I recently attended the Marc Adams School Of Woodworking and attended a class taught by Chris Schwarz called By Hammer & Hand. This class was based on a book compiled by Joel Moskowitz and Chris Schwarz called The Joiner and the Cabinetmaker. The book consists of a reprint of and old text by the same name plus background and discussion by Joel and Chris. In this book we follow the early career of a cabinetmaker apprentice. The project we focused on was the second project the apprentice was allowed to build on his own, the school masters box.
Let me start with my experience at the Marc Adams School. This was a week long class and it was a great experience. I had never taken a woodworking class and didn't know what to expect. If you have a little vacation time coming, it's worth the money. Everyone at the school was very nice. Our shop assistants that helped out were very knowledgeable and a great help. The lady's that worked in the lunchroom put out very tasty food, not your typical cafeteria grub. If you are considering attending for the first time, give me a shout and I can give you and idea of what to expect.
I wasn't sure how much I would get out of the class. I thought I might not learn a whole lot but it would be a good time and fun to hang out with other woodworkers. I knew how to dovetail, that seemed to be the greatest hurdle for this project. I was wrong. I did learn a few things, more importantly, I learned a little about the process. I spent a lot of time focusing on grain direction, wood orientation, and how to use a woods natural beauty to your advantage. I wasn't able to finish my box for a few reasons. One was I had a difficult wood to work with and it took more time to lay out everything. I also had to spend a lot of time in wood prep. Most folks brought their wood already planed and ready to go. I brought rough cut, highly figured wood that demanded some careful planning.
My box still needs the moldings and hinges. I am looking at having a local blacksmith make the hinges and hope to have the box completed soon. The box is made from spalted quilted maple. Very beautiful wood. It took a while to wrap the spalting and to really take advantage of the figure.
Chris did a great job with the class and I think we all loved our time there. Here a quick video Chris shot of the class...