For the past 5+ years the area of Pennsylvania I live in has been dominated by Charles “Chuck” Bender and the Acanthus workshop. Chuck’s shop/woodworking school is just a few miles from my house. Chuck, who in some circles is known as ‘The Woodfather’, has been the de facto boss in the territory by offering affordable woodworking classes that are fun and informative. So, when I came onto the scene a few years ago I deferred to Chuck’s experience and wisdom out of respect. I bided my time, waiting for the day to make my move and stake my claim as Chester County Pennsylvania’s most feared and respected woodworker and blog writer. Just yesterday, it was announced that Chuck will become a full time writer for Popular Woodworking magazine and make the move to Cincinnati, Ohio. Whether or not Chuck took the job because he knew that sooner or later I would make my move to control the area’s woodworking district I will probably never know. But now that Chuck and his henchmen will soon be gone, I already have plans to assume full control. I won’t get into details as of yet, but it involves a woodworking supply, woodworking classes, and maybe most importantly: anger management sessions.
In any event, I’m happy to see Chuck writing for Popular Woodworking. Chuck is a top notch woodworker and teacher, and he’s always written excellent articles for PW whenever he’s had the chance. I’ve only taken a handfull of woodworking classes in my life, and the classes I’ve taken at the Acanthus Workshop were my favorite. Chuck taught me how to hold a saw correctly, how to set a plane iron and chip breaker, and how to lay out and saw dovetails. I learned how to glue up table-tops with Chuck’s instruction. Gluing up a couple of boards to make a table top may sound like a no brainer, but there’s a bit more to it than meets the eye if you want it done correctly. I learned that an F-style clamp gets much of its clamping power in the first couple of turns. Again, that may seem like simple physics, but I never really thought about it until I took a class with Chuck Bender. So I can say that much of the real world woodworking knowledge I have is because of him.
So now that Chuck will soon be out of the area, it’s time for me to step up my game. The area needs a new Capo, and that job has my name written all over it. I cannot promise to be as friendly as Chuck; I rule my territory with an iron fist. The coup should be quick and mostly painless. Soon, the entire area will know who I am, for good or ill. So I would like to wish good luck to Charles ‘The Woodfather’ Bender, and I would also like to announce that there’s gonna be a new Sherrif in town. His name is Bill, but he prefers that you call him ‘Sir’.