Kelly Mehler graciously invited me to teach a class at his school. We put our heads together and came up with a basic 18th c hand skills class. Kelly’s well lit hand tool only second floor shop (machines are on the well lit first floor) has been a comfortable work and demo space.
We examined stock preparation techniques, using images of period furniture and primary source documents to guide us. When we say “hand tool stock preparation” I think hand planes come to mind for most people. But of course in the 18th c, hand saws were as big a part of the process as planes were.
We spent fully half of the day working with long saws; We haven’t gotten to back saws yet. I was worried that this part of the class, a necessary facet of period woodworking I think few besides myself and maybe Chris Schwarz truly enjoy, wouldn’t go over well. From what I could tell, I was wrong. There was a lot of interest in sawing and in the few hours we spent together the improvement in basic ripping technique was dramatic. I think a little instruction and a sharp saw are all that is really required. And I think of the two, the latter is the more important.
Thanks to Kelly for having me. Thanks guys for coming!