Saturday, February 2, 2013

Tool Event

Last weekend I had the opportunity to help out at the Lie-Nielen Hand Tool Event in Sidney, British Columbia. It was held in the flooring galley of West Wind Hardwood, a family owned business that offers custom flooring and fine lumber.

The owner has a wonderful collection of old woodworking tools.

Many of his molding planes were rescued from destruction when he found them after being discarded by their former owner.

He's got a pretty good collection of old machinery as well. An antique Cowan planer, a Millers Falls scroll saw, and my favourite, a Cresent bandsaw. I think this one is a 20", the little brother to my 32". These are some of my favourites, the lines of the C frame have always been pleasing to me.

I had a great time meeting new people and playing with tools. Even after years of it, making shavings is still one of my favourite things to do, and helping others experience it is a lot of fun. There's something about being able to slice such a hard material by hand that seems like magic.

I was able to spend some more time with my friend, Jeremy Tomlinson. He's the Lie-Nielsen Canadian show lead, and knows his way around hand tools like no one else I know.

He has recently started teaching woodworking at The Roundhouse, a community arts centre in Vancouver, B.C., as well as starting his own business, The Urban Woodworker. Jeremy's constantly refining his teaching style, and is a very effective communicator of the concepts used in hand tool woodworking. I've benefited simply from listening to him talk to others.

After the show on Sunday we took the fery back to the mainland and took a tour of his shop. He expained to me some of his techniques for turning and gilding, and I'm excited to incorporate some of his ideas into my own work. He's got a wonderful collection of exotic hardwood and antique tools to drool over, but the most fun was had in using his gigantic custom tenon saw.

I had a great time, and I loved being on the west coast. I haven't been out since I lived in Vancouver twelve years ago, those were some of the best years of my life and I was instanty reminded of them when I arrived. It was -30°C when I left Saskatoon, and I was grinning like a fool when I got off the plane. Seeing green grass was good for my soul.

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I'm a woodworker on the Canadian prairie.