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Pre-Fest Course Descriptions

Turning Bowls on a Pole Lathe

In this class, students will learn all the steps involved in turning bowls with a pole-lathe: splitting the blanks from logs, hewing them to rough shape, then mounting them on the lathe for turning. Robin will guide the students through the nuances of using the hook tools; how to feel the right angle for proper cutting, working the shapes of the bowl and more.


This is a rare chance to learn from one of the premier pole-lathe bowl turners.


Forged hook tools will be provided. Some of these tools will be available for sale, to be picked up at the end of Greenwood Fest. Students should bring a hatchet for hewing bowl blanks; optional tools to bring include splitting tools like a froe, wedges, maul, a compass for scribing circles, mallets. A complete suggested tool list will be sent out at a later date.

Eight participants; suitable for any skill level.


Robin Wood


If you have ever applied an edge tool to wood, you are aware of the impossibility of creating clean, controlled, cuts with tools that are anything less than expertly sharpened. Hone those skills in this two-day hands-on sharpening intensive with chairmaker and tool maven Tim Manney.

Tim will demonstrate sharpening comprehensively, with lots of opportunities for hands-on experience, as he guides participants through tuning their own green woodworking tools — axes, knives, drawknives, adzes, gouges... whatever shows up!   Everyone will learn safe and controlled use of the electric grinder —  deployed to establish proper edge geometry for each tool and to cut through years of rust and pitting on antique specimens —  one-on-one and hands-on.

By focusing on a handful of basic principles, Tim will cut through the hype and mystique that surround sharpening, and demonstrate how you can set yourself up with a kit of stones and a strop for $50 or less.

Please bring eye protection for grinder-time. We'll have basic ear protection on hand, but bring your favorites if you like. Also, bring tools to work on — axe, knife, gouge, drawknife; and anything else you are struggling to sharpen.


Tim Manney

Carve a Bowl

Get ready to swing with gusto!  In this course, we will begin with a log and visualize, layout, hollow, hew, and slice our way to a graceful and functional bowl.  As we make the chips fly, we will focus on techniques and skills that are transferable to a variety of bowl designs.  All experience levels are welcome.  


Bring a hollowing adze, carving hatchet, bent gouge, spokeshave, and sloyd knife.  A large (12") pencil compass or dividers will be helpful, but Dave will have a few large compasses available for use.  Other gouges, drawknives, hooks, or any other tools participants wish to bring are welcome too. 


David Fisher

Exploring Roma & Swedish Style Eating Spoons

Learn fast & efficient techniques and how to create the perfect egg shaped bowl.


Great for beginners, or a fantastic way for more experienced carvers to develop their understanding of three dimensional form & design - based around two classic examples of functional sculpture, from traditional artisan cultures. 


Participants will need an axe, knife & spoon knife. 


Barn Carder

Carve a Hinged Spoon

This course is a chance to delve into the distinctive historic tradition of decorated spoons found in Brittany, Jane's adoptive home.


Jane will explore both practical and aesthetic aspects of Breton folding spoons, introducing their mechanics, specifically hinge design and potential pitfalls, techniques of pattern drawing, and considerations as to wood selection.


Thus armed, participants will choose materials and patterns, and get on with carving the handle and the bowl, drilling the pin hole and assembling the spoon. Jane will lead participants in decorating their spoons with either plain chip-carving or wax-inlay techniques.

Due to the hardness of the wood required for these spoons, this course is suitable for experienced carvers.


Jane Mickelborough


Learn to make a shrinkbox - a small wooden vessel hollowed from fresh green wood, with a bottom disc set in a groove cut in its lower inside surface. When the green wood dries, it shrinks around the disc to create a magical piece of woodenware. Most shrinkboxes are round, but Jögge makes them in varied shapes as well.

Jögge’s shrinkboxes are usually decorated with chip-carving, relief carving, and color. His array of decorative ideas, based on Scandinavian traditions, will be an inspiration for anyone in this class.

More important than shrinkboxes produced, participants will have the opportunity to learn proper tool use, particularly the slöjd knife; decorative aspects of the work, whether relief and/or chip-carving, painted decoration and more. Attention to tradition is paramount in Jögge’s work.


Jögge Sundqvist

The Eating Spoon

A well-carved wooden eating spoon should be a joy to use. Not only must it look beautiful, a great spoon should also feel amazing in both hand and mouth.


With axe, straight knife, and hook knife, participants will learn, starting from the tree, to produce their own pinnacle of spoon-ness, as JoJo reprises the wonderfully intense 2-day course she has brought to Greenwood Fest since its inception.


JoJo Wood

Decorative carving in oak, 17th-century-style

In this class, students will learn the steps and processes used to recreate carving patterns from seventeenth-century furniture of England and New England. Starting with a single gouge and mallet, we will focus on technique and posture. Also considered are proportions, spacing and the relationship between background and foreground in establishing the pattern/design. Each successive practice pattern builds upon the previous example, adding more tools and concepts. We will incorporate hand-pressure, mallet work, and the use of the V-tool in outlining designs. A compass, awl and marking gauge are used to layout the geometric basis for each pattern, but freehand work is included in each a well. A range of designs will be covered, all drawn from surviving examples studied in museum and private collections.

Students will learn ways to combine and contrast these patterns, adapting them for use as furniture accents. V-tool work, gouge work and shaping and modeling surfaces all will be addressed. Background punches will create a textured surface, offsetting the smooth texture of the original planed panels. Various shop-made punches highlight the carved designs.

Peter Follansbee

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Seven extraordinary visiting instructors teaching two-day courses of their choosing.


Courses run from mid-day Tuesday, June 5th, until mid-day Thursday, June 7th. 

Registration includes two nights camp lodging and seven meals (lunchtime to lunchtime). All materials included.

Yes, each individual may only attend one course, as they run simultaneously. And, yes, there is a plus-one option again this year if you would like to bring an unmatriculated friend (pre-fest courses, only).


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