Sunday, February 1, 2009

PFW Open House

Mario Rodriguez and Alan Turner (left to right) of The Philadelphia Furniture Workshop, hosted a 2-day open house this weekend that featured vendors, demonstrations, and hands-on tool use.

Fox Chapel Publishing had a booth filled with woodworking books and dvds. And the discounted prices were enough to make my grumpy friend, Scott, smile.

Several [gorgeous] pieces of furniture that had been class projects were displayed within the work areas. Jigs, miter jacks, handsaws, power tools and wall hung tool cabinets that were filled with handtools & planes, provided some nice eye candy for event-goers.

Joel Moskowitz of Gramercy Tools had his wares on display and also gave presentations on grinding chisels. He recommends creating a very slight camber on the wheel, so the corners of chisels don't overheat. This way, you can concentrate on sharpening the middle, thicker section of the blade while the corners are not in contact with the wheel. He uses a 46 grit friable wheel which he dresses with a multi-tip diamond dresser.

Bill Grumbine, who teaches woodturning classes from his shop in Kutztown, PA, and has produced two dvds, showed us some smooth moves on the lathe as he turned natural edges bowls.

Nancy Anderson, owner of Londonderry Brasses, Ltd., opened for business 11 years ago and offers period reproduction hardware, cast from originals, and imported mainly from England. Perusing her products, it's immediately obvious that they are exquisitely crafted.

Harrelson Stanley and Jim Blauvelt, of Japanese, exhibited an array of Japanese planes, saws, chisels, measuring devices and sharpening stones. Jim worked at his bench while we woodworkers stood mesmerized.

Mario gave a demonstration on making shaded fan inlay. A metal pan which was filled with sand and heated by a hotplate was used to burn the edges, thereby creating the shading for the pie shaped pieces. He made a template with compass and pencil and then cut the piece to fit. They were glued together with veneer tape, then trimmed to shell shape. He then scalloped and removed the ends of each piece and cut contrasting wood to fit the spaces. These were also glued with veneer tape, then trimmed with a large, shallow gouge to final shape.

If you weren't able to make it to the show, tour the shop, and talk with other woodworkers, you might consider signing up for a class at PFW. They offer beginner and advanced workshops in a roomy, well-equipped space.