Fetch the yurt, honey. It looks like 2011 is going to be a nomadic year.
I’ll be teaching classes all across the country and even in Germany in the
coming year on a wide variety of hand-tool topics. Below is a chronological list of the classes and a brief description.
The Woodwright’s School, Pittsboro, N.C.
You 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…). During
this three-day class we’re going to get you up and running with all the
essential planes – sharpening, setup and use. You’ll learn to deal with
all sorts of different irons, how to diagnose and solve handplane
problems and how to wield these tools with complete confidence. Plus,
Roy Underhill will be on hand during the three-day class to entertain
you and harass me. Fun!
“Build a Sawbench” and “Hand Joinery”
Woodcraft of Atlanta, Alpharetta, Ga.
These classes aren’t on the store’s site yet, but I’ll be teaching two
one-day classes at this Woodcraft in suburban Atlanta. One of the
classes will be an intense seminar on sawing and building a sawbench
entirely by hand. We’ll learn all about saws, how to use them accurately
and how to incorporate them into your work. The other class is on
traditional hand joinery. It will focus on planing, sawing and shaping
skills as we build an English layout square (shown at the top of this
blog entry). Also, I believe I’ll be giving an evening talk on March 4
there on why everyone should have a router plane. Everyone.
Northeastern Woodworkers Assoc. Showcase
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
This is probably the best woodworking show I’ve attended, and this year I’ll
be working in a special interactive display on workbenches. I’ll also
be bringing my latest French bench to the show for you to try out. There
is no class to sign up for here. Just come to the show loaded with
Build an 18th-century Workbench
Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking, Berea, Ky.
During this six-day class we are going old school (with the help of modern
machines). This bench was on the cover of the August 2010 issue and is
built using massive timbers – just like ancient benches – from the log
home industry. The bench is constructed with the traditional exposed
sliding dovetail and tenon joint, but made in a clever way, with
portable power tools. The workholding on the bench will be customized
for your work, whether you build cabinets, chairs or small boxes.
The class will use both machinery and hand tools for speed and
accuracy. This is not a class for purists in either camp. It’s for
people who want to build a bench in six days that will last for several
lifetimes. That said, the construction process will be peppered with
lectures on workbench history, hand-tool use, and effective workholding.
Though the class is listed as sold out, put your name on the waiting list if you are interested. Spots do open up.
“Hand Joinery Skills” and “Build a Traditional Tool Chest”
Dick GmbH, Metten, Germany
I’m returning to Metten, Germany, in 2011 to teach two classes at Dick’s
excellent workshop in Bavaria. The two-day “Hand Joinery Skills” class
will focus on sawing, planing and shaping. And we’ll build that English
layout square shown at the top of this post. Then I’ll teach a five-day
class on building a traditional dovetailed tool chest that will be
featured in a new book I’m writing. The class will be taught in English
and Mime. The area where this workshop is located is beautiful and very
reasonably priced (I’m going to try to bring my family this time). It’s
also close to Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic.
Handplanes, Handsaws and Hand-cut Joints
Marc Adams School of Woodworking, Franklin, Ind.
Before you can master hand-cut joinery, you must fully understand how
handplanes, handsaws and chisels work together to produce accurate
mating surfaces, tight-fitting joints and exterior faces that are ready
for mouldings and finish. This class will explore all of the common
Western joints and how to make them correctly, easily and accurately by
• and (of course) dovetails.
And we’ll do it all with handsaws, handplanes and chisels. This class is a
great introduction to the world of handwork for anyone who is just
starting out on the hand-tool path, whether you are die-hard machine
woodworker who wants to grow or a new woodworker who seeks to tame wood
using only steel, muscles and a cunning mind.
The Woodwright’s School, Pittsboro, N.C.
You’ll learn to use handsaws and backsaws to track a line like a bloodhound.
With a series of special exercises, 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. You’ll learn the proper stance, grip and body
motions for accurate sawcuts and receive the instant feedback and
corrections from an instructor, which will help you develop your skills
quickly. You will also build a basic sawbench – the most important
workshop appliance for handsaws. By the end of the class, you will be
able to crosscut and rip accurately with handsaws and backsaws and be
ready to cut dovetails with confidence.
By Hammer & Hand: The Dovetailed Schoolbox
Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, Manchester, Conn.
Take a trip to a joiner’s shop in 1839 England as we learn to build a
dovetailed schoolbox using only our muscles, our minds and a few finely
This small box, which was featured in the 19th-century text “The Joiner & Cabinetmaker,” is an excellent introduction to the world of hand-tool woodworking. Even if you plan to keep your machines (I do!), you’ll learn how hand tools can make you a more efficient and detail-oriented
You’ll learn to process stock entirely by hand – using handsaws and bench planes.
You’ll learn to cut through-dovetails, dados, miters, hinge mortises and
basic moulding using hand processes. And you’ll learn how to properly
choose, drive and set nails – the right nail in the right place is a
As we build this project, we’ll also build three jigs that make handwork easier: A bench hook, a shooting board and a 17th-century-style double-screw vise (which makes dovetailing less of a chore). All the while, we’ll be learning a bit about traditional shop
practice – the forgotten or lost ways of working that can make modern
handwork more accurate and enjoyable.
“Working with Handsaws” and “Handplane Essentials”
Port Townsend School of Woodworking, Port Townsend, Wash.
One of the classes will be an intense seminar on sawing and building a
sawbench entirely by hand. We’ll learn all about saws, how to use them
accurately and how to incorporate them into your work. The other class
is on traditional hand joinery. It will focus on planing, sawing and
shaping skills as we build an English layout square (shown at the top of
this blog entry).
— Christopher Schwarz