The Kansas City Woodworkers’
Guild has invited me to speak to woodworkers in their area on March
19-20 on four different topics that are near and dear to my heart –
including the tool chest project I’ve been working on since February.
that these are not hands-on classes – I’ll be speaking, demonstrating,
showing photos and answering questions during the two days. The seminars
are open to members and non-members. You can get details on the guild’s
web site here.
Here are some details on the lectures:
Hand Plane Essentials
don’t need hundreds of planes to build nice furniture. In fact, I think
you need only nine to handle all the smoothing and joinery chores for
most furniture (the moulding planes are a different story….).
this seminar, I’ll explain how joinery, bench and moulding planes work.
I’ll show you how I go about sharpening the wide variety of cutters.
And I’ll show you how the different planes are used to process rough
stock, cut joints and make gleaming moulding. All without electricity or
sandpaper. You’ll also be surprised by how fast the process can be –
faster than setting up a power tool in many cases.
a traditional shop, sawing was reserved for the most skilled
cabinetmakers on the floor. Most anyone could use a plane or chisel, but
it was the sawyers who transformed the timber into furniture with rips,
crosscuts and joinery.
though we now have accurate power equipment in our workshops, sawing by
hand is still a tremendous skill that – when done properly – can save
time and effort. That’s because handsawing can be done without jigs or
guides and without regard to the angle of the cut or its bevel. In
short, if you can see the line, you can cut the line with a handsaw.
this simple skill allows you to easily cut compound angles, angled
joinery and cuts that might take hours of jig-building and test-cutting
on a table saw. And, as a bonus, learning basic sawing prepares your
hand, eye and mind to cut any sort of dovetail joint you can imagine.
this seminar I’ll demonstrate how to use handsaws and backsaws to cut
joints as precisely as any power tool. You will learn to make the three
different classes of sawcuts: rough cutting for dimensioning stock,
standard cutting for final sizing of casework pieces and fine cutting
for precision joinery.
learn the proper stance, grip and body motions for accurate sawcuts and
receive the instant feedback and corrections that will make you develop
your skills quickly.
many woodworkers, cutting dovetails by hand seems a mysterious and high
art. But if you look at the historical record, nothing could be further
from the truth. It is a basic skill and can be easily mastered if you
understand how to approach the joint. It is just sawing and chiseling to
In this seminar, I’ll discuss how I approach the
dovetail joint and show the different ways I cut the joint depending
on the project at hand.
I’ll also review the wide variety of
tools available to cut dovetails – and the wide variety of
characteristics found on saws, chisels, mallets and marking gauges. So
if you have questions on tools for dovetailing, bring them to the class.
Workbenches & Tool Chests
good workbench and a suitable tool chest are the foundation of good
work. Without a good workbench, every task you do will be more
difficult. And without a good chest, your tools will fall into
disrepair. In this seminar I’ll explain my theories on what makes a
great bench and a great chest.
For the last decade, I’ve been
exploring these two topics. I’ve written two books about workbench
design and have a forthcoming book on tool chests coming out in the
Spring 2011. I’ll be unveiling the things we can learn by studying the
older benches and chests, which are simpler, stouter and perfectly
suited for the home woodworker.
— Christopher Schwarz