Woodworking vacation #8: It's been an expensive day!

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Blog entry by Betsy posted 05-23-2008 01:11 AM 1520 reads 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Day three -- 2nd entry. Part 8 of Woodworking vacation series Part 9: Final day ---- always a sad day..... »

Well, I came to this class to learn to sharpen my plane irons and chisels. I’m leaving with a whole lot more! I’ve become convinced that my plane selection is no where near what it should be to do the things that I want to do and do them well. So I’ve purchased a few planes. But, and this I find amusing, the thing that I think I have found that I needed the most was a shop apron. I’ve never used one – but Kelly gave me one to try out to see if I’d like it because I was commenting on how nasty my tee shirt was getting from the water stones. Well, I am convinced a shop apron is a must have. It’s just easier to have pockets. I’ve not lost my pencil all week!

Another thing we’ve discussed is how dirty water stones are. Oil stones are dirty and everyone knows that. But I’ve always considered water stones to be clean——it’s water right? Well, the black on my hands will tell you that the slurry from water stones can be very dirty. My fingernails have never looked this nasty. But it’s worth it because I’ve learned to appreciate a sharp tool and I can get that now. I think though that I might invest in some of those latex surgical gloves to wear when I’m doing some serious sharpening – as I don’t like that dirt!

Today’s class centered on flattening a board and straightening an edge. Who knew this was so easy. NOT! There are a ton of variables that you have to keep in mind as you run a plane across a board. I zoned out a couple of times during the lecture part as I’m still having back issues and distractions from phone calls about my car.

One of the smartest things you can do if you are going to work from rough lumber is get a good scrub plane. I borrowed a classmate’s scrub plane and managed to get the roughness out in about 3 minutes flat (the board is about 10 wide and about 15 long). Three minutes is a pretty long time, a person who has practiced a bit could probably cut that down by half.

Long and short though you don’t have to have every plane on earth to do what you want to do. If you have only a few planes you can make them do what you want – you just have to learn to compensate for the shortcomings of the plane. For instance I don’t have a jointer, but I can use my 5 1/4 junior jack as long as I learn to read the board and take my time. I’ve gotten good results from the 5 1/4, that old thing really cleaned up well and it’s performed better than some of the other planes in class. So it was a good Ebay buy.

We spent a lot of time talking about crowns and cups in a board and how to take them out and even how to add a cup. We also learned to do a spring joint that is amazing. I’m going to have to sit down and rewrite my notes so I can give them to you in a coherent fashion. Hopefully I’ll do that soon. Right now though, I’m bushed and am going to rest.

If you have ever thought of going to a woodworking school as a vacation destination. I will give you the two thumbs up for Kelly’s school. It’s been amazing.

Happy shavings!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

10 comments so far

View Al Navas's profile

Al Navas

305 posts in 4409 days

#1 posted 05-23-2008 02:24 AM


All I can say is: TERRIFIC!!!

It is terrific that you made it to the class.

It is terrific you have enjoy it so much.

It is terrific you had a chance to get your nails dirty – soooo very dirty!

WOW! How cool can this be? I might plan on doing it, too, as I need help with my hand tools. Thanks!

-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO,

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4356 days

#2 posted 05-23-2008 03:07 AM


It sounds as if this opportunity was well worth the trials that you went through to get there. Your signature line speaks volumes on this.

Thanks for inviting us along on this journey.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Mark Mazzo's profile

Mark Mazzo

352 posts in 4446 days

#3 posted 05-23-2008 04:01 AM


Sounds great! Thanks for sharing your odyssey and experiences. I met Kelly last fall when he did a lecture for our woodworing club. He’s a very nice guy and I bet he runs a good school.

Hope you start feeling better from the car mishap.

-- Mark, Webster New York, Visit my website at

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4780 days

#4 posted 05-23-2008 06:56 AM

Nice series Betsy, sounds like you learned a lot under difficult circumustances. Kudos. Very enlightening series. Thank you. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4302 days

#5 posted 05-23-2008 12:24 PM

this sound like such a wonderful experience, and you must be having a great time. I agree with you about not having enough hand tools. I’m just putting it off because i know I’ll get those Lie-Nielsen’s that I’ve always wanted, lol! thanks for sharing.

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4333 days

#6 posted 05-23-2008 01:55 PM

i plan to have a woodworking vacation this year too. I am excited about it. I plan to build a Maloof style rocker in Utah.

-- making sawdust....

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4419 days

#7 posted 05-23-2008 04:27 PM

Thanks for the great posts!!! Please keep them coming.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View johnjoiner's profile


160 posts in 4427 days

#8 posted 05-23-2008 05:07 PM

Sounds like a great time Betsy.

But you really left us poor readers hanging by not telling us WHAT PLANES DID YOU BUY? :-)

I’m hoping to take Brian Bogg’s two-week chair class at Mehler’s school if the class is offered there again next year.

-- johnjoiner

View Betsy's profile


3392 posts in 4430 days

#9 posted 05-24-2008 02:21 AM

thanks guys. I appreciate your taking the time to read my blog. I’ve had a good time doing it.

Motthunter – I’m jealous – I’d really enjoy making a Maloof style rocker—but that’s a bit more than I think I could do. I hope you blog about it so we can enjoy it with you.

John – I hear Brian Boggs is a great teacher and gives a good class. Hope you get to do it.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 4374 days

#10 posted 05-29-2008 07:20 PM

Its been a blast thank You,

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

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