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Local Workshops

A Note About Workshops

We hope the national and local workshops will provide just the kind of experiences you need to build your woodworking skills. All workshops are a wonderful benefit of being an RWS member, and all require RWS membership.

All local workshops this year will occur via Zoom. Participants must register and will then receive a Zoom link prior to the beginning of the workshop. Registration links are at the bottom of this page.

The Quest for the Perfect Picture Frame: September 30th – Jamie MaKinster

Making a picture frame is not that hard. Making a picture frame that’s as good as what you can purchase at a nice frame shop, most certainly is. My frames are fairly simply in terms of design and profiles (much of my house is decorated with old American and shaker style furniture), but I’ve been on a quest to find ways that enable me to cut perfect 45 degree angles on pieces that are exactly the same length and then to put those together so the frame is both tight and perfectly square. The goal of this workshop was to share my overall process, but to also demonstrate the use of a jig designed by Craig Thibodeau for cutting perfect 45s. I will demonstrate my clamping system and the way in which I fasten the components together. And finally, I will share an outline of my process and the plans for the jig; in addition to pictures of my own, which has a few additional modifications. YouTube recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqKlQU6hBug

Making Tools with O1 Tool Steel: October 21st – David Gilbert

We will help you design, shape, heat treat and temper pieces of O1 tool steel, so they become useful tools. With simple metalworking tools and a MAPP gas torch you will be able to make a variety of useful tools. Many tools are easily produced: awls, marking knives, chisels, scrapers, skews and such. I will show a variety of homemade tools to give ideas about what you can make. A PDF document with details and links will be sent out to the registrants before the workshop. Workshop will be held via Zoom at 7:00pm on October 21st. (Register Below)

Scroll Sawing for All: November 18th – Gary Buck

You don’t want to miss this one!  Ever wished other members, the younger ones or a grandkid would venture into woodworking?  Sneak them into this workshop.  Wade through your scrap pile.  “There’s gold in them thar hills” and this is where you will find it.  In addition, scrolling or not, if you are so inclined, attend to learn about marketing the results of your work. Like so many RWS members, Gary Buck is the creative type spending countless free hours in painting, glass blowing, stained glass, wood whittling, photography, on and on. With retirement came the opportunity to dig deep into creative arts.  Hence Buck’s Scroll Saw Creations was born.  Mesmerized by results that can be achieved through INTARSIA, a quest for the scroll saw ensued.  Gary’s first piece emerged – The Carousel Horse

In this workshop, Gary shares:

  • Where the ideas come from
  • Patterns Sources and Design
  • Design Software and Computer Graphics Design
  • Art forms: Intarsia, Patter and Fret Work
  • The Intarsia Process
  • Tools and use (Hint: It’s more than a scroll saw
  • Thin Dimension Woods and Sources
  • Selling your work, The Business End
  • Top Names in Scroll Sawing

Making and Installing Small Pyramid Top Ebony Plugs: December 16th – Al Kupchella

These little ebony plugs (1/4″) are often used as decorative elements in Craftsman or Greene & Greene style furniture. You could make larger pyramid-top plugs using a mitre saw, but my method allows you to work safely with these small pieces and with very little waste. I will show you how to make and install them consistently using a couple of simple homemade fixtures plus a disc sander, a mortise chisel, a safety planer in a drill press and a band saw (or table saw). You will be able to ask questions during the demo. Workshop will be held via Zoom at 7:00pm on June 30th, 2021. (Register Below)

Natural Edge Workshops I and II: January 27th and February 24th – Alan VanDeMoere

Making something from a natural edge slab presents some unique woodworking challenges.  For starters, the design of the slab and it’s supporting members (conventional wooden legs, steel weldments, waterfall edge, logs/branches/crooks, etc.) help to define a piece that may or may not work together aesthetically.  Then there is the challenge of sourcing your slab.  It can be heavy.  It can have multiple defects.  It may not be stable.  It is likely to be expensive.  It isn’t going to fit into your power equipment!  At any rate, you will fall in love with a hunk of wood that will challenge you every step of the way.  Now if you are lucky enough to get a slab into your workshop you may be surprised to learn that not everyone else may love it simply because of the intrinsic beauty of your wood.  You need to have an idea for size/scale/finish/legs and possibly a solid design for your slab.  You need to flatten that monster, no easy task.   You need to work the natural edges and decide what you will do with the sawn edges.  You will need to fix defects.  Then you are going to put some type of protective finish on your slab and hopefully affix legs that complement and complete the piece.  Now, everyone will love your slab; just as you did in it’s raw wooden state.

