Attended over four years of classes (over 300 classes at least) through my local Gwinnett Woodworkers Association has taught me a lot. I never thought I was much of a teacher or instructor, but I've learned that it can be an interesting, enlightening and rewarding opportunity to teach or coordinate woodworking classes. I'm still overwhelmingly concerned with safety. Not that I'm perfectly safe at all times, but I keep trying. But, this is what limits the classes or demonstrations I'll do with running machinery. It is difficult to be safe with such a huge opportunity for distraction as a class full of students asking questions. This is why more of my classes up until now have been more tutorial and less hand-on. And, they probably will be for quite a while.

Build a Hand Plane

This class was inspired by a David Marks Woodworks show on making a European Hand Plane.  David made it look so easy that I thought I could do it.  Turns out it is easy and I highly recommend that you try it yourself if you have an interest or need for a good wood hand plane.  There are similar designs available through other sources so please do a little research on hand plane design  and use so you can make the best use of your new wooden hand plane.

This class can be downloaded as a PDF document here - Build aWooden Hand Plane 

Build a Wooden Hand Plane 

Materials needed

Plane Iron - Hock Straight Edge 1 3/4" with chip breaker as an example
Dowel - 3/8" x 2.5" (hardwood or metal such as brass or steel)
Wood for the plane body - approximate rough size 11" L x 2 5/8" W x 1 3/4" T

Estimated time to complete this project: 1 hour to 2 hours

Steps to Build Your Own Wooden Hand Plane

1)    Select a plane iron and chip breaker (optional) and flatten and sharpen the iron
2)    Select and cut the plane blank to approximate dimensions (11" x 2 5/8" x 1 3/4")
3)    Flatten and square the bottom, top and sides of the plane black
4)    Rip the sides of the plane blank to leave a center block about 1/16" wider than your selected plane iron
5)    Mark, cut and sand the bed angle and relief angle on the center block
6)    Glue the two center blocks between the sides you created in step 4
7)    Flatten the bottom and square the sides of the plane blank
8)    Mark and drill the hole for the dowel
9)    Cut, sand, and fit a wedge to hold the plane iron in place
10)    Relieve the edges, customize the shape and try it out

Read more: Build a Hand Plane


Turning Lidded Boxes

There are lots of good resources available on turning lidded boxes such as books, CDs, DVDs, web sites, and woodturning / woodworking clubs to name a few.  As part of a class I taught for the Gwinnett Woodworkers Association's Woodturning Special Interest Group I am posting the following information in the hopes that it helps at least one woodworker enjoy their woodturning on the lathe.  As with most things this is just one way to go about turning lidded boxes.  Based on your experience, lathe, tools, and creative ideas you may find a better or different way to make the best, most beautiful, most creative lidded box.

 A printable version (PDF) of the notes for "Turning Lidded Boxes " is available by clicking that link.

Basic Steps to turning a lidded box

1.    Select a turning blank
2.    Rough turn a cylinder
3.    Mark the top, bottom and neck and turn the rough exterior shape
4.    Turn the neck to final diameter and part off the top
5.    Hollow the box and finish sand the inside
6.    Hollow the top and finish sand the inside
7.    Finish turning the outside of the box and finish sand the outside
8.    Part the box off
9.    Finish the inside and outside and sign your artwork

Read more: Turning Lidded Boxes