Popular Woodworking in America: An Interview with Alf Sharp

Alf SharpAfter a quick
tenure in regulation college at Vanderbilt College, Alf Sharp
determined the white collar world was not for him. His woodworking
profession started with some easy transforming for a landlord in lieu
of lease, which led to doing inside trim work and easy
cabinetry, and educating himself high quality woodworking by books
and experimentation. Now, Alf is acknowledged as one in all America’s
premier interval furnishings makers, and was honored in 2008 with
the Cartouche Award from the Society of American Interval
Furnishings Makers (SAPFM).

Alf might be educating “A Simplified French Polish” at
Widespread Woodworking in America, September 16-18 in Northern
You can register here. 

You might be primarily self-taught in
woodworking (by books and experimentation), however you’re now
a sought-after educator within the subject. What do you contemplate to
be the advantages of studying one-on-one?

I’ve stated for a very long time that, although I
wouldn’t commerce something for the invigorating means of being
self-taught, per week spent with a grasp is value months and
months of trial-and-error by yourself. Nothing beats being
proven the methods and strategies executed the fitting manner. One factor
about trial-and-error although – when you be taught the lesson, you
always remember it.

Your work combines a few
specialised woodworking abilities (turning and carving) each
extraordinarily self-expressive. The place do you are feeling most at dwelling and

I can’t actually differentiate right here. Every is so
rewarding to do. Turning tends to be a fast reward exercise,
whereas carving is extra contemplative and delayed

You’re recognized in your 18th century
furnishings work, however is there one other model that calls to you
while you wish to “play”?

I actually admire the Biedermeier model, and its
closing iteration, Artwork Deco. I like to work in these types. I’m
additionally continuously amazed at what up to date makers are
engaging in at the moment.

This can be a little little bit of a follow-up to
the query above…I do know you have been simply visiting with Garry
Knox Bennett (not recognized for 18th century furnishings!), what type
of conversations about furnishings did the 2 of you share, or
did you?

For years Garry has expressed a real
appreciation for conventional makers – it’s so removed from his
realm of exercise, it’s like an unique overseas nation. He’s
in real awe of the technical mastery of conventional makers.
On the identical time, in his typical iconoclastic manner, he mocks the
fascination with conventional joinery, saying now we have glues and
fasteners that make all that pointless. Each traditionalist
ought to need to spend a while with him to check their

You’re additionally recognized in your stature,
and I used to be fascinated to seek out out your curiosity specifically
vehicles. Are you able to share a few of your favorites with

I’ve beloved European sports activities vehicles, notably
British, since I used to be a child. Through the years I’ve had, and
personally restored, many of the iconic fashions. For years I
owned an award profitable Austin Healey 3000, and I presently have
an early MGB-GT. One other of my favorites was a Triumph TR-6
(discretely modified), after which there was the Alfa Romeo

– David

miss Alf Sharp’s “A Simplified French Polish” class at Popular
Woodworking in America 2016…

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