LumberJocks

Going to take a class

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Betsy posted 10-18-2007 04:27 AM 1295 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well I now know how badly I want to learn to use hand tools – I’ve signed up for a class in Dallas!

Now you have to understand that the last time I drove to Dallas by myself, the firemen who rescued me told me at the hospital that when they reached the scene they were sure they were looking at a “body bag candidate.” I was going the speed limit (my first mistake) on 75 Central Expressway – the guy behind me was not. He was going much faster, much, much faster. He put the rear bumper of my Subaru Legacy right up against my front seat. If you know anything about Subaru’s you know that they are sturdy, and I am glad they are. I firmly believe that if I had been in any other midsize car I would not be here telling my story. Almost 8 years later when I see the pictures of my car, I count every blessing I have. The irony, to me anyway, was that when my car got hit, I apparently spun around and grazed another car. The driver of the car I hit made a claim against my insurance and got a settlement. I could not get my insurance company to get a decent settlement with the driver who hit me—- but they rolled over and paid out the nose to the driver of the car I can’t even remember hitting! All that car needed was a new bumper cover – it drove away from the scene. My car had to be taken away on a flatbed. Seems unjust.

Anyway, I digress. Fast forward 8 years——I plan to drive to Dallas not once but twice next week for this class. Will let you know how it goes. That is if I don’t chicken out! I hope I don’t. (I did make sure that I would not have to get onto 75 Central Expressway – I’m pretty sure I would not have signed up for the class if I could not get there without getting on 75.)

Tonight I worked on my sharpening skills. Got a long ways to go with this aspect. I can’t seem to hold the bevel against the stone consistently. I can get a burr on the back of the cutter on about 90% of the width, but not the last 10%. I know it’s just technique. It may be that I’ll need to learn to hold it differently than I am. My hands are not very strong, I’m pretty sure that’s not the problem as it seems like all the videos I’ve seen it does not look like you have to press hard down on the cutter. I don’t think it’s the stone being hollowed out at all as I took my straight edge to it and it was dead flat. Hopefully the class will help – it’s a hands on class so I’ll get some individual pointers which I’m sure will help.

Despite knowing better, I got impatient tonight and instead of waiting on a friend to come over and help me, I went ahead and got up on a ladder and hung a light above my bench—- having light sure makes a difference! Hopefully it will be worth the chewing out I’ll get when he sees what I’ve done. With any luck I’ll survive driving to Dallas and his wrath next week!!!

Wish m luck! Will keep you posted.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine



18 comments so far

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12642 posts in 3560 days


#1 posted 10-18-2007 04:39 AM

Good luck with the class Betsy. Take a camera and blog it.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4445 posts in 3426 days


#2 posted 10-18-2007 04:48 AM

Betsy, You need a sharpening jig and the Scary Sharp system. Or the WorkSharp. If you want sharp tools you need one or the other. I spend a lot of time sharpening head knives and straight knives for the saddle shop and plane irons and chisels for the wood shop. I can sharpen my knives by hand but I need the jig or the Worksharp for the chisels and plane irons. I know there are a jillion people out there who do it with out a jig but I’m not one of them. Good luck with the class.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Karson's profile

Karson

35035 posts in 3864 days


#3 posted 10-18-2007 04:52 AM

Good luck on the class. And i agree with Tom on the sanding jig. Let me put in a plug for the Pinnacle. I love it and I’ve used it with diamond stones, sandpaper, and polishing compound. A great jig. I didn’t buy their sharpening paper, it seems very overpriced.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

View Betsy's profile

Betsy

3338 posts in 3359 days


#4 posted 10-18-2007 04:56 AM

Thomas – I actually have the Worksharp. It does a pretty good job – and I would not hesitate to tell someone to buy it. However, I’m hoping to learn to do it with stones and/or common sandpaper as the paper for the Work Sharp does not last that long and that type of paper is expensive. I figure stones will last longer. And I admit to wanting to do it the old fashioned way out of nostalgia. Of course, it could also be because I’m stubborn and have decided I want to learn to do it by hand and it just irritates me that I’ve not even come close to getting it right!

I’ve heard others say the sharpen the scary sharp way——but always thought that was just a term to be used among those in the know. I’ll have to look it up and see what that version is.

