Roland Johnson

Contributing Editor for Fine Woodworking Magazine

To me one the real joys of woodworking is that hand tools and power tools can so effectively complement each other. There are days when my shop is a raucous cacophony of whirling cutters and singing blades and other days where hours of tranquilly reflective work create the Zen of Woodworking atmosphere that we often romanticize as the only way, and I enjoy every day.

I’m always pleasantly fatigued after the noise and frantic commotion of a power tool day, and I find hand tool days to be inspiring and sometimes downright magical. To me there is no best practice in woodworking; it’s more a matter of what works best for you. Please join me at my seminars this season and we’ll delve into that wonderfully symbiotic world of woodworking.

Roland Johnson’s Seminars
Last Season’s Sessions. 2021 TBA.
Seminars included with general admission

Sharpening, the Basics and Beyond

(Friday 12:30pm – 1:30pm, Saturday 11:30am – 12:30pm, Sunday 10:30am – 11:30am)
Having the ability to sharpen our tools quickly, consistently and to a keen edge is the number one task we need to learn as woodworkers. No project can proceed easily, accurately or enjoyably with less-than-sharp cutting edges.

In this seminar Rollie will teach the basics of achieving a sharp edge on nearly any cutting tool by simply using sandpaper and an accurate sharpening jig. We will also delve into the new breed of waterstones that side-step the tedious upkeep of some of the traditional waterstones. Sharpening can be quick and easy with a few good tools and an understanding of how to use them.

Introducing the Shaper Origin

(Friday 2:30pm – 3:30pm, Saturday 1:30pm – 2:30pm, Sunday 12:00pm – 1:00pm)
Almost two years ago at our Baltimore show (2018) the folks from Shaper brought their new handheld CNC router, the Origin, for a one-show unveiling. Rollie was awe-struck by its capabilities and could hardly wait to get his hands on one to see if the machine could really be an asset in a real-world shop. It is. In spades! And a person doesn’t have to learn CAD to operate one!

This seminar is designed to introduce folks to the capabilities of the Origin and the basic operation of the machine. With its ability to work on virtually any size piece and its ease of programming, the Origin is an ideal shop companion for anyone who needs to perform very precise joinery, inlay, or accurate repetitive parts production.

Shaper’s online support for Origin owners is pretty amazing. We will take a look at ShaperHub, Community and Shaper’s innovative Assist service.

Coloring Wood

(Friday 4:30pm – 5:30pm, Saturday 3:30pm – 4:30pm, Sunday 1:30pm – 2:30pm)
Chromophobia is defined as a persistent, irrational aversion to colors and is usually a conditioned response. Sounds like a woodworking problem! Too many woodworkers are terrified of adding color to their woodworking, falling back on the hackneyed phrase “I would never ruin the natural beauty of wood by changing it’s color”. What they’re really saying is “I’m afraid of color, I might ruin the piece” and unfortunately in many cases that’s exactly what happens. Rollie will show us how to change our conditioned response by learning how to correctly use color to bring out the best in a piece, no more bland! There are many factors that will determine the outcome of using color and we will make a grand tour of them, from grain direction to glazing we will find out why color works with wood the way it does. We will learn how to avoid the pitfalls of blotching and uneven coloring. Glazing can add to the allure of color and give a piece added depth and texture. We will also learn how to cover the color with an easy-to-apply long lasting finish that will bring bring out the brilliance. Color, it’s what makes the world beautiful.