2015-2016 Local Workshops

Making Kitchen Utensils With Hand Tools

Date & Time: Saturday September 26, 2015, 9:00AM to 4:00PM

This full day hands-on workshop will help you get intimate with your wood. We will make an English Spatula out of cherry and a spoon out of Poplar. You will learn how to read the grain of the wood and use it to your advantage. You’ll learn the proper use of some basic shaping tools and what they can do for you in everyday woodworking. This workshop will provide some great projects for young children or grandchildren and is a great way to introduce them to hand tool woodworking.

Tools needed for this workshop include:

  • Small saw: Harbor Freight has one for under $10.
  • Spokeshave: Flat bottom (if you have 2 spokeshaves, bring both)
  • Rasp or a course half round file.
  • 1″ wide flat Chisel
  • Mallet
  • Coping saw: Lowe’s or Home Depot
  • Sand paper: 100, 150, 180, 220
  • Gouge; Any gouge you have that is at least ¾” wide is fine. If you need to purchase one, a 7/30 or 8/25 carving gouge is a good choice. Woodcraft should have these items.
  • 12″ min. QuickClamp
  • Safety Glasses
  • Ear Protection
  • Pencil and pad
  • Scissors to cut out patterns

Optional tools:

  • Hand drill with ¾” auger bit. If you have one of these, please bring.
  • Curved cabinet scraper.
  • Fine tipped felt pen

If you don’t have all of these tools, please don’t let this prevent you from signing up for this workshop. There will be extra tools available for you to borrow. But my “extras” are limited, so if you have extra tools, please bring them with you.

If you know how to sharpen your tools, please do this before the workshop. If you are new to sharpening, we will have a sharpening station set up to help you. The Woodcraft web site has the spokeshave (  Woodcraft Spokeshave) and card scraper set (  Woodcraft Card Scraper set) in stock. If you have trouble sharpening the spokeshave blade, click on the following link for a neat solution: http://paulsellers.com/2012/11/grinding-and-honing-spokeshave-blades/

Power Tools 101

Date & Time: Saturday, October 10, 2015, 9:00AM to 4:00PM
Participants will learn to set up and use stationary tools safely to convert a rough sawn plank into a sized furniture component piece. Complete set up of jointer, planer, table saw, drill press, band saw and router table will be discussed. Tool accessories and dealing with problems such as “snipe”, will be covered. There will be special emphasis on safety and the inherent limitations of each machine. Dust collection options and concerns will be covered also. This workshop is intended for novice through advanced woodworkers.

Hand Planes 101: Selection, Identification and Tuning

 Date & Time:
  • AM Session: Saturday November 7, 2015, 9:00AM to 12:00PM
  • PM Session: Saturday November 7, 2015, 1:00PM to 4:00PM
This workshop will present an overview of wood planes. The goal is to create one tuned up plane per attendee.
  • Parts of a plane
  • Identifying old Stanley planes
  • Bedrock vs. Bailey
  • Bevel up vs. bevel down
  • Flattening the sole
  • Truing other plane parts (frog, cap, mouth, side, adjuster, etc.)
  • New planes vs. older planes, when to give up!
  • Smoother, Jointer, Jack, Block overview
  • Cleaning metal parts, secret formula
  • Removing rust from metal parts, secret process
  • Cleaning wooden surfaces, secret formula 

Introduction to Spindle Turning

Date & Time: Saturday December 5, 2015, 9:00AM to 4:00PM
This workshop is an opportunity to learn the basic skills required to incorporate turnings into your flatwork in the form of columns, legs, finials and the like.  These same skills can also be used to make hundreds of useful household items from lamps to honey dippers. The workshop will be a comprehensive hands-on, review of the basic tools and techniques used to turn and  reproduce spindles.   It should be of value to both beginning and intermediate turners. Later in the day we will apply these skills to the turning of finger tops or to any particular projects which the participants care to discuss. RWS’s lathes and turning tools will be available for your use. A small material fee will be charged.

Hand Planes 201

Date & Times:
  • AM Session: Saturday December 12, 2015, 9:00AM to 12:00PM
  • PM Session:  Saturday December 12, 2015, 1:00PM to 4:00PM

Goal: Understanding iron sharpening and to complete one iron that you can shave with.  Reference Leonard Lee “Sharpening”

  • Cutting Iron bevels
  • Plane bed angles
  • Mouth opening and chip formation
  • Overview of sharpening materials: ceramic, water stones, diamond plate, oil stones, Tormek
  • Detailed process of Veritas MarkII w/ water stones and micro bevels
  • Cambered cutting edges and when to apply them

Hand Planes 301

Date & Time: Saturday January 9, 2016 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Goal: Know when to use what plane and prepare for finish a simulated table top by cutting vs. sanding. Reference: Garrett Hack “The Hand Plane Book”.
  • Scrub plane, or in our case, a power plane
  • Jack plane, jointer plane applications and specialty set ups
  • Cutting end grain and the shooting board
  • Block planes,  their traditional applications
  • Smoothing plane and how they are set up a great surface
  • Scraper plane, scraper blade, when the smoother fails
  • Difficult wood management, grain direction, and the dreaded “tear out”
  • Relationship between: cutting angle, mouth opening, iron sharpness, cutting iron support, and the material being cut
  • Winding sticks
  • Flattening/preparing a simulated table top for finish

