Peter Follansbee gave a fun, engaging demonstration of Sloyd spoon carving. In his characteristic hippie clothes (not to mention facial hair), he showed us how to rive crooked branches, hew the remains to shape with a hatchet, and form a pleasing shape with a knife. There was a lot of back-and-forth in the session, with audience members shouting out questions whenever Peter paused to take a breath (which wasn’t very often).
My wife and I also attended sessions on carving by Mary May, dovetails by Megan Fitzpatrick, and tool reproductions by blacksmith Peter Ross. All were wonderful. No pics from those sessions, as we were too busy listening and taking notes.
We had the most fun, though, in the WIA Marketplace, where dozens of tool makers large and small let us try out their tools.
I tries out a number of different backsaws, but my favorites were those made by Isaac at Blackburn Tools. His saws cut smoothly, track perfectly, and fit my hand like they were made for me. Isaac is a perfectionist, and it shows. If you’re in the market for a new backsaw, you won’t be disappointed with Isaac’s work.
However, you must be cautious when trying out new tools. First, it will make you want to spend far more money than is fiscally responsible. Second, some of the tools are extremely sharp. The Lie Nielsen drawknife, for example, will slice cleanly through skin should you happen to drop it on your fingers.
Fortunately, their sales rep Deneb is skilled not only at using all the tools, but also at the rapid application of gauze and band-aids. Later he showed me a scar in his thumb where he had done the same thing while preparing for a demo.
Another fun part of the WIA Marketplace is trying out new tools and prototypes. It looks like Lee Valley is working on some mortise chisels, which are very nice looking.
I also got to try out a prototype of a plow plane from Lie Nielsen. It’s a refined copy of the old Stanley 41, and it works like a dream. It should be for sale in early 2014.
Chris Schwarz also got to try out the plow plane with Thomas Lie Nielsen (L) and Deneb (R) looking on.
More reflections on WIA 2013 to come, but right now I’m still digesting all the information and picking shavings out of my pockets.