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The Editors Mailbox

FWW Live: Meet Michael Fortune, Renaissance Man

comments (1) March 23rd, 2012 in blogs

AsaC Asa Christiana, Special Projects Editor, Fine Woodworking magazine
thumbs up 5 users recommend

Fine Woodworking Live will be a place to meet your favorite authors, make new friends, and be inspired. FWW newest contributing editor, Michael Fortune, will be there, offering three power-packed sessions.
Fortune is a technical genius, with that rare gift of making complicated things very simple. Bent lamination is just one of the techniques hell demonstrate in Five Ways to Bend Wood.
With a degree in Industrial Design, Fortune also knows how to unlock his creativity and develop original pieces. Hell show you how to do the same thing in a hands-on design workshop at FWW Live.
Fortune is known for his curved work. His most popular piece is his No. 1 chair, which he makes in many variations.
Like all good designers, Fortune is just as comfortable designing simpler things, like his curvy take on an Adirondack chair.
Fine Woodworking Live will be a place to meet your favorite authors, make new friends, and be inspired. FWW newest contributing editor, Michael Fortune, will be there, offering three power-packed sessions. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Fine Woodworking Live will be a place to meet your favorite authors, make new friends, and be inspired. FWW newest contributing editor, Michael Fortune, will be there, offering three power-packed sessions.


Among the many great authors and demonstrations at Fine Woodworking Live, Aug. 2-5 in New Paltz, NY, will be Michael Fortune's three classes on bending wood, making any bandsaw cut perfectly, and unlocking your inner furniture designer. It will be rare chance benefit from both sides of this talented guy: the engineer and the artist.

Minutes after I turned into Michael Fortune’s driveway in 2002 to shoot a Master Class article on shaping curved furniture parts (FWW #159), I knew I had stumbled upon a gem. Here was a guy making only the pieces he wanted to make, all gorgeous original designs, and living on a woodsy homestead northeast of Toronto, where he worked in a cavernous shop with a single talented assistant.

The first thing editors do when we arrive at a shop like that is to sniff around for the next few articles, and I soon realized that this guy’s left brain was as strong as his right. Michael had at least five great ways to bend and laminate wood (see FWW #193, #197, and #205), yet was able to do all his bandsawing on one cleverly set up 15-in. saw (FWW #173), using a single blade. The innovations went on. He was making slip seats in a very simple way (FWW #163) for his signature chair, but used an amazing plywood exoskeleton to locate the chair’s complex joinery (we haven’t covered that yet).

Then I found out that he was the first woodworker to win Canada’s Saidye Bronfman award, the country’s highest honor in fine crafts, and that he traveled regularly to Central and South America to design chairs and workshops for local economies. The story doesn’t end there. To learn more about this amazing guy, read a companion QA with the man and check out his profile to see more of his work.

If you haven't had a chance to take a class with Michael, sign up for FWW Live and take three in one weekend!



posted in: blogs, chair, cabinet, modern, steam bending, michael fortune, bent lamination


Comments (1)

shavemaker shavemaker writes: I have had the amazing good fortune (excuse the pun) to take a 12 week class with Michael Fortune here in Australia. He is an amazingly talented man, along with being an incredibly generous man freely sharing anything he can to make you a better woodworker - and all with great charm and sense of humour. If any of you have the chance do spend whatever time you can with Michael, you will be better for it!

Peter
Posted: 1:52 am on March 28th

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