We just wrapped up the 6 week Hand Tool class at Wooditis here in Las Vegas. Wooditis is a great place where woodworkers from all over the valley come to learn the craft. The owner, Jamie Yocono, has really developed her school and studio to be the premier woodworking facility here in Southern Nevada. I was honored to be a guest instructor over these past weeks.
The focus of the class was learning how to sharpen, maintain, and use tools such as dovetail saws, chisels, mallet, and hand planes. I brought in some of my own tools so the students could experience them as well. Those included router planes, spokeshave, brace and bit, and coping saw just to name a few. The class began with learning how to sharpen. If they had them, students were encouraged to bring their own tools so they could learn those skills on their own tools. Most of them had their own but if not, the school had plenty of tools for them to use.
The first project was to make a bench hook which I refer to as project over-kill. Where a few scraps of wood, screws, and glue would suffice I’ve turned this into a project that incorporates dovetails and a hand cut dado. There were a few times we needed to use the “big eraser”, the nickname I gave to the chop saw when the dovetailing went awry! Although students could have chosen to make a box of their own choice, when they saw the tool tote I carry that was inspired by the one in Jim Tolpin’s book The New Traditional Woodworker they unanimously decided they’d like to make that. That took the remaining class time. Unfortunately, although most got real close to completion they will have to assemble the tote at home. The last day was spent working out the details, learning how to use a brace and bit, a coping saw, and cutting stopped dados by hand.
All in all I think the class was a success. I always enjoy sharing my skills with others. Students can contact me and I’ll be happy to answer any questions they may have as they finish the tote. Having been involved with woodworking and construction for well over 50 years it’s easy to see how the skills that I was taught growing up aren’t as relevant today. Especially in the area of shop mathematics, measurement, and working with fractions. Makes me feel like the old timer I probably am, but in years only! Looking forward to being invited to teach another session. Here are some pictures of the students busily working on their projects.