Four Guys, Five Workbenches – Day 5


Oh wait, there wasn’t a Day 5 because everyone got finished building their benches a day early and headed for home.  It was exceedingly gratifying that the concept I borrowed from David Barron could be adapted successfully to a group event.

So instead of a fifth day of the workshop I puttered around the barn putting things away and cleaning up.  I also reflected on those things that worked, and those that could work better.

First, I’ve decided to not hold any events in July any more.  The risk of weather-based unpleasantness is too high.  As it was the temperatures were in the mid-80s with high-ish humidity, and it was the only week all summer where we needed the fan on all night in order to sleep well.  Had the event actually included all the bodies I was expected it would have been a disaster as we would have done all the assembly on the fourth floor, which is pretty oven-like this time of year.

Which brings us to #2, that being my realization that for me and The Barn the perfect number of attendees for a hands-on workshop is four.  So, from now on, four it is.  My parquetry workshop in ten days has three students (a fourth slot is still open for anyone still interested) and that will be great.

Which brings me to #3, namely that I need to do a much better job in providing adequate space for all the attendees and all the processes they need to execute.  I’ve already started working on this and moving more and more stuff off of the main floor.  And quit using the classroom space as little more than my storage closet.

Fourth, in collaboration with the students we derived a good tool list for attendees of any future workbench-building workshop.  For this first time event I was more than happy to draw on my own substantial tool set to get the job done.

Fifth I was grateful beyond words for both the days of fellowship but the ideas and skills the attendees brought with them.  For example my solar panel array had been on the fritz for six weeks, and despite numerous interactions with the system manufacturer the problem was not resolved.   Bill knew of the problem and took it as a personal challenge to solve it.  Which he did!

Finally I have a number of ideas about the bench-building process itself, and that there are some specific changes I will test drive before the next one.

At the moment I am tentatively scheduling the next workshop for building laminated Roubo workbenches either the last week of August or the first week of September 2017.