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
I have attended five of Lonnie Bird’s classes starting with Woodworking Essentials in 2009. My favorite so far has been the blockfront chest class. At home I mainly build simple Shaker style furniture and so I wanted to build something more challenging. The blockfront chest class was just what I was looking for. The proportions and detail of this piece are wonderful. The finished piece, especially in tiger maple, which is my favorite wood, is beautiful and enhances the look of any room.It was challenging to keep the blocked profiles aligned in the base, dividers, drawers and top.
I also enjoyed the combination of using both power and hand tools to accomplish the fine detail work. Lonnie’s is blessed with the ability and patience to deal with all skill levels of his students. He can develop an unskilled woodworker and can improve the results of the most skilled woodworkers. He adds fun to woodworking and is especially good at making sure we all work with safety in mind. ~ Jim Kirby
Shortly after my wife and I were married, we had the good fortune to live next to an elderly couple who had been friends with my wife since her childhood. Mr. Ellis Beaver, at that time was in his late 80’s. He loved to buy antiques and refinish them. He also had a home furnished with many pieces of handmade period furniture built by local craftsmen. I would stand in awe of the skill needed to create these gems. In my early twenties, I could only dream that I would be able to duplicate these items…’someday.’
‘Someday’ arrived approximately 12 years ago when I started attending Lonnie Bird’s School of Fine Woodworking. What seemed only a dream in the late 70’s is now a reality. The real joy is not possessing the secretary desk as much as gaining the knowledge and appreciation of how the piece starts as a pile of rough lumber and progresses through all the steps of fine woodworking to a finished piece of timeless furniture. My projects from Lonnie’s school over the past twelve years will be passed on to my children because of the knowledge gained and skills I’ve learned at Lonnie’s school. ~ Rex Mattern
Lonnie’s classes continually challenge me to develop new skills and the Massachusetts blockfront chest class was no exception. The blockfront chest is a beautiful piece of furniture and I learned how to construct the sliding dovetails to attach the top, how to create beading around the drawer openings, and techniques for creating the blockfront. This was a relatively complex piece of furniture to create, but with Lonnie’s instruction and guidance I was able to accomplish it. I am very excited about the results and I had a wonderful time in the class, spending the week with fellow woodworkers and making new friends. ~ Tom Hollis
The joinery in the hood of the tall clock is very complicated, but also one of the most enjoyable aspects of making the clock. It has dovetails, mortise and tenon joints, lap joints, miter joints and probably some others that I don’t remember. I also really enjoyed learning how to layout, cut and fit all the curves around the door and the case behind the door.
My wife and I had fun deciding on a theme for the dial face. We chose vegetables because we operate a certified organic vegetable farm. The professional artist who painted the dial (a person recommended by Lonnie) was very excited about the theme because she also grows a large vegetable garden. The moon dial is just another feature of the clock that helps us stay in tune with the natural world. ~ Clay Smith