Apprenticing young men

I watched John as he worked with me in class today. He moved gracefully from bench to bench, tweaking tools, arranging neatness to the student’s worktops as he passed. Throughout the day his name would be called more and more by this person or that. The students gravitate towards him and have total confidence in…

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Sorby bench plane treasure

Not many finds in the way of tools turn up unknown planes for me. From Norris to Spiers and Gabriel to Mathieson I think I know of them all in some greater or lesser measure. That doesn’t make me an expert so much as fortunate to have had them pass through my hands. Last week…

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My creative workspace #24

Imagine if you will a man gifted with his hands and having no ability to design. What piques your sphere of creativity as you work? Is it the wood or your workspace, the influence of other designs or perhaps the tools you use? I picked up a copy of Fine Woodworking recently. I laughed at…

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Restoring maker’s tools

Yesterday was a wonderful day of restoration. An unusual day really. As we stood around the bench we had a conversation going on in Spanish between one man from Argentina, one from Texas and another from Mexico City in Mexico. The rest of us were left out for a few minutes. This is always a…

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Time out in the woods

I spent time in the woods this week. I sat in the woods, poked around in the woods and waited in the woods I like to wait in the woods. My waiting isn’t like waiting for a bus, or a friend, or something normal to, well, happen. It’s living in a condition if you will.…

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Woodworking for men or women?

Faces and hands of woodworking friends are important because they tell you much about the people behind them. Here are some I like. I have been working more with ‘Women working wood.’ A programme I am putting together to equalize disparities and address some issues important to successful woodworking for women. I have trained hundreds of women woodworkers over the…

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Transfer of rights

My hands pulled the plane from the cardboard box, lifting it from the bubble wrap and parcel paper some might say like a newborn from its soft, clean blankets. I had held many planes like it before, hundreds of them. A note dropped to the table as I levelled the sole and gripped the front knob with…

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Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

My path is an easy one this morning as I walk through the woods. Last night’s rain lifted the whole sphere of the woods so that the birds and animals dart ahead and to the side of my silent walk on the mossy footpath. All of the ferns have unfurled their tight coil of spring…

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The first plane from eBay

My first step in restoring this plane began as with all planes with the critical edge. The edge on this Record plane iron has the wrong bevel and so it lines up with the sole of the plane and this renders it incapable of removing any type of shaving because the whole bevel rides the…

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Why plane

I love all of my tools, but the ones I love the most are the ones I use and rely on. Not many woodworkers use hand planes compared to say a hundred years ago. The pinnacle period for planemakers was in the mid 1700s. Imagine that if you will. “The earliest known plane, with a…

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