Winter Wonder Woodworking Begins

P1020343When a class begins, on the first hour of the first day, we walk through the processes of sharpening different tools. Inevitably, from the first questions asked, we must work through the modern-day myths and mysteries surrounding sharpening to restore sanity to an otherwise quick and simple task. Japanese stones versus oilstones and diamond powder and paste, hollow grinding and micro-bevels and so much more have become part of a confusing mass of information overload. P1020318Even with the best intensions, it’s become problematic for new woodworkers to really understand what they really need to get the edge and they end up going down one rabbit trail after another buying this kit and that gizmo only to find they’ve wasted much time and money. Thankfully we can present what really happens at the bench and no one feels anything but a sense of being set free. I know, it might seem a bit exaggerated, but most people seeking genuine insight have become confused over basic issues just like this and that’s why we spend time dismantling and unpacking things to get to what at the end of the day is only a simple abrasive issue.P1020320

We are starting this season with a two-day introduction to woodworking with out Discovering Woodworking workshop that starts this coming Friday and we always start every class with crisp, newly sharpened edge tools. Why? Well, first off I discovered that it’s important to know what truth is to begin with, then, when a lie stands in truth’s stead, everyone will know what a truth is. When the chisel hits the wood for the first time it will be sharpened to around 15,000-grit and the wood will peel away like a hot knife through butter. They will from that time on know what the difference is between sharp and sharp. So planes and chisels are ready to go. P1020290Oh, they will also know what chisels and planes will work for all of their needs for about the next 50 years without compromise too. We’ll displace the scared-to-sharpen syndrome with a new confidence in about five minutes and show how not to rely on any mechanical grinder apart from perhaps a once-a-year need to grind out a nicked chisel or plane iron. It’s always freeing knowing you are gaining control.

P1020294The next nine-day Foundational Course this winter season follows quickly on the heels of this one with ten days of new filming in between. The snowdrops are already here and they will stay long enough for everyone to enjoy them before the Welsh national flower, the daffodil, skirting the highways and byways in mass swathes of golden yellow, replaces them beneath the shadows of a snow capped mountain range of Snowdonia. Sounds a bit like a vacation brochure? Well, it’s so much more and I am as excited today as I was in 1988 when I taught my very first workshop!

7 Comments

  1. Gary Blair on 20 January 2015 at 6:01 am

    Enjoy, my friend! I wish I could be there!



  2. James Savage on 20 January 2015 at 6:52 pm

    I love to see snowdrops, they are not quite out here. They always fill me with hope and optimism for the new year to come.



  3. Troy and Jax on 21 January 2015 at 3:05 am

    Good article, wish I was there too.



  4. salkosafic on 21 January 2015 at 7:50 am

    While you guys freeze I’m sweating in my workshop without realising at first I discovered in the pocket on my plane a pool of sweat that looked about atleast 3mm deep. Our summers are harsh so is our land and so are our timbers. So enjoy your wintery months and in case you do remember us poor sods down under blow some of your snow flakes down this way.



  5. Wood Lane Timber on 21 January 2015 at 10:42 am

    Loving these images you have here, keep up the good work!



  6. Andrew Wilkerson on 21 January 2015 at 11:22 am

    Yep. I’m far further south and it was over 40C degrees in my workshop today. I was sweating just sitting there doing emails. Haven’t even started on the new year of woodworking yet. Not looking forward to an even hotter February. Our daffodils are long gone. But they always come back each year.



  7. Dongho Lee on 23 January 2015 at 1:57 am

    This article reminds me the times when I started to learn woodworking first time in Korea. My teacher also taught me how to setup plane including honing blades of Japanese plane. I had spent many many hours and efforts to figure out how to hone the blade and setup the blade and chip breaker without gap to produce fine shavings. Now I settled with 4 different diamond plates and a #6000 Japanese wet stone for final touch. The winter of here in Korea is also very harsh, snowfall and freezing roads. I envy your passion in cold winter. I hope all of your students have a pleasant and beneficial class. Good luck.