The Society of American Period Furniture Makers

SAPFM Chapter News and Discussions => Chesapeake Chapter => Topic started by: Bert Bleckwenn on January 22, 2013, 10:52:25 AM

Title: Chesapeake SAPFM Chapter Finishing Retreat - May 3-5, 2013 at Don William's Barn
Post by: Bert Bleckwenn on January 22, 2013, 10:52:25 AM
The Chesapeake SAPFM Chapter and Don Williams are hosting a Finishing Retreat on May 3-5, 2013 at Don William's Barn Shop in Monterey, Virginia.  There are only two remaining slots, so contact Bert Bleckwenn at [email protected] if you are interested in signing up for one of the remaining slots.  Participation is open to any active SAPFM member


Don Williams has graciously offered to host a three-day weekend finishing retreat at his mountain home/shop in Monterey, Virginia on Friday through Sunday, May 3-5, 2013. It is going to be a great weekend focusing on using period furniture finishing techniques on your own project. So start planning now to set aside or to build an 18th century piece now that you can bring as your own finishing project.

Class participation will be limited to 12 participants and everyone will need to bring their own unfinished piece as their finishing project.  Registration will be on a first come, first serve basis based on email responses only to a Chesapeake SAPFM registration email sent by Bert Bleckwenn. As part of the registration response, you will need to provide an indication of what project you plan to bring and preferred traditional finishing technique you would like to use.

Once you have registered, Don will need to finalize what piece you intend to bring and the type of finish you would prefer so materials can be prepared prior to the retreat.  After registration, participants will be asked in a separate email to provide a final description of what project they plan to bring and preferred traditional finishing materials/techniques, with responses required no later than March 1st, 2013.

Project and Finishing Guidance from Don
?   I am very much looking forward to our upcoming weekend together.  Hopefully by the time we part company you will share my perspective that making furniture is just the filler to get to the really fun part, finishing!
?   Thursday afternoon and Friday morning will be used to set up our work space.  Participants are welcome to arrive any time after noon on Friday and to begin prepping Friday afternoon. This is when we will clean up any surfaces on your project that need cleaning up. I would prefer that you not have the surfaces scrubbed to within an inch of their life with sandpaper. While sandpaper was a historical reality, and we will certainly have plenty on hand, it is my desire for us to rely on scrapers and burnishers to get things ready for the glories awaiting us.
?   If possible, please identify your stated preference for the finish you are seeking to execute. Here are some viable options:
o   Molten beeswax, buffed with linen. In rural colonial New England this was the predominant finish. It yields a softly glowing surface that is easily repaired in perpetuity. It can help disguise lesser woods or workmanship.
o   True French Polish was essentially a wax, spit polished and yielding a nearly mirror-like surface. Spectacular does not begin to describe, if done perfectly.
o   Burnished brushed shellac is my personal favorite, and it is so sumptuous that it practically glows in the dark.
o   Burnished brushed colophony is a bit, more brassy than the same finish in shellac, but when tuned properly it can really sing.
o   Padded shellac is the mystical yardstick for the finishing trades, and we will have masterful polisher David Reeves to guide us through the process to completion.
o   Linseed, tung, or walnut oil is a really simple finish, but hard to get completed on a weekend since it takes several days to fully harden.  But, we can goose the process to make it go a little faster.
o   Oil resin varnishes are both historically accurate (although I doubt we will be using strict historical formulations, instead relying on my long time favorite: Pratt&Lambert 38 alkyd varnish) yielding durable and visually pleasing results.
o   Decorative painted surfaces can be accomplished by coordinating any of the previous iterations with specialized applications of dirt (pigments) or dye stains. I am hoping someone wants to make a painted blanket chest or a japanned cabinet.
o   Other options are possible, for example if you have your heart set on a turpentine / colophony varnish we can accommodate that. Also, some contemporary finishing materials will be available.
?   When you get back to me I will begin the preparations for the materials we will need to have on hand. The modest registration fee will be used to cover the costs of all the materials we will use, ranging from varnishes to rags to surgical gloves to solvents to sandpaper.
?   I will almost certainly be joining you by working on a project of my own.
?   If you have any favorite finishing tools, bring them.

Costs and Expenses
Costs for the three-day event are anticipated to be $100 per participant to cover finishing materials and food/refreshments during the day and will be due within 30 days of registration.  Breakfast and Dinner will be on your own.  We will have a group dinner in Monterey on Saturday night with all participants sharing the costs.  

