It’s been a blur since the Kickstarter campaign ended. Here’s what’s been happening:
• I’ve posted supporter acknowledgements from the surveys I’ve received so far. If you haven’t answered your survey yet, please send it in. Also, if you move, please let me know so that I can update your address to get your reward to you!
• I just finished up a portable workbench build based on a design highlighted by Chris Schwarz – the Moravian Workbench. The first and last images show the original.
• Our woodworking club just completed its first ever seminar, hence the need for the aforementioned workbench. Karen Wilson, and Donna Hill, both contemporaries from the Marc Adams School, joined us for the event.
• I’ve ordered, and received more parts for a mini-chevalet I’m building based on Don Williams’ design. This will be helpful when it comes time to cut the marquetry. More on this later…
• Finally, on the topic of the Oeben, I’ve been working on drawings, and dimensioning pictures to create the mechanisms (in between all of these other activities!). Since mid-February, I’ve been talking with David Lindow (David Lindow Clockmaker) about taking on this task.
It started Summer 2011 with this video…
Like most, I was impressed. Then I stopped to consider…
This table was made around 1750, that’s 260 years ago! There weren’t any power tools then!
Mayra and I watched it several more times. Each time, we were able to pick out more details about its construction and operation. The third or fourth time around, I started to think, “wouldn’t this make a great Fellowship project?”
I was one class away from completing the course work requirement for the Michael Fortune Fellowship at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking, and it was time to start thinking about my jury project. The project needed to be challenging – more challenging than anything that I had encountered before. I also wanted it to be special, like no other project that had come before it. With this in mind, I forwarded the video link onto Marc, Michael, Paul Schürch, Donna Hill, and a few more friends. “Wouldn’t this make a great Fellowship project?”, I joked. The response was overwhelmingly positive.
The program guidelines contained no prohibition on re-creation of an historic piece. I studied the video again; stopping, rewinding, and starting repeatedly. Breaking it into its components there was a carcass covered in marquetry, mechanisms, and ormolu mounts. I had some experience with marquetry, and the casework joinery seemed straightforward, that left the metal bits. Off the top of my head, I know two metal workers, and the school had a milling machine, so at worst these aspects could be subcontracted out. Again, I recalled that this piece was made 260 years ago with nothing but hand tools. I became more confident. Maybe it was possible for me to re-create this piece! All that I had to do now, was to come up with drawings!
This project took a major step forward with the commencement of the Kickstarter campaign!
So, what is Kickstarter?
Kickstarter is a crowd-funding platform. What does that mean? Well, rather than get a bank loan, or seek venture capital, crowd-funding pairs makers directly with backers. Individual backers pledge as much as they wish, and are free to interact directly with the maker. Backers can also choose from a variety of rewards posted by the makers. These items are usually part of the process being backed.
How Kickstarter operates.
When creating a project, makers decide on an appropriate budget, and duration. Once launched, backers are free to pledge. However, the project must at least reach the goal within the stated time period, otherwise no one is charged.
After just about one week, I’m happy to report that things are proceeding better than I had anticipated! The Oeben Table project is 34% funded. I’ve also been contacted with an offer of material support from a well known woodworking store. But there’s always room for one more backer! If you haven’t already, please go to this page, and support the project. Even if you can’t contribute now, please help by forwarding this link to your friends and family, anyone whom you think might appreciate/be intrigued by/become enamored with it. Then check this site for updates as the project progresses.
It all started a decade ago when Mayra, my wife, and I purchased our condominium. We wanted to do some remodeling, but no matter who we hired, we were unsatisfied. Finally, we gave up, and decided to do it ourselves. When it came time to furnish each room, we couldn’t find anything that interested us. So, we decided to take that on ourselves too.
We began acquiring tools, and thought it a good idea to get some training for safety and accuracy. Shocking revelation! – No, watching every episode of The New Yankee Workshop isn’t sufficient to learn everything necessary to build museum-quality furniture! So, I enrolled in a course at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking. The original plan was to take one course, then resume the renovation/furniture-building on our own. Well, while I was there I noticed that the design course with Graham Blackburn still had space available. Then, a furniture design/build class with marqueteer Paul Schürch opened up. It was while I was away in Indiana that week that Mayra called. She said that she’d been looking though the catalog, and had mapped out all of the classes necessary for me to achieve their Master’s program by the end of the following year. We were sliding down that slippery slope!