This year I tried to keep my teaching and traveling schedule fairly light so I could spend more time tinkering with our magazines, assembling books such as “Handplane Essentials” and hanging out with my wife and two girls.
For 2010, my failings as a spouse, parent and diligent editor are your gain.
I’ve decided to teach a few select classes in 2010. I really missed teaching, the close contact I get with readers and the stuff I learn from them. Teaching helps me with my job at the magazine. I would have never written the book “Workbenches,” for example, if I hadn’t watched students struggle on sub-par benches.
Here is a quick roundup of my calendar for 2010 in case you want to do a drive-by heckle.
February 26-27: Atlanta Woodcraft in Alpharetta, Ga. I’ll be teaching two one-day classes. One day will be on precision sawing. The other class is still up in the air. The classes aren’t posted yet on the store’s web site. I might also get to see one of my sisters during this trip , she and her family split their time between Atlanta and St. Louis.
March 27-28: Northeastern Woodworkers Association’s Showcase in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. I love this woodworking show. It’s the perfect blend of education, demonstrations, a gallery and commerce. I’ve been asked to teach short seminars this year on two topics: “Mastering Joinery Planes,” which are the essential planes for cutting and refining joints and how to choose, sharpen and use them. And “Why Ancient Workbenches are Better,” which is a slideshow trip through history to understand how many modern workbenches are failures at some important workholding tasks.
April 24-25: Handplane Weekend at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking: I love this class. Essentially, I assist Thomas Lie-Nielsen as we introduce students to the basics of choosing, setting up and using handplanes. Plus we have a few fun planing contests.
Sept. 13-17: Hand Joinery at Dick Gmbh , Fine Tools in Metten, Germany: I don’t speak a lick of German (OK, I can order beer), yet, the nice people at Dick, a very large supplier of woodworking supplies, have asked me to come teach a class in basic hand joinery. We’ll be building a small cabinet from the Hancock community as part of the class. Also, David Charlesworth will be teaching at Dick that same week. I’m either going to have to bone up on some German or start practicing mime.
Sept. 25-26: Nine Essential Handplanes at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking: This is a new course I developed this year that I’m quite excited about. We’re going to take a deep dive into the details of the nine most essential planes of the craft: the jack, jointer, smoother, fillister, plow, shoulder, router, scraper and block planes. Each plane has its own personality and is sharpened, set up and used differently. We’re going to take two days to master these tools so you can use them with complete confidence in your shop at home or work.
Oct. 23-24: Hand Tool Boot Camp at Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking: This is another new course I developed this year. It is, in essence, how to get started in hand tools in a fairly painless way (by that I mean how to do it without spending tons of money). The course focuses on learning the basic skills with a few select tools and then gradually expanding your reach until you have a serious problem and need professional help. We also will build the Hancock cabinet shown above.
My other goal for 2010 is to take a class myself. Since the day I started woodworking I’ve been hankering to take a Windsor Chair class from Mike Dunbar at The Windsor Institute. I’ve visited the school on a couple occasions for photo shoots and just love it. And Mike is one of my heroes. A great teacher, a scholar and a funny guy. This is the year.
– Christopher Schwarz