Ok, so this is totally a satire… my planes did not actually ever touch the cat. The blades were retraced all the way so there was no chance that the cat would get touched with the blades. In no way was my cat put in any danger or risk at all. He’s very fuzzy and we cut his hair every few months, I just happened to place him in spots and take silly pictures along the way… don’t take it seriously… its a joke.
So.. a while ago I had the opportunity to sit in as my buddy Vic did some instruction on hand tools. I was very surprised to learn that he and I just happen to have very similar teaching styles. Along my woodworking travels, I have found small nuggets of information and I generally try to pass those along to my students. But.. (I’m sure some of you will understand) sometimes I second guess myself on some things because I am for the most part self taught, and I don’t know if those small nuggets are things that the big boys teach. Well… to my surprise.. lots of what I have been telling people, Vic also said to his students almost verbatim. So I felt very vindicated, and now I teach with more confidence knowing that I am not full of it…
Anyways… back to Vic teaching his class. He was showing the students about planning with the grain direction.. and drew this picture on the white board.. he called it Board Cat.
Now… let me back up a tiny bit… I had a cold at the time and I was hopped up on cold medication….
Something inside of me clicked when I saw that picture on the white board… ”I have a cat.” I thought to myself…
I thought it strange that Vic was telling his students to plane a cat the same way you pet them…. ”It makes sense… I really should try that for myself.” I told Vic I was going home to try it out for myself… he seemed happy that I learned something..
So when I got home, I grabbed my cat and clamped him to the bench. I think he was frightened by the bench dogs, I mean.. dogs are dogs right? Cats hate dogs? So I had to use the holdfast.
I decided that to get a real comparison I had to try going both ways to see if there was a difference in the smoothness of the surface..
Pretty good shaving if you ask me.. there was a little tear out.. but mostly on my hands… next time I will need to clip his claws first…
So then I had to try and go with the grain.. but his fur is a little curly and such.. so I used my small LA with a high angled blade..
I was pretty impressed… Vic was right… it is a better shave with the grain…
But I had to try a few more things before I was fully satisfied… the cat is pretty mangy and knotty, so I had to try and see if a toothed blade would make any difference..
WOW!! Vic was soooo right. But not done yet… I was curious how a low angled block plane would do on the unsightly end grain…
It worked GREAT!!!
Somehow the clamp loosened and he ran and hid behind the bench… (I think he saw one of the bench dogs and got scared again)
So I was not able to see how the surface looked with a touch of BLO and a coat of amber shellac.
I went back to Vic and showed him my results…
I think his expression speaks for itself… turns out I misunderstood what he said in the class. You need to plane a board the same way you would pet a cat… if you pet a cat and plane a board the wrong way.. no one has a good time.. especially me… I really, really should have clipped his claws before hand….
Now that my friends… is the cats meow!
Ok, back to being serious again… Vic is awesome and a great instructor. If you ever get the chance to take one of his classes you should. He can also follow him on twitter (@victesolin) and please check out his blog by clicking on this link.