Tom Wirsing was born in Roanoke, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley, an historic center of American furniture building and woodturning. Tom’s dad was an expert on American period furniture and had a well-equipped workshop which included a lathe. Tom began turning wood as a young boy. After graduating from Roanoke College with a degree in Physics, Tom began traveling extensively. He lived and worked in Europe, Asia, and nine US States. The lathe in his dad’s workshop became distant memory.
About 20 years ago Tom found himself working for the Hewlett-Packard Company in Chicago and living in a house with a spacious basement. He bought a lathe and began turning wood again. At first he made mostly furniture but, almost by chance, he attended a demonstration by Richard Raffan, a well-known Australian woodturner. Richard took a rough piece of American black cherry timber and turned it into a wonderful bowl. Tom was hooked.
Thus began Tom’s interest in creating art pieces on the lathe. He now turns primarily platters and bowls from a variety of woods. His favorite wood is figured maple.
Tom is a member of the American Association of Woodturners (AAW), a non-profit organization of woodturners which has 15,000 members worldwide. Tom served two terms as president of the AAW. He also served two terms as president of the Front Range Woodturners in Denver. For more information on the AAW visit www.woodturner.org.
Tom has demonstrated at the AAW Symposium, the Utah Woodturning Symposium, the Rocky Mountain Woodturning Symposium, Turnfest in Australia, as well as many AAW chapters across the USA and Canada.
In addition to turning wood, Tom enjoys building furniture. He has built tables, beds, chests of drawers, cabinets and a variety of other furniture.
Tom is an avid traveler. He has visited all 50 US states, around 70 countries and all seven of the world’s continents.
Tom resides with his wife Melinda on a ranch in north Boulder County, in the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, where he grazes Angus cattle, builds furniture, and turns wood.
Tom Wirsing Lecture: St. John Fisher College (135 Basil Hall) - Friday November 17, 2017 @ 07:45 PM
On Friday’s presentation, Tom will talk about his work and experiences as turner.
Tom Wirsing Workshop
Tom Wirsing will be doing a demo where he will go through all the steps to make platters and plates. He will talk about design, how to hold the wood blanks, good and bad techniques for turning the platters. He will also focus on the use of Negative Rake Scrapers. There will also be a section on tool steels for turning.
Participants can order lunch from Subway on Saturday and / or Sunday, for $10 each day (not included with registration), or you are welcome to bring your own lunch.
Table Saw, Band Saw, Jointer, Planner, Drill Press
Set up, tune up, safe use, tricks, and jigs for power tools. Make sure your equipment is set up properly. Make sure you use them properly. Make sure that you have the fixtures and accessories that you need for the operations that you perform. Ensure that your next tool acquisition is right for your needs.
During this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to make an 8″ tall pepper mill using a mini lathe. There will be some discussion of the various types of mechanisms that are available, and some of the design considerations for using each will be described and illustrated with examples. If you’ve looked into making a pepper mill, and have been discouraged by what looks like a complicated set of instructions and the need for some specialized sizes of drills, then this workshop is for you. During the workshop you will learn how to make pepper mills at home using ordinary drills and turning tools. We will also discuss how the method used in the workshop, with mini lathes, can be modified if you have access to a larger lathe in your shop. The workshop is intended for participants with some wood turning experience, but we can also accommodate beginning turners. Participants should bring their own turning tools if they have them, but the necessary tools and drills will be provided. There will be an additional materials charge collected at the workshop to cover the cost of the mechanisms.
Lee Valley is a family-owned business that has been serving users of woodworking and gardening tools since 1978.
The company is family-owned. The founder, Leonard Lee, was a recipient of the Order of Canada. He founded the company in 1978, in Ottawa, Ontario. Over the next ten years, the company opened several more stores (Toronto, Vancouver) and started manufacturing its own line of tools (starting with the Veritas Dovetail Marker in 1982). Since then, it has continued opening stores, manufacturing more diverse tools, and selling through mail order and the Internet. In 1998, Canica Design was launched. Canica is a medical design company associated with Lee Valley Tools which arose out of consultations between Leonard Lee and surgeon Michael Bell after Lee found that Bell was using Lee Valley tools in his plastic surgery practice.
Their primary business is mail-order and retail, purveying mainly woodworking and gardening tools and equipment, as well as woodworking hardware and gifts. The consumer part of the business runs under the main company name, Lee Valley Tools.
Lee Valley also has a manufacturing arm, called Veritas Tools. Veritas makes many woodworking hand-tools, including hand planes, marking gauges and other measuring tools, router tables, sharpening systems, and numerous other gadgets. Veritas does research and development activities for the factory line, and has developed and patented many innovative designs.
About one third of their total sales volume is in products of their own design. The vast majority of these are Veritas® brand products made by Veritas Tools Inc. They have a research and development team of 11 people and 130 more in manufacturing. And they have a number of customers earning royalties on products that they manufacture based on designs received from them.
Lee Valley Representative Lecture: St. John Fisher College (135 Basil Hall) - Friday February 23, 2018 @ 07:45 PM
A representative from Lee Valley will present on Friday evening at St. John Fisher Basil Auditorium.
Lee Valley will have tools for sale available the following day February 24, 2018 at CP Rochester, 3399 South Winton Road, Rochester, NY
Take your woodworking to the next level with hand planes. This is an abbreviated class from the 4 day extensive classes offered in the past (“Plane Identification and Repair”, “Plane Tune Up”, “Sharpening”, and “Advanced Hand Plane Usage.” Session exercises shall include flattening a rough sawn board (in case you don’t have a jointer or a jointer wide enough for your plank) and jointing two edges of table top planks for jointing/finishing.
