Off to New Zealand
A pull-plane with International roots.

A pull-plane with International roots.

One of my favourite things to do in the shop is make tools out of wood. I’ve made more wooden planes than I care to admit to but I’ve learned a lot from those builds. I’ve certainly developed preferences about the use of adjusters, species of wood and style of planes. 

After learning to make Japanese planes from a friend who studies in Japan, I realized that I could pull other techniques I’ve learned from other builds into the construction of a Japanese-style plane. Using techniques like cold-press laminations (from a Krenov-style plane) and abutments (from an English-style plane) to make a pull plane makes the process a bit easier and therefore attainable for the beginner hand tool making woodworker. 

I’ll be giving a workshop at the Centre for Fine Woodworking in Nelson, New Zealand from the 13th to the 16th of August so that you can make your very own plane in a class called “When East Meets West”. During the plane glue-ups, instead of drinking coffee, we will set to work on building a wooden adjusting hammer so you have a suitable tool to adjust your new plane. Then, to top it all off, I will guide you through the making of an elegant, dovetailed box to house your new plane. You’ll even get to test out your new plane during the making of the box!

This course is chock full of skills and techniques that you will be able to use in all matters of woodworking.

It promises to be action packed, fun week that will end with two shorter courses on the weekend. On the 17th, you’ll be learning how to get the most from your bench planes and on the 18th I will be talking about Veritas as a company as well as a set of demos featuring some of the tools in the Veritas line. 

So if you live In New Zealand or are willing to travel, head for the South Island to one of the most picturesque woodworking schools I’ve ever been to.

Vic Tesolin
Are you a Rust Junkie?

If you haven’t heard of Rust Junkie Fest then you are missing out. Jack Forsberg has been running this event for the last six years and this seventh year will be the best yet. There will be all kinds of demos and the Ottawa Woodworker’s Association will be having their annual summer BBQ.

I will be there with some of my shop-made musical instruments like cajon drums and some cigar-box guitars and I’ll be making a CBG while I’m there. These instruments are fun and easy to make and sound fantastic.

So check out Jack’s site for all the info and to register. It’s free to attend, they just need a head count. If you’re there, be sure to swing by and say hey!

In order to understand, you must do. - V

Vic Tesolin
Heading Back Down Under

I’ve been to Australia a couple of times now and this upcoming trip will mark my third visit. John Madden, the organizer of Wood Dust, has asked me to teach a Master Class at Wood Dust 2019. I’m excited to be a part of this event and it promises to be as awesome as last year’s inaugural running.

As always….a bit of Tom Foolery on my part.

As always….a bit of Tom Foolery on my part.

If you have spent any time with me before, you know that I like to have fun and I occasionally goof off as seen above. I have so much fun when I woodwork so I like to keep things light when I teach. Life is serious enough so why not have some fun eh?

WoodDust-17-Wed-Masterclasses-02 copy.jpg

Last year at Wood Dust I taught a class on inlay. This year, I will be talking about my take on design entitled “Design for Woodworking”. We will spend time learning to sketch, building maquettes and flexing the old design muscle a bit. Many folks are afraid of design because they think they have to get formal schooling on the subject in order to be good at it. The truth is, with a bit of guidance and some practice, you can unlock your inner designer and begin building furniture that starts as an idea in your mind.

So why not join us for a bit of fun, boost up your design chops and expand your woodworking skills?

In order to understand, you must do - V

Vic TesolinComment
Which Way Do You Lean?

In my last post I talked about the book 'Making Things Right' and in that book the author described an all too often conversation between him and a group of fellow tradespeople. They were at a bar after a week of hard work and were discussing (with vigor) which was better: an Olfa snap-blade knife or a Stanley-style utility knife. I had a chuckle when I read this because I have to say, craftspeople often have these kinds of conversations. In some cases they go way off the deep-end, arguing about what effectively amounts to how many fairies can dance on the head of a pin - I believe they are referred to as forum threads.

All that being said, I feel like I need to weigh in on this. I'm a big fan of the Stanley-type of utility  knife. The blades seem to be more stout than the snap-blades so there is less flex to them. This same stoutness also lends them to a few honings before I have to flip them around. Once dull on both sides I've also been known to use them as small card scrapers but that usage is admittedly a bit weak.

So I may regret this but - which do you prefer and why? There is room in this world for the two most common styles of utility knife but I'm interested which way you lean. Are you an Olfa-type user or do you do things right and use a Stanley-type? ;-)

To understand, you must do. - V

Vic Tesolin Comments
Book Review - Making Things Right

The most important marketing tool a craftsperson has is doing things well. Whether you are a furniture maker, carpenter or spoon carver, you're really only as good as your last job. Those jobs, done correctly and with care should stand the test of time.
Making Things Right - The Simple Philosophy of a Working Life, by Ole Thorstensen is a fantastic book that talks about doing things right, quality and integrity. Ole is a Norwegian Master carpenter and contractor and in his book he takes the reader through the trials of being a one-man show in a world that seems to be flush with big firms. He talks about the impact of doing good work and how in the building world, you get what you pay for. You follow Ole through a job from the bidding process all the way to completion. 
I found it interesting that a lot of the struggles he mentions in the book are the same struggles I hear from my builder friends here in Canada. You realize pretty quickly that personal relationships and customer service have just as much of an impact as manual skills do. As a woodworker who still does the odd bit of commission work, I definitely identified with Ole through his struggles and his accomplishments when dealing with other humans.
The refreshing part of the book for me is Ole's unrelenting commitment to integrity. Integrity is how a person conducts themselves when no one is looking. He serves as a reminder that there are still good, conscientious people in the world who are ever mindful of how their actions will affect others around them. The book is humorous at times and nail-biting in others which for me makes for a great story. I realized quickly that Ole is the kind of guy that I'd like to have a few beers with. I tore through this book over a weekend and have already recommended it to a bunch of friends who work with their hands.

To understand, you must do - V

Vic TesolinComment