Woodworking (in America) Part III

Picking up from an earlier blog here’s a bit more detail on Woodworking In America (WIA) 2011 and some examples of the seminars that were held.  

Saw Sharpening De-mystified by Ron Herman

The quality of your work and your ability to do good work depends on the condition of your tools.  It’s important for craftsmen (and women) to keep their tools sharp.  Ron demonstrated simple and proper file techniques for the accurate sharpening of both rip and cross-cut saws.   The methods were effective and straight forward.  A novice could use his techniques and get great results.  Here’s a short intro video by Ron about saw sharpening.

Ron Herman, Master Housewright

Ron Herman is a master housewright.  He specializes in the restoration of heritage homes using traditional hand tool methods.  

Shooting Boards That Work by Ron Herman

 A shooting board is a workshop appliance that is used to trim end grain on moldings and trim to perfect angles of either 45 or 90 degrees.  Ron discussed the use of shooting boards and how to simply construct a shooting board (aka a jig) to allow you to bring you more precision to your work.  He gave a number of useful tips and tricks as well as techniques for using handplanes for shooting perfect miters (a miter joint is one where each side of the joint is cut at 45 degrees).  Ron had a very good rapport with the audience.  His sense of humour and his simple, no-nonsense approach to the subject backed up with years of practical experience made for a very entertaining and enlightening seminar.  

Unlocking Japanese Planes, Chisels and Saws by Jay van Arsdale

Jay van Arsdale

Jay was inspired to become involved in Japanese woodworking after seeing a demonstration by a Japanese tea house builder in the 1970’s.  If you want to learn more about Japanese joinery have a look at this video.  Jay is very knowledgeable.  His presentation incorporated information on Japanese culture and how the tools were developed and why they work so well compared western designs. Did you know western planes cut on the ‘push’ stroke while Japanese planes cut on the ‘pull’ stroke.  Jay provided information on both the construction and use of Japanese tools and he gave advice on how to use these tools to produce excellent results.

Japanese Joinery 101 by Jay Van Arsdale

Japanese joinery is much more precise than western joinery.  It is designed to hold together without the use of any adhesives.   Jay showed a number of finished examples and he cut some other joints to demonstrate the intricacy and precision that the Japanese bring to their craft.

Have you heard enough about WIA?  There are pictures of tools and toolmakers present in the ‘marketplace’ at WIA-would seeing some of that be of interest?  

4 thoughts on “Woodworking (in America) Part III

    1. I found the actual WIA website hard to locate. You end up at Popular Woodworking or related sites but they have interesting links there too. There’s lots of woodworking forums (forae?) out there. If you’d like some specific locations, let us know and we’ll send them along. That way you can get a regular fix of talk about shims and jigs and mortices and tenon.

  1. Maybe some day I will get back to woodworking. It is very difficult here as wood is just rough cut, sometimes not even edged. I would need a planer to do anything and maybe a resaw band saw.. Good planers start at $1000 here and so do good bandsaws.

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