One of my main objectives since the first time I meet Garrett Hack in Germany two years ago has been trying to bring him to make a furniture making workshop in Spain, this way Spanish woodworking enthusiasts, amateurs and professional could have an approach to the experience of this great master and better person.
After a couple of years attending to Garrett´s workshops in Germany, and after lots of e-mails about furniture making, others organizing the workshops in Spain or just talking about life, finally “the dream has come true“. I didn´t want to do this alone so I got in touch with Lorenzo García and we started to organized it.
The begining …
The preparation was marked at the beginning by what type of courses we were going to do. From design to construction and making a cherry cabinet were what we chose, and then Lorenzo and I got in contact with Jesus Pazos, Comercial Pazos owner (Spanish most important woodworking tool store) to try involucrate him in this experience and his response was extraordinary and we received a lot of support him.
During the last months, we focused on building the workbenches, (we made four specially for the classes), also getting the wood ready for the cabinets (cherry, chestnut, douglas fir, etc) get some quality hinges and to get the workshop (La Casa Rota, en San Sebastian) ready for this event. We had to get the hinges in the US given that in Spain is almost impossible to get nice ones.
Given that this type of event is the first time that it is made in Spain, it is very difficult to find workshops with nice benches and handtools, etc. and given that my workshop is a not too big, we decided to organized at Lorenzo´s workshop in San Sebastian so I moved my entire workshop to La Casa Rota workshop (benches, tools, etc) and, I think, we did a great job and finally we had a very nice workshop full of hand tools, nice light and good feelings.
After receiving Garrett and his wife, Carolyn at San Sebastian Central Station, Lorenzo, his wife and I went to have some “pintxos” or “tapas” with them and then we showed them the workshop.
The woodworking classes.
We have had nine participants, which has been a delight to share these days. We have enjoyed seven days of technique, creativity, and above all, very good times shared with them and with Garrett, both in the workshop and out.
Part one-From design to construction
The first course, was focused on furniture design and construction. We focused in the wood, use of the different species in the Cabinet, their movements and how to work with them, the proportions of the Cabinet and their components; We were working on the details, different options, both decorative and structural; and we also Garrett showed us how to make laminated curved parts, its preparation and finishing, It was just a luxury.
Part two – Making a cherry cabinet.
The second course began with the cabinet design, its parts and the reason for these assemblies, to use and its advantages. We continue with the preparation of the wood, smoothing the surfaces and marking where the joinery would be. In this course above all we focus on the realization of the structure, the tolerances and the details.
We used some machines (too amateur for what we wanted them to do) as the realization of joinery was not one of the objectives of the course, those with a little of practice are not very complicated, and in our opinion Garrett has more to offer than a few hand-made joinery. Also we made mistakes, which we hope to learn from and for sure we will make it better the next time.
We are already thinking what to do for the next year course if Garrett is able to come again.
Once we finish the courses and .to close the week as it is supposed, we all went to have a special dinner to “Sidreria” (The Spanish place to make cider). Almost all participants come and we enjoyed a lovely dinner together, Carlos Javier, Juan Carlos, Stephen, Eric, Sebastian, Francisco, Pere and Xavi thanks for sharing those days with us.
Part three – Trip to Cantabria.
The weekend after the workshop, I took Garrett and his wife, Carolyn, to Bilbao and I returned home with all my workshop in the van. I putted everything in order again and I could finally have some rest.
On Monday I went to pick them up to Bilbao and brought them to my village, to spend some time with them in my house and of course I wanted to show him my small workshop.
I showed them my “unplugged” workshop and some of the furniture that I have made, so I could have his opinion and advice about it.
Together with my family we had a walk around my village and , of course, we talked about wood, furniture and also he showed me how to prune my fruit trees in order to get more and better fruit or to get better wood from them. Another luxury that I´ve got from this adventure. Thanks to Carolyn I have some pictures so I do not think it was only a dream (a good one).
Then, I had to take them again to Bilbao so they could get I flight to Barcelona and then return to the US. I come back home with contradictory feelings, on one side, finally I could rest and on the other I would have to wait at least one more year to meet them again. Garrett, thanks a lot for taking the challenge of this trip, for all you shared with us and of course, we are waiting for you next year!!
As a resume, at least for me, We have shared an extraordinary experience with the wood!
Until next time, have fun!