Hand Tools are Not Slow


Hand tools are not slow. 

This afternoon, after Mike and I ditched the granite work because of a downpour, I went to the shop to prepare table parts for a presentation I am doing on Friday at the Yale University Furniture Study (Registration full, sorry). The presentation is titled “Efficient Handcraft” and will focus on pre-industrial methods for efficient furniture making. I will bring parts of a table at each stage of the process so that I can demonstrate the whole process in the time allotted. This afternoon’s prep involved ripping out two legs and two rails from rough-sawn pine, planing both legs square, laying out and chopping two of the mortises, tapering one of the legs on two sides, planing the rails’ faces, laying out and cutting four tenons, fitting two of the joints, shaping pins and drawboring one of the joints, and cutting and paring the two pins flush.

This took me one hour. And I figure this base is almost 1/3 of the way complete (i.e. ready for finish). 

This time in the shop reminded me of two things:

  1. Our “Tables” Apprenticeship video is still under production. It’s proven to be much more of a time consumer than we anticipated. With the new shop raising, and shipping Issue Three out at the end of the month, we will be hard-pressed to get much time to work on it. But every spare minute Mike has, he’s editing that video. Promise.
  1. I will again be teaching the “tables” weekend workshop from this summer at Lie-Nielsen this next summer. We don’t have dates yet and they don’t have their workshops listed yet. I will also be teaching a five-day version of this class at Port Townsend School of Woodworking in spring. Stay tuned for all those details.