Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hand Plane Class, Part One...

On Friday afternoon, my friend, Alex, and I left the greater St. Charles area for a weekend visit to the Marc Adams school of Woodworking in Franklin, Ind. I'm afraid I'm too tired to go into very much detail at the moment, but I did want to tempt you with the following photo...

It is a picture taken of the inside cover of my new book, Hand Tool Essentials, with a special note by Chris Schwarz. The book was my prize for, I'll so humbly say, a job well done in the contest our class had on the last day. The goal was to take a small board and make it as perfectly square and flat on four sides as we possibly could (the two ends were excluded as we only had one shooting board for the entire class to use) using only hand planes.

I must offer the most sincere thanks to my #604 1/2, a wonderful user plane I picked up for a mere $45, and my trusty #5, the first hand plane I ever purchased. Oh, and thanks again to Alex for driving!

It felt sooo good to leave that class knowing I'd picked up enough tips and knowledge and skill to do such a thing all by my very lonesome! On the way home, my little brain was taking a mental inventory of all the small boards I've collected over the years that are just too small to pass through a planer but would certainly make a good panel for a box or some such thing.

And then I also thought how wonderful it was to work on a huge immobile Lie-Nielsen workbench and know I will have to put "making a solid workbench" at the top of my project list once my shop is up and running.

Oh, and I did sneak out of class with my perfectly flat and square board, so I'll be sure to post a picture or two of it in the next day or so. I thought maybe I would try to put the board to some sort of good use by using it to make a box I can use to store one of my hand planes (maybe one of my friendly little Record 043 plough planes?).

I'll also write up a more detailed description of the class, for your reading pleasure, full of the little bits of information I picked up while in attendance and some of the new vocabulary I learned from Chris. Hopefully I can also entice you and encourage you to try attending such a class as may be offered in the future!

(For anyone wondering about the #8 to the right of the note, that was a bit of a joke between me and Chris. When he announced the contest on the first day, he said, "The winner of the contest would receive..." and then glanced over at the "table of treasures" by Thomas Lie-Nielsen, full of books and shirts and a wonderful assortment of hand planes and chisels and such. I piped in with, "A number eight?" He smiled and said, "Well, probably not a number eight, but something." So, of course, when I won, he had to give me a "number eight".)


The Village Carpenter said...

Sounds like a great class, Ethan. I'd be a full-time student if I were independently wealthy. You learn so much more than you expect. Congrats on winning the contest!

Ethan said...

Thanks, Kari!

I don't know about being a full-time student, but I definitely want to head back up for more classes in the future, especially as they relate to hand tools.

It was especially helpful to find out what "sharp" really is. I think that was one of my problems; I thought I was getting something sharp, but I don't think it was quite the right level of sharp yet... I got closer to "sharp" this weekend.