to sell.

We invite wood carvers to contribute their version of a spreader to our design/study collection. There is no budget for this project, and it’s not a contest. We encourage wood carvers to develop their personal design, which should be useful and practical. Newly acquired butter knives are featured in this newsletter, and there is a complete web-site archive at Country Workshops’ Spreader World Gallery. This includes “as seen from above photos” that are not in the newsletter. The collection is available for viewing and handling when you are at CW.

Since our last newsletter the collection has received three contributions. Numbers 164 and 165 were made by Nate Chambers, our current summer intern from Asheville, NC. 164 is white birch with milk paint on the handle; 5-5/8-inches. 165 is sugar maple;7-inches. Number 166 was carved by Tim White of Marion, NC. This one is wild cherry, 7-1/2 inches.


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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