I’ve always admired blockfront chests and I saw this class as an opportunity to develop new skills as well as add to the skills learned in previous classes at Lonnie’s school. I learned to layout and cut the curved bracket feet on a band saw, how to cut and fit the sliding dovetails that attached the top and drawer dividers to the case and the importance of working precisely from a centerline. Shaping the beautiful blocked drawer fronts was probably the biggest challenge.
This class was a great experience as well as a real confidence builder. And the chest is one of my best projects to date.
~ Thomas Skinner
The slant front desk class let me improve my skills learned in other classes, yet provided new challenges. The desk utilized skills that I acquired in the previous casework classes that I’ve taken with Lonnie. The new challenge was to cut and fit the slant front cover. I learned how to mount the hinges and lock. This desk is a classic with a whole lot of detail. It is proudly displayed in my home. ~ Terry Moses
I was attending a class with Lonnie when he showed us his recently-completed Mass. Blockfront Chest and I was immediately taken with the beauty of the piece. I especially liked the way the horizontal lines are established by the top, the drawer dividers and base moulding and the precise vertical lines are set up by the drawer fronts as well as the shaping of the top and base molding. There was no doubt in my mind it would be my next project. I learned a lot of new skills in building the chest, such as Lonnie’s special method of constructing the sliding dovetail joining the top to the sides, plus the shaping of the drawer dividers, then setting them into the case sides with dovetail joinery. The actual construction of the drawer fronts was both challenging and fun, but the methodology was not at all what I had expected, and it required both new machine as well as hand tool skills. The finished product is my wife’s favorite, and it enjoys a special place of prominence in our home. ~ David Wright
Several years ago I was looking for a woodworking class that would teach me how to make some of the finer pieces that I have seen in many of the woodworking books and magazines. I am talking about the pieces of furniture that are traditional and require a high level of craftsmanship to build.
A friend recommended Lonnie Bird and I was excited about the class after seeing his website. However, I’ll have to admit that I wasn’t as excited when I realized it was required that I take Woodworking Essentials before I could take any of the other classes.
After much consideration, I decided to take Woodworking Essentials thinking I could brush up on some of the practices that I already knew. I was totally surprised! I learned more in that one class than I had learned in any other class. Lonnie taught the basics of hand tools and how to properly use them as we built a small table. He also showed the different types of joints and the proper way to make them. I realize now, after taking several classes, that in making any fine piece of furniture, the proper use of the hand tools is essential. Each class builds on the previous class which helps to gain a full understanding of the new technique being learned to construct that particular piece. I look forward to my next class and plan on taking many more. ~ Bill Bliss
The desk involved learning a lot of new techniques from pattern routing to bandsawing and shaping ogee feet. The desk class actually started at home, before the actual class began. Each of us had to cut the dovetails on the main box. Earlier casework classes with Lonnie made this within reach. The desk contains many dovetailed drawers as well.
The slant front of the desk is a single large board with bread board ends to keep it flat while still allowing for seasonal expansion and contraction. All in all, this was a great learning experience that combined many new machine and hand tool techniques.
I was confident enough, after making a desk in class, to make another desk at home; for the second desk, I chose tiger maple. This time I added some additional “secret” compartments, much to the delight of my grandchildren. The next project will be to complete the bookcase upper cases for these desks. ~ Ed Gerrard
I have been woodworking for 35 years and I didn’t know what I didn’t know until I started taking classes at Lonnie’s school. My skill level has improved immensely with each class and Lonnie has been able to bring out the best in me. I’ve included a photo of the line and berry spice box . This project has all the elements of a full size piece of furniture in a small package; perfect for my tiny shop. It is definitely my favorite project and the one I am most proud of. In fact, I gave it to my son as my legacy. Each year I look forward to Lonnie’s class, it has become my favorite week of the year. ~ Nick Santangelo
The blockfront chest was the most complicated and challenging of any of the projects that I’ve built so far; it’s also the most beautiful. Building it involved matching curves on the drawer fronts, the top, the drawer dividers, the base molding and the feet. The sides and top attachment method was also neat and one of the best I have personally completed. The end result was the most satisfying and beautiful of all my furniture.
All of this was a great challenge and required a lot of patience and careful work. Lonnie and Jason, with their advice, structure of the class, and keen attention to detail, were key to keeping the project on track and getting the great results.
Thanks again to Lonnie and Jason for a great set of classes. ~ Don McDonald
I’m a novice in woodworking and this dressing table was my first attempt at a quality period reproduction. The project included many firsts: shell carving, band sawing and shaping cabriole legs, turning pad feet, mortising drawer runners, card scraping, working with curly maple, and using water based dye to mention a few! While the piece was intimidating for me, patience, attention to detail paid off and I’m proud of the results. ~ Dennis Garmer
Being a novice woodworker I was somewhat reluctant to take on this project but I loved the curves and flowing lines on the table so much I had to try it. It is pretty simple but very elegant. The real challenge was making the cabriole legs which I had never done before. But, with the great instruction and guidance in the course they were relatively easy. I was amazed how well they turned out. Finishing the piece at home was another big challenge since I had never done much of that either. But, thanks to Lonnie’s help I managed to get it done right. It has a beautiful golden color that looks awesome through filtered sun in the late afternoon…tea time! Tiger maple is now my favorite wood.
Thanks Lonnie! ~ Kevin Cork
The Pennsylvania Dressing Table was my second woodworking class with Lonnie Bird. This table posed several challenges to me as a woodworker, namely shaping the cabriole legs and carving the feet. Lonnie provided excellent instruction and assistance as required to make this project the most interesting piece of furniture that I have ever made.
New challenges in woodworking are always fun and Lonnie has a unique way of explaining the many steps as he has completed all of those many times as an instructor and professional builder of period furniture.
~ Phil Keppel