This past weekend I had great fun sharing what I know about hand woodworking with Blanca and Eva. The workshop was an introduction to the fundamentals through three basic joinery exercises: Mortise and tenon, groove and tong and dovetails. Although it was quite intense (8 hours a day) the girls stood up very well and were very engaged.
Here are some of the tools that I bring to the workshops, very fine and perfectly tuned.
We began the first day by sharpening some gear the girls had brought. This way we went through powered grinder, diamond stones, ceramic water stones and finally polishing compound to get razor-sharp blades. The hair shaving test never lies!
Proper sharpening can be a bit intimidating for beginners, as it takes some practice to keep consistent angles. A guide can be very helpful - I like the Eclipse guide for it's simplicity and good results.
The girls mastered the planing technique and had the chance to compare a Stanley number 4 with a Veritas low angle bevel-up plane. Shooting board was introduced as well, a fundamental tool in the shop.
Precise marking and cutting methods are best learnt through practice. A guide (picture below) helps driving the chisel square and straight into the wood as the mortise is chopped.
A tenon goes next, made to perfectly fit the mortise we made before.
Crisp edges and well defined corners are indispensable to achieve fine joinery.
Comparing saw kerfs is a nice way to understand different types of saws, from a big occidental panel saw to a fine Gyoucho 372 (japanese saw) excelent for dovetailing.
In my opinion, is great to have a chance to compare different qualities and types of tools. And believe me, quality matters.