Woodworking First Fridays: Talk with a Pro Open Studio

  • Friday, December 03, 2021
  • 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • BARN Woodshop.

Open Studios are resuming on Fridays, with a few changes:

  • A professional woodworker will be in the shop to offer advice. This month, it will be Curtis Erpelding, who makes custom furniture and does small production runs at his shop in Port Orchard. In addition to answering your questions, Erpelding will discuss wood bending techniques, the use of jigs, veneering and wood inlays.
  • Offered only on the first Friday of each month, at least for now.
  • Open only to members.
  • Hours are 9 am to 4 pm, but no pro from noon to 1 pm.

During this test period, which will run into February, private donors are funding the pay for the professionals. We expect that past the trial period, there will be a fee to cover costs. And, depending on demand and safety monitor availability, we may expand this to multiple Fridays each month.

Members are welcome to ask the pro for suggestions about design, joinery, finishes or other details. This isn't a class with an agenda driven by an instructor, but rather an opportunity for woodworkers to ask questions and get advice from someone with years of professional experience. The pro will not be teaching how to operate the tools.

As with all Open Studio sessions, a safety monitor will be on duty and will be responsible for safety. You will be able to work on projects of your own choosing.

When professional woodworkers in our area have questions, they often seek advice from Erpelding, who works out of a two-car-garage shop at his home. He got into the field via a job in a bookstore, where he needed to build shelves and repair furniture. He went on to study at the Oregon College of Arts & Crafts. Through a grant he received from the National Endowment for the Arts in the 1980s, he developed designs for a stacking chair that he still makes in small runs. A Popular Woodworking article featured his use of computerized woodworking tools to cut parts, grooves for intricate inlays and joinery that he tuned in the software to slide together with the perfect amount of friction for the glue he was using.

Examples of Erpelding's work can be seen on the website of Northwest Fine Woodworking, a Seattle gallery that closed in 2016 but lives on via its website.

These are the  stackable chairs Erpelding makes, based on work he did through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to design furniture for mass production. Aiming for a "fine woodworking" look, Erpelding chose quality hardwood and leather upholstery.

Erpelding cut the intricate inlay for this table on his CNC router, which he designed and built himself.

Details for this Open Studio session:

  • BARN is practicing safety measures for the health and well-being of all participants, in accordance with state and CDC guidelines. BARN safety policies are here.
  • Participation is free to members. All BARN members, including people who do not normally participate in the Woodworking Studio, are welcome. However, if you want to work on your own projects, the regular qualifications for Open Studio apply: You must have taken Orientation to the Woodshop and the appropriate safety checkout classes before you use specific tools. Woodshop Tool Safety Checkout 1 qualifies you for the jointers, planers, table saws, chop saw and drill presses. Woodshop Tool Safety Checkout 2 covers the band saws, routers and router tables, scroll saws and three stationary sanding machines: edge, drum and spindle. Check the Woodworking and Small Boatbuilding Studio calendar for class dates.
  • Protective eye wear that complies with ANSI Standard Z87 or the equivalent European Union Standard EN 166 is required at all times in the main shop and when using sharpening equipment in the bench room. Avoid loose clothing and wear closed-toe shoes. Noisy equipment may warrant wearing hearing protection.
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