Learning from the Masters... #1: David Marks

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Blog entry by Ethan Sincox posted 03-14-2007 07:11 AM 2187 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Learning from the Masters... series Part 2: Frank Klausz Postponed... »

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.

David Marks at the Saint Louis Woodcraft store.

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!

Blue painter's tape in action!

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…

Meeting David Marks for the first (certainly not the last) time...

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,

14 comments so far

View Martin Sojka's profile

Martin Sojka

1893 posts in 4435 days

#1 posted 03-14-2007 08:25 AM

haha.. so now I’m slave driver.. back to work Ethan!

View Philip Edwards's profile

Philip Edwards

245 posts in 4402 days

#2 posted 03-14-2007 09:05 AM

Man! Sound like you had a great time.
And now dinner with Frank K??
Photo’s…...plenty of photo’s…. ;)

View thewoodwhisperer's profile


604 posts in 4147 days

#3 posted 03-14-2007 09:32 AM

And you even go the LJ tee in the pic. YOu are da man!!!

-- For free video tutorials and other cool woodworking stuff, check out

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4123 days

#4 posted 03-14-2007 01:46 PM

like we said before – you two look like brothers. And I thought it was just the face but now I see that the watch might have had something to do with it!!
I’m surprised that the shirt still fit, with that swelled chest: same watch as the Master AND you, of all the participants, were the one to have a chat with him re: fuming … AND you gave him a tip that he obviously hadn’t thought of but will now be trying out and using in all of his future workshops!!
(Good thing you didn’t have a hat on—it definitely wouldn’t have fit after all of that.)

My guess is that you are still flying high – I would be. How exciting. And now, before you “come down” you are headed off for yet another flight to 7th Heaven.

“Tres cool”

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4062 days

#5 posted 03-14-2007 02:55 PM

I would drop my Domino in a heartbeat to go see David Marks or Frank Klausz. Lucky dog.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 4200 days

#6 posted 03-14-2007 05:26 PM

That’s enough to fill my year, and you got it all in two weeks. God must really be liking you this month.

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4124 days

#7 posted 03-14-2007 05:35 PM

Way to go Ethan! I think it is a great idea to keep track of the “wood working celebrities” you meet. I think it would be even better if you could get each picture with your Lumberjock Tshirt on. Of course, you might have to buy a few extras to keep up with all those pictures.

Hey, maybe you could get each celebrity to sign your shirt. A nice momento from the day.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4123 days

#8 posted 03-14-2007 05:40 PM

AND… we get to share in your excitement; almost like being there (hehehe some might disagree on that!)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4124 days

#9 posted 03-14-2007 05:51 PM

Living vicariously…what fun!

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4137 days

#10 posted 03-14-2007 06:57 PM

I do plan on wearing my LJ tshirt when getting my picture taken with a woodworker I look up to (as mentioned in the paragraph under the last picture)! But I’m not going to have them sign the shirt. It’s too nice a shirt for that! And I’m not really into autographs, anyway.

Besides… you start getting into the problem of who gets to sign the “sweet spots” and who gets places like the pitter when everything else is filled up.

I’m perfectly happy with just the picture in the LJ shirt.

-- Ethan,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4123 days

#11 posted 03-14-2007 08:11 PM

as you should be.

I can see a new section in the LJ magazine…

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4290 days

#12 posted 03-14-2007 09:29 PM

That’s so great…. I look forward to the photo spreads all in LJ apparel. Hope to be in a few of them!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4277 days

#13 posted 03-15-2007 12:51 AM

I need a green with envy lumberjock shirt now!

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4124 days

#14 posted 03-17-2007 10:49 PM

Well you could get a new shirt for each signing. I bet Martin would like that!

-- Bill, Turlock California,

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