Turning a Pepper Mill

Date & Time: Saturday February 6, 2016, 9:00AM to 4:00PM
During this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to make an 8″ tall pepper mill using a mini lathe. There will be some discussion of the various types of mechanisms that are available, and some of the design considerations for using each will be described and illustrated with examples. If you’ve looked into making a pepper mill, and have been discouraged by what looks like a complicated set of instructions and the need for some specialized sizes of drills, then this workshop is for you. During the workshop you will learn how to make pepper mills at home using ordinary drills and turning tools. We will also discuss how the method used in the workshop, with mini lathes, can be modified if you have access to a larger lathe in your shop. The workshop is intended for participants with some wood turning experience, but we can also accommodate beginning turners. Participants should bring their own turning tools if they have them, but the necessary tools and drills will be provided. There will be a small material charge for the mechanisms.

Make a Cross Cut Sled for Your Table Saw

Date and Time: February 27, 2016, 9:00AM to 4:00PM
This is a hands-on workshop where you will build a cross cut sled for your table saw. This cross cut sled will do two things for you. It will give you perfect 90 degree cuts that are repeatable every time and more importantly it will allow you to make these cuts safely. Everyone will build the same design and we will demonstrate how to accurately align it on your saw. Written instructions with references will be provided to assist you in installing it on your saw.

Hand Planes 401

Date & Times:
  • AM Session:  Saturday,  March 12, 2016 , 9:00AM to 12:00PM
  • PM Session:  Saturday, March 12, 2016, 1:00PM to 4:00PM
Goal: Increased confidence in using hand scraping and cutting tools
  • Sharpening card scrapers, making scratch stock, and discussing investments that may improve hand plane work.
  • Scraper tune up and sharpen
  • When to purchase an aftermarket iron and which type
  • Stock scraper for ornamental detail
  • Lie Neilson, Veritas, Harbor Freight, Antique Stanley, Millers Falls, Sears, Bedrock?
Note from Alan: I have about a dozen Stanley hand planes that would make good “users”. I’d like to offer them to students at a discount rate.  The planes are priced at a “wholesale value” (prices comparable to Avoca tool auction and about half of the e-Bay prices).  I’d offer the planes to students at a 5% discount for each hand plane class attended (i.e 5% if scheduling one class, 10% if scheduling two classes, 15% if scheduling three classes, 20% if attending all four hand plane classes).

Introduction to Inlays

Date & Time: Saturday April 2, 2016, 9:00AM to 4:00PM
Inlay as a form of decoration has been around as long as woodworking. It can be used as both accent and as a form of personalization. In this workshop, participants will have an opportunity to learn about the inlay of wood into solid wood panels. We will cover the tools and materials used for string inlay, line and berry, and other materials. We will also cover the tools (including those you can make) and sources of supply. This will be a hands on workshop.

Hand Sawing and Joinery 

Date and Time: May 7, 2016, 9:00AM to 4:00PM
This workshop will concentrate on effectively using handsaws to create dovetails and tenons for furniture joints. It is not intended to be a detailed course on laying out, chopping, or finishing these joints; although these subjects may be discussed as time allows. Most of the workshop will concentrate on what it takes to use a joinery saw comfortably, efficiently, and effectively. We will cover:

The (wide and confusing) range of saws available

  • Western vs. Japanese
  • Rip, crosscut and “hybrid” filing
  • Saw size
  • Tooth size

What saw(s) will you (really) need?

  • Which saw size, tooth size, and tooth filing for a given job
  • How to examine a saw for purchase
  • Which saw for which joint?
  • Speed of cut vs. fineness of cut
  • Is there one saw that will do it all, and how do you choose it?

Saw sharpening basics

  • Tools required
  • Sharpen yourself vs. get someone else to sharpen it
  • Problems created by poor sharpening and how to solve them

The mechanics of sawing

  • What happens microscopically at the tooth level
  • How the saw design effects its performance

How to saw efficiently and accurately

  • Body position
  • Head and eye position
  • Work position
  • Hands, arms, grip, and how they effect sawing
  • Layout tricks and “cheats” to make accurate sawing easier

Correcting problems

  • Saw problems
  • Work holding problems
  • Technique problems
  • Secondary “tuning” of the joint with other tools

We will go through the presentation portion as quickly as the group is comfortable with. We will spend as much time as possible actually sawing wood. I will make individual observations and suggestions to make your work more comfortable, and more accurate. Class size will be limited to 8 people in order to make this reasonable. Please bring the following, if you have them:

  • Any joinery saws you wish to use
  • Layout tools (square, pencils, pens, marking knife)
  • A sharp chisel

I’ll have extras, so if you don’t have these, don’t worry.