Monday, December 5, 2011

By Hand and By Eye

This February, I am excited to be participating in a design workshop led by Jim Tolpin at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking.  Called "By Hand and By Eye", here is the description:

This class is based on the research that Jim Tolpin is doing for his forthcoming book with George Walker on the design and layout techniques used in the 17-18th centuries.

These traditional techniques use basic (and simple) geometric techniques to create designs for well proportioned furniture. The notion of well proportioned is ingrained in the human eye and is rooted in the different elements of the piece of furniture having whole number proportions (like 1:3 or 3:5). 

These proportioned dimensions are easy to create using a sector and dividers. A sector is a simple tool made of two sticks hinged together (you'll make one in class).
You can, in fact, create a whole design with out needing to reduce the dimensions to feet and inches (or millimetres)! This can be liberating for the hand tool woodworker - it can help you escape the tyranny of the machine or getting overwhelmed trying to use a drawing program on your computer.

Sounds pretty great to me.  I was sad to miss George Walker's previous design workshop at the school, and also hope to attend the longer session in October next year.  This stuff is right up my alley: I was always fairly bad at math in school but did very well in geometry.  I love using dividers, compasses, and protractors, and the intuitive methods of design and layout which Jim and George discuss always leave me almost giddy.

I hope some of you readers will join me there in February!


  1. Rob, glad to hear you are going to make it up to PTSW. I think you will like it. I will send you an email on some must experiences, such as Edensaw Woods and Waterfront Pizza.


  2. Btw, George Walker will not be there for this.

    I was there this weekend for the first time, and that was mentioned.

    I'm hoping to take this class as well!

  3. Thanks for the suggestions Bill!

    Badger, I realize George will not be there this time but I am equally looking forward to hearing what Jim has to say. Their upcoming book is something I am desperately looking forward to, and I also hope to attend the workshop later next year.