The goals for the first day of the “Hand Tool Immersion 101” class at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking were simple:
- Sharpen a 1/2” chisel to perfection.
- Sharpen and set up a block plane so it could take fine, fine shavings.
- Grind, sharpen and set up a jack plane.
Of the three goals, I was most excited about getting 18 vintage jack planes set up and running. If I could give every woodworker in the world one tool, it would be a jack plane set up with an iron that was ground, honed and polished with an 8” to 10” radius on its edge.
That tool can accomplish incredible feats of flattening. With this tool, you can flatten a board of any width – you are limited only by the length of your arms. Machinery be dammed.
Plus, a good jack plane is handy when working edges, or anytime you need to remove a lot of wood in a hurry.
Thanks to the help of Raney Nelson of Daed Toolworks, all of the students became grinding aces in short order. Then they honed up their irons, tuned up their jack planes and started destroying the sample boards we gave them.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) we start on the real stuff – building a tool chest with only hand tools. Then we’ll find out if the first day of teaching was worth a dang.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. So after a long day or hard work, the entire class retired to the forest behind the school to cook dinner, drink a beer and talk about woodworking. As I scooted off to bed, they had built a fire in the school’s fire pit and were talking about the day ahead.
You can follow the classroom experience with the hashtag #babyanarchists on Instagram.