Though I have been to England six times for work, sightseeing and research, I’ve never been asked to teach there (my wife says it must be because of my German last name). I love the country, and it has inspired a lot of my books and writings, from the Nicholson workbench in “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use” to “Campaign Furniture.”
So I am particularly pleased to announce I’ll be teaching two courses this July that have been organized by The New English Workshop, a group of woodworkers who are deeply concerned with handwork. The classes will be taught at the workshop at Warwickshire College in Leamington Spa. For Americans not familiar with England’s geography, that’s in the center of the country, a little southeast of Birmingham.
On July 21-25 I’ll be teaching The Anarchist’s Tool Chest, a traditional English chest that’s an intensive course on dovetails, handwork-based case construction, cut nails and bench planes. I won’t lie, the pace of the course is not leisurely, and it usually requires a couple of long days, which oddly always end up at a pub afterward.
During the class we build the carcase, lid and skirting of the chest. The internal structures are up to you at home. But we look at lots of examples so you’ll know what to do when you get home. I have been working out of a traditional tool chest since 1997 and have yet to find a better way to protect and organize your tools.
On July 28-29 I’m teaching the Dutch Tool Chest, a lightweight, portable and surprisingly durable chest. This is the chest I travel with and I am always pleased with how much the chest can carry and how easy it is to work out of. This chest is built using dovetails, dados, rabbets and lots of cut nails. It takes two long days, but we usually get everyone’s chest assembled and ready for hardware.
The organizers tell me the courses are already half full. If you are interested in attending or getting more details, visit The New English Workshop web site.
There are some other interesting components to these classes I’ll be discussing in the coming months, including the fate of the two tool chests I’ll be building during the classes. So stay tuned.
This trip is also an opportunity for me to do some research on campaign furniture, Gillows of Lancaster and a few other things I have brewing.
— Christopher Schwarz