School of Quiet Woodworking


My name is Catherine Robertson and I have been working wood for over 38 years. I've  been a dedicated Hand tool user for the last 16 years and I've been teaching my "Quiet Woodworking" for the last 14 years.

Both the Calgary Herald and the Cochrane Times have written feature articles about me and my “Quiet Woodworking”. I am a long time member and  past “vise” president of the Southern Alberta Woodworkers Society and am the past  President of the Calgary Woodturners guild. I saw Rob Cosman cut a dovetail at the Calgary wood show 17 years ago and thought, "Wow, perfectly executed, fun and done with panache!, I want to do this". I signed up for his training the hand workshop and the rest, as they say, is history.

I was Rob's teaching assistant for 10 years at SAIT. I have taught/am teaching from my own studio/school in Cochrane Alberta, Lee Valley, Canadian Woodworker,  Black Forest.  In 2009,  2010, 2011, 2012, 2013,2014 I was the featured presenter at the Lie-Nielsen show in Calgary. I also have participated in the Black Forest Wood Expo heald in Cangary in November each year.  I teach with both passion and humour and derive tremendous satisfaction in sharing my knowledge and skills with my students.

My current workbenches continue my labour of love with developing a better method of hand tool woodworking.  My method of double height work benches has been received with pretty much universal acclaim and the asking of the question; "Why hasn't  anyone come up with this concept before?" from all my students to date. I came across the original idea in Fine Woodworking issue #176 and have revised and developed the idea and the bench, ever since.  

Why wood (yes the spelling is intended) anyone choose, as part of their hobby, to do something  that is unpleasent and/or inconvienent?  I don't care if you are 10 years old or 110 years old, your back prefers to be upright and not bent over when doing most tasks.  

The two height system allows you to be comfortable when sawing, chiseling and handplaning.  Not to mention the whole "easier to see" aspect of having your work at the proper height for all your layout tasks. I now add to these thoughts the absolute beauty in both form and function of one of the Lake Erie Toolworks wooden vise screws. I have built/helped build just about 30 of these benches and the wooden screw elevates the look and function of my bench to a new level.

A few final thoughts;

  • Woodworking mallets are round and made out of wood.  Square ones are used for pounding in tent pegs.  

  • Tool trays in a workbench will make you go blind and have been known to harbour lost children, rodents and spoiled food (hence the afore mentioned rodents). They also double the length of time required for the completion of any project due to the time wasted rooting through them looking for lost tools, small children etc....

  • If you store your tools in a cabinet under your work bench,the tool you need right now will be in the drawer blocked by the board you just clamped to the front of your bench. 

quietly woodworking,