July 12 Sack Back

             I regularly get phone calls and emails that go something like this, “I live in Ohio (or some other state) and it’s such a log way to New Hampshire, I can’t get there to take a chair class.”  I never have any sympathy. This week is good example of why I am so hard-hearted. Kim Dongil is a student in the class that we are currently teaching.  Dongil is from Seoul, Korea. Think how far he travelled to get here to take a chair class. His home is about as far away as you can get on this planet from New Hampshire. Perhaps the guys who come here fron new Zealand and Australia actually travel the greatest distance. However, Dongil is one of the reasons the old “I can’t come to a class because I’m from …..” doesn’t cut the mustard.

            Dongil has a PhD in economics and teaches at the university level.  His goal is to make more chairs and I am curious as to what species of trees he will find in Korea that substitute for the species we use. I did a Google search and came up with some candidates for him.  I’ll keep you posted.

            This class also has Freddie Dudak as a student. Freddie is noteworthy because he is only eleven years old. In fact, he is barely 11 years old, his birthday being in May. The previous youngest boy to take a class was my son Michael who made a chair when he was twelve.  So, Freddie sets a new record and in doing so blows the old one out of the water. Freddie’s father Sir Freddie Dudak accompanied him, but the youngster is doing his own work. In fact, he has put a few older guys to shame and they regret being on the same bench as this talented 11 year-old.  Freddie is taking the class very seriously.  He never fools around or gets distracted.  Every demonstration he sits up front with his notebook and takes copious notes. His father tells me Freddie is planning on exhibiting his chair in a local fair this August.

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            Here’s  a story a lot of chairmaker wish would happen to them.  The email tells the whole tale and I have nothing to add. “This week I received the mother of all chair orders. The historic site near buy has ordered 100 chairs to be completed this year under a facilities grant. Over the past several years I have already made about 50 or so for them and this will complete the restoration of the building. The chairs are a simple four spindle rod back with a box stretcher and quite plain turnings except for the rings. The originals (which they still have a few of) were made nearby around 1830. I had anticipated being able to cut back this year when the deposit check arrived in the mail. I have nightmares thinking about the 1400 turnings required. Thanks to Oneway I have a very quiet and smooth running lathe that is a joy to turn on. So, it is a little less painful. As you know I have been blessed with some considerable orders over the years, but I am sure this will be my last big Rodeo!! Hope all is well with you and your family. John Robinson.”  Eat your hearts out. 

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A lot of you have changed your email addresses lately.  If my monthly eLetter is returned I have no choice but to delete your name, as I have no way to get hold of you to ask for your new address. If you did not recently receive the July issue about the Gluck Brothers Chair Manufacturers ink blotter, you need to send me you new address.

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