January 15, 2011

CR's Approach to Woodworking

It's hard to believe, but I'm now more than halfway through College of the Redwoods Fine Woodworking Program. What's almost harder to believe is that I'm not yet done with my first project (although I'm very close!). Over the holidays, family and friends asked me what I've made. The short answer was, "Um, nothing yet." The longer answer involves a more nuanced look at what happens at CR. 

The instructors emphasize absolute attention to detail, which requires crawling at an ant's pace (slowly but diligently). For a while, I wished that we moved through a number of projects quickly to get a feeling for the process and the mechanics of the joinery. With hindsight as I near the completion of my project, I'm very grateful for the way we work. I might not have breadth of experience, but the instructors have taught me how to see. They've helped me to develop my hand and my eye as well as a woodworking philosophy and sensitivity toward wood as a material. I believe it's much more difficult to teach and to learn these finer concepts, and the more concrete mechanics can come later on my own time. 

Here are a few photos of student projects that emphasize CR's approach to fine furniture.  And in keeping with tradition, I also posted photos of the meals that followed each presentation--bacon and eggs with breakfast potatoes and delicious Mexican. Yum!

Angel's jewelry box, curly maple and teak
Dechen's wine cabinet, white oak and padauk
Tom's harmonica case, acacia


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