Third-Generation Master Housewright, Carpenter & Toolwright
As a third-generation master housewright, carpenter and toolwright, Ron provides helpful instruction and answers questions you didn’t even know to ask about wood and woodworking tools and tactics in his hands-on seminars. With more than 30 years of teaching under his belt, Ron’s direct style and engaging personality make each seminar one to remember.
Ron has done everything from pit-sawing trees to hand-building log cabins with mule teams to creating and aging historic restorations to match the existing structures, as well as building multi-million-dollar new-construction homes. He is credentialed to meet the strict standards for working on houses registered with the National Historic Trust, and has performed several period restorations.
The company mill is stocked with an extensive tool inventory, arranged and sorted by type. Ron can work as early as 1830, using period tools and methods. He maintains an extensive library and knowledge of tool catalogs, research and patents, dating back more than 100 years, and can type, catalog, and give details on hundreds of tools. But the mill is also geared for production with a full complement of modern and antique power tools, and Ron is well versed in their use and instruction.
Imparting knowledge is one of Ron’s special skills. He’s been instructing in one form or another on many different topics for more than 35 years. His delivery is engaging and fun, and he makes sure attendees go home with their heads and hands full!
Ron has created several videos for Popular Woodworking; authored several articles for magazines such as Popular Woodworking and American Woodworker; presented at national seminars such as Woodworking in America and the Northeastern Woodworkers Association’s Fine Woodworking Show, as well as being selected as a judge for their woodwork competition; delivered seminars to many woodworking associations, including the Michigan and Alabama Woodworkers Guilds, the Long Island Woodworkers Club and the Woodworkers of Central Ohio. He has also presented to the Society of American Period Furniture Makers and has performed consultations for the National Historic Trust as well as other state and local historic societies.
Ron’s 2020 Seminars, 2021 Seminars TBA
Understanding Wood For The Cabinet Maker - $50
(Friday and Saturday: 9:00am – 12:00pm)
If you have ever worked with wood, you have very likely at some point been frustrated by its variable and ever-changing behavior. Why did your beautiful table top warp so quickly? What made your locust veneer crack off beech substrate on your guitar project? How do you stop the panels on your cabinet doors from shrinking and gapping? Problems with failure can always be predicted and circumvented if you understand the structure and nature of wood. That’s where Ron comes in.
Understanding the physical structure and properties of wood (dendrology) is the most important knowledge you should have as a woodworker. If you understand how lumber is cut and what that means for your projects, how to select the best wood for your project from retail outlets, how to read defects in wood and how to understand the behavior of wood over time, your project success will be high. In this three-hour seminar, Ron explains all these things and more, and answers your questions to help you improve your woodworking skills.
This very popular seminar is derived from a 40-hour course developed in conjunction with the U.S. Forestry Service and the University of Wisconsin at Lacrosse, and Ron has delivered a 6-hour video on this subject through Popular Woodworking. It provides lots of hands-on opportunities and doses of Herman wisdom and humor, and will definitely send you on your way with your brain full!
Veneering Basics - $50
Want to spice up that boring box or add some pizazz to a cabinet face? Adding veneer can be a beautiful way to add some punch or elegance to your project. Veneer has been a common aspect of woodworking for more than 400 years and is a good way to take your woodworking to the next level by building your skill sets.
Join Ron to learn about different veneers and the advantages of using veneer, harvesting methods and methods and mechanics of application, as well as different forms of veneer that are appropriate for different projects – raw, paper-backed, phenolic-backed, etc., and how to apply them to different substrates. Learn how a common drug store compound can be a great help, and how a simple vacuum press can immensely simplify your veneer application. Ron will provide several demonstrations to assist you in gain and retain knowledge on the subject.
Finally, Ron will give you information and tips about buying veneer so you can make advised choices for obtaining veneer to enhance your projects.
Seminars included with general admission
Clamp Down Before You Screw It Up; Project Assembly Info the Plans Don’t Tell You
(Friday and Saturday 1:00pm – 2:00pm)
Project plans assume you have a lot of basic background knowledge when it comes to assembly, even if they detail all the steps. Ron is here to help you gain that knowledge and learn about basics such as clamps, glues and fasteners. Ever wonder why your pin nails won’t hold well in end grain, why your glue didn’t stick or why your screw suddenly moved out of line when you tightened it? Find the answers to these questions as well as learn about the proper uses of different kinds and gauges of nails and screws, what countersink to use and how they coordinate with your nails, which clamps are appropriate for your uses/different species of wood and how to protect your project when using them, which wood requires pilot holes for screws, and much more, to greatly improve the success of your project.
Joinery For The Cabinetmaker
(Friday and Saturday 2:30pm – 3:30pm)
Showcasing quality tools from Veritas/Lee Valley, Ron will explain and demonstrate basic joints that need to be learned and practiced in order to master cabinetry. Learn specific and alternative joints for frame and drawer construction, differentiating between solid wood and plywood fastening methods. Ron will provide a visual comparison of these methods with demonstrator drawers built with each joint constructed using a different method. Learn the IDIOT principle and what it means for your solid-wood drawer construction!
Keeping It Sharp
(Friday and Saturday 4:00pm – 5:00pm)
Sharp tools are safer, faster and more effective and efficient to use. It doesn’t have to take eight hours and sixteen stones of varying grits from different countries to effectively sharpen your tools. Learn how to sharpen like professional housewrights do—quickly, effectively and cost-efficiently—so as not to waste time on the job. Ron will teach you how to know what your tools need—cutting, sharpening and/or honing—and how to produce that keen edge that will glide through your next project. This course covers chisels, planes, knives, turning tools, bits, and other edged tools. Remember, there are only two states to any edged tool: Sharp, and Not Sharp!