Marc Adams 9/16-20 Class

Marc Adams School of Woodworking
September 16-20, 2024

Welcome! The main project for 2024 5 day class is a barstool. We’re going to make barstools from my Greene and Greene focused line of furniture I call the Medina Barstool. It features a number of G&G details such as cloud lifts, slots and square plugs. And, like any Arts and Crafts barstool should be, it features a lot of mortise and tenon joinery and is very robust. So robust that I’ve built a number of these for clients for outdoor use.

I’ll add a gallery of barstool images in the next few days.

Below is repeat of the detailed class notes available for prospective students at the Marc Adams school.

Class Description

Most homes have counters, a kitchen desk, or maybe a full height bar. If you have any of these then this class is for you. In this class we’ll  build great Greene and Greene barstools for your home and family. And, because they live out in the open and are used daily, they’re also a great way to show off your woodworking craftsmanship.  

In my furniture collection is a Greene and Greene-influenced backless bar I call the Medina Barstool. I’ve built for Greene and Greene homes in Pasadena and many other clients around the country. It features elegant details like cloud lifts and pillowed ebony plugs. And, if built using the right woods, it is strong enough for outdoors use With 40 joint parts, angled joinery, a very comfortable seat, and a new style of footrest, there’s plenty of exciting challenges for intermediate to advanced woodworkers. 

In this class we’ll build two barstools, one to complete in class and one to take home unassembled to complete and use as pattern so you can build more. We’ll build them in a modern way using Festool Domino joinery and CNC machined patterns and shaping. We’ll also show you how to use CNCs to cut and detail parts. Don’t worry if you have no experience with CNCs, CAD or CAM. Digital woodworking skills are not required. We’ll show how its done so you can make use of local services for your own pattern making for future projects.

Class Focus

This class is focused on three things: first and foremost, of course is woodworking and improving your skills by creating robust joinery–especially beefed up mortise and tenons joints, using CNC patterns or part cutting for shaping and about getting the details right in final construction. In the process we’ll work with the major machines in the shop: table and bandsaws, jointers and planers, routers and router tables, mortisers and sanders of every type and we’ll do detail work with hand tools.

The second part is a brief introduction to digital woodworking. I’ll show you how I make patterns for this project and cut parts with a CNC. Again, no preview digital woodworking skills required. 

The final part is about design and details. Since my background is in the design world we’ll discuss design for woodworkers and developing variations on an architectural theme just as the pieces we’ll be build have design variations. I’ll also show you how I develop my own designs and produce patterns and jigs in my work and how similar techniques can be used in your own woodworking projects.

The Furniture

We’re going to be building Greene & Greene influenced Barstools. The Medina Series was designed for my Greene and Green clients in Pasadena. Details include thick stock, lots of stretchers, a very comfortable seat, footrests and square plugs. The stools’ structure is via very robust mortise and tenon joinery that we’ll accomplish via the Festool Domino Joiners.

NOTE: The Medina stools comes in three versions: 24”, 27” and 30” heights to fit any counter or bar you may have. Make sure you come to class with two important dimensions so we can size your stools for your specific use. 1) Measure from the floor to the top of the counter or surface. And, 2) measure from the floor to the underside (clearance). Bring these measurements!

Objectives

  • Learn how to build very strong bar stools with 20 joint connections, much of it at angles.
  • To learn and apply modern production methods and tools to make better and consistent furniture.
  • Learn a belt and suspenders approach to joinery makes for very strong bar stools.
  • Intro to CNC cut patterns, machined parts and 3D detailing
  • Using pattern shaping and modern jigs for accurate, consistent work.
  • Work with the Festool Domino Joiner and a custom Domino furniture jig for fast, accurate joinery
  • Learn about selecting the right woods for strength and aesthetics and how different woods can emphasize the lines of a piece.
  • Develop the skills and inspiration for you to go home and build even more.

If you have any questions before class, feel free to contact me.

Tim


Tool List

We all have tools that may or may not be essential that make us comfortable when building. I keep an assortment of tools in my shop apron that if they’re not around it drives me crazy. Bring along whatever makes you comfortable when you work.

