During the nine-month program, we consider wood and the worker’s relationship to it. We study its richness, variety, and working properties, and the ways in which these qualities can relate to the cabinetmaker’s task.
We examine refinements in the making and use of hand tools, with the aim of developing your sensitivity to (and enjoyment of) surfaces, joinery, and the personal touches which make each piece a unique and personal expression of the individual.
Our aim is to dispel some of the misconceptions caused by generalities with regard to fine wood and tools. We try to “go into” our material, discovering its richness when worked with finely tuned tools and sensitive, intimate methods. Though machine tools are not neglected, we emphasize the hand, eye, and workbench.
During this period, you will study the making and sensitive use of a cabinetmaker’s hand-tools, such as fine planes and chisels, and the ways in which a caring craftsworker can “tune” these essential instruments.
To conclude the first part, you will complete a first project-a smallish chest or cabinet incorporating a number of the techniques which you have learned. Throughout this part (and throughout the entire course), you will receive regular, formal critiques and a great deal of individual instruction and attention.
As this sequence suggests, we view the process of learning the fine art of cabinetmaking as an “upward spiral,” in which the cabinetmaker is constantly refining techniques previously learned-an effort with no end, as such, whose goal is excellence in all aspects of the craft.
Thus, the process of learning, testing, and evaluating occurs continuously throughout the course. From the first exercise to the last project, all work is intended to encourage patience and flexibility of methods, to enrich and refine hand skills and clarity of vision, and to foster the integrity implicit in the term fine woodworking.