Food and Refreshments
?   Food and refreshments for lunches and breaks will be on-site for each day of the retreat and will be provided at cost by the Chesapeake SAPFM chapter with costs covered by the registration fees.  If you have any significant dietary restrictions, please indicate such in your registration response.  
?   For lunches, they will be on site and will consist of basic breads, cold-cuts, condiments, chips, soda and water for lunch.  
?   Morning and afternoon refreshments will be coffee, soda, water and whatever pastries from local stores that are available.  
?   Friday night dinner will be on your own.
?   On Saturday night we will plan to go out together at a local restaurant.  Dinner costs will be split by all participants. We will make reservations for us to eat as a group at the Highland Inn. It has a charming setting, great food. A party our size would throw them for a loop if unexpected.  Please indicate if you will NOT be able to participate in the Saturday night dinner, as your participation will be assumed.

For accommodations, the following list of motels and B&Bs are available in the area.  You are encouraged to make reservations ASAP after registration.

Highland Inn
68 West Main Street
PO Box 40
Monterey, Virginia  24465
[email protected]
$74 ~ $149
The Highland Inn is on the NW corner of US.250 & U.S. 220.

Laurel Point Retreat
414 Sounding Knob Road
Monterey, VA 24465
[email protected]
$99 ~ $195 per night
free WiFi

Arbogast Inn
364 West Main Street
P. O. Box 72
Monterey, VA 24465
[email protected]
$99 ~ $129 per night

Cherry Hill Bed and Breakfast
224 West Mill Alley
Monterey, VA 24465
$95 ~ $125

The following B&Bs are farther from Monterey, but you may find them to your liking.

Ginseng Mountain Lodging
Blue Grass, VA
13 min. from Monterey

The Inn at Gristmill Square
124 Old Mill Road
Warm Springs, VA
36 minutes from Monterey

The Buckhorn Inn
2487 Hankey Mountain Highway
Churchville, VA
37 minutes from Monterey

Chestnut Ridge Country Inn
Route 1
Dunmore, WV
39 min. from Monterey

Fort Lewis Lodge
603 Old Plantation Way
Millboro, Virginia 24460
54 minutes from Monterey

Meadow Lane Lodge & Cottages
646 Meadow Lane Trail
Warm Springs, VA
56 minutes from Monterey


(There are only three restaurants in Monterey. They are all close to one another, downtown.)
?   Haps High's Restaurant, 73 West Main St.
?   The Highland Inn Dining Room, 68 West Main St.
?   The Mountain Hideaway Restaurant & Tavern, 37 Potomac River Road, 540-468-1575.

Don lives on a small farm just about two miles outside of Monterey, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley.
?   Monterey is approximately 1 hour west of Staunton, VA, at the intersection of U.S. 250 & U.S. 220.
?   Monterey is approximately a 3.5-4 hour drive and 200 miles from Rockville, Maryland.

To Navigate to Monterey, Virginia:
Use Google Maps Search and enter: U.S. 220 & U.S. 250, Monterey, Highland, Virginia 24465 to locate Monterey, Virginia

Don's home and shop are about 2.8 miles north east of Monterey. The best way to find his home is to enter the following GPS coordinates into the Google Maps search field or into your navigator or smart phone:
?   Enter Coordinates:  38.439733,-79.57428

To get to Don?s Shop from Monterey (intersection of U.S. 250 & U.S. 220):
1.   Head northeast on US-220 N/Potomac River Rd toward Mill Alley. Go 1.7 mi.
2.   Turn left onto Rte 632/State Route 647. This may be labeled The Pines Rd. Go 194 ft.
3.   Take the 1st left onto State Route 647. This may be labeled White's Run Road. Go 0.9 mi.
4.   You will pass the entrance to a rock and gravel quarry on the left. Bear left at the next fork. Follow a split rail fence on your left. Go 433 ft.

Contact Information:

For registration and logistics: Bert Bleckwenn
?   Cell: 1-301-634-1600
?   Email: [email protected]

Host and Class Instructor: Don Williams
?   Cell: 1-301-395-133 (cell service is pretty sketchy out there)
?   Cabin: 1-540-468-3246
?   Email:  [email protected]

Title: Re: Chesapeake SAPFM Chapter Finishing Retreat - May 3-5, 2013 at Don William's Barn
Post by: Bert Bleckwenn on April 17, 2013, 01:40:44 PM
There are still two slots remaining in the Finishing Retreat class, so contact Bert Bleckwenn at [email protected] if you want to register.