I sit down this morning to write to you about the first day of the Practical Woodworking course here at Lohr's School of Woodworking. I must mention that there is no conceivable way for me to explain even half the information we received so, I highly recommend signing up for the class. Even within the first day, the amount of knowledge you will leave with is worth the tuition alone.
here but, you really have to see these pieces to understand their beauty.
After the tour, we gathered in the "classroom" in the back of the shop. Jeff gave a very thorough lesson on wood as a whole subject area. Paired with his verbal lesson, we were given diagrams, print outs, and visual images on a projector. We learned how/why/when/where trees grow and how it effects the wood we end up working with. Who knew that some trees can only reproduce during forest fires? Crazy! We were told about the grain of the wood and how it is related to the center of the tree. And, amongst other things, I now know the difference between plainsawn and quartersawn lumber. I am almost ready to waltz into a lumber mill and know what I am talking about!
Following the lesson, we were taken around the shop and introduced to each tool and/or machine we will be using for our project. The pros walked us through the steps on how to use each machine for each task we will be faced with while building our tables. Table saws, planers, and jointers galore! We were told and shown how to pick out a good piece of rough wood for whatever projects we may be faced with in the future, taking into account grain, straightness, and any flaws. We were then walked through the process of how to properly cut, joint, and plane the rough wood pieces so that you are left with smooth, straight, and accurately sized pieces of useable wood. Today, we will start with the legs of our tables!
And what a comfortable environment to learn about really sharp, intense power tools; safety was emphasized to the utmost degree. There are safety precautions around every corner and I'm sure we all take comfort in knowing that no student has ever been seriously hurt.
Finally, we were assigned out benches for the week (I am lucky 11) and given our three boards. They are the boards that I helped sort and stack last week so I knew we would be handed rough boards but, I was excited just the same! We were given the chance to choose which board we wanted to use for which parts of our soon-to-be tables. With chalk, we loosely outlines which parts would be cut and used for which table parts. Today, we make the first cuts! I will join my classmates now and begin the journey to a completed table.