Saturday, July 26, 2014

More Details Coming Soon!

I know the blog has been awfully quiet with no new post for quite a while now, and for that I apologize. It's not because there has been no action in the shop the past two months, it's actually been quite the contrary, it's been a hive of activity out there.

Since my last post, I have had visits to the shop from some pretty major players in the woodworking community. People I feel lucky to call my friends and that have taken time from their busy schedules to make the trip to visit me on my home turf.

One of the giants and innovators of furniture finishing, author/translator of great woodworking books, present and future, and one of the smartest men I've ever met, Don Williams, came by for a visit and spent a few hours conversing. It was fun to get an inside peak of all the things he has planned, from books to classes to barn renovations. Don is one hell of a nice guy and has a great blog over at Don's Barn. Oh, and did I mention he is super smart? But he is smart without making you feel dumb; just a real down to earth guy. This was actually Don's second trip down to the shop to visit; he came back in 2012 before I had even finished and moved in. Thanks Don for taking time out of what has got to be one of the busiest schedules of anyone I know to come visit me. It means a lot to me and I sure do appreciate it. OH, AND he bought me gifts of Pollissiors and a chunk of bees wax. So cool!

My next visitor was here at the shop for three days; Master Windsor chair maker Charles Boland. I've gotten to know Charles through SAPFM and from picking his brain at various colonial craft fairs where he exhibits his skills and knowledge. I have always loved and been fascinated by the Windsor chair in it's many forms. Partly because they were ever-present at so many of the events that created our nation in the 18th century, but mainly just because I find them absolutely beautiful. They were the predominant chair in use at the Pennsylvania State House (later named Independence Hall) during the Second Continental Congress, where the 13 colonies voted for separation from Great Britain and ultimately signed the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson actually penned the words to that famous document in a revolving Windsor chair of his design that he had a Philadelphia chair maker build for him. The name of that chair maker escapes me, but I can guarantee you that Charles knows who it was. That's one of the things that makes Charles so special, not only is he a master chair maker and fantastic at his craft, but he is extremely knowledgable on 18th century history in general and has done extensive research on the chairs he has built which adds so much to the authenticity of his chairs.

Anyway, the reason that Charles was at my shop for 3 days was one of the other things that makes him so special, his generosity and kindness. As some of you who follow the blog know, I've been dealing with cancer since March of 2010 and this sometimes leaves me with not as much strength and energy as I used to have. It had always been one of my dreams to build an authentic reproduction of an 18th century Windsor using the traditional methods and, obviously, entirely with had tools. Well, my health had gotten to the point, after a 24 day stay in the hospital, where my wife Jen didn't feel comfortable with me making the 3 hour trek to Springfield, West Virginia and being away from home for a week without her to attend a chair making class at Charles shop. So, unbeknownst to me, this wonderful woman contacted Charles and explained who she was and my situation and asked Charles if there were any way he'd consider coming to MY shop to teach me to build a chair. Well, Charles being the person that he is not only agreed to teach the class at my shop for no additional charge than his normal class fee, but also custom tailored the class to shrink it from 5 days to 3 and take a couple of the more physically taxing processes out of the equation so that my body could handle the class. It worked out great and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Thanks Charles! More details on the build and the finished results coming here soon.

My third visit, a few weeks ago, was from Jerome Bias, author, passionate woodworker, avid historical researcher, joiner at Old Salem Village in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and all around nice guy! I had learned about Jerome by seeing him on an episode of the Woodwright's Shop with Roy Underhill and by reading an article he did for Popular Woodworking Magazine about Thomas Day, a cabinetmaker and free man of color in North Carolina in the 19th century. Mr. Day was one of the premier cabinetmakers in North Carolina at this time and Jerome portrays him at events and talks that he gives sometimes. Thomas Day was quite the success and has a very interesting story. I highly recommend googling him. But back to Jerome. After knowing about him through the various woodworking outlets I mentioned, I actually got the pleasure to meet him in July of 2013 when I took a week long class at Roy's Place on making a joint stool from instructor Peter Follansbee. We talked quite a bit that week and I instantly knew that he was someone I could hang out with for hours talking woodworking, history, or anything else for that matter. Just a really cool guy to hang out with in general, so I was thrilled a month or so ago when I got an e-mail from him saying he would be in the general area if I was up for a visit. Heck yeah, come by anytime! Well, he did and we hung out in the shop, having lunch and talking woodworking for 3 or 4 hours. I was really sorry he couldn't stay longer. As I said, he's someone I'd never tire of talking to. One of those people were there's never those long periods of silence. Thanks for taking the time Jerome. Hope  to see you in September at WIA!