Participants should bring rough planks and hand planes if they own them. If not, materials and tools will be available in the session for anyone who needs them. Participants will attempt to achieve “finish ready” board surfaces with hand planes and card scrapers (with out sanding).
Mark Hedin is no stranger to woodworking, having been self-employed in the trade for the last 20 years, both as a custom homebuilder and a maker of high-end cabinetry and freestanding furniture. Mark received his education in the areas of design, architecture, and craft by attending classes at the Art Institute of Chicago, Ball State, and Miami University before completing his undergraduate degree at Indiana University. As owner and operator of Heartwood Builders, Inc., Mark’s craftsmanship and eye for design received publicity in local newspaper coverage of one of the unique and energy efficient custom homes he designed and built. Mark won the MASW Student of the Year award in 2010–the same year he completed his Masters. Mark is now a full-time member of the MASW staff and continues to fulfill commissions for custom work on the side. When he’s not wrapped up in the world of woodworking, he enjoys spending time with his two young beautiful children.
Mark Hedin Lecture: St. John Fisher College (135 Basil Hall) - Friday March 16, 2018 @ 07:45 PM
Mark’s Friday night lecture will show some of his work, his student’s work, and the work of those that inspired him. Mark will talk about the process of Infusion and how wood and other materials can be impregnated with resins, the reasons why you may want to do this, and the techniques involved.
Mark Hedin Workshop
Come learn from one of the world’s foremost leading experts on the subject of decorative and structural applications for resin in the context of woodworking. These simple but relatively unexplored processes and techniques will change the way you view porous materials, inspire you to try these techniques yourself and undoubtedly set your work apart from others. Imagine what can be done with wood once it has been permanently stabilized as a material and the less than desirable traits of this material have been overcome. Envision stunning resin based inlays and glass like stylized furniture panels that beg the question, “What is that made of? How did he do that?” Discover the only pore filling furniture finish that is unaffected by either water or alcohol. Learn to cast your own one of a kind blank for either decorative details in flat board work, or turning blanks.
At Mark Hedin’s Saturday Workshop, Mark will discuss and demonstrate many resin based techniques as well demystify the various types of resins available on the market, their general working properties, and which ones he recommends for different woodworking applications. Demonstrations will include surface stabilization/topical infusion, 100% cellular vacuum stabilization and dying and double dying your material during this process, the different types and uses of inclusions that can be used for resin based inlay techniques, utilizing fiberglass/carbon fiber/Kevlar for strength and aesthetics in woodworking, options for decorative surface treatments when casting panels with resin for furniture components, casting large turning blanks with a variety of resins, the necessary equipment to do resin work and considerations when purchasing such, the machining properties of each resin, safety concerns, and material and informational resources.
Though no one material is the “silver bullet” product for woodworking, resins have been generally over looked and underutilized in the word of woodworking. From choosing adhesives for dissimilar materials to understanding the backbone of certain inlay techniques to turning beautiful but structurally unsound wood into something stronger and more durable than the original sound wood, this seminar will open your eyes to a world of possibilities you may never have considered.
Participants will construct a Shaker oval box (size #2, 3-1/2″ x 5-3/4″ x 2-1/4″ high) using commercial 1/16″ veneer in cherry, walnut or anigre. Top ] and bottom materials will vary. Materials and specialized equipment will be provided. The class will extend over two sessions because of the need for the steam bent sides to dry. It is expected that some work at home will be required to fit the top and bottom, and to finish the box.
There will be a presentation with handouts that will cover the construction process, material selection, construction of the forms and steam box, and other projects that make use of the techniques used in the workshop.
After some clean up of the pre-cut sides, participants will steam bend, tack and dry the sides. Boxes must then dry on the forms. In the second session, bottoms will be individually fit, pinned, and glued. The band for the top will then be steam bent, and formed around the bottoms for a tight fit. The top can be fitted at home using the same techniques, and the participant can choose and apply a finish.
Bring these tools if you have them:
- Exacto knife with standard blade, fine carving knife, or utility knife
- Tack hammer or other small hammer
- Fine needle-nose pliers
- Wire cutters (can be part of needle nose plier)
- Sand paper, #80 grit to #220 grit with sanding block
- Manual or power hand drill with 1/16″ bit
There will be a material fee of $35. The forms can be borrowed for the duration of the class, or purchased for $35.
After 18 years as an award-winning chef in French restaurants Bob left the business to begin a career in woodworking and teaching. Furniture making had provided an outlet to the pressures of the restaurant business until 1993 when he started the Harris Enterprise School of Fine Woodworking. In seven years of operation the school gained national exposure and recognition.
In 2000 he formed a business partnership to open the Manchester, CT Woodcraft store and the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. The school was an instant success and the demand for classes was so great that a second shop was built to allow two classes to run simultaneously. He continually strives to expand his skills and knowledge by working on a variety of commission furniture pieces and new projects for upcoming classes. He has been featured in Fine Woodworking Magazine and Woodshop News.
Bob’s approach to teaching centers on the belief that people learn “by doing rather than by watching”. Successful contemporary furniture making also depends on utilizing a sensible combination of machine woodworking and handwork. Bob’s classes feature hands-on woodworking projects that require mastery of a combination of hand tools and machines.
Bob Van Dyke Lecture: St. John Fisher College (135 Basil Hall) - Friday April 27, 2018 @ 07:45 PM
On Friday’s presentation, Bob will talk about his work and experiences as woodworker.
Bob Van Dyke Workshop
Workshop subject matter is TBD.