Make the Connection

Tools are meant to be used by humans. I think that we learned to think by using them. By using tools, our hands made a connection to our brains and then our curiosity gene dove in and our minds grew because of this. We discovered so much about the world poking about in it with our hands. And by using the power of the wedge, we learned to do all sorts of things from carving to cleaving to sawing and planing.

Discover the skills you possess by using your hands to create something wonderful with us in the Studio. Next week we’ll start four weeks of the Hand Tool Shop. Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm each day, each week we’ll concentrate on different hand tool skills and different projects. It was a blast last year. Come join us for one week or take all four for a discounted tuition. Make the connection.



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Meet Elia Bizzari

Meet Elia Bizzari, Windsor chairmaker and prolific instructor. He teaches both online and at woodworking studios throughout the country. He will be teaching two classes for us this summer, the Continuous Arm Windsor Chair and the Sack Back Windsor Chair.

About Elia:  Considered by some to be a chair-making wunderkind, Elia had his own hand tools at age 10 and wood shop at age 15. Early on, he trained under master crafstman Curtis Buchanan (who still outsources some of his work to Elia) and has worked extensively with PBS woodworking superstar Roy Underhill. Elia has also trained with John Alexander, Drew Langsner, Dave Sawyer, and the carpenters at Colonial Williamsburg. He is now, somewhat of a celebrity himself in the world of woodworking.

This summer we have the privilege of offering two Windsor chair classes taught by Elia. Here’s an unsolicited testimonial from a student who took Elia’s class last year:

“I sincerely hope that woodworkers in the Pacific Northwest avail themselves of this opportunity to take a great class from a very good woodworker and teacher. I participated in the Continuous Arm Windsor Chair class last summer. This was the 4th chairmaking class that I have taken.  I reside in the metro-Phoenix area and willingly travel considerable distances to provide myself the opportunity to learn technique and create personal treasures…

Pacific Northwest woodworkers should be extremely grateful that the Northwest Woodworking Studio is providing such offerings that gives them the opportunity to learn from well known chair makers and not having to leave their local area.”

R. Simmons, Phoenix, AZ

Elia at Work:

Source: News Observer, Windsor Chair Man

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Oregon Art Beat Exhibition Celebrates 15 Years Of Creativity


Northwest Woodworking Studio Director Gary Rogowski will be featured in the Oregon Artbeat Exhibition.

From Art Beat’s Facebook Page

In honor of Oregon Art Beat’s 15th season, OPB is excited to present the Oregon Art Beat Exhibition: Celebrating 15 Years of Creativity. Opening April 19 to the public, the exhibition will feature hundreds of Oregon Art Beat alumni artists and brings together paintings, metal work, sculpture, calligraphy, pottery, music and more from across the region. The exhibition will take place on the top floor of Pioneer Place Mall at the Peoples Art of Portland Gallery, the Mark Wooley Gallery and the Art Beat Main Stage Gallery.

The address is 700 SW 5th Avenue, 3rd floor. The exhibition is free of charge and will run April 19-June 15. Hours are 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Get the app!

A new app for iOS and Android has information about all the artists, a complete schedule of performances and serves as your guide through the Exhibition.

Art Beat Exhibition app for iPhone
Art Beat Exhibition app for Android

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Making time

How do you make time? How can you? How can you stop long enough to realize the value of turning your eyes away from your computer screen, your thumbs away from your mobile device, your self towards doing something with more lasting value?

Making time. This is a curious concept. It is the one thing we are always running out of, or we have none of it for that, or someone is wasting our small resource of it. Time. Precious. And yet when we spend our time working on something that enriches our lives, when we make something of our time, how it fills us with satisfaction.

At the Studio, we teach skills to make & repair the connection between our hands, our heart, and our mind. We teach the value of spending time on ourselves. Because if we experience satisfaction at the bench, time well spent at the bench, this has an effect on everyone that we meet.

All of us need to engage in building & creating. It is one of our most basic pursuits. Make some time for yourself and join us to build something of value.



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Featured Class: Make a Great Handsaw with Kevin Drake

posted by: theStudio

Kevin Drake Teaches Us How to Make A Great Handsaw

Kevin Drake Teaches Us How to Make A Great Handsaw

Kevin Drake on making your own handsaw:

1. The cost of making a saw is trivial.
2. Being able to maintain your saws is vital.
3. Tuning a saw for the species and dimensions you are working is crucial.
4. Reconditioning old saws is awesome.
5. Kevin’s sparkling personality is captivating.

Learn to make your own great Western style hand saws using techniques and designs developed by Kevin Drake of Glen-Drake Tools. In this class Kevin will guide you through the saw-making process for Western style hand saws. Using the materials provided, first make a saw-vise to hold your blade for sharpening. This simple holding device can be used to sharpen all your saw blades. Learn More

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The Hand Tool Shop

Posted By: Gary Rogowski


What if your hand skills at the bench rivaled what you could do with a machine? What if your degree of accuracy with a hand plane matched what you could cut off with a router? What if your chisel work was precise? You would feel a sense of greater control at the bench that’s one thing. But another is that you would have greater confidence for a variety of jobs.

I used to fuss for hours on setting up my jointer table for instance. Now when edge jointing for a tabletop, I make sure it’s relatively square and then carefully run opposite faces to the fence ensuring a flat surface. And what I miss on the jointer, I can fix now with a tuned jack plane in a moment’s time. That ability opens things up for me. It frees me to concentrate on doing the work I enjoy instead of tuning my machines. Yes I have to tune my hand tools. Yes I have to sharpen well.