Let me show you some of the mistakes that I have made along the way while working with slabs.  I can share with you some of my designs and why I like or dislike some.  I will show you a natural edge executive desk created in collaboration with the client.  I’m looking forward to live interactions with you during the sessions.  Your comments and suggestions may change the course of the design.  In two consecutive sessions one month apart I’ll attempt to fabricate a natural edge walnut bench.  This bench should be appropriate for any natural edge table, bench, shelf, etc., that you may be thinking of constructing.  During the workshop, we will cover:

  • Design, sourcing and management of the slab,
    • selecting and buying your slab
    • storing and drying your slab
    • designing your slab
  • Fabricating/working the slab,
    • Edge treatment
    • Correcting defects/imperfections
    • Flattening
    • Smoothing
    • Sharpening tools
  • Finishing the slab
    • Finish options
    • Leg options and attachment of legs

Bandsaw 101: March 24th – Alan VanDeMoere

Let’s take a look at the humble band saw.  A seemingly simple and safe tool that is almost indispensable in your wood shop.  We will take a cursory overview of setting up the band saw, adjusting it for a cut and completing that cut.  We will look at a few accessories that you may wish to have for your saw.  Hopefully your questions and suggestions will lead us to discuss all of your bandsaw concerns.

Register for this event now to learn, review, refresh how it best set up and tune the bandsaw to achieve optimal  results. 

The Desk for Success: April 28th – Stephen MacIntyre

Have you ever given a child a gift they absolutely loved? Picture their smile.
Now imagine them learning – and succeeding – because of that gift. How would that make you feel?
In this workshop Mac will show you how to get that good feeling and how we can help many families in our area by making them a desk.  The RWS Desks4Success workshop will include:

  • One goal
  • Three ways to help
  • Three ways you can get help making a desk (including some donated materials)
  • Six ways to work in a modest-sized shop
  • The top 10 tips to make building a desk easier

Why are we doing this?

With Covid many parents have struggled to support their children’s learning. For the underserved in our community, stay-at-home schooling became an added burden within an already stressful home life. Gone were the professional teacher/leader skilled at managing classroom distractions. For many, achieving good grades becomes less attainable. Some of the biggest challenges include:

  • School materials kept at home without proper location are lost.
  • Disruptions from family distract even the most serious learner.
  • Without the in-school classroom environment, attention wanes.
  • Grade performance often suffers.

Even as difficulties from Covid ease, learning challenges continue; many families lack the resources to provide a suitable place for schoolwork. All of this puts stress on every member of the family and impairs a child’s ability to learn.

What is our goal?

The aim of our challenge is to provide a “learning place” for as many students as possible (can we make 100 Desks in 100 Days?). The desk becomes the place with a purpose, a statement that learning is important and shows our community cares about their future success.

We will not solve all of Rochester’s education problems, but we will make a difference to many families, create some smiles, and feel good in the process. 

In the meantime, you can learn more at desks4success.org

The Shaper Origin: May 26 – Ed Houghton

Description: The Shaper Origin is a handheld CNC machine that puts the accuracy of larger CNC machines in your hands, but without the permanent and significant footprint of a full size tool. In combination with the Shaper Workstation, joinery, inlay, engraving, and template tasks are achievable with repeated exactness. Attend the May 26th session to see this amazing new product in action.

To register for a local workshop just select the “Add to cart” button for the workshop you want.

(*) First year RWS membership free with registration for a national speaker workshop.