Jonathan Cohen, a forty year resident of Wallingford, is opening Ebanista, a new school of fine woodworking near Green Lake. Tomorrow, Saturday August 18th there is an open shop from 1:00 – 3:30 pm at the Ebanista school in the old Vita Milk building (420 NE 72nd Street). The times of the event are slightly different on the website, however Mr. Cohen confirmed the 1:00 – 3:30pm times. He invites the community to stop by the studio to meet him and the space. I have copied his invitation at the bottom of this post.
I had the opportunity to talk briefly with Mr. Cohen about the school. He is passionate about woodworking, and I had a great time learning his views on wood working and his hopes for the school. Wallyhood interviewed him back in 2013, and that interview did a great job of capturing his personality and the success he has achieved in wood working.
He is truly passionate about woodworking and his passion is infectious. Ebanista is the wood working school to instill that passion into a new cadre of wood workers. Classes are small and he is the junior member of the faculty with forty years of experience. Space is still available in most of the classes and workshops. Mr. Cohen himself is the first student enrolled for the Japanese tools workshop. Borrowing a phrase from Microsoft, he is eating his own dog food.
His experience includes decades teaching at UW, a small foray into teaching middle schoolers, and decades of commissions for customers. He relayed a few anecdotes that highlighted his view that wood working is a rare activity that can enthrall with serenity. I was struck by how his anecdotes highlighted how passion begets passion. He was asked to teach wood working to middle schoolers. It should have been something simple like making a cutting board, however it quickly escalated to 12 year olds building their own furniture.
He also relayed stories of his commissions for furniture. A very prominent Seattleite, known for highly valuing passion and singularity of vision, commissioned a table. He and his collaborators worked meticulously on the ancient wood provided for the table. Sharpening their tools after every pass, they ended with a table so smooth the finish would not adhere. They had to scuff the table to get the finish to adhere.
He has lived in Wallingford for over 40 years, and said he only drives about a few thousand miles a year. He opened his school close to his home, because he made his home in the center of the things he loves. He had a great anecdote about he ended up in Wallingford that you should ask him at the open shop. If our conversation is any gauge, I think his school will be another successful step in his career.
Below are the details from his own announcement of the open shop:
Friends and About-to-be-Friends of the Ebanista School of Fine Woodworking:
We would like to invite you to a brace of open shops to announce the opening of the school. ( brace, as in old English word for two; and an old drill for woodworkers).
The dates are Wed, Aug.15 from 7-8:30 pm & Sat, Aug 18 from 1-3 pm
Excitement is building for the opening of Ebanista, and we thought we’d celebrate by inviting you all, and any others you know who might be interested, to see the new school/shop.
- there will be open shop offerings of discounts on some of the classes and workshops
- There will be a few demonstrations, a little bit of hands on such as picking up a hand plane and shooting a few graceful shavings into the air. Ebanista School T-shirts and hats for sale. And more info about the fall classes and workshops. Drinks and refreshments.
Please stop by and say hello.
The school is located at 420 NE 72 St, Seattle 98115 we are 100 feet across the street and to the north of the greenlake PCC ( not the one on Aurora). The building says “Vitamilk Dairy” and we are behind in the alley.