When East Meets West

East, West, and something in between.

Lately I have been doing a lot of research on the Japanese traditions of woodworking. I've always found their methods of work to be interesting and their tools are very different than ours. They pull their saws and planes, their edge tools are laminated steel and some of them work seated on the floor instead of standing at a bench.

My curiosity likely won’t have me on the floor woodworking (to be fair, if it did I would likely not get up). Instead, I will likely find some different techniques that I can apply to my own skillset, complimenting my own method of work. For example, I’m really digging pulling planes. It feels (to me) that I have more control of the stroke and I also feel that I have more power when I’m taking heavy shavings. 

I had a friend come by the shop the other day and he taught me the basics of making a Japanese plane. That was like drinking out of a fire hose. They look deceivingly simple, and how hard could it be? I’ve been making Krenovian-style planes for many years now so how much different could it be? Without going into too much detail, I was wrong.

So with that experience fresh in mind, I set out to make a western-style plane that fI could pull. I’m not sure if it’s going to work, which is the case for a lot of things that I try, but I’m giving it a whirl. The glue-up pictured above is the result of a few failed experiments. I have tweaked dimensions and worked with different blades and blade adjustors. I hope this one is the one that bridges the gap between East and West…If not, in the words of Marvin the Martian, “Back to the old drawing board”.

To understand, you must do. - V

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Heading for Indiana

Last year I received an email from Marc Adams asking if I would be available to teach at MASW. You don’t say no to a question like that so off I go. The class is called The Minimalist Woodworker: It All Starts with a Plane. 

You really develop a sensitivity when using hand tools to woodwork. Every nuance of the wood is experienced through a truly hands-on approach. For me, the ultimate experience is working wood with a tool that I made. There is something powerful about making a tool and then using that it to create other wood works. 

In future entries I will give more details on the individual tools we’ll be making including a wooden plane, plane adjusting hammer, shooting board and violin knife. I would be lost without these tools and making them myself makes them even more special.

So check out the course and sign up will ya? As usually with me, the class will be light-hearted and entertaining while learning a ton. I hope to see you there.

To understand, you must do. - V

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Back To The Old Stompin’ Grounds

There is something surreal about heading back to the place where I studied as a furniture designer and woodworker. Rosewood Studio brings back a lot of memories for me. I spent many hours learning, screwing up, and making mistakes at the school which is probably why it feels weird for me to return as an instructor. I have taught at many places around the globe but this space is different. I cut my teeth here as a woodworker under the tutelage of Ron Barter and continued to learn from him (and others) when I returned as a Craftsman in Residence. 

Ron and Mary Anne have invited me back on the 9th of April to teach, what I feel, is one of the most important classes they offer. The Excellence with Hand Tools course is where it all begins and for good reason. Students learn fundamental skills like sharpening, basic hand tool use and wood technology. Hands-on skills like creating the ‘Perfect Board’ (a board made 6-square with only planes) and through dovetails are where the week leads, not to mention learning what sharp is and the importance of achieving it.

So if you’ve never been to Rosewood Studio or taken a class with me, why not kill two birds with one stone. Or better yet, don’t kill anything and come take the class. As always, a class with me will be a barrel of monkeys and you’re guaranteed to learn, laugh and have a good time.

To understand, you must do - V

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What are ye at?

As my East coast buddies would say, "What are ye at"? Over the last six months I've, sent a young lady off to university, worked on a ton of articles for various publications and been on many trips around the world. It hasn't left me much time for this blog.  There isn't much sign of slowing down and in fact it seems like things might be ramping up. 

I have a few books that I'm working on and I'm also looking at some other extra curricular activities that should keep me off the streets for a few years. I'm also going to be doing some teaching at Rosewood Studio and Marc Adams School of Woodworking but more on those in a bit. I also want to do more blog writing so here's to that!!

So thanks for your patience with me and you should be seeing more of me in the future months.
 - Vic

Vic Tesolin Comment
Remember me?

Hey there! Remember me? I'm Vic...the guy who is supposed to maintain this blog and website. It's been awhile and I have no good excuses tother than being busy with magazine articles and a few book contracts. Not to mention a bunch of work travel and teaching. I'll stop moaning now and encourage you to check out the Events & Classes page to see where I'll be next. 

There are also some very cool projects that I'm involved with at the moment but have been sworn to secrecy so you'll just have to wait. Thanks for your patience with me...I can be a bit of a fart in a wind storm.

To understand, you must do. - V

Vic Tesolin Comments