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When I call my students “maggots,” I do it in only the kindest, most loving way possible.

After all, most of them are at the very beginning of their journey on handwork. If I wanted to be cruel I would call them “pupae” or “assistant maggots.”

Today, the maggots and I worked on joinery planes, which is always a fun lecture and presentation to give. Most maggots have never touched a plow, rabbet, router or shoulder plane. But by the afternoon they become experts and are making square rabbets, tight dados and tenons that are ready for their close-up shot.

This success isn’t because I’m a good teacher  – I just kind of wing it and listen as best I can. The reason students do so well is this simple fact: Joinery planes are dead-nuts simple. I’m sure if you threw a few of the planes into the Monkey House at the zoo the simians would be building highboys in short order.

But still, it’s nice to see them succeed at something that most people think is hard.

Today, we also worked a little more on our English Squares – ripping out the long notch on the legs and then truing them up with a block plane and chisel. A few maggots cheated, but I choose to ignore that fact because they might buy me a beer at dinner tonight.

Tomorrow is more fun: Dovetails and cutting the joinery for the square.

— Christopher Schwarz

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Showing 5 comments
  • KC Kevin

    I don’t remember you being the Drill Sargent type when teaching. I do remember the not turning down a free beer though.

  • mbuchanan277

    Chris, I thought you affectionately referred to us as “minions” in Mehler’s roubo class.

  • k.l.anderson

    Happy is the maggot who can take a week off from work to feast on a top notch woodworking class and graduate to fly status! I am jealous.

  • dyslexicdba

    Ah, the last time I was a maggot was at Ft. Knox KY. Good times, pushing down the pavement, crawling through wet saw dust. Little did I know that I would sit at work some day in the future wishing I could get home to play in the saw dust.

  • rboe

    I need to learn to be a maggot someday; before. Well, something. If I knew I wouldn’t need to be a maggot. 😛

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