Archive: » 2014 » June

Can A Ballroom Be Far Behind?

In preparing for the very busy upcoming summer, with the ginormous GroopShop gathering (more than 40 participants with additional guests, etc.) of the Professional Refinisher’s Group late this month, I dove into the last big construction project before turning my attentions and energies the the monumental task of bringing about order into the mountain of tools and wood throughout the space.


Much of GroopShop will take place up on the fourth floor, which my wife persuaded me to finish as an uninterrupted space last spring.  It confirmed her smartitude as the tennis court sized room with an 18-foot ceiling is a grand place to gather.


But, to use such a space there needed to be multiple stairways to get the crowd up and down.  I built a “barn stairs” two summers ago when it was just crude storage up there, but they are very steep and very narrow, unsuited for moving any more than a handful of people up and down.



I decided to annex part of the north balcony space for a new, less steep and wider stairway to the fourth floor, and finished it off yesterday morning.  It’s an 8/12 pitch and 36″ wide, so it serves the needs well.


I embellished the main post — vintage (and hard as a rock!) southern yellow pine left over from the original barn configuration — with a pair of 19th French carvings, a gift from my earliest and greatest mentor, Fred Schindler.  I think they are just the right touch for some rough barn stairs.


Historic Transparent Finishes – The Rough Cut


I recently watched and approved the low resolution rough cut for my soon-to-be-released video, “Historic Transparent Finishes” (or is it “Transparent Historic Finishes?”  I can never remember).  Anyway, David Thiel and Rick Deliantoni of F&W Productions (The Popular Woodworking video folks) did a good job of capturing the action.  If nothing else, we were efficient.  As I recall, we shot about fours hours of video, and the rough cut is just under 3-1/2 hours long.


Here are a few snapshots of the computer screen from the video.


Not too surprisingly to anyone who knows my interests, the video will revolve around shellac finishes and wax finishes, including all the old favorites like polissoirs, brushing shellac, “French” polishing, and such.


The outline for this video, in fact the outline for almost everything finish-related that I do, is “Don’s Six Rules for Perfect Finishing.

I think I might show it to the participants for the upcoming Professional Refinishers Group retreat at the barn in three weeks.

That’s another thing I can check off the list.

Battens, Bats, Bonfires, and Bees (well, wasps, really)

In the run up to summer activities at The Barn — the Professional Refinisher’s Group gathering in June, the Parquetry workshop in July, Planemaking with Tod Herrli in August, hollows-and-rounds and advanced planemaking, and the Boulle Marquetry workshop in October (there are still spaces for all workshops) — there were many high priority housekeeping issues.  High on the list was the fact that there were still sections of the siding that provided no impedance to the encroachment of nature.


Last month my pal Tom and I cut probably a thousand linear feet of battens to close up the gaps between the siding boards, and that project continues as a filler between every other of the 12, 691 top priorities in my life.  Combined with a generous application of spray foam insulation/sealant in the multitude of cracks I have noticed a dramatic drop in livestock already.


I was also really nervous when I saw tons of wasps buzzing about last month, but since I have robbed them of many nesting places, they seem to have moved on.  Three summers ago they built a paper nest literally the size of a bushel basket.  Not something you want visitors to be concerned about.

c wasp nest

And finally, since the Barn has been a non-stop construction site for almost seven years there is a mountain of construction debris that just won’t go away no matter how many trips I make to the dump.  Well, I recently spent several evenings with a roaring bonfire, so even that nuisance is receding.


The results were most gratifying.


Congratulations, Joseph Parker

In the onslaught that was the ticket sales window for the H.O. Studley exhibit, Joseph Parker of the Bay area was the first person to make it through and order his ticket.  Good job, Joseph!  I will have to think up a suitable prize for your diligence.

In his own words, he’ll “be among the most western attendees, coming from the SF bay area.  So, there’s no excuse for anyone else not to come.”

Yeah, what he said.

There are still tickets left for all sessions of the exhibit, so if you were rebuffed by the site when it got fried, try again and you will have success.

An Overwhelming Response (Literally!)

It is always great to see a lot of interest in something of which you are a part, and amazing to see over 3,500 unique visitors to the website in 18 hours — but the initial wall o’ interest that was more than 500 people hitting the ticket store in a matter of minutes was the virtual equivalent of Walmart opening its doors at 5:00am on Black Friday after waxing the floors with mutton tallow!  [We normally get about 300 visitors a day here at — DCW]

As many of you experienced, the pages became slow and it caused a glitch wherein the inventory numbers for each session of a given day were showing a collective stock quantity.

This has all been fixed, and the sessions are now presented in a slightly different way to spread the love and provide easier access. When you go to the TICKETS page you will still see the three days of the event listed, but when you click on your preferred day you will now see eight individual products (one for each session). Simply click on the session time you want to attend, to see the current (read accurate) stock numbers, select the number of tickets you want, and add them to your cart. From there it will look the same as previously described.

If you have any questions about the current process or an order you’ve already placed, please feel free to email me directly.

Jason Weaver

Site Crashed?

I just got a call from a friend who told me the HO Studley Exhibit ticket sales store indicates almost everything has sold.  I doubt this, and think instead that the level of interest has frozen or crashed the site.  I know we had 500 unique visitors between 12.01 AM and 12.08 AM this morning, which had smoke coming off the keyboard.

Believe me, we are hard at work checking it out.