Wow, what a weekend! I spent last Saturday and Sunday learing from Frank Klausz. It was just a 2 day class, but I think we managed to pack a lot into it. Frank is one funny, funny guy!
So, here’s my impressions of the class – plus and minus, and a recap of what I learned (at least I think I learned).
Overall, the class was excellent. We had 15 students, with varying skill levels. The first part of day one was some background on Frank, and some good tech info on wood, wood movement, and joinery. Interspersed with the lecture were several side-stories from the world of Frank – again, funny stuff, and it kept things from getting too dry.
He brought pre cut kits for the jewelry boxes – 1/2” mahogany for everyone. We also had a pair of practice pieces for warming up on our dovetails. That was very interesting for me – the only way I had ever cut dovetails was using the tails first style of Rob Cosman. Pins first felt a little weird at first, but my first set of dovetails turned out OK, so I guess it works. I still haven’t decided which way I like better. Franks style tends to look a little more “by hand” than Cosmans – in Frank’s style, you don’t measure. You approxiimate, then you cut. A little scary for the engineering types.
So, the next step was to cut our pins, then use them to mark out the tails – not too bad. Frank has a very efficient way of doing things. There was no wasted movement of effort. Of course, you have to actually follow said instructions – my box is a little bit narrower that it should have been because I messed up on one of the steps. The box still turned out OK – lesson learned. As with all mistakes, it became a design opportunity.
By the end of day one, we had cut our dovetails, and glued them together, and glued on the top and bottom.
Day two was sanding, shaping the top, sanding, cutting the top off, and (you guessed it), sanding.
So, things I liked/didn’t like:
Liked: Learning pins first dovetails Frank’s teaching/presentation style (tough love – if you screwed up, he called you on it)
Disliked: Time. This is a tough class to teach in two days – we didn’t have time to install hinges or the lock. To actually finish the box (hardware, mirror, and actual application of the finish) would take at least 4, preferably 5 days.
Kit price – there was a $40 charge for the kits – with no hardware. I know it’s nice Mahogany, but that seems steep to me
Lessons: Pins first doesn’t necessarily suck PAY ATTENTION (aka measure twice, cut once) Always plane “downhill” when rounding an edge
Even with my minor dislikes, I would highly recommend the class to anyone who wants to word with hand tools, and listen to a crazy Hungarian spin tales.
-- To do is to be