Sunday, June 29, 2014

Groopstock Day One

Entering Monterey

Kicking things off...

The first day of Groopstock kicked off with a morning talk by David Reeves of Classic Furniture Restorations (  in Knoxville, TN. In this talk "A Meaningful Life: Thoughts on Life, Craft and Brown & Shiny", Dave used personal anecdotes in the building of his career to inspire us to spend our energy on the work we love and never cease to explore new professional avenues and methods of work. Highly reflective in character, this talk set the tone for the coming presentations.

Dave getting ready

Discussing the "brown and shiny" side of life

Our generous host, Don Williams

After Dave finished up, our host Don Williams (recently retired senior furniture conservator at the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute) and Bill Robillard of Encore Restorations ( presented a robust yet portable onsite workbench solution. Don designed this particular bench for Bill’s upcoming conservation demonstrations at a local musuem. In this first part, Don displayed some of the construction features and benefits of the design.

The skeleton of the bench

Sharon's talk

So many choices...

After lunch, violin restorer Sharon Que from Ann Harbor, MI ( presented "Replacing Missing Wood/Chalk Fitting". Sharon began with a brief powerpoint but then quickly led us to her bench where she demonstrated techniques for precision fitting of irregular concave grafts. The level of detail was meticulous and like her talk at the last Groopstock, we were all riveted. 

Sharon explaining the process

At the bench

Jon Szalay

Following Sharon, Jon Szalay (infamously known as Jersey Jon on American Pickers) from First National Restorations ( showcased his new design for a small scale forge for bronze casting. Jon discussed the design and then constructed one before our eyes in under an hour. This talk was the set up for the casting to come later in the week.

Before dinner, Brian Webster of Southern Restorations in Woodstock, Georgia ( presented on “Branding and Marketing”. He discussed what a “brand” is and should be while spurring us to think more thoroughly about our place in our market. He facilitated numerous comments and discussions.

Don's presentation

After a hearty catered dinner at the Don and Carolyn’s cabin, we were treated to an overview of "Transition from Handwork to Machine Made Furniture" by Don. This powerpoint presentation mostly focused on physical evidence of production methods seen in tool marks left by the maker. Don explained the significance of these marks and what they tell us about their genesis. About as many myths were busted as truths were revealed. It was an enlightening talk for sure.

Late night conversations...

Many of us stayed up too late around the fire that night and enjoyed each other’s company and conversation. Only at a place like this can you find true fellowship in shellac, hide glue, and all things “brown and shiny”.

Stay Tuned for Day Two…


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