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Thread: Windsor chairmaking NEW AND UPDATED!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Central NY State

    Windsor chairmaking NEW AND UPDATED!

    Well, now that 2 weeks have flown by since I quit my job, I've been out to California and visited with Vaughn, danced til my feet hurt at the Dance Flurry in Saratoga, NY, and now I'm looking forward to going to Pittsboro, NC to spend a week with Elia Bizzarri, learning from him how to build a Windsor chair.

    I decided to bring some of my own tools along, even though Elia has all the tools I'll need. These are the ones I wanted with me:


    But how to get them there? I didn't feel comfortable sending a set it's taken me years to accumulate via the USPS. And as for the baggage handlers at the airlines, well, you know....And now that there's the TSA checking everything, I decided to go on line and see what can be checked in baggage. Turns out, you can check an axe, a sword, or a sabre. So I figured my little old drawknives and inshave would be tame in comparison. So today, I pulled Toshio Odate's classic book off the shelf, and made a tool box based on his traditional Japanese design. I used cut nails, in keeping with tradition. No finish. The wood is pine and some white oak. The top slides to the side to open. No hinges or slots. It is really a cool design, and is esthetically pleasing, strong and simple. Just how I like things. I think it should hold up well to what the baggage handlers dish out, packing it within my duffel bag.

    I leave on Saturday, and will be working with Elia for 5 days. More on that later.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails tools.jpg   box closed.jpg   box open.jpg   box 3:4 view.jpg  
    Last edited by ken werner; 02-28-2010 at 10:41 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    One little thing you may have overlooked.

    You can no longer lock baggage or screw together a box. The airlines on both ends of the trip retain the right to check your baggage. They even tag it to alert potential thieves.

    OK, my bias, but years ago I traveled to shows and demonstrated. Needed to take my own tools. Had them take vacations of their own, some never to return. Tools are very pawnable (if that's a word.

    What I did was ship via FedEx. No hassle with the airlines and I could track the shipment. Now with surcharges for baggage on the plane along with enhanced thievery opportunities, I definitely would ship via FedEx. I found UPS to be more expensive and far more callous.

    Today I wouldn't take more than a backpack aboard a plane. I would definitely ship it both ways.

    Just sayin'


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    I am with Carol on this. I would prefer to have it in the hands of express shippers (FedEx or UPS), instead of the airlines.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Good bunch of tools and nice box Ken I wish you enjoy your stay with Elia.

    You say that this box is from an Toshio Odate book? I have two of them Making Shoji and Japanese Tools and I don't recall seeing a description of it.
    Best regards,

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________
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    I also dream of a shop with north light where my hands can be busy, my soul rest and my mind wander...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Schenectady, NY

    Have Fun !

    Um Ken, what do you mean you quit your job ? You're WAY too young to retire !

    Nice box and beautiful set of tools. I would also ship instead of flying them, and insure them.

    See you in Saratoga ?
    Don Orr

    Woodturners make the World go ROUND

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Central NY State
    Yikes, I'm getting alot of feedback suggesting that my plan may not be so smart...thanks for offering your opinions folks.

    Toni, yes the toolbox makes an appearance early in Odate's book about Japanese tools. I adapted his plan to fit my needs - his box was 40" long, mine is 17".

    Don, no I didn't retire, I just quit. I'll get back to a few months I think. As for Saratoga, I am planning on going, and look forward to seeing you. I can go into lots more detail about my career change over a cold one [or two].

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    Add another vote for shipping. I have my work related tool bag and I always ship it ahead when possible. Sometimes, even next day early AM. The folks at FedEx entertain themselves by seeing how far they can throw the box, not by searching it. And they have a much better package management system than any of the major airlines.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    I used to bring my demonstration tools on the airplane. Over the years I've had 2 sets gone missing in baggage

    Now I always ship them to the hotel I'm staying at or my customer. I haven't lost any since then.

    Also, check out the Windsor Chair Institute in Portsmouth, NH. I've been wanting to go there for quite some time.
    Last edited by Bob Gibson; 02-17-2010 at 12:02 AM.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Hey Ken, has anyone suggested shipping them instead of checking them as luggage? Carol's observations and suggestions are spot on.

    The toolbox looks great nonetheless, and will still be very handy for shipping the tools to your class.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    +1 on the shipping. I was going to say take a picture of the box before shipping and after and you will cry when you see it again. They abuse things no end.

    I would ship via UPS or Fedex and i would use a Pelican case with foam.

    These are the only things i have found stand up to what the do to things. Either being shipped or in checked baggage.

    Sorry for the bad news but its just we all value your good tools far to much.

    Enjoy the trip Ken. Have a good time and keep us posted.

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