NBSS Week 2 – Drafting, sharpening, a tool auction, oh my

Week 2 began with a return to drafting. We have 20 woodworking joints to complete and then we move on to 5 full-scale drawings of furniture. As I’ve been talking to many current and former NBSS students, they have all recommended trying to complete the drafting drawings as quickly as possible so that you can start the building part of the program sooner. With that in mind my goal this week was to finish the woodworking joints, check!




















We also had lectures and demo’s this week on sharpening our chisels. We start by flattening the back, then hollow grinding the bevel on the grinder. (NBSS has Baldor slow speed grinders and they are the smoothest operating grinders I have ever used!) After that we honed the bevel using either waterstones, diamond plates, or oilstones. Our department head, Dan, uses waterstones with the progression of 800, 1200, then stropping with Yellowstone. Steve, another instructor, uses diamond stones initially, finishes with an 8000 grit waterstone, then strops. After the lectures we all went out to our benches and gave it a try. Most students had different sharpening supplies and it was very interesting to go around and see what others were using and to see the level of sharp they achieved with their supplies. One student only has a medium Arkansas oilstone and Yellowstone to strop and her edge on her Veritas chisels cut really well! I took mine through the progression of waterstones to 8000 with no stropping and I continue to be delighted with the sharpness achieved with my Shaptons.

On Wednesday night I took the time to explore the NBSS student portal online and was very impressed with the content and resources it provided. It gave me access to the facility’s hours, alumni details and websites, job listings, commission details and so much more. Thursday was Lance lecture #2 and he went through the design process of this gate leg table.


















It was very interesting to talk about the wood grain orientation and construction detail corrections that needed to be made to improve the table, as many of originals had damage from years of seasonal wood movement.

I also had a bit of an epiphany on Thursday evening. I stayed late to work on my drawings and was able to talk with the other students who were also there working. What I found was that there was a direct correlation between the time spent in the shop and the quality and volume of the pieces being created. Now you’re gonna say well duh, that just makes since, and of course you’re right. My realization was, the more pieces you build, the more opportunities you have for learning by asking questions of the instructors and even other students. That was what I hadn’t really contemplated before, and in my opinion that is one of the most important aspects of the program: knowledge transfer. So my new initiative is to take full advantage of all available workshop hours, so for you that means more pictures, more insights, more details….. it’s a win-win for us all!

The week ended with a Friday trip to the MJD tool auction in Nashua, NH. The tool auction itself was interesting to watch but the real appeal for us as students were the cheap older tools available in the parking lot outside, where all the tool venders had set up a sort of tool flea market. I walked away with a Stanley Bailey # 4 handplane for $25, a Millers Falls Type #77 Router Plane for $65, and a nice Lufkin Folding Extension ruler for $10.




















A fellow first year student, Jack O’Keefe, was kind enough to drive some of us up to the auction from Boston and on the way back we decided to repay his kindness with lunch at Regina Pizzeria, wow that’s good pizza! Thanks Jack!


Quite a week, can’t wait for the next, we’re going to tune up our hand planes, learn about the power tools in the shop, and I’m gonna start my full scale drawings, stay tuned…

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