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People, planes and perseverance

Today exceeded my expectations once more. I always have high hopes with each class. Always have done. They are never really the same and though I pass on the same content to ever classful of students it may not follow the same order. One thing though that has never changed for my Foundational Course Part I. In over 24 years since I first taught this workshop I have always spent the first hour or two on sharpening the tools. Usually this revelatory and critical to their future as woodworkers.

Today three packages arrived via the post office from this week’s eBay purchasing. Heavy packages containing a lovely ovolo plane and two Stanleys; a #4 and #4 ½, came to me and so, being in the middle of a workshop on #4 bench planes when they arrived today meant that I could open the packages in front of them and they could see what I expect from an eBay supplier.

Both of the planes were indeed good examples of what I wanted to show them and I dismantled the #4 immediately and set to fettling the whole of the plane and sharpening the iron as per recent YouTube video a couple of days ago on sharpening plane irons of the #4 and 4 ½ Stanley or Record planes. Within an hour of lecture and demonstration we were seeing shavings spill in piles to workshop floor and bench and they got what I was given when I took my first plane from its cardboard box back in 1965.

Soon they were back at the bench making their dovetails (some for the first time ever) and what beautiful dovetails they turned out to be. I will post pictures of them tomorrow and you can assess their worth. I could barely fault any one of them during the critique time at the end of class.

So today they learned how to sharpen edge tools, restore bench planes, sharpen their own saws, layout and make dovetails and a whole host of other woodworking techniques and methods. I wish you could all be here for some of this. Perhaps one day we will all meet somewhere.

Oh, the ovolo plane worked straightaway after assembly and I showed them how to ‘stick’ a mould. It’s a fine plane and I was able to show the finer points of moulding stock.

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