Well, I came to this class to learn to sharpen my plane irons and chisels. I’m leaving with a whole lot more! I’ve become convinced that my plane selection is no where near what it should be to do the things that I want to do and do them well. So I’ve purchased a few planes. But, and this I find amusing, the thing that I think I have found that I needed the most was a shop apron. I’ve never used one – but Kelly gave me one to try out to see if I’d like it because I was commenting on how nasty my tee shirt was getting from the water stones. Well, I am convinced a shop apron is a must have. It’s just easier to have pockets. I’ve not lost my pencil all week!
Another thing we’ve discussed is how dirty water stones are. Oil stones are dirty and everyone knows that. But I’ve always considered water stones to be clean——it’s water right? Well, the black on my hands will tell you that the slurry from water stones can be very dirty. My fingernails have never looked this nasty. But it’s worth it because I’ve learned to appreciate a sharp tool and I can get that now. I think though that I might invest in some of those latex surgical gloves to wear when I’m doing some serious sharpening – as I don’t like that dirt!
Today’s class centered on flattening a board and straightening an edge. Who knew this was so easy. NOT! There are a ton of variables that you have to keep in mind as you run a plane across a board. I zoned out a couple of times during the lecture part as I’m still having back issues and distractions from phone calls about my car.
One of the smartest things you can do if you are going to work from rough lumber is get a good scrub plane. I borrowed a classmate’s scrub plane and managed to get the roughness out in about 3 minutes flat (the board is about 10 wide and about 15 long). Three minutes is a pretty long time, a person who has practiced a bit could probably cut that down by half.
Long and short though you don’t have to have every plane on earth to do what you want to do. If you have only a few planes you can make them do what you want – you just have to learn to compensate for the shortcomings of the plane. For instance I don’t have a jointer, but I can use my 5 1/4 junior jack as long as I learn to read the board and take my time. I’ve gotten good results from the 5 1/4, that old thing really cleaned up well and it’s performed better than some of the other planes in class. So it was a good Ebay buy.
We spent a lot of time talking about crowns and cups in a board and how to take them out and even how to add a cup. We also learned to do a spring joint that is amazing. I’m going to have to sit down and rewrite my notes so I can give them to you in a coherent fashion. Hopefully I’ll do that soon. Right now though, I’m bushed and am going to rest.
If you have ever thought of going to a woodworking school as a vacation destination. I will give you the two thumbs up for Kelly’s school. It’s been amazing.
-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine