Originally before I had a blog site, I had thought that if I had a blog site I would use it only to chronicle eating my way through the dessert counter at Simply Biscotti on Preston St. in Ottawa. I thought it would be a cool project in this, my life beyond full-time, flat-out work and it would be completed within a relatively short time frame-say six months or so. I was wrong-headed about it all. Giving myself a deadline, even an artificial one, makes the whole thing into another job-I have had plenty of work that came with deadlines in my lifetime and why would you want to put a time limit on such an enjoyable experience.
Simply Biscotti is doing a great business by the looks of it. Rosa has added more seating by developing the second floor over her shop. Good thing too for there’s quite a bit of new development planned for Little Italy and that bodes well for Rosa and Simply Biscotti.
This past week my friend and I combined a brisk early morning walk with breakfast at Rosa’s. We each enjoyed a latte and a nicely spiced pumpkin muffin. The muffin would be good with cream cheese icing but that’s not really breakfast food, is it?
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 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 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?
Dateline: Covington Kentucky-Sept 30, Oct 1, Oct 2, 2011
I have a blog site but I do not do woodwork. My husband enjoys woodworking as a hobby but does not have a blog site. He recently attended the Woodworking In America (WIA) conference in Covington, KY and we decided we’d blog about it.
What: Once a year hand tool ‘galoots’ from all over flock to the WIA conference. This year was the fourth annual get together. Galoots is the term used to describe those who pursue the craft of woodworking solely with hand tools. (Editor’s note: Beats me why someone would want to be called a galoot.) Dedicated hobbyists, craftspeople (there were a very few women at WIA) gather for 2 1/2 days of seminars, demonstrations and to drool as they toured the 20,000 sq, ft, marketplace of exhibitors.
Where: Covington, Kentucky (Covington is just across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio)
Why: To learn from the who’s who in hand-tool woodworking-to be clear, this is not carpentry. It is the world of hand cut mortice and tenons and smooth planed surfaces, of inlaid wood and carved contours. It’s an opportunity to meet craftspeople and tool makers that previously you would only have read about and chance to meet others who share the same passion.
WIA 2011 by the numbers:
450-500: approximate number of attendees. While most attendees were from the USA, there were some from Canada, South Africa, England and Australia
75: number of seminars/lectures to choose from over the 2 1/2 day conference
56: number of top-tier toolmakers and vendors demonstrating and selling their wares in the “marketplace”
6: number of evening programs to choose from
355 $US: cost of registration
priceless: the opportunity to attend-according to my husband
Let us know what you think about this joint (hah!) effort about joinery. We will post one or more blogs to describe some of the classes and seminars. Would you like to hear about anything in particular when we write the blogs?