Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Win a Hayward Bench at Handworks, But Only If You're Short


We wanted to do something special for Handworks 2017, so here's what we came up with. A bench for kids!

Vol. 4 of "The Woodworker" features a basic bench as its first article. We had three planks of yellow pine gathering dust in the corner, so we tossed together this bench over a couple days last week. It's 24" high, which should be perfect for a wide range of kids. To scale it down, we drew the major components in Sketchup full size, then scaled the model down based on the shorter height. It scaled great. Joinery is half lap dadoes on the front and read skirts, and a pair of 10mm Dominoes in each joint.

It's outfitted with our Hi Vise, which makes an excellent leg vise for smaller full size benches, or obviously for kids' benches too.

The bench will go home with one kid, free of charge, courtesy of us!

Here's how to win the bench (parents, read this to your kids).

We'll have a piece of clear, easy to plane basswood chucked in the vise. With a sharp Stanley #3 that we'll leave on the bench, the kid will try their best to make a full width, full length shaving from the edge of the board, under the coaching of their parent or us. They should practice making the best shaving they can. Once they are ready to make their final excellent shaving, they'll write their name on the edge of the board, plane it off, and put the shaving in a box. On Saturday afternoon at 3pm we'll draw one shaving and that kid will go home with the bench.

There are only two rules:

1. The kid must not be taller than 54".
2. One shaving per kid goes in the box.

Parents feel free to make the final perfect shaving for your kid if they can't. Hopefully that kid will win the bench so they can practice back home.









Thursday, May 4, 2017

Handworks........is the Midwest just too far or remote?



Handworks is now just 2 weeks away.  This will be the third bi-annual event and as we've said many a time before, you never know when there will be another.  Though we've followed the bi-annual pattern so far, we literally never know if there will be another one until some months later.  So if you are on the fence, better act if you can.

In the past, and probably still now, there have occasionally been some comments like "why Iowa?" or "it's too far from the coasts".   To be frank, we never really doubted that people would come to the Midwest, or anywhere really, if the event had the right spirit.  That said, we can understand some of the apprehension concerning travel and expense.  With that in mind here are a few points of interest:

- It's free
- It's in an historical village with a rich woodworking history
- It offers something for everyone, literally, if you or someone with you can't find something of interest in Amana or at one of the event venues then you probably have a hard time finding interest anywhere.
- It's low key (yes it can get crowded but in a good way)
- It offers a chance to both handle tools and learn quite a lot from a group of vendors that overall are more interested in craftsmanship than they are money.  You would be hard pressed to find another event that offers the same kind of hands on with so many experts short of a lot of dedicated, costly and time consuming classes
- There's even a dedicated section of the camp ground set aside for HW attendees


As for travel and attendance.  Yes, it can get crowded, registration is well over double the previous event, but we've spread things out this year into 5 venues, which should really make things nice.

As for travel, few of us in the States can complain (although we do have some people coming from AK).........Internationally we have registrants (aside from vendors) from Canada, British VI, UK, Germany, France, Norway (10!) Australia and get ready for it.......Indonesia.  So if these folks think it's worth the time and expense the least we can do is appreciate that the Midwest is equally far from everyone ;-)

See you there.