Personal Safety Equipment
Safety glasses, ear protection, dust mask

Measuring and Marking
Tape measure. An accurate one. Test against a known standard to verify.
Pencil or mechanical pencil and erasers.
Pad of graph paper
Scissors and Xacto type knife
Metal ruler 12” or 18”.
Small combination square
Large combination square or a medium sized square
Dial or digital caliper if you have one

Tools
Mallet for use with chisels
Assortment of woodworking chisels from 1/4”, 3/8” 1/2”
Block plane
Shoulder plane Optional: if you have one

Tools List Additions
In addition to the above list of personal tools I have a few additions. If you have these tools and can bring it to the class, that would a great help. 

For Finishing….
1/4 Sheet Sander. The school never seems to have them. If you have one bring it along…
Domino or Domino XL. If you have one bring it along…


Materials List

What woods to bring?

Lots of possibilities here. Stick with straight grained hardwoods. No knots. No softwoods. For traditional Greene and Greene I suggest quarter sawn Kyaha Ribbon Mahogany or Sapele for the frame parts and the seats and foot rests. I’ve built dozens of stools this way and they look great. A subtle accent would be to use Jatoba or Jarra for the seats and foot rests. Other suggestions are to build the stools out of nice straight grained walnut or cherry. Slightly contrasting woods would also work, but keep it very subtle to keep the long lines inherent with the long legs of a stool. Loud is not good. For example for something exotic you could have Wenge lets and the rest of the frame Bubinga with a figured Bubinga seat. Though darker woods generally work better with Greene & Greene designs, quarter sawn Ash would look great as a light colored alternative.

For accents and the square plugs bring a darker contrasting wood. The obvious first choice is Gabon Ebony. You won’t need much as the plug sizes are just 3/8”. An alternative I often use is Jarra or Jatoba for plugs. Almost as dark when used as end grain, but a bit redder. I’ll bring along some Richlite as a Gabon Ebony alternative. 

Final materials and cut lists will be supplied in time for you to acquire what you need before class. Major materials will be 5/4 & 6/4 Kyaha Ribbon Mahogany (preferred) or quarter-sawn Honduran Mahogany or Sapele. The se woods also work for outdoor use with the right finish. They expand and contract little under various weather conditions, resist cracking, rot and take joinery well.

Materials Stock Prep
The school has all the equipment you need to do final milling. But, get your stock in near final form and dimensions before the class. Materials must be flat and square. Lengths and widths don’t have to be exact. But, leave a little extra. We’ll cut our shapes out of the blanks. What’s shown on the cut list is the minimums. But, thicknesses should be fairly close. Remember, depending on where you’re traveling from different environments and moving wood will cause it to move a bit. Getting to class with over sized wood will allow you to square it up and cut to final dimensions on site.

6/4 Stock: Face plane, plane and square stock to 1 3/8” thickness or more. After settling, final thickness will be 1.26-1.28”. Width to over size the specified pieces. Length to oversized, too.

5/4 Stock: Face plane, plane and square stock to 1 1/8” thickness if possible. After settling, final thickness will be 1.01-1.03”. Width to over size the specified pieces. Length to oversized, too.

Stock Lengths & Widths
You’ll see that there’s a lot of pieces that are fairly small. If you want to bring in your boards combined for cutting to width or length later, that’s fine. Less pieces to fiddle with if you travel with the wood. What ever works.

Extra Stock: I suggest that you bring enough extra 6/4 stock for a spare leg or two and 5/4 stock for miscellaneous parts in case there are problems.

Before the Class

Again: The Medina stools comes in three versions: 24”, 27” and 30” heights to fit any counter or bar you may have. Make sure you come to class with two important dimensions so we can size your stools for your specific use. Measure from the floor to the top of the counter or surface. And, measure from the floor to the underside (clearance). Bring these measurements!

Cut List

Notes: The stock list below is for one barstool. In the class we’ll be building two bar stools, so double all the amounts below. 

Add to the list below enough Gaboon Ebony for square plugs for two stools.

ItemStockWidth x LengthQty
Bar Stool


Legs6/43×30 (better left paired to 6” wide)4
Foot Rests*6/43×162
Short Stretchers/Seat Supports5/45.5×274
Seat Slats5/43.25×343

* If you know for sure that you’ll be building 24” high barstools, then you won’t need the  footrest stock. Stools at that height are too low for foot rests