May 20, 2011

Best Burger in Town

The last couple months have led me on a quest to find the best burger in the Fort Bragg area. I ate heaps of burgers, but two easily rose to the top of the pile. 

Fort Bragg Steakhouse is located in a dumpy building and has unremarkable decor, but the service is quick and friendly and the burgers are tasty. I recommend you go at lunch for the burger special. For $7 you get a tasty patty with bacon and cheese, and fries, onion rings or a salad. This is by far the best value.  

Mendo Burgers in neighboring Mendocino has the best burger with the loveliest ambiance, hands down. You can choose regular beef or organic beef, and the toppings are fresh and delicious. Fries are handcut and the banana milkshake has chunks of real banana. You can eat your meal in the adjoining dining room or outside in the garden. The owners' friendly dogs may be on-site to greet you. 

North Coast Brewing Company deserves special mention for their delicious fries. The burger isn't bad either.

May 17, 2011

Evelyn's First Birthday!

Evelyn, my classmate's daughter, turned one yesterday. Family and friends celebrated her first year with good food and drink at a cabin on the bluffs. There's nothing quite like watching a baby grow and develop to drive home how much can happen in nine months. Happy birthday, Evelyn!

May 16, 2011


Scholarships make it possible for students to pursue their education. It's wonderful to receive them (I know! I was fortunate to receive the Susan Detjens Memorial Award.), and even more wonderful to give to them. If you'd like to support the work that students do here at CR Fine Woodworking, please contact Marcia Williams at You'd make a difference in the lives of woodworkers, like the ones below!

Scholarship Awards Luncheon
Photo by David Welter

May 14, 2011

The Quickening

I cannot believe it, but the school year has come and gone. My classmates and I cleaned out the shop yesterday and then headed to Jim Budlong's place for a year-end party and camp-out. Ejler made mention a few weeks ago of "the quickening"--the time of year when almost everything goes into warp speed--and before I knew it, it was over with. 

Jim's party was the perfect way to go out. He and his wife Sue homestead on 40 acres between Mendocino and Ukiah. They have a beautiful home, a bountiful garden, and many animals, including dogs,  chickens, a pig for part of the year, and, until recently, ducks. They've built many of the structures on their property out of lumber they pulled from the property. This includes Jim's shop (a shop to envy!), which is made primarily out of redwood. And they do all of this entirely off the grid!

I still have a few more posts on backlog, so check back for updates at least a few more times, but in the meantime, enjoy these photos from the party.

May 12, 2011

Calligrapher's Box

Michael made a beautiful calligrapher's box out of afzelia and london plane. I believe it's a traditional chinese design, which has storage space for brushes and a flat, hard surface for calligraphy. The original box had a stone in the center of the top, but Michael chose to use london plane, a wood that looks like stone. The two drawers open with a push-release--you push one drawer in and the other one opens. Michael used a plastic piece to get the right amount of tension and spring-back. It's an elegant box. It's currently at our spring show in the Highlight Gallery, and rumor has it that there are three interested parties!

The drawers run along each compartment, and the back of the drawer makes contact with the curved wooden piece. The plastic piece flexes in either direction, accommodating movement and springing the wooden piece back into position.

May 3, 2011

Table for Two (or Four)

Well, here's my table. Thanks to David Welter for the beautiful photos. 

As I worked to complete this project, I reflected on my time at CR. Mostly I think I learned just enough to know how much I don't know. But as I was chopping the bracket mortises to attach the tabletop to the base, I had a moment where I moved seamlessly through the motions without too much contemplation. In that moment I realized that I have learned a lot. 

I've learned lots individually and the class has learned even more collectively. This point was driven home to me when I drilled through my tabletop (argh!). My first thought was, well at least Molly's here, she's done a louse. Dechen was in the finishing room with me when it happened, and he helped me to stay calm and come up with a good solution to the problem. One of the best parts of the program has been sharing the learning experience with my classmates. I look forward to seeing where we go with our new and improved skills and knowledge. I certainly expect great things.