Chris Schwarz's Blog

8 Woodworkers, 8 Blindfolds, 1 Question

Roy Underhill, caretaker of The Woodwright’s School in Pittsboro, N.C., sent me this photograph today from his school.

Curious, don’t you think? What is going on here?

Eight blindfolded woodworkers seated around a workbench with handplanes in hand. If they were younger men, I’d be asking: “Where’s the goat?” But they are too old for fraternity pranks.

So I ask you, dear readers. What is going on here?

— Christopher Schwarz

29 thoughts on “8 Woodworkers, 8 Blindfolds, 1 Question

  1. Justin Tyson

    This is my smoother. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My smoother is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My smoother, without me, is useless. Without my smoother, I am useless. I must plane my stock true. I will…

  2. aaronk

    definitely setting up by feel – although i can’t understand what advantage there is to taking it apart to that extent.

  3. dweyler

    Wondering when the real schoolwork will begin and the playing around will end? I would give a years wages to have a blindfold on in that picture!!

  4. Roeland

    “Hands on” is one of the reasons we love hand tools, but blindfolds mean we’ll miss out on seeing Megan’s soon to be commitment to Milwaukee…

  5. Roeland

    I know that style of plane – you can set them up without looking. Does Roy believe it can be done better by touch than by sight? The planes do look like there’s some “field-stripping” going on, though!

  6. TWDesign

    They are blindly stripping down and reassembling a bunch of No.3’s from memory, like a soldier would a sidearm.

  7. cgooding

    Looks like they’re doing the woodworkers version of the military exercise where soldiers have to assembly a rifle blindfolded.

  8. schenher

    how long does it take to set a plane up correctly blindfolded?

    or how long does it take for everyone to get bloody finger tips?

  9. Clay Dowling

    Learning to use The Force to be their guide when assembling and adjusting a plane.

    Or more legitimately, learning to overcome the handicap of sight in plane adjustment, since the finger tips and feel are a better guide.

  10. rmcnabb

    Why, it’s those wiley North Carolina Viet Cong, learning to disassemble their Stanley AK47’s blindfolded…when will they be defeated??

  11. Dean

    Looks like they’re learning, or attempting anyway, to disassemble and reassemble their hand planes blindfolded. Now I want to see them adjust the plane blindfolded.

  12. chayward

    Looks like there’s a competitive aspect to it as well. And FDR looks more interested in plane assembly than has ever been captured in a photo before.

  13. ericshabi

    “Gump, why did you assemble your rifle so quickly?” – Drill Sergeant
    “Because you told me to drill sergeant.” – Forrest Gump

  14. Gareth00

    Dismantle and reassemble your weapon(smoothing plane)blindfolded…..just in case of a power cut.

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