There are several spots open in the “Hammer in Hand” class that runs Sept. 4-8 at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking in Franklin, Ind.
The class is perhaps poorly named – it’s not just about nails. Instead, the course is as much instruction on building traditional casework by hand that I can cram into five days. During the class we build three projects: A Moxon dovetailing vise, a shooting board/bench hook and the dovetailed Schoolbox from “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker.”
The class is open to all skill levels of woodworkers. I’ve had students who have never picked up a tool before, and I’ve had professional woodworkers who want to learn hand techniques.
The class is structured to challenge your ideas about handwork. Most people get the impression that it is slow, perhaps a little crude or that you need years of training to do basic things. Not so. Here’s some of stuff we learn in the class.
1. Sharpening. Get it done in three minutes and get back to work. It’s more fun to make tools dull than it is to make them sharp.
2. Flattening by hand. How to quickly flatten boards with planes by paying attention to only a couple key surfaces and ignoring the rest.
3. Shooting. How to shoot boards for accurate joinery with a simple appliance.
4. Dovetailing. Learn what’s important and what’s not so you focus your energy and attention in the right place. Find out where people make their biggest mistake (it’s not sawing or chiseling).
5. Traditional glues. Why hide glue is the woodworker’s friend.
6. Truing up an glued carcase without spleching the corners.
7. Nails. Why you should love cut nails. They are an important part of the hardware, like a lock or pulls.
8. Cut dados by hand. It’s a snap. No dado plane needed.
9. Make basic mouldings by hand – both with complex moulders and hollows and rounds.
10. Mitering by hand. You don’t need a chop saw.
So if you have a free week, we’d love to have you join the class. It’s the only class I’m teaching in 2012 that has any open spots. To register or get more information on the class, click here.
— Christopher Schwarz