But I can walk into any shop now and go to work with the hand tools that are there with comfort, with ease and with safety. Working with hand tools gives you a sense of mastery that few machine woodworkers feel. Give them a hand plane and watch. Now you, if you master using a saw and plane and chisel, can learn to cut on the table saw in far less time. Plus the feedback that hand tools give you is immense.

Join us starting April 28th for four weeks of The Hand Tool Shop. We’ll concentrate on different skills each week. Come and take one week or all four for a discounted rate. We will learn about hand tools and sharpening, plane work and Windsor stool construction, hand cutting dovetail joints and wedged mortise and tenons. There will also be time spent steam bending, carving, and learning inlay techniques. It will be a great four weeks of hand tool work. Come join the fun and gain some great experience.

Stop by our Open House on Saturday April 12 from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Studio Director Gary Rogowski will be demonstrating tool use and techniques as well as fielding questions on joinery, fine woodworking and the upcoming  Hand Tool Shop . Pastry and pizza will be served! Also, sign up for any portion of the Hand Tool Shop and  a 10% discount.


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Distance Mentoring Students Speak


Sushi Box by David Corey, Distance Mastery/Mentoring Graduate

“I have learned so much and grown quite a bit in my time in the Distance Mentoring Program. I have really enjoyed learning from you. I know I wouldn’t be anywhere close to my dream of becoming a competent furniture maker had I not become a student of yours. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. In addition, I feel that I’ve made a good friend, one who I admire and respect. This has meant a lot to me during the trials of this past year. Thanks for that as well.” 
– JH, Montana 

“Our visits to Portland and the Studio are about building confidence; that although my execution will always be improving, I feel with each session closer to becoming a craftsman and gain new perspective in understanding this craft. It’s about getting new ideas and finding my unique voice; it may be trivial but it was a boost when you pondered aloud what style my table was. When I replied that I hoped it was the beginning of what could be MY style, your reply was “Exactly”. 
– DH, Portland, OR

“I think that the Portland sessions are also about getting to know you and about the relationship between teacher and student. You have a good ability to ascertain what each of us wants to walk away with.The students have a responsibility to learn, more so in the distance class in my opinion, and I realize that there is a great deal of responsibility on our part to gain the fullest benefit. The other thing I gain is the responsibility of the deadline. Not only do I not want to let you or my classmates down, but I don’t want to let myself down. It’s about becoming a more efficient woodworker which means for me thinking things through and planning a process rather than jumping into it. Left to my own devices, I wouldn’t have spent half the time I have learning this and tackling the projects.” 
– KH, California

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The Brilliant Chair Design

Brilliant chair au naturel

Join us for the Brilliant Chair class this Apr. 5-6 from 9am to 4pm each day. It’s a brilliant design attributed to Aldo Leopold and usable for tiny spaces as a chair, ladder, bookshelf, or computer table. We will build this design this weekend and you should come and join the fun. You can customize the design to fit your needs and space. Build it like a brick house out of 2x material or keep it light and portable making it out of 1x wood. It’s adaptable to so many situations and the methods you will learn for constructing it will help you out in many woodworking situations.

The brilliant thing about this design is its triangulation. Triangles are inherently stable, not like the rectangles we normally work with which we have to strengthen somehow. This design starts with triangles for the major elements of the piece and adds on from there. Learn how to build for strength, how to prevent the evil of racking in your work, and how to customize the design for your own uses.


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I wrote this note to the folks at the Albany Herald about the Lumber to Legacy class we had for some Albany high school kids a week or so ago. They printed it as a letter to the editor:

“I wanted to respond further as to why I did this class for the kids. I love to teach and this was another  opportunity to be with a group that doesn’t get the attention they deserve. Education in the applied arts is mostly forgotten today and it is a need that should be addressed in every community. Technology provides many wonderful things. But it rarely provides the satisfaction of seeing your work at the end of the day in a tangible form. In the shop, these students get a chance to work and see the results of the efforts immediately. The feedback is real and the learning sticks.

What was great was to see how excited these kids were to learn. They listened to me talk about geometry and physics. They asked questions about these subjects. They listened to me talk about joinery and cutting angles. They were to a man interested in learning. And that’s what education should be about: curiosity and the excitement of discovery. Add to this the fact that you get to put your hands on tools and it’s a slam dunk for just about every demographic. But certainly it is of vital importance for our kids. Please let all our educators know that hands on education needs to be back in every school. From the arts to music to shop class, we need to train our kids in the broadest possible way. This is called a liberal arts education. I’m a fan of it.

Why I did the class.”

Gary Rogowski, Director of the Northwest Woodworking Studio

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Lumber to Legacy Project


We just finished up a two day class last Friday with students from two Albany high schools, Crescent Valley and South Albany High School. What a blast I had. And there were kids there too who also enjoyed their time. The Lumber to Legacy Project involves the rescue of 8 downed Oregon white oaks from a Lowe’s construction site. Mark Azevedo got the logs and milled them up. As one of many designer/ makers, I decided to get involved by building my cafe chair design and two sets of dining chairs for their auction later this year. The students came up to help me with the building.

What was so much fun was to see how engaged these students were. No fear and no self-consciousness about their skills. They were here to learn, here to build. They also were willing to hear me talk about geometry and why it was important. To hear me talk about design and the several aspects of a good chair design. To try their hands at hand tool work. To learn about staining wood with an ebonizing solution. They loved it. It just goes to show what value kids place on being treated like adults. They have curious and vigorous minds and it was my pleasure to show them a little in those two days. Check out our links to the story in Sunday’s Albany Herald and to the Gazette-Times.


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