Talking shop

Woodworking School grad now teaches at Chimacum High School

Posted 10/30/19

When she is not teaching students the techniques of woodworking at Chimacum High School, Lacey Carnahan can be found in her shop happily covered in layers of sawdust.

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Talking shop

Woodworking School grad now teaches at Chimacum High School

Posted

When she is not teaching students the techniques of woodworking at Chimacum High School, Lacey Carnahan can be found in her shop happily covered in layers of sawdust.

She said she is drawn to the natural beauty of wood, and enjoys working with different types.

“That is the cool thing about wood, that every species has different characteristics,” she said. “Each wood is a new experience.”

Recently, Carnahan has been preparing for the upcoming Port Townsend Woodworkers Show.

The show, hosted by Splinter Group, includes exhibits from furniture makers, cabinetmakers, instrument makers, turners, carvers and other woodworkers in Port Townsend and adjacent areas.

The show highlights the depth of craftsmanship in wood from Port Townsend and surrounding areas and, traditionally, hosts more than 20 exhibitors whose work spans sculpture, furniture, cabinetry, woodturning, musical instruments and carving.

Attendance averages 1,500 people.

This year’s show is dedicated to the memory of David Haakenson and Stanley Rill.

The show’s emphasis is on well-crafted original designs, with no work from kits or commercially available plans accepted.

For the show, Carnahan has been working on a set of Windsor style chairs and stools. The style is English in origin and came to the United States during the colonial period.

“I am pretty stoked on these stools right now,” Carnahan said during a tour of her shop. “This is white oak, which is pretty awesome wood. It is very strong and is an open-pored wood so you can steam it, which I am just starting to play around with.”

For the seat, built in the Windsor style, Carnahan is using the traditional elm wood, which is not native to the North Olympic Peninsula.

“When I put oil on this there are these yellows and it is super creamy. It is a type of wood that is one of the traditional species that would have been used for a Windsor chair because it is resistant to splitting.”

Carnahan honed her woodworking craft at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking and now runs her own woodworking business out of her home shop south of Chimacum.

She said she enjoys teaching the high school students when she is not busy at home.

“The kids are awesome. I like being there. The kids are super fun and all really want to be there, which makes my job pretty cool. There are some really talented kids there right now. I love teaching.”

And if the kids make mistakes, that is OK, Carnahan said, admitting she has made plenty during her career.

“I feel like it has forced me to be a more patient person than I was before I started doing it. I have slowed down.”

Carnahan said she is still discovering new aspects of woodworking every day.

“I play around with a lot of different materials and I think wood is just really fascinating and versatile and beautiful. It is a really cool material to work with. I am still learning a ton about it.”

Because her job is solitary by nature, it is good to get out of the shop, especially to meet with other woodworkers, as will be the case during the upcoming show, Carnahan said.

“It is pretty awesome. I was there last year as well and I have made some really great connections and friends. It can be a pretty isolating pursuit, so it is always really exciting to catch up with people you can talk shop with.”

For more about Carnahan Woodworks, visit carnahanwoodworks.wordpress.com

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