Mt Zion - Andrew Brant

Andrew Brant

Writing from Andrew Brant on Woodworking and Craft

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Mendocino

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It’s been a full year, and working an often more than full time job, woodworking on nights and weekends, enjoying and exploring a great relationship with my partner, making mistakes, growing from my mistakes, going to therapy, working on self care… all in all has meant i’ve Made quite a lot less online content than I ever meant to.

When I started woodworking it was five years ago, and I was living alone in a town with nothing going on, so I had tons and tons of time to document everything going on. That’s something I’ve wanted to keep up, but just ended up at the bottom of my priority list.

Now, so much has changed. What’s the update?

I quit that full time job. I proposed to my wonderful partner, Ash. We took a honeymoon this summer in Europe and across the western United States, which we just completed this week, ending in Fort Bragg, California, in Mendocino County. Why? Because I’m starting the 9 month program at the Krenov School.

If you’re a woodworker you may have heard of it, but if not - it’s an intensive, 6 day a week (only off on sundays) school where myself and 22 or so other students work, every day under the guidance of some of the best woodworking teachers in the world, on design and construction of furniture. It was founded by James Krenov, who wrote some of the most important and most popular philosophic books on woodworking of the 20th century. Other people, who knew him or studied under him, can speak more to who that man was, but if you want a taste, get ‘The Impractical Cabinetmaker’ and you’ll start to get a taste for what I’m about to embark on.

His approach, which the school still follows under the guidance of the director Laura Mays, is very me. I expect to draw a lot, use a lot of hand tools but not be afraid of machines to do the heavy lifting they are suited for in the early stages of making a tree into a chair or cabinet. I expect to spend endless hours on fine details. I expect to learn techniques that I’ve heard of, read about, but never had the time or space or resources or guidance to even attempt to try, like steam bending or shop made centering or coopering. More than anything, I hope that I will have the time and space and support to make what exists in my imagination but have yet to make in person.

Ash and I found a house not far from school, tucked in next to a redwood state park and a few minutes drive to the Pacific Ocean. There’s a blackberry bush on our acre of land that’s got to be as big as a tennis court. We have hawks circling it every morning, looking for their breakfast while other critters feast on berries for theirs, we have racer snakes and deer and skunks. We have quiet at night and sun during the day. In other words, what neither of us have had in New York or San Francisco or Chicago in our past decades, and even though it’s a big adjustment, I think we are getting used to it one day at a time and the peace to our souls and spirit it provides.

I never did finish the blog posts on how to make the redwood tub. Or on basic techniques, like sawing. But I hope to write more, and share on instagram and everywhere else, what I did when I made my first table five years ago - my joy and wonder and imagination and struggle, in the moment, as my whole world changes and I have the oppurtunities I had always wanted finally laid out in front of me.

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