Graphics & Edges
We begin with the preparation of our tools, to be used throughout the program, and our lives as a craftsman. As craftsmen, we, must first understand what sharp is, and how taking the time to sharpen a tool contributes to not only better work, but efficiency and enjoyment of the process. With the use of water stones, while they cut fast and leave a wonderful edge, they also require periodic flattening. Understanding when it is important that your stones are dead flat, and how to continue working with, when you suspect that the stone is not flat. A good edge requires a flat back and hone on the bevel side. In most cases a hollow ground is used. The manual hand grinder is a sensitive tool providing us with a hollow on even very narrow tools with less worry of overheating the tool. The process of preparing our tools begins during the first week, but is an ongoing process, dialling in the tools to preform various tasks in our craft during the program.
On the second day of the program, we spend some time with our spokeshaves and block planes. Tools that, when tuned well, can perform a variety of tasks from shaping, flattening, dialling in joinery, and in the preparation of our surfaces and edge treatment.
The graphics and shaping exercise, is a lesson in developing a sensitive and sensible balance between the use of hand and machine tools. It also provides a better understanding of the selection of our material, and how it relates to shaping.
We begin with the template, where students are provided with a thin piece of poplar, which is cut on the bandsaw and the curve faired with a finely tuned spokeshave. While the templates are refined, we take time out to mill the stock for our graphics and shaping exercise. This involves a better understanding of how the rotating of stock, and the straightening the grain, can contribute to conveying the desired intention. We will use the bandsaw, jointer, planer and tablesaw to complete the millwork for our leg. With the leg blank milled, we prepare the two inside surfaces, which are flattened and squared using the block plane. The template is used to layout a double curve leg, which is cut on the bandsaw. The curves are faired and shaped using our spokeshaves, the bottom of the leg is squared with the block plane, and the top of the leg is pillowed with a wide chisel or plane iron.
All surfaces and edges are taken to finish using our finely tuned handtools, during which time students are introduced to a variety of strategies used in the selection of material including the crest rail magic we use in the making of Vidar’s chair. We then prepare our scrapers and gouges for the in Plane Making & Irons