Monday, November 28, 2011

A Trip to Portland

This weekend I took part in a class at the Northwest Woodworking Studio in Portland, Oregon. The title was Hand Planes, Spokeshaves, and Scrapers, and that is a fairly accurate description of the content.




I'd been looking forward to this workshop for several weeks since becoming aware of it. In the end, I am glad I attended but have lots of mixed feelings about it. It is difficult to seperate out what was just not right for me, as an individual, from what was actually ill-conceived about it. I do not wish to really go into it publicly, since perhaps it was just not the right course for me.  I do believe the description was misleading, and have addressed this with the school.

In the meantime, I wouldn't hesitate to go back if a course were appealing.  There is a class on building a brass hand plane I would love to take.  I would offer caution, though, to anyone thinking that this hand plane course has the information needed to get going in traditional hand tool work.

Perhaps I will follow up on this soon (if/when I hear back from the school on my concerns) but in the meantime, I do encourage taking classes whenever and wherever possible, and sharing the experiences with other woodworkers, good or bad as they might be.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the post on this - I can't help but commiserate with my less-than-satisfied experiences here as well.

    But instead of making any further complaints, I will give a huge thumbs up and recommendation for the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. I took the Handtool Heaven class with Jim Tolpin (whose book you showed on an earlier post I believe) - it was a wonderful experience! Port Townsend is certainly more of a drive (and I live in Portland) but is a viable alternative in terms of woodworking schooling for those habituating in the NW. I'm definitely eyeing the Hand Tool Heaven II class being offered next year.

    Keep up the blogging...

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  2. iozl, I would love to get up to Port Townsend on of these days. As it is, Portland is 3 hours for me, and PT is 5 or 6. I love Jim's books, and his hand-tool preference is in line with my own. Like him, I would like to use a bandsaw and planer when needed, but love using hand tools whenever practical. Thanks for reading.

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  3. Sadly, the school has not replied to my concerns. I still won't go into the detail of what I did not enjoy about the course, but I would offer a bit of a warning to hand-tool focused folks considering a class here. Their lack of response to my feedback leaves me feeling even worse than I did before sending it. Even a brief "we received it, and you are wrong" would earn some respect from me.

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