Class Schedule Update
Country Workshops has been offering workshops since the summer of 1978. One would think that by now we should have a pretty good idea of how enrollments will play out for our various courses. The down economy has definitely been a factor, but signups for this coming summer and fall courses defy analysis. Anyway, here’s an update for the rest of ’09 and our first announcement for 2010 winter tutorials. You can learn more about each course by following the links:

Summer Workshops
June 8-12: Toolmaking for Woodworkers (Hans Karlsson) – Full
June 22-27: Ladderback Chairmaking (Drew Langsner) – 1 opening
July 6-10: Carving Bowls and Spoons (Drew Langsner) - Open enrollment
July 20-25: Japanese Woodworking Canceled
August 3-8: Post-and-Rung Rocking Chair Canceled
August 17-21: 17th Century Joinery (Peter Follansbee) - Full

Fall Tutorials (limited to 4 students)
October 19-23: Rustic Windsor Chairmaking  (Drew Langsner)  - 1 Opening
November 2-6: Windsor Chairmaking (Drew Langsner) - Full
November 16-20: Ladderback Chairmaking (Drew Langsner) - 1 Opening

Winter 2010 Tutorials

Enrollment is now open. Tutorials are limited to 4 students. Drew Langsner is the tutor. (“tutor” -- As our English friends will tell us.) Tuition includes materials, a private room and all meals, and use of specialized tools. Enrollment can be by phone (828 656 2280) or e-mail. The deposit is $350 with the balance due 4 weeks before each session begins. Other details, including our cancellation policy, are on the Country Workshops web site.

January 11-15: Ladderback Chairmaking - Make a “mule ear” side chair.
January 25-30*: American Windsor Chairmaking - Make a bow-back side chair.
February 8-12: Carving Bowls and Spoons - The Scandinavian tradition.
February 22-26: Rustic Windsor Chairmaking - Low-back or high –back.
March 8-12: Hearth Chair - This is Drew’s design for an all wood loafer.
March 22-27*: American Windsor Chairmaking - Make a bow-back side chair.

*Note: Our Winter 2010 American Windsor Tutorials have been extended to 6 full days. We have learned that you need the extra class day for this particularly challenging project.

Hand-split red oak shingles are beginning to fail.

Our Dual Micro-Volunteer Weeks for Summer 2009

Those who have followed Country Workshops for more than a few years are familiar with our (once) annual Volunteer Weeks. In early June we invite volunteers to come to CW for a week to work on various projects. Most of the improvements on our shop were done (or at least started) during these special weeks. The renovation of our old farm house, transforming it into the summer Boomer Bill dorm, was done over several years. Volunteer Week is also a great time to visit CW, and to enjoy Louise Langsner’s great cooking.

The last two years have been Volunteer Week Free. But suddenly we have a project that could be appealing, and we’re looking for help. If you’ve been to Country Workshops you are already familiar with the hand-split red oak shingle roof on the Langsner residence. These were made back in 1980 and ‘82. Now they are beginning to fail. Last year Tom Donahey put together a crew of carpenters to replace the main shingle section with painted steel roofing. We decided to retain the smaller shingle section on the back quarter addition. Suddenly, those old shingles are letting in the rainfall.

Click here for the continued story.

E-Mail from a Country Workshops Store Customer

Hello Drew,
I know we've never met in person, but you have been helpful to me on the phone, via email, your website, tools, materials, and plans, and the "Chairmakers Workshop."  I thought I'd send this photo of my most recent projects.  … I'm continuing to prep parts for two more ladderback chairs, while the nice oak log I obtained is still green.  The splitting / riving step is the most challenging for me.  The two logs I've had recently have been less than perfectly straight-grained, so that could be some of the problem.  They just don't split perfectly, the way they do in your book, or in John Alexander's video!  In any event, that is not a major obstacle - I really enjoy this woodworking.
BTW, please ignore the seat on the mule.  I haven't gotten around to upholstering it, and my butt got so sore that, in desperation, I grabbed a scrap of foamboard insulation and hot-glued it into place.  Its better than bare wood, but not by much.
Thanks again,
Robert Shapiro
Burlington, Vermont

Handiwork by Robert Shapiro.

Nice work Robert! The stool is definitely the best starter project for anyone who is about to tackle greenwood chairmaking in a home workshop. We sell detailed plans for the mule, and a ready-to-go (boxed) version with the padded leather seat through the CW Store. - DL

Ladel carved by Drew Langsner.
The Ambitious Approach

by Drew Langsner

Several years back I contacted my friend John Lavine who was then the editor of “Woodwork Magazine.” I wanted to know if John would be interested in publishing a spoon carving article. Not an ordinary 1-3 page piece, but something that really goes into detail. John agreed. I went to work, writing and taking the photos of myself.

The result was something of a monster. Many pages long and with lots of photographs plus a few drawings. The problem became where to put it. What issue could devote so many pages to just one subject? While on the backburner, “Woodwork” closed shop.

I then decided to contact Nick Gibbs, the editor of the new English magazine “Living Woods.” Nick said ‘great, if we can divide it into 2 issues.’ Making a Ladle needed a home, and I like Nick’s magazine. Part 1 appears in the current May/June issue. Nick provided this pdf file for our web site. We will add Part 2 when it comes out in the next issue of “Living Woods.” If you’re interested in subscribing to “Living Woods” you can take this link: nick.gibbs@freshwoodpublishing.com

Click here for Making a Ladle

Drew Langsner Strikes Again

Japanese chisel hammers are a joy to use.
When I first started woodworking I needed a wooden mallet. The major calling was for striking my new set of gouges and chisels, with shop made wooden handles that I had turned on a friend’s lathe. (Back then you could by irons only, from a tool maker in Germany.) A mallet was called for because a steel-head hammer would damage the handles. Eventually, I made several mallets, carved out of green wood, and also turned. And I was happy with my mallets.

Some years later we started Country Workshops and I had the opportunity to learn from various highly accomplished woodworkers. When Carl Swensson came to teach Japanese woodworking I learned that mallets are seldom used for striking gouges and chisels in Japan. These woodworkers much prefer to use steel headed hammers.

In fact, most Japanese chisels and gouges are designed and made to take this kind of impact. Typically these tools have a steel ring that is set about 1 mm below the striking surface. Fitting this ring turns out to be one of those tricky things that you have to do with newly purchased Japanese woodworking tools.

Click here for the full story.


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To contact us by:
E-mail: click here
Web site: click here
Phone: 828 656 2280 (9 AM to 6 PM, eastern time, any day)
Address: 990 Black Pine Ridge Rd.; Marshall, North Carolina 28753