This past weekend, I spent four hours of some of the best “class time” I’ve ever had in my life. When I heard David Marks was going to be teaching some classes at our local Woodcraft store, I jumped at the chance to meet him and learn from him.
Unfortunately, my bank account wasn’t so eager to jump, so I only attended one of the four classes – I picked his finishing class. I figured it would contain more information I could use on a regular basis (the other classes were a veneering demo, making handcut dovetails, and… eh, well, I can’t remember the fourth one right now, but the finishing class was definitely the one for me).
It’s interesting to finally meet someone you’ve “seen” over and over again most of 91 times (the number of Woodworks episodes, in case you didn’t know). Let me start off by saying he is as nice as he comes off on tv and he’s as “normal” as the next guy!
Let me also say that I immediately noticed we were wearing the SAME WATCH and felt just a little bit more connected to him than the rest of the class. Maybe that was just me, though…
It also just so happens that the first topic was fuming, and his first question was, “Has anyone had any successful experiences with fuming?” Since I was the only one to raise my hand, we immediately jumped into a small conversation on fuming. I told him what I’d tried and how well it had worked and even shared with him my tip on using an old igloo cooler as a fuming box for small projects! I think I actually might have even impressed him! Maybe that was just me, though…
Oh, and before I forget, Scott, I got a picture for you…
First project – first use of blue tape!
This was the make-shift fuming tent he set up outside. We had to cover fuming first so the pieces would have at least three and a half hours to fume. At the end of the class, the color change was incredibly dramatic – unfortunately, I forgot to get a picture of that. Sorry…
During the four hours, he covered and demonstrated the General line of Seal-A-Cell and Armor-Seal finishes (which I already use), lacquer, shellac and wax, tips for different methods of application, and advice on what brands work best for various situations.
I learned that I tend to over-sand pieces (most don’t really ever need to go past 220). I also learned that I shouldn’t expect to completely eliminate sanding with the use of hand planes. Incidently, that is a lesson David learned from a piece that James Krenov made and had to take back and sand down because the buyer didn’t like all of the smooth-grooved fingerprints of the handplane. They wanted it dead flat, like what you buy in a store.
He kept my attention the entire time, and I really think four hours went by too quickly. But there was discussion of having him back at Woodcraft next January, and even the possibility that he would teach some hands-on classes (on marquetry or inlay, for example) as well as offer a few lecture classes.
If the funds are there, I guarantee you I’ll be back.
I’ll leave you with the parting shot…
Now, I don’t mean to make anyone jealous, but… I’m afraid I should probably mention my latest idea of making myself a photo album of me (in my LumberJocks tshirt) and the great woodworkers of my time. Of course David Marks is the first one.
Number two is going to be Frank Klausz… this next weekend! In fact, I just got a phone call from one of the board members of our guild. He wanted to know if I was interested in joining some of the board and Frank for dinner on Friday night. Like he had to ask!
God bless my wife. I told him I’d have to check my schedule and get back with him. Thursday night is our guild meeting and I am going to be in the Frank Klausz workshop all day Saturday and most of Sunday, too, so I didn’t know if Dana would be too hot on me being gone for most of four days.
She asked me if this was one of those “once in a life time” things. And we all know it most certainly is. So she said I should call the board member back right away before they ask anyone else and I lose my place at the table!
Sorry it took me a bit to get back to you with a blog entry about the class with David Marks. It’s tough trying to fit the full-time job and trips to the gym and quality time with the wife into my schedule with all the little things that keep coming up. On top of all of that, my new part-time boss is a real slave driver! (Just kidding, Martin – you know I love writing for LumberJocks!)
-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com