There are still some spots available in the class on handplanes that Thomas Lie-Nielsen and I are teaching in April at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking. This is the only class I am teaching in 2009.
The weekend class is April 25-26 at the school, which is just south of Indianapolis. The class is fast paced because Thomas and I cover a lot of ground about the history, theory and use of handplanes. And students get plenty of hands-on time to put the lessons into practice on the excellent Lie-Nielsen cabinetmaker’s workbenches at the school.
Here, in a nutshell, are the major areas we cover.
– Handplane anatomy and geometry. Thomas and I dissect the different types of bench planes and explain their differences and similarities. We also debate the practical differences between bevel-up and bevel-down planes. We also delve into the geometry of the tool and explain the trade-offs you’ll have to make with your angle of attack, the effort to use the tool and the amount of tear-out you’re experiencing.
– Sharpening. We show you what real (not theoretical) sharpening looks like in the shop. We take a new plane iron from the wrapper and prepare for use it in about five minutes. We also show you how to get a curved cutting edge (essential to bench plane work), and how to get extremely straight edges on your chisels and joinery plane irons. After the lecture, all the students put the knowledge to use by sharpening their own plane irons.
– Use. Learn to flatten a board with handplanes, whether it’s rough from the sawmill or fresh from an electric planer. We show you how to detect and remove twist and cupping from a board using historically accurate techniques. Then every student gets to put these principles into practice on their own board.
– Your questions. Every year, the students’ questions also fill up a significant amount of time. Some years we emphasize joinery planes. Other years we discuss moulding planes, specialty planes, tool maintenance, rust, manufacturing tolerances, rehabbing old tools, tools in the works at Lie-Nielsen Toolworks and so forth.
– A Tour of the Toolworks. Thomas always brings a great video that shows how he makes his tools, from casting to polishing and assembly. He narrates the whole thing and takes questions as he goes. If you’ve ever wondered how your planes are made, you’ll find out. Plus Thomas is always happy to sign your tools. (And me, I’ll sign anything.)
– Christopher Schwarz