In addition to all the cool visiting woodworking luminaries, I've become rather passionate about another form of woodworking recently; one that isn't so physically taxing. As a matter of fact, I can sit on my arse on my joint stool with a hewing log in front of me for 95% of it. And I'm REALLY enjoying the new challenge. More details on this coming soon to this very blog. :-)

Also, the shop is in the process of PHYSICALLY expanding a bit to make room for some open air, but under the cover of shade work. This expansion will make it possible and give me the space to delve into my latest passion, the pursuit of the dark arts. Muah ha ha!!! And, as you may have guessed by now, more details to come about this in the near future. And yes, to this very website! :-)

Whew, feels good to blog again. Hopefully you guys will be hearing from me again real soon, expanding on the three subjects I spoke of. Until then, take care everyone!


Caleb James said...

I look forward to what you have up your sleeve.

Anonymous said...

Great seeing this update, I'm sure you've made many of your followers happy to hear all that you've been working on. You have so many talents and make me a very proud MOM.

Carlene Roggin said...

Hi, Jaime...

I am one of the Witt cousins. Carol Callis is my cousin and her Mom (Margaret) was my Aunt and my Dad’s (Henry) sister. She was kind enough to share the URL for your wonderful blog with me. I have read it from the beginning up to your latest entry. I am blown away by your artistic talents, not only for woodworking but also your writing ability. The workshop you built is not too shabby either! It is perfectly beautiful.

I have printed out some of your pages and some of the pictures to show my 93 yr. old Mother who was also impressed. I am not the only cousin who keeps up with your blog. Your readership is larger than you think.

I love your blog. It’s not only informative, but really interesting and fun and I look forward to reading more as you work on producing your Windsor Chair. I was mightily impressed with your hand lathe. Actually, I am just plain impressed by it all.

I hope you will keep producing the blog entries and the super pictures as you continue your woodworking journey and other artistic endeavors........

Fondly, Carlene Witt Roggin
P.S. I think you look terrific in your colonial clothes...very dashing!!!

Anonymous said...

Good to hear from you again Jamie! Sounds like the Jas. Bacon shop has been quite the flurry of activity. Looking forward to what you've got in store.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the update Jamie, thanks for sharing your many blessings! I'm between woodsheds and have set the lathe up under my picnic pavilion and put my bench and shaving horse out here too. You'll love having an open air place to work in nice weather. Might just make WIA this year too. Todd

Jamie Bacon said...

Hi Carlene. Thank you so much for all your kind words about my work and my blog. I am lucky to have found a hobby I am so passionate about and extremely lucky to have been able to build a shop that inspires my work. I really have enjoyed having that shop more than I could have ever even imagined I would have.
I'm glad to hear that so much of the family follows and enjoys my blog. It's humbling to see the amount of hits the blog gets, especially when I finally get around to posting new entries. I have enjoyed writing it very much; and I was never a writer by any stretch before creating this blog.
I'm not sure where you live or if your close by, but if you are and ever find yourself in the area, please do stop by. It would be a true pleasure to meet you and show you around the shop.

Take Care,


WA said...

Another great and inspiring post, Jamie! Always enjoy reading about what you working on and seeing your excellent craftsmanship. Will look forward to your next endeavors with great interest as well.

Take good care,

Bill Auld (was the poorly skilled guy at the bench ahead of you during Peter's joint stool class at Roy's )

Jamie Bacon said...

Looking forward to seeing your new shop space Todd; and hopefully you at WIA.

Jamie Bacon said...

Thanks Bill. Great to hear from you! That week at Roy's is still one of my fondest woodworking memories. It was fantastic; from the teacher to the subject matter and most definitely, the fellow students. That was a great group of guys.