WIA Day 1 – Jeff Miller

I have become increasingly fascinated with serpentine curvilinear forms of contemporary woodworking, so naturally I found myself in Jeff Miller’s session on Friday morning.  Jeff has delved so deeply into the world of design, integrating the curve into his creations to such a degree that he considers it part of his fundamental lexicon.  Even a cursory browsing of his portfolio reveals his exquisite use of curves.

This was a particular pleasure for me as it seems like in previous WIA and similar events every time Jeff was presenting it was opposite either a session I was teaching or some other commitment I needed to fulfill.

In this session Jeff led us through the concepts and practices of creating curved forms that would be nearly impossible to achieve, particularly from an engineering perspective, through any other means than glued up laminations.  I especially appreciated his demonstration of creating perfectly matched gluing cauls for these shapes. I have done this myself but his method struck me as being a lot simple and more precise.  Basically he creates the exact profile he wants for the curve, then builds a stacked caul by tracing each layer off of the original with a router and a precision trimming/tracing bit.  I will definitely by giving than one a try the next time I need to complete some fabrication requiring matched cauls.

My only gripe about this session, and in fact all of the demonstration sessions, was that the lighting in the classroom was abysmal.  That is often the case when attending a hands-on demonstration in a conference center which is set up for corporate bull sessions and PowerPoint-only presentations.  So, much of what Jeff was showing was not readily visible to me.  Fortunately he had a lot of examples to pass around the room.  But, my photos of the session stunk.

It was an important reminder for me to make sure I always travel with my own lighting system when demonstrating.  That would have been immensely helpful for every one of the sessions I attended all weekend.