Thursday, May 8, 2014

Guest Speaking at the North Metropolitan Triton Club.

On Monday night I had the pleasure of being the guest speaker at the North Metropolitan Triton Club, in Perth Western Australia. My third visit there as guest presenter, I always enjoy visiting this mob - my favourite group of routerphiles.

So what's a teacher of traditional hand tool skills and techniques doing speaking to an enthusiastic group of Triton power tool users? ... Well, I am a firm believer that traditional hand skills are the foundational woodworking skills. Learning these skills and techniques can only enhance our woodworking experience - even if we are a committed power tool fanatic! I would suggest there are times when the only way to effectively accomplish a particular task is to do it by hand.

On my first visit speaking, two years ago, my talk was titled: "The Joys of Woodworking, Past and Present".

 I spoke about the history of the electric router and the many tools which have been effectively replaced by the router. I had those hand tools with me and demonstrated their use. These included hollows and rounds, other moulding planes, plough planes, rebate planes, spokeshaves, router planes, scratch stocks, dovetail saw and more.

Last year, on my second visit speaking, my talk was titled: "Five Good Reasons to Chuck Away Your Dovetail Router Jig". I demonstrated how to cut dovetail joints by hand, and then gave them the chance to have a go themselves.


I had brought enough tools for the 22 people present to all be cutting dovetails simultaneously (yes, I have more than 25 dovetail saws!). It was a heap of fun, and for many it was the first time they'd ever cut dovetails by hand. For some it was the first time for decades.

22 people cutting dovetails by hand simultaneously
That's how to do it - straight off the saw.
 On this my third visit, my talk was entitled: "The Joy of Green Woodworking". I described my own journey into the world of green woodworking, and the lure of these ancient skills and knowledge.   I described the basic tools of the green woodworking world, and demonstrated the use of several of them.


 I then gave the 25 people present an opportunity to split/rive/cleave some small log sections down into smaller pieces using froes and beetles, and then to have a go at shaping these on shaving horses with draw knives. It was a lot of fun.

Lining up the froe and beetle ready for a whack! 

Draw knives in action on a pair of English Bodger style shaving horses.
What a great night it was, taking the club members right back to basics, exploring some ancient tools and skills...

I certainly look forward to speaking there again next year. It will be interesting to see what the subject is I speak on next time. Of course, you can guarantee it will have something to do with traditional hand tools...

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