Clowns, Balloon Animals, and Woodworking At My Alma Mater

No one ever believes me.  The reason I use hand tools so much is that many of the operations I do in the shop, are simply faster with them. I can prepare a surface for finish faster with a smoothing plane than I can with sand paper. I can plow grooves faster with a plane than the time it takes to set up a router to do the same job. Multi-angle joinery is a cinch when you don't have to set up so many complicated jigs to pass components over a machine. But for some reason I always have to defend these statements. What I really enjoy is showing people how fast these tasks are with hand tools and seeing that look of amazement on their faces.

I don't use hand tools because it's romantic. I don't use them because it makes the work more 'honest', I use them because they are fast, quiet and virtually dust free.

On June 1st I will be teaching at my Alma Mater, Rosewood Studio. The class is going to be a quiet one, not because of a lack of students but because we will be building with hand tools only. We will be making a clutch piece of shop furniture, the bench stool. From lumber breakout to joinery to prepping for finish, we will be in the bench room. Students will get to experience the freedom you get when you're not slave to machines. In fact, we are barely going to use numbers. Referential measurements are going to allow us to build a stool that is the right height for each individual. This is the beauty of custom made furniture; it will be built to fit the individual.

The multi-angle joinery is going to be a breeze because each component is made off of the others. We may never know what the angles are in numerals is but we will know that it is right. The joinery will be solid, simple, and elegant and the surfaces will be pristine. Students will get to know each surface and joint intimately because the will cut and plane each piece instead of mindlessly pushing them through a machine.

So if you're interested in spending a quiet week at Rosewood, why not sign up for the few remaining spots in the class? You will learn to be a more efficient woodworker and have some fun in the process. I’m trying to convince Ron Barter to bring in a clown who makes balloon animals but I’m getting a bit of push-back. Clown or not, we are going to have a great time. You can see all the details for the course by clicking here.

To understand, you must do. - V