I spent the day Saturday at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival. I never miss this annual event and have attended for the past five years. I am not a huge wooden boat aficionado, but as with anything wood related, I find it fascinating.
The main reason that I attend are the woodworking demonstrations that run all day. This year the demonstrations were top-notch and were presented by some incredibly knowledgeable woodworkers.
Garrett Hack, who is a fantastic furniture maker, teacher, and author gave two presentations. You can see his website here. In his first, he demonstrated the method that he uses for sharpening his tools. He had some good tips and a very interesting natural Japanese water stone that was unlike any that I had seen before. (It’s the odd-shaped one glued to the board in the below picture).
For his second presentation, Garrett spoke about curves in woodworking. He talked about steam bending and bent lamination and the advantages of each. I learned a lot in this class and was glad I attended it. At the end, Garrett showed how to smooth and fair curves with both a spoke shave and a block plane.
Christopher Schwarz, from the Lost Art Press gave two presentations. In the first, he demonstrated how to draw-bore a mortise and tenon joint. Chris is always very entertaining and has the crowd cracking up. There is no one whose presentations I would rather watch. For his second presentation, Chris talked about rabbet and plow planes (or rebate and plough for those in the UK). He demonstrated both the Veritas Skew Rabbet Plane and the Veritas Small Plow Plane, two very fine tools. There were tons of great tips and I thoroughly enjoyed the hour.
After the classes, I got to chat with Chris for a little while and ask his advise about my plans for my upcoming workbench build. He was very nice and gave me some great pointers. Thanks Chris!
Jim Tolpin, prolific author and teacher at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking also gave two demonstrations. His first was about the essential handplanes, in which he showed how to flatten and true a board and gave a general overview on how handplanes should be used.
His second demonstration focused on handsaws, their types and uses, and how to sharpen them. Jim gives a great presentation and I can’t wait to take a class with him at his school one of these days.
After all of the demonstrations were done for the day, I spent a few hours looking at and trying out tools. Lee Valley/Veritas had a booth set up and many of their tools were available to try out and get some hands on time. I spent some time looking at their router plane and large shoulder plane. Both items that I don’t think are worth buying vintage Stanley version since collectors have driven the price up to near the cost of a new Veritas or Lie-Nielsen version.
I walked around the rest of the festival and made my way over to the Lie-Nielsen area. If you have never been to a Lie-Nielsen hand tool event they are well worth going to. For some one interested in hand tool woodworking, this is like being the proverbial kid in a candy store. I tried out a bunch of their tools and spent some time looking at the router and large shoulder plane. I also had a good chat with Deneb and Marta.
For woodworkers or wooden boat fans, the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival is a fantastic day out.