Traditionally, winter solstice fans a flickering ember of warmth into a time of past reflection and future hopes yet to unfold. With that comes forward planning and thoughts of planting seeds, of preparation and beyond that preparation some kind of harvest. In some cultures, nothing can happen during the winter and winter extends far beyond our winter here in the western hemisphere. I like the idea of slowing down in the winter, unwinding muscle and sinew if you will, but love the necessity that we plan a future of planned sustainable growth within the sphere of limitation in which we amazingly live and survive. Look back in history and you find more sober facts surrounding cultures: the leanest times with low survival rates occurred in the emerging months leading to spring and its provision of new life on which life itself depended. Still, people lived in hope and a future was born day by day. As the days lengthen minute by minute I think of outreach for all of the things we do and of course that involves the lives of others. Our schools are still limited but we continue training those who can carry on the vision we undertook for training new woodworkers around the world. I of course am indeed limited. What I sew now will hopefully yield fruit and perpetuate that aspect of my craft I feel most sustainable and far reaching: Solid wood continues to grow whether naturally seeded or replaced by a human hand; having passed the greediest age of man when havoc reigned hard on forest-covered lands around the world, I live in hope that we can replenish what we so sadly lost in madness, be it not in our time but our children’s time – canopies tightly spanning interlocked branches are a dream I dream of as are woodlands teeming with wildlife. That said, here we are planning this coming year when the solstice is halfway through. Our world is now more artificial than real, but of course working real wood with real tools using our own real energy to its maximized potential is indeed real, even when others say to me, “Get real.”
This year I find myself limited all the more because of travel and teaching. In my last blog I hinted about our Part I Three-month training module as our continued apprenticing strategy. This apprenticing for 8 new-genre young people who want to learn, train, change and become is not a beginning but a continuation of an existing work in progress as these future Fellows of New Legacy have all completed foundational courses with the school and even completed our month-long furniture making course.
The continued course will expand over the months and years ahead until completed.
Foundational and Two-day Discovering Woodworking Courses
Beyond the three month program beginning mid September, we have new Foundational Courses planned between and this is the point of my blog. The opening workshops begin in April here in the UK and in May on the USA. These courses are indeed filling quickly and we will not be offering overspill classes as we have in previous years. That means that bench spaces are more limited than in previous years.
Many people new to working wood, and even seasoned machinist woodworkers, inevitably realize that the two distinct and separate worlds of hand tool woodworking and using only machines. In our two-day workshop, Discovering Woodworking, we equip woodworkers to become competent with the important hand tools essential to fine woodworking. This workshop trains you to discover just how the ancient masters developed and used these tools beginning at the bench. Sharpening and setting tools may at first seem confusing and so too creating joints and mastering ancient methods and techniques. We pass on this knowledge alongside training at the bench as sustainable methods that work as well for today’s woodworker as they did in times past.
Two-day Discovering Woodworking Course
Sharpening hand tools
Planing and sawing
Squaring stock four-square
Making the three important joints
Making a jointed project – a chisel box
Conclusion – Critique and evaluation
Most woodworkers inevitably discover the complex issues surrounding hand planes and saws go beyond their knowledge and skill sets. Paul Sellers has used both categories for five decades now and knows them from the inside out. His daily use of them throughout his lifetime as working craftsman enables him to pass on the vital information that makes them create perfect work. Join your fellow woodworkers at the bench with Paul and learn how to restore, sharpen and use these classic hand tools.
In this workshop we cover the different sizes of saws and also the two types of handsaws - handsaw and tenon or back saws.
Bring along your own plane and saw or use tools provided by the school to develop your skills on.
Choosing and using hand planes
Which planes do what
How they work
Planes and planing issues
Restoring and using the smoothing plane
Cleaning and repairing parts
Flattening and polishing cutting irons
Setting planes to task
Hand plane types and their function
Choosing and using different hand saw types
Which saws do what
How they differ
Saws and sawing issues
Saw files and saw sets
Restoring and using hand saws
Cleaning and repairing parts
Jointing and cutting saw teeth
Sharpening saw teeth – ripcut saw method
Sharpening saw teeth – crosscut saw method
Setting saw teeth – methods
UK Workshop dates
US Workshop dates
We have other scheduled dates hovering on the background but will firm them up this week, so please check again later. I will post when the year’s schedule is complete.