For those of you coming to Penrhyn Castle this Saturday for the two-day Discovering Woodworking (2-3 April), it looks like a full class, which means we will have a great time rediscovering those aspects of woodworking John Seymour described in his book as The Forgotten Crafts. My goal is to give you as much of my 46 years of woodworking knowledge and skill as I possibly can and inspire you to go on and learn more about woodworking than I do.
Funny thing this Discovering Woodworking course. I have always welcomed visitors to my workshops ever since I can remember because I like people to experience simply being in a traditional crafting environment and also I like people to have an opportunity to see how my work is progressing and, lets face it, where can you see any craftsman working with his hands these days anyway.
Eventually a problem developed when people, my fellow woodworkers, kept asking if I would teach them my hand skills and I always gave an emphatic, “No.” Teach courses? Me? Fact was that I was a designer/maker and not a teacher. Anyway, as the requests increased I decided to give just one short course, a hands-on workshop, so I could show the benefits gained by people rediscovering hand tool woodworking. It was at that time that I was approached by the Texas Arts and Crafts Foundation (TACF) at Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas to see if I would consider teaching a woodworking Masterclass for them that Spring and it was there that I taught the very first hands-on Discovering Woodworking workshop to the public. It was there that I began to see the need to pass on my skills and knowledge as a working craftsman. After that the doors opened for me to teach and demonstrate to literally thousands of woodworking enthusiasts, many from around the world. I travelled to other venues, taught masterclasses for The Woodworking Shows in the USA and began working with John Levine the editor of Woodworking as a writer and woodworking trainer. I taught hand tool woodworking workshops for the major woodworking suppliers Rockler and Woodcraft and wrote for other magazines along the way including Popular Woodworking, Traditional Woodworker, Get Woodworking, The woodworker and so on.
My early introduction to teaching in Texas for the TACF helped me to see the need for passing on my craft and so put clay on the wheel for me and from there I I found myself always in the presence of those with a vibrant and refreshing interest in woodworking. Little did I know it would be so much fun, but more than that, it’s been life changing!
Today I will be sharpening gouges and chisels, setting planes and making certain the saws are sharp too. But this is the last time I will be sharpening these tools for this particular class. After the weekend, another ten or more students, you, will know exactly how to take care of your own sharpening needs for the rest of your lives. You’ll know exactly what chisels and spokeshaves can and cannot do, and you will take home at least three projects. You’ll know what it takes to hand cut perfect joints and which tools to buy to get you started. We’ll walk in the woods (Welsh weather permitting) and see and discuss our raw stock in the wild and you will go home tired but fullfilled.
I will keep you fully posted throughout the weekend.
See you at New Legacy School of Woodworking on Saturday!