Summer Furniture Intensive Update

Written by Heide Martin on .

Our summer twelve-week Furniture Intensive is drawing to a close, and the workshop is a flurry of activity as students work long hours to complete their projects before leaving campus. It is a great time to take stock and reflect on everything the students have accomplished over the last couple of months.

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It seems like just a few weeks ago that students were finishing up the first class project – a simple bench featuring solid wood joinery that teaches the basics of hand tools and machine skills. Above, students Nate Scheibe and Andy Biddy learn basic machine safety as assistant Adam Howell looks on. Below, students Zack London and Mike Parks put the finishing touches on their benches. 

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From this project the students moved quickly into designing their first major piece of furniture for the course – a casepiece that includes a door and a drawer. Throughout the course students work closely with the lead instructor, co-instructors, and assistant to design and execute their projects. Through demonstrations, lectures, and one-on-one consultations, students learn fundamental techniques that they then apply to their unique designs. Below, lead instructor Aaron Fedarko discusses design with Andy Biddy and Paul Starita, Aaron Fedarko lectures in the machine room on precise joinery techniques, co-instructor Adrian Ferrazzutti demonstrates decorative veneering, and assistant Adam Howell helps Paul Starita prepare for a glue-up.

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In addition to receiving input from instructors, the students took a field trip to visit a few Maine-based furniture makers. The shop visits ranged in scale and scope: from Thos Moser Cabinetmakers, a large shop producing small-batch furniture in Auburn, Maine, to Kevin Rodel, a one-man shop building custom commission work, to Tim Manney, a woodworker turned tool maker. Photos below (by Nate Scheibe): touring Thos Moser’s showroom, and a chair receiving finishing touches; Kevin Rodel at his bench, and a peek into his tool cabinet; Tim Manney discussing his process with students.

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The last several weeks have focused on bending and veneering, and it is clear that everyone is having a fun time exploring the many challenging techniques they have been exposed to. Below, a veneer project in progress by Shaun Daniels.

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Below, Adam Howell and Adrian Ferrazzutti help Paul Starita during a complex glue-up that requires many sets of hands.

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A walk through the workshop these days reveals a diverse array of bending projects, as students employ everything from coopering, to pipe and steam bending, to bent lamination.

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Left, the steam box in action; right, a production run of coopered drinking vessels by Nate Scheibe.

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Below, a steam-bent toboggan runner in the making by student Mike Parks. There is a rumor that this toboggan is going to compete in the 2018 U.S. National Toboggan Championships – keep your eye on the slopes!

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Below, an intriguing set of end tables by Zack London that feature a coopered base and bent laminate tops, and one of the forms he used to create them.

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Everyone is hard at work to finish their projects before the end of the week, as the class culminates on September 1st. Below, Bryan Evans works on a fishing net, and Will Barton puts final details on his cabinet project. Be sure to check our Facebook page and Instagram account for more photos of their completed pieces!

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