This Saturday I taught my first woodworking class.
I’m just going to take a moment to dwell on that last sentence. Â It’s a big one for me. Â A sort of “Level Up” moment in my life. Â I’ve always been a guy who makes stuff, or fixes things, or takes things apart (sorry mom) and sometimes puts them back together. Â But being a “teacher” of woodworking is brain-stretcher for me.
This journey down the woodworking rabbit hole has been pretty interesting, and I look at people like Chris Schwarz and Peter Follansbee as teachers, guides, and generally cool people. Â (and sorry Chris, but I did model my teaching style on yours a little bit, I know that probably gives you a little heartburn but it fits well with my style.)
Saturday I did the first part of the class as it is a two parter, and we covered the basics while carving a single panel.
First we covered the gouge cut decoration along the top and bottom edge of a piece of oak. Â This showed how to hold the chisel, dividers, carving mallet. Â The repetition allowed them to build some muscle memory and get a feel for the motions and for the materials.
Then we did a simple repeated arc pattern in the center area. Â This showed them layout with dividers, and lots of practice with the V tool. Â As well as some design at the point of the tool for the floral decoration, and some punch work with the accents. Â One student finished, the other got at least the core design down. Â All in all it was successful for me as a teacher in that I got through what I wanted in somewhat the order I wanted to. Â I had gauged the right amount of work and discussion. Â They both felt more comfortable with the tools by the end, and their work was improving each step.
Things that I learned.
The students were very interesting. Â One lady brought her fathers tools, and a great story about how he used them and passed them to her. Â It was a beautiful set, I mean LOOK at these.
It was a great experience, and I’m glad I was able to help her connect with her past a little.
The other student was from Nepal and his home village there had a tradition of woodcarving. Â He wanted to learn some of it and he took my class to see if it was something that he could do. Â Both students seemed to enjoy the class, and I got a good compliment at the end saying I was a great teacher. Â I’m not great at taking praise, but I’m glad it went well for everyone.
In two weeks we’ll pick up where we left off (hopefully with better wood) and tackle some S Scroll carving.