Compound Joinery, Carving, & Resawing
Semester 4 jumps forwards again in our exploration of hand tool techniques with 2 great new projects. This semester will be an introduction to compound joinery, basic carving, and a detailed look at the best woods for hand work.
We will break down these seemingly advanced topics and show how simple they can be when tackled with saw, plane, and chisel.
Then we take a HUGE leap forward by building a frame saw meant for resawing that will change how you work and buy lumber.
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Give the Gift of Semester 4
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The Hand Tool School allows the very beginner, with even a minimal "hand me down" tool set (me), to learn at their own pace. I really appreciate Shannon's humility and genuineness in delivering the lessons to us, his virtual apprentices. The projects seem simple when viewing, but if you follow the recommendation to use only hand tools, you will be challenged and your journey to mastery can truly begin.
Member Since 2013
Work at Your Own Pace
What makes the lesson in The Hand Tool School so effective is that they never go away. When you buy a semester you have lifetime access to the material. No need to worry about cramming in all the content before access goes away or how much it will cost you in monthly fees to get through all the material. And there is A LOT of material in Semester 4.
Unlike brick and mortar classes, there is no start time and no need to take vacation time or travel to a location. With The Hand Tool School you can work at 2 AM in your own shop, with your own tools, and stark naked! I advise some protective footwear at least.
Moreover, I think that being able to stop and rewind, or skip to a specific section makes this type of learning even more effective than the whirlwind, fire hose feeding that comes from trying to cram 6 months of instruction into a week long class. The techniques taught in semester 4 represent a big leap forward in skill yet you will find that the principles remain the same.
Good sawing, chiseling and plane work is all you need.
Lessons, Projects, & Tools
- Applied Projects
- Tool Box
- Drop Leaf Table
- Tool List
Lesson 1: Wood World Tour
What are the best woods for hand tool work? How do they work? What are the pros and cons? In this lesson I will discuss in detail 10 species of woods and draw comparisons to similar species. The world of wood is vast but I will hit at least 6 continents.
Lesson 2: Road Tool Kit
It is rare that we ever leave our shops, but when that happens it is good to know what tools you need to tackle most jobs. If you ever take a class or want to bring along tools to play on a vacation, this kit will allow you to keep working no matter where you are.
Lesson 3: Compound Dovetails
Compound angle dovetails are no harder than regular dovetails if your sawing skills are sound. The difficulty comes in proper layout and wrapping your head around how the parts fits together.
Lesson 4: Compound Tenons
Those of you still struggling to cut a mortise and tenon joint that is square will love this lesson. Time to abandon square and create angled shoulders for splayed table legs, trapezoidal chair frames and more!
Lesson 5: Introduction to Carving
We will tackle some simple decorative forms and letter carving. The focus will be on starting with a very minimal set of tools and adapting them to create many common forms.
Lesson 6: Rule Joints
This handy joint is used for creating drop leaf tables. It will rely upon the moulding plane skills we learned in Semester 2 and add a level of precision to your skill set for the hinge setting.
Lesson 7: Resawing
While we have briefly covered this in semester 1, this lesson will take a much deeper look at the methods to make an accurate resaw cut. Whether you want to cut your own veneer or are looking to break down thick stock for bookmatched panels or something as simple as drawer sides. This lesson is full of techniques not seen this side of the 18th century!
Applying our newly found compound dovetail skills makes a simple little box into something truly impressive.
There are 2 carving exercises that explore convex and concave shapes and then a final exercise to combine it all together in a classical form.
This saw comes right out of Roubo's books and it was a typical 18th century French saw used for making veneer. While often pictured with two men operating it we discover that it actually works better operated solo. I make both a 36" and 48" version, because 2 saws is always better than one right?!
The Tool Box
Inspired by the great toolbox created by Tom Fidgen in his book “Made By Hand” and crossed with a classic popularized by Roy Underhill we will make a toolbox capable of taking all your necessary tools on the road, offer some work holding assistance, and not break your back moving it around. Finally we will personalize it by applying our carving skills.
Drop Leaf Table
Inspired by a beautiful table built by Thomas Moser and spruced up a bit to include a drawer, this table can be made strictly in the Shaker style or contemporized to your tastes. We will apply our newly won knowledge of compound joinery, rule joints, and resawing to make this great table then add some flair with sculpted edges, butterfly inlays, and a carved drawer front.
Semester 4 Required Tools
For the most part the only new tool we need in this semester, we will build ourselves. But woodcarving is introduced so a beginning carving set is a must. The following is a good, introductory carving gouge set.
- 5 or 6mm 60 degree V gouge
- #3, 3mm
- #3, 6mm
- #3, 14mm
- #7, 14mm
- #8, 10mm
- #4, 14mm
- #7, 6mm
- #8, 6mm
An Unmatched Learning Experience
I firmly believe that if you follow each lesson, do the practice exercises, and build the projects you will be a better woodworker at the end of it. I think that dedicating 4-6 months to get through all the lessons and projects is a reasonable goal as well.
Of course I'll be here every step of the way answering your questions. Ask any of my students, I'm always ready to help.
From the first time you pick up a chisel, camber an iron, and cut your first dovetail, Shannon is there guiding your progress through online instruction, short videos, and his woodworking experiences. The Hand Tool School community ranges from beginners to advanced woodworkers who offer the support and motivation that you need to succeed. It is simply the best online instruction that I have ever experienced.
Member Since 2014
But there is also a community of your peers waiting for you to share your triumphs, project pictures, and to help you when you have troubles. If you are struggling with a technique or project, many of them are building the same thing or have already built it and can offer advice.