Quarantine Woodshop: Gottshall Block

Welcome to the Quarantine Woodshop.

The Quarantine Woodshop introduces alternative woodworking methods and exercises to adapt to Safer-At-Home conditions. We have taken into consideration that individuals may no longer have access to a woodshop, have a limited working space, or limited learning opportunities. You do not need any prior woodworking experience to participate.

Today, we are providing you with a how-to guide on the Gottshall Block.

The Gottshall block was espoused by Franklin Gottshall and popularized by Robert Lang. Whichever way you cut it, this exercise is a testament to hand tool skill and a great project to practice on scrap wood.  The challenge of the Gottshall block is to recreate the given image only using hand tools. You are allowed to use machines for the milling process but for all the other cuts you can only use chisels. The exercise builds on different ways of approaching chisel cuts. Understanding grain direction is vital for getting clean cuts and avoiding tear out.

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Allied Woodshop's Holiday Gift Guide

Here's what's on our list. We guarantee you'll find something for everyone on your list too.

  1. Live Edge Table woodworking workshop at Allied Woodshop
  2. Tite-Mark marking gauge by Glen-Drake Toolworks
  3. Lie-Nielsen No. 102 Low Angle Block Plane
  4. Frog Blocks by Monroe Workshop Toys
  5. White Oak Carabiner Baby Rattle by Knotwork LA
  6. Spalted sycamore from Angel City Lumber
  7. The Everyday Board from Would-Works
  8. A Danielle Rose Byrd wooden bowl
  9. Offerman Woodshop OWS Hatchet Kit
  10. Membership at Community Woodshop LA
  11. Carve: A Simple Guide to Whittling by Melanie Abrantes


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Allied Woodshop partners with Would Works

We're pleased to partner with Would Works for the 2017 holiday season. Would Works is a social enterprise that puts men and women who are living in poverty in Los Angeles to work sanding and finishing wooden homewares. In exchange for their work, the Would Works Artisans receive credit toward a need they have (e.g. a new pair of eyeglasses, a bus ticket home, or a deposit for an apartment). 

Would Works will be working out of Allied Woodshop's new classroom and community space to gear up for holiday sales. This will provide the Artisans with bench space for their sanding operations, good ventilation, bright natural light, and storage space for their supplies and finished product.

We welcome the Would Works Artisans and look forward to a lasting partnership. How can you help? Consider purchasing a beautiful charcuterie board, cocktail board, or bottle opener for yourself or to gift to others over the holidays.   

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Allied Woodshop Receives a CERF+ Get Ready Grant

CERF+ awarded twenty Get Ready Grants to individuals and groups in craft disciplines to implement safety measures, safeguard studios, and protect careers. Allied Woodshop is pleased to have received a $1,500 grant to improve fire safety in our shop. We will use the funding to purchase flammables cabinets, fire-safe trash cans, fire extinguishers, and a ventilation system for our finishing room. We will also create a cheat sheet for the safe disposal of solvents and finishes and a curriculum to educate collective members, instructors, and students about the safe storage and disposal of flammable materials.

We would like to thank CERF+ for the work that they do to make the world a safer place for artists and craftspeople. If you would like to learn more or apply for a Get Ready Grant, click here. The deadline for the next application cycle is November 30, 2018. 

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Fight Woodworking Ignorance in 15 minutes a Day

We're regularly asked what books we recommend for beginners and experienced woodworkers alike. Well, Popular Woodworking took on the task of giving readers a list chock full of titles for information and inspiration in their October issue. Shop Director, Laura Zahn, was happy to have contributed to the article. Check it out here.
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Deep Work and Cognitive Craftsmanship

People find their way to the woodshop for various reasons, but increasingly we see individuals who are seeking escape from the busyness of their lives spent in front of computers and tied to phones and social apps. They want to experience the "flow state" that is often associated with mastery over a set of skills, and by definition requires complete attention and focus. While woodworking can offer this respite, it is a state that we should seek in all of our work (and social interactions) and not just in our hobby or craft. 

I recently listened to Cal Newport and Ezra Klein discuss just this idea - of focusing on what matters, regaining "cognitive fitness", and taking control of your time - in an episode of The Ezra Klein Show. Newport calls this "cognitive craftsmanship". Given my line of work, I was struck by the term and the concept and I thought that others who appreciate the work happening at Allied Woodshop might also enjoy a listen. For your consideration, here is Cal Newport on doing Deep Work and escaping social media. 

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New Workshops for 2017 Now Online

We're so grateful to have shared our woodworking shop and knowledge with more than 200 students over the past year, and we look forward to doing it again next year. We just posted our freshest round of workshops on the website under Classes & Education. In addition to the usual Intro to Woodworking and Intro to Furniture Making classes, you'll find workshops for kids, weaving classes, tools & techniques classes, and our newest additions - Intro to Woodworking II: Build a Wooden Box and Intermediate Furniture Making.
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The Beauty of a Simple Business

In an over-stimulating world fueled by technology and seemingly limitless access to information, you might find yourself seeking simplicity. The design world itself tells us that we want products, spaces, and lifestyles that are simple, minimal, and beautiful. When was the last time you opened your Instagram account and saw an airy, white space with a single, beautifully crafted and handmade item? Probably seconds ago.  

I find myself seeking this same simplicity in my work and in my business. I've intentionally nurtured a space for furniture makers that it small and (hopefully) enduring. Sometimes I wonder if I should try to grow my business by pursuing investors, hiring employees, adding more benches and classes, or opening additional locations. But then I remember that I'm happy having a business that I'm intimately connected to. Reading this article, The Beauty of a Simple Business, helped to remind me that keeping my business simple is an intentional choice, one that I'm happy with, and not a lack of ambition on my part.  


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