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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Francis Brown

Classes are on! Here's James Journigan.....

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

James (goes by "Ray"), living in Virginia Beach, is a world famous, lifelong furniture maker. Ray was honoured in 2018 with the highest prize of the woodworking world, the SAPFM Cartouche Award. Ray has been selected to teach at the Maine Coast Workshop because he is a master teacher, passionate about fine furniture making, loves to spread the craft, and is beloved by his students.

Ray will be teaching 3 classes this year:

1. A one day Sharpening Intensive

2. Making a traditional 18th Century Newport candle sconce

3. Making the iconic ca. 1770 John Elliot footstool

Before we get to Ray's bio, here's a little info on his classes:

1. Sharpening Intensive

As the owner of over 200 carving chisels, 30 Hand planes, 20 Bench Chisels, Drawknives, Scrapers and other cutting edge tools, Ray has done a lot of sharpening over the years. After trying nearly every method available, he has found a system, using the least amount of equipment, taking up the least amount space, which is quick to set up for getting his tools razor sharp, so he can get back to the fun stuff, working wood, in the least amount of time. In this class Ray will explain the pros and cons of different sharpening methods as well as demonstrate how he sharpens all of the above mentioned cutting edge tools. Students are encouraged to bring a plane iron that needs some attention, or maybe a couple of bench or carving chisels to give it a try. Card scrapers are covered as well. Students will be pleasantly surprised to find out how easy sharpening can be, which makes woodworking a more pleasurable experience. There is no materials fee or required tools for this class. Sign up here.

2. Make a Traditional 18th century Newport Candle Sconce

As with all of Rays carving classes, tool selection, sharpening, and care will be discussed as well as finishing techniques that will maximize the effects of your newly carved piece.

This beautiful project packs in a lot of techniques in a delightful 18th century piece: Precision joinery, Gooseneck molding, Carving traditional elements.

This class is designed to require little financial investment in materials so we can concentrate our efforts on advancing your skills in carving. Students will get the chance to carve two iconic Newport concave shells that are found on period desks, clocks, highboys, and dressing tables by the Goddards and Townsends during the 18th Century. Then the carving continues with the gooseneck moldings. We shape the shelf to resemble the profile matching seats found on corner chairs and dovetail it to the sides.

As with all of Rays carving classes, tool selection, sharpening, and care will be discussed as well as finishing techniques that will maximize the effects of your newly carved piece. A $75 materials fee must be paid to the instructor before class. Click here for more info & to sign up,

As with all of Rays carving classes, tool selection, sharpening, and care will be discussed as well as finishing techniques that will maximize the effects of your newly carved piece.

3. Make a John Elliot style Chippendale Stool

Sep 28 - Oct 03, 2020

A foot stool is a great way to gain skills using your hand tools. And the John Elliot reproduction footstool is one of the finest examples made in the 18th century. Many valuable skills will be learned while students build this foot stool.

After surfacing our materials with a hand plane, Ray will demonstrate different methods of laying out and cutting mortise and tenon joints by hand using tools such as a mortise gauge, tenon saw, mortise chisel, bench chisel, shoulder plane and router plane.

Next, he will demonstrate cutting and shaping cabriole legs using spokeshaves, rasps, files, and card scrapers. Then Ray will demonstrate an uncomplicated way to layout and carve a Philadelphia style ball and claw foot. Ray will teach you how to layout and carve scallop shells both in the round, like those found on the knees of each leg, and as an applique which is placed on the aprons.

The minimum expectation is to complete all of the joinery and one complete leg with a shell and either ball and claw or trifid style foot. Depending on skill level you may get much further. Other subjects that will be discussed include tool sharpening, small shop organization for efficiency, and finishing techniques, traditional and modern upholstery methods. Students will complete the slip seat frame in class. Finish options and techniques are discussed in depth.

Students may bring their own wood for this project based on the provided cut list. We are also arranging potential "student packs" with the wood components milled to rough size (stay tuned for that). Final dimensioning will be done in class. Mahogany is recommended but walnut, cherry, and maple are also possible. Anyone wishing to mail their wood to the school may do so. Click here for a required tool list and the cut list from the instructor. More info here.

OK, let's talk about Ray...........

James R. Journigan, Sr. (Ray) makes fine period reproduction furniture in the 18th century tradition. Given the rarity and expense of high quality antiques, the cabinetmaker sets out to enable his clients to own pieces of the same impeccable quality and style that in time will become heirlooms for generations to come.

Handcut dovetails, mortise and tenon joinery, detailed turnings, hand carving, and inlays are but a few of the details that give his reproductions the look and feel of their period counterparts. Placed in a room with period antiques, his work speaks the same language.

Meticulous hand carving sets Journigan's work apart from that of his peers. And it is this attention to detail and commitment to quality that has earned him the honor of being named one of America's Top 200 Traditional Craftsmen by Early American Homes Magazine. Ray is also a long standing member of the Society of American Period Furniture Makers (SAPFM).

Come out to Camden, voted each year "the most beautiful place on the coast of Maine" for a small shop woodworking experience of a lifetime.

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