Wednesday, February 8, 2012
A little back story:
Late one Texas winter night, I was browsing the internet. While I was obsessing over every woodworking/bushcraft/sustainability/permaculture article and youtube video I could get my hands on, I visited the Lie Nielsen website to drool over the various instruments of wood, brass, and iron. As I tortured myself with their catalog - dreaming of one day deciding between A-2 or 0-1 steel, fantasizing about wrapping my mitts around hornbeam handles or grazing my pinky finger across a curly maple lamb's-tongue - I stumbled upon their "upcoming shows" link on the homepage.
I can still feel the joy I felt as I realized that a troupe of woodworkers and some of the finest modern toolmakers from Warren, Maine and across the country would be somewhere in Texas the following day! Not only would they be in Texas but Austin! And not only would the event be held in Austin but at Fine Lumber and Plywood, the very same lumberyard where I had recently taken a field trip with my cabinetmaking instructor! What a miraculous moment of fateful coincidence it was to realize that had I not been eye-fucking some hand tools on the internet that night, I may never have held a Lie Nielsen plane in my hand.
If I hadn't attended, I may never have met Frank Strazza, a woodworker from Homestead Heritage in Elm Mott, TX. It is one of my largest regrets that I never attended any woodworking courses at Homestead Heritage during my time in Texas. I only lived two hours away during my years in Denton or Austin! I plan to return one day. Actually, I have had thoughts of moving to the craft village in Elm Mott to start a simpler life but I'm not exactly sure if there is land for sale or if they are accepting new residents. I'm not sure how that works...
Frank Strazza at the 2010 Lie Nielsen Hand Tool Event In Austin, TX.
When I went to the Lie Nielsen Hand Tool Event in Austin, TX last year, I barely knew who or what Lie Nielsen was - Not to mention that I had never held a real plane or saw in my hand. Ever. I actually bought my first saw there from Dowd's Tools, an antique tool dealer from Garland, TX who had set up a booth at the event. It was the Disston backsaw that I recently attempted to sharpen (with little success).
This year, I plan on buying another saw, or two...or three. My woodworking is currently on hold because I do not have a proper saw/set of saws. I cannot rip! I cannot crosscut! I currently only have the ability to cut tenons (poorly) with my medium-sized back saw and I have a cheapo Kona razor saw that I've been using to practice dovetails. Two of the finest saw makers in the world will be attending the event this weekend in Portland and will undoubtedly be hocking their wares.
Speaking of "hock", Ron Hock, sharpening guru will be at the event, as well as Glen Drake Tools the creator of the tite mark marking gauge.
One of the things I'm most excited about is seeing what Bridge City Toolworks has to offer. They have come out with some amazing new tool innovations such as:
The Jointmaker Pro Saw by Bridge City Toolworks (Portland, OR)
It's going to be a really cool show.
And just for fun...