Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking

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Review by BigDawg posted 01-06-2013 01:47 PM 4981 views 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
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If you have been building furniture and other woodworking projects as a hobby and think you have a really good grasp of woodworking, think again.

I had been designing my own pieces, building from plans and taking on various projects over the years. My humble workshop contains lots of hand and power tools and budgets being what they are, it may never be a dream shop. But projects do get done, with kudos from family and friends.

I was the fortunate recipient of some gift cards to the Woodcraft store in Manchester, CT. Since I had been salivating over the classes offered there for some time, this was a desire that could no longer be denied. I signed up for the Sharpening Hand Tools Techniques with Bob Van Dyke. Thinking I might be overqualified for what is essentially a beginner’s course, I was willing to learn whatever I could.

Taught by Bob Van Dyke, it was a 3 1/2 hour hands-on class. The class concentrates on the basics of sharpening edge tools. Bob starts the class with a short lecture on sharpening theories, methods and techniques he has used over the years. There is a demonstration of how to properly use a bench grinder. Then the real fun begins and Bob shares the technique that he has been using for the last several years. The class then disperses to the benches and each student makes his/her own angle gauge and then begins to learn the techniques in a hands-on style.

Another delight was Bob’s instructional style which brings his years of experience together with the ability to communicate well with students. It seemed like every mistake I ever made in my own workshop was discussed and highlighted as a reason why you do it this way.

So now I have a shop full of extremely sharp edge tools, and I came away with a wealth of tips and tricks, a hankering to do more work with better quality and efficiency, and of course, an implied need for better tools (and more classes).

-- Shawn DuGay, Wallingford, CT

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#1 posted 01-06-2013 06:50 PM

Excellent. I took a similar class from Ernie Conover at Woodcraft but the focus was on using planes. One of the aspects was sharpening. There are many shools of thought on sharpening. Ernie was a fan of the Tormec sharpening system. What school of thought did Bob come from?

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

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