For those of you unfamiliar with Shannon Rogers, The Renaissance Woodworker & The Hand Tool School, you find out more here:
As I have been re-enamoured (is that a word) with woodworking I find myself being drawn more and more to handwork for a few reasons:
1. It does not require a large amount of space. My area is about half of a half of a two car garage. The wife’s car stays in the garage and my truck stays outside. My side of the garage also stores things, so my space is very limited. There is no room for stationary machines.
2. It is quiet. I can work in the garage and the neighbors, wife and pesky onlookers are not disturbed.
3. I like the idea of creating by hand. Even with the few projects that I have completed, I have received a great deal of satisfaction and pride from.
4. Expense. Sure, I might by a $250 plane, but is the last one of that plane I will ever buy and compared to something like a $1200 jointer, it seems reasonable. That being said, premium ain’t cheap.
5. Knowledge. I have to think when I am working with wood by hand. I have to prepare the stock, face it the right direction, read the grain, read the variances with my hands and eyes. Nothing else invades my thoughts.
Things I do not like about handtool work:
1. Getting 2 sides parallel. This is by far the hardest par of milling. Lots of “Take a few passes and see where we are.” I believe a thickness planer is in my future.
2. Restoring old tools. I have quite a few old Stanley Planes. I have decided that I like working wood more that working tools. I am in the process of upgrading tools as the budget allows. If your don’t like spending 45 minutes lapping the sole of a #4 on a glass plate with sandpaper, go buy a premium plane. My nose and mouth taste like metal for 2 days.
3. Frustration with sawing. I am getting better, but I am having a real struggle sawing to a line. This will not dissuade me, but the learning curve seems pretty steep.
On to the Hand Tool School. I purchased Semesters 1 & 2 before even doing the winding sticks. I knew that I wanted to commit to it and that was a good way to do it. After purchasing the semesters, I was allowed into quite a bit of extra premium content, including an archive of Shannon’s monthly videos. After watching the buyer’s guide to hand planes, I contacted Shannon about a recent purchase I had made and some buyer’s remorse I was having. I asked him for some direction and he went above and beyond. It made the purchase of the semesters worth every penny. I am located in an area that has no local woodworking group, no woodworking supply stores, no classes, etc. His personal response made the difference for me.
For the winding sticks, I purchased a nice piece of walnut from my local lumber yard for the project. I also had some thin maple around for the project, so that is what I used for the inlay. I made the winding sticks in an evening. I ripped the walnut down the middle to create the sticks. They may be a little on the small side, but I will live with them for a while until I feel a need to replace them. Milling the boards by hand was an enjoyable and enlightening experience. This highlights one of the reasons that I am enjoying working by hand; I have to do a better job of understanding how things work before just attacking it with a tool.
Overall, things went well. I did chisel against the grain while cutting the rabbet and paid the price with a little tearout. I only inlaid 1 of the sticks and after watching Lesson 3, I may need to inlay the other to help provide more contrast. I finished them with 2 coats of Arm-R-Seal.
You can see pictures of my project here: