8 Woodworkers, 8 Blindfolds, 1 Question | Popular Woodworking Magazine
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Roy Underhill, caretaker of The Woodwright’s School in Pittsboro, N.C., sent me this photograph today from his school.

Curious, don’t you think? What is going on here?

Eight blindfolded woodworkers seated around a workbench with handplanes in hand. If they were younger men, I’d be asking: “Where’s the goat?” But they are too old for fraternity pranks.

So I ask you, dear readers. What is going on here?

— Christopher Schwarz

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Showing 29 comments
  • Justin Tyson

    This is my smoother. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My smoother is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My smoother, without me, is useless. Without my smoother, I am useless. I must plane my stock true. I will…

  • aaronk

    definitely setting up by feel – although i can’t understand what advantage there is to taking it apart to that extent.

  • dweyler

    Wondering when the real schoolwork will begin and the playing around will end? I would give a years wages to have a blindfold on in that picture!!

  • Roeland

    “Hands on” is one of the reasons we love hand tools, but blindfolds mean we’ll miss out on seeing Megan’s soon to be commitment to Milwaukee…

  • Roeland

    I know that style of plane – you can set them up without looking. Does Roy believe it can be done better by touch than by sight? The planes do look like there’s some “field-stripping” going on, though!

  • zrnaqvi

    disassemble the plane, and then put it back together.

  • sharpe1815

    Not sure what they’re doing, but it looks like they’re having fun.

  • TWDesign

    They are blindly stripping down and reassembling a bunch of No.3’s from memory, like a soldier would a sidearm.

  • lawrence

    “Hey, watch where you put that screwdriver!”

  • cgooding

    Looks like they’re doing the woodworkers version of the military exercise where soldiers have to assembly a rifle blindfolded.

  • MSin

    This is my hand plan this is my gun. This is for shavings this is for fun

  • schenher

    how long does it take to set a plane up correctly blindfolded?

    or how long does it take for everyone to get bloody finger tips?

  • Clay Dowling

    Learning to use The Force to be their guide when assembling and adjusting a plane.

    Or more legitimately, learning to overcome the handicap of sight in plane adjustment, since the finger tips and feel are a better guide.

  • scooteruk

    Tea Party.

  • Miller

    A diversion while Roy replaces their chapstick with tallow.

  • rmcnabb

    Why, it’s those wiley North Carolina Viet Cong, learning to disassemble their Stanley AK47’s blindfolded…when will they be defeated??

  • NHSchreiner

    The adjustment is all in the finger tips and they can’t stand the sight of blood on a freshly sharpened plane blade.

  • Wood Zealot

    Looks like gang-banging if I ever seen it… these people are dangerous!

  • Dean

    Looks like they’re learning, or attempting anyway, to disassemble and reassemble their hand planes blindfolded. Now I want to see them adjust the plane blindfolded.

  • Wilbur

    Outtake from “Eyes Wide Shut”.

  • gvancise

    Can you really tell the difference between an expensive and an inexpensive plane?

  • Jason

    What happens in class after Roy lunches at City Tap…

  • bcrist

    bevel up or down or the angle of the dangle(pitch)

  • Greg68

    We learned the M1 that way. Got to know our piece. Planes are no different.

  • chayward

    Looks like there’s a competitive aspect to it as well. And FDR looks more interested in plane assembly than has ever been captured in a photo before.

  • Jonathan Szczepanski

    “This is my smoother,
    This is my scrub.
    This likes it easy,
    This like sit rough.”


  • chayward

    Trying to lose fingers without watching?

  • ericshabi

    “Gump, why did you assemble your rifle so quickly?” – Drill Sergeant
    “Because you told me to drill sergeant.” – Forrest Gump

  • Gareth00

    Dismantle and reassemble your weapon(smoothing plane)blindfolded…..just in case of a power cut.


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