The Glen Drake Workshop
Tonight, my business partner who is also my lovely wife, and I had the pleasure of attending a Glen Drake Workshop on tools and techniques, and he gave a demonstration of all the unique tools that he sells. He demonstrated some very interesting tools from his Tite-Mark™ marking gauge right down to his wild wild west saw, which was a very interesting saw with its two handles and no teeth at the beginning and end of the blade that it was designed to work with his Kerf-Starter™ a kind of a one tooth saw that works like a scraper removing a thin path of wood the same thickness as the kerf of your saw. So now your saw already has a small kerf to start its cut in. He has also come up with an ingenious way of laying out the assembly clearances right into your layout lines. Now you can achieve an almost machine quality fit with your hand cut joinery and still retain the softness of hand cut work.
Glen talked about how each woodworker brings to this art the experiences of other things in their life’s and how those experiences shape how they approach the way they do their woodworking. For him he was a musician and then later a programmer and he talked about how being a musician taught him to practice, practice, and practice some more before actually going out and playing for the world a finished version of what he did. Woodworkers on the other hand seem to do it just the opposite, most get into woodworking because of a need that has to be filled and a lack of money to fill it so they build it, then find that hey this is ok I like doing this, its even fun. So then they set off to learn how to build and then start practicing the craft. He talked about as a programmer he learned how to deconstructed and think about all the what-ifs and how that helped him in his woodworking and his tool business. He said what made him start designing tools was is aggravation in the tools that he was using on a day to day basis. I guess if necessity is the mother of invention then aggravation is it’s cruel aunt.
One of those innovated designs he has is his hammers, and his hammers are some of the best I think I've ever picked up and in 30 years of swinging hammers I have picked up a lot of hammers. Going back to his music although he didn't say what instrument he played I kind of got the feeling that he was a drummer, and from his drumming experience is where I think he came up with the unique handles on his hammers. When you first see his hammers the first thing you notice about them is the fine workmanship that goes into making them Then you will notice that his chisel hammers have bent handles because they are made for left and right handed people. They sit very comfortably in the palm of your hand and because of the bend of the handle you can work with your wrists in a very natural feeling position. One other feature I really liked about these hammers is that they had a domed head and the flat head; the doomed is good for striking chisels with a flat face handle and the flat head is good for a striking chisel with a doomed face handle.
He also makes these hammers in a very short handle version he calls the Tite-Hammers™ they are made to be held very close to your chest when working close up. They would be very handy for a craver or somebody's doing very close work. My business partner alias wife really like the Tite-Hammers™ one of her hobbies is jewelry making and she works really a close all the time and regular hammers are always getting in her way. Plus she really like to finish on the hammer I could see her making some kind of jewelry out of it or at lease decorating the handle on it.
It was a very good wookshop we really enjoyed the evening. I also enjoyed meeting Glen Drake and all the people from Popular Woodworking, although we didn't buy any tool's we are planning on buying some in the future. I did buy Chris Schwartz’s book on Work Benches and had him sign it for me plus we got to see the popular woodworking shop and meet the most of the editors. I got to meet and talk to one of my favorite editors Glen Huey, and see the table that he build in their last issue We got a peek at some of their upcoming project that they are building for the next issue of Woodworking Magazine, so it was the very nice evening. I hope to get invited back again the people from Popular Woodworking and F&W Publications did a great job. The food was great, and people were great, and any time woodworkers together and talk about tools and woodworking you know the conversations was great. We wish you all could've been there but since you wasn’t I hope my little blog here will give you a little taste of the evening. So remember to keep the sawdust out of your eyes and stay safe.