Starting tomorrow, a new documentary starts a week of screenings (11/1–11/7) in NYC that I highly recommend you go see.
Musicwood is a film about a collaborative effort between Greenpeace and three of the country’s largest guitar companies (Martin, Gibson, and Taylor Guitars). Together, they travel up to the Tongass National Forest to talk to the Native American-run corporation that manages the forest. The Tongass is home to the vast majority of Sitka Spruce trees in the world and they are rapidly disappearing, being harvested to supply the global lumber trade. Sitka Spruce is also one of the most desirable and widely used woods for making guitar tops. Together, these guitar makers and Greenpeace try to persuade the corporation to refrain from clear-cutting vast sections of the forest and adopt more sustainable practices so that they can continue to use these wonderful tress for years to come.
As an added bonus, on Monday, November 4th, I will be joining a panel discussion following the film to talk more about the issues.
For Tickets: click here
For the past few years, the mere mention of “Brooklyn” has cultivated a certain cache of local artisanality and an air of craftsmanship it has not known in close to a century. We like our beer micobrewed, our coffees poured over, our pickles … well, pickled, but in a really special way. Our furniture is no exception.
There are so many woodworkers around Brooklyn these days it’s truly inspiring; and the field is as varied as it is populous. Nowhere is this more evident than at the makers’ market known as the Factory Floor in Sunset Park, which runs for one more weekend. We stopped by last week to peruse the wares, make some new friends, and as luck would have it, check in with some old ones.
One of the exhibitors is none other than, Ethan Abramson, who was there for some of the earliest NYCWG meetings, when we were just hashing out the idea for the group. Since then, he’s heeded the siren call across the sound to Port Chester, NY where he now has his own furniture workshop where he handcrafts his own designs. He told me about a finish he’s now using that is perhaps the most enviro-friendly thing I’ve heard of. If you are at the show, be sure to stop by and say hi.
Overall, the range of styles and aesthetics of the exhibitors offers something for everyone. Some designs are sleek and modern, some are minimal with live edges, others still are deliberately left rough-edged as a testament to their previous life as pillars of bygone industry. The best part about the whole show by far is getting to meet the makers and talk to them about what they do. One thing is for sure though, once you get to see and hear how much goes into creating something that is not merely functional but artistic and unique, it’s tough to go back to Ikea.
Japanese tools are useful to have for woodworking, but knowledge on how to use them has often been cloaked in terms of mysticism and exoticism. This month, guest speaker Wilbur Pan, will provide an overview of Japanese saws, chisels, and planes in plain English: how they work, how they are made, and how they can be used for any woodworking project, Asian or otherwise. Check your Zen at the door.
19 8th St, Suite 208
Brooklyn, New York 11215
Monday, April 22nd, 2013
About Wilbur Pan:
Wilbur Pan is a woodworker from New Jersey, and has been interested in Japanese tools ever since discovering the joys of hand tool woodworking. He has published articles on Japanese tools in Popular Woodworking Magazine, and is responsible for giant Cypress, the best Japanese woodworking tool blog in existence.