2015 Class Schedule and Other News

2015 Class Schedule

This year for the first time I have posted a schedule of available dates for chairmaking classes. All of my classes are held in my shop in Strasburg, Virginia. The classes are limited to a maximum of two students which allows for lots of personal attention. As part of each class students receive an 80+ page, fully illustrated class manual with detailed instructions for building the chair. The manual has a couple of major benefits. First, it minimizes or eliminates the need to take notes during class which greatly increases the amount of time students have available to learn new techniques and build their chair. Second, it gives students an accurate and complete reference for building the chair in their home shop. You can read about the classes, written from the student’s perspective, on The Class Experience page. Take a look at the 2015 Chair Class Schedule page — there are still lots of open dates available.


New: Introductory Arm Chair Class

The Classic Arm Chair is now being taught as introductory class. This means it is open to anyone without any prerequisites and regardless of previous experience or skill level. The chair, when finished, is identical to the chair that was previously taught as an advanced class. The difference is in how the process of building the chair is taught. In the introductory class there is added focus on teaching how all the parts of the chair interact (especially the rear panel) and how a change in one part affects the others. It gives students the basic skills for modifying a chair design to their own needs if desired. This is the same approach I use in teaching the introductory 3-Slat Post & Rung Side Chair class. One of the great things about this chair is that it uses the same bending forms as the 3-Slat Post & Rung Side Chair and the Classic Side Chair.


Optional Jigs and Forms

It is always difficult to go home from an intensive class like this and begin to make another chair on your own. One of my goals as teacher is to give students every possible assistance to make that second (and third, and fourth…) chair in your home shop. The class manual is a huge help, as is the detailed reference material in the Boggs Side Chair Build Series on this blog. What can sometimes get in the way is all the things that need to be built in order to get started on that second chair. To that end I give students several options for jump starting their chair building.

  • Patterns. For those who want to build everything from scratch the class manual has detailed drawings, with measurements, of every jig and form used to build the chair. To make things a little easier students can copy patterns for the bending forms and slat mortising jigs onto poster board.
  • Template Set. This set includes plywood master templates for the rear leg bending form, the slat bending form, and the slat mortising jig. Students can use these masters to template rout duplicates, making the building of these forms and jigs much easier. The cost for this set depends on the class.
  • Jig and Form Set. This set includes complete built jigs and forms: 1 rear leg bending form, 2 rear leg drying forms, slat bending form, slat drying form, slat mortising jig, a set of rung mortising jigs, slat fitting jigs, and a story stick. Again the cost of this set depends on the class.

These are the jigs and forms included in the Jig and Form Set for the 3-Slat Post & Rung Side Chair.


Follow Me

Instagram has a thriving community of woodworkers, chairmakers, and toolmakers who regularly post photos of finished work, things they are working on, tools they use to work with, and much more. The format, a large photo or short video and a caption of any length, is ideal for sharing quick or detailed information with a large audience. And it is easy to comment on any post, which encourages dialog among folks with a common interest. I can’t say enough good things about this social platform.

I have recently begun to actively post on Instagram. My posts include projects I am working on or experimenting with, day-by-day descriptions of classes as they are happening, a series of posts on hand tools for “Hand Tool Thursday”, and anything else I think would be of interest to students and woodworkers. You won’t find photos of what I ate for breakfast, and there are only the occasional photos of cats or babies (but only when they are in the shop). I love the fact that I can include a detailed caption explaining what it is in the photo. And I love that people can comment or ask questions, creating a unique opportunity for dialog.

It is easy to get involved in this great community. If don’t already have an Instagram account you can download the app for your smart phone or tablet. You can also open an account on the Instagram web site. When you first open the app you will be prompted to log in with your account or create a new one. This will allow you to view other people’s photos and follow people that you especially like. You can also post your own photos to share. If you prefer, your photos can remain private, available only to people that you approve. You don’t have to share photos at all and can simply use the account to follow others. To follow me you can search for Jeff Lefkowitz or click on this link in a web browser. You can also follow Brian at BrianBoggsChairmakers or click on this link.

A great way to find other people to follow is to see who people you like are following. Just go to their profile page and click on following. You will be taken to a list of the people they are following. You can click on any person in the list to go their profile page and see all of their posts. If you like what you see, simply click the button that says + Follow to begin following that person.

I can’t recommend Instagram highly enough. Especially if you work alone and don’t often have contact with other woodworkers, it’s a great way to keep in daily touch with a community of like-minded individuals. Give it a try.

I also repost all of my Instagram posts to Twitter. On Twitter you can find me by seaching for @jlefky or click on this link.


Upcoming Blog Posts

It’s been quite a while since I added a post to the Boggs Side Chair Build Series (as many of you may have noticed). I intend to start to posting again soon. Up to this point I have completed the shaping of every part of the chair. The next step is to drill the rung mortises. The series on rung mortising will probably include four posts. They will not only explain how to drill the rung mortises but will also go into great detail on how to figure out the various drilling angles and build a set of simple jigs that make the rung mortising fast, accurate, and practically fool proof.

Once the rung mortising is complete I will begin a series on the assembly of the chair. In addition to the actual assembly the series will include a post on using hide glue, one on what makes a good joint, and one on building a custom assembly jig.

Check back from time-to-time or subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post.


Are There Too Many Chairs?

One of my students brought to my attention a great piece in the satirical newspaper The Onion entitled Report Confirms No Need To Make New Chairs For The Time Being. If you need a laugh this is a great read. Obviously I disagree with their conclusions.