Thanks Thomas. I’ll let you know how the class goes.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12642 posts in 3560 days


#5 posted 10-18-2007 05:00 AM

Some Scary sharp links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scary_sharp

http://www.shavings.net/SCARY.HTM

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12642 posts in 3560 days


#6 posted 10-18-2007 05:01 AM

Oh, and on the WorkSharp, I suggest getting the course paper set and an extra glass plate. Use the coarsest paper for any heavy grinding.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Betsy's profile

Betsy

3338 posts in 3359 days


#7 posted 10-18-2007 05:23 AM

Now I have actually used sandpaper to try to sharpen – did not know it was considered scary sharp= still did not do to well with it. Among all the fun stuff he put in some useful stuff that i’ll give a try to this weekend. See what happens. It does sound like i might want to look at a holding jig. I noticed he metioned something about a grinding stone. I assuming this is not a reference to the tormac systems. I am thinking he’s talking about the two wheel grinders you find in most metal shops.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12642 posts in 3560 days


#8 posted 10-18-2007 05:32 AM

Here is an old forum topic on sharpening. I may have some info of interest.

http://lumberjocks.com/topics/331

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4445 posts in 3426 days


#9 posted 10-18-2007 01:02 PM

The steel doesn’t care how you sharpen it and the wood doesn’t care how you cut it. What is important is that we don’t get caught up in the peripheral things and forget that we came here to build something wonderful out of this great pile of wood. In the end the only thing that matters is the end result and is the client happy with the result, even if the client is your self.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Betsy's profile

Betsy

3338 posts in 3359 days


#10 posted 10-18-2007 03:16 PM

Thomas – you are so right. I tend to overthink things—- but for me that’s some of the fun. I’m going to look into the jig for holding my tools while sharpening. I think that may be what I need to get me on my way. I’ll keep you all posted.

I very much appreciate all the comments. This site is such a good bunch of folks. You get honest opinions and good advice. There are some sites that the responses you get are dripping with “I don’t want to hurt your feelings” answers. I much prefer the honesty and friendliness of this site.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Paul's profile

Paul

660 posts in 3556 days


#11 posted 10-18-2007 05:58 PM

Betsy -

If rural Texas appeals to you more than Dallas, you might consider this Texas woodworking school. I have not attended but I have met three of the four teachers (Mark, Paul, Frank) away from the school as demonstrators at antique tool shows and have inspected their work. Exceptional! I know that Paul, and perhaps the others, has been featured in Woodwork magazine several times.

http://www.cfeeschool.com/traditional.html?first=1

-- Paul, Texas

View Betsy's profile

Betsy

3338 posts in 3359 days


#12 posted 10-18-2007 06:57 PM

Thanks for the link Paul. I’ve actually taken a class there. Unfortunately, I felt less than welcomed there as a woman woodworker. It was very apparent that being a religion based institution, that a woman’s place was not in the woodshop. I was asked while I was there if I might be more interested in the bread making class that was going on that day. I said no, that I would prefer to take the class that I signed up for and that they accepted payment for. At the end of the day, I did learn a few things, but I had to really work for it. I found it interesting that at break times that I was able to get into discussions about religion with the instructor and we were on very common grounds on most points, but once class started again I felt like a definite outsider. Sad but it is what it is. I really would like to take more classes there as they really do have a great woodworking program and they really know their stuff. (As an aside their other classes are very good as well. I’ve even considered going back for the bread making class. They also have a great diner where you can’t eat enough of the good food. It’s worth a trip out there just to eat at the diner.)

Don’t get me wrong. I feel very strongly that as a private company they can have who they want when they want in their classes. I just felt that if they did not want a woman (or a man in bread making) in a particular class they should have said so. I would have been ok with that.

Long and short – if you want to take a class there DO IT. You will not regret it. It’s very fine instruction.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Paul's profile

Paul

660 posts in 3556 days


#13 posted 10-18-2007 08:13 PM

Oooops, that’s too bad. Perhaps I should have guessed (or read the web-site better) from the “simplicity” of the community, but I really didn’t know it was faith-based. But even then, I sometimes forget how “liberal” I’m seen in my faith in respect to some “traditional” ways. The possibility of your unfortunate experience didn’t even cross my mind and despite your ultimate endorsement, I’m now less inclined to head that direction for instruction.

-- Paul, Texas

View RobS's profile

RobS

1334 posts in 3770 days


#14 posted 10-18-2007 09:39 PM

Hi Betsy and Paul,
I’ve been there and was actually going to recommend their classes too, like Paul did. I enjoyed the class and the instructor and I learned a lot, it’s too bad they took that attidude with you Betsy. Best of luck with your Dallas class and more importantly the travel to and fro.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View Betsy's profile

Betsy

3338 posts in 3359 days


#15 posted 10-18-2007 11:58 PM

Paul and Rob – I certainly would not discourage you, or anyone, from taking a class at the school. Their instruction is top notch despite the way I was received. In fact, I was thinking, perhaps if I would have attended a class there with someone of the male persuasion I would have been treated differently. A single woman, in jeans and t-shirt, no make-up (after all who would wear make up in a woodshop), driving a big SUV probably did not give them the impression they were probably expecting. I’d like to take another class – maybe I could go incognito – Yentil comes to mind.

Seriously though don’t not take a class there because of how I was received. You will get a good class instruction there, and the cookies at break time are terrific!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

showing 1 through 15 of 18 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com