Chris Schwarz's Blog

Is There a Dominatrix in the House?

It’s time to reveal a dirty little secret of teaching woodworking classes.

Are you ready? I don’t care. Here we go.

You have to whip the students mercilessly in the beginning days or the class will go down the toilet. If they don’t get over the big hump in the project, they will never get it done. Why is this true? Because people get tired.

When a class begins everyone has a lot of energy and enthusiasm. They are on vacation. They are doing something they love. The problem is that the thing that they love (working with tools) is also something that can be exhausting in large doses. So after a few days of working on a project around the clock, you get a little tired.

And that is where I pull out my bullwhip.

If you can get the students over the major construction challenge in the first two or three days, you can coast to victory. And that’s what I’ve been doing here at the Dictum workshop in Bavaria during a tool chest class. We are two days into the class and most of the students have glued up the dovetailed carcase, or are about to.

That means we are in good shape. Check out the video for the evidence.

To see a video from the first day of class, click here.

— Christopher Schwarz

11 thoughts on “Is There a Dominatrix in the House?

  1. Tumblewood

    Every time I go back to Bavaria, I look for woodworking shops and have only found one or two, other than the carving shops, which aren’t of much interest to me. I can’t wait to get to some good beer and my morning pretzels!

  2. DanGar

    There is an obvious question I want to ask anyway:
    Does the workshop have all the needed tools?
    Does the table saw rip SQUARE pieces?
    Is the machinery in good condition?
    Is there something that keep the students from finishing the job?

    I think I can handle tiring, but mediocre tools or non completely set, functional tools, that’s something makes me impatient.

    Good job Chris!

    1. Christopher SchwarzChristopher Schwarz Post author

      It’s a hand-tool workshop — though they use machines to process the stock beforehand. Every student gets a toolbox filled with all the tools you need. They are all sharp. The walls are filled with tools to share. All sharp.

      The benches are good and heavy European-style benches. The floor is wooden. The lighting is excellent for handwork.

      I very much like teaching here.

  3. Wilbur

    I am in awe of that “wall o’saws” shot towards the end where the man is sweeping up the floor. I keep Zaprudering that shot.

  4. Bruce Simpson

    I am so jealous. I will be in Bavaria the second week of July for work; just missed this trip. Do you need a translator for your next trp? Mein Deutsch is ein bischen ruestig aber ich kann mein Holzarbeit Wortschatz wiederholen so dass ich als Ihr Dolmetscher dienen kann.

  5. thompmj

    There was a funny episode of the Simpsons that occurred on Easter Sunday and several Bible stories are retold in perfect Simpsons fashion. One was Exodus. At one point Chief Wiggum, watcher of the Hebrew slaves, said to Lou “time to put away the encouragment whip, and get out the punishment whip.”

    It looks as though the enthusiasm hasn’t waned at all…very good. I’m jealous…

      1. John Cashman

        Great. I signed up for your class at Lie Nielsen this summer. I’ll bring enough linament for everyone. You know, if I wanted to be whipped and berated I’d get married.

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