• Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

If you are looking to acquire hand tool skills and can get to, or live in, the north-central Massachusetts or southern New Hampshire areas, consider contacting Steve Branam, author of the Close Grain blog. Earlier this year, Steve started his Close Grain School of Woodworking in Pepperell, MA.

Learning hand tool skills can be confusing and take longer than necessary if you go it alone. In Steve’s words, “Part of what I want to convey is that this is well within the scope of most people’s ability.” As you can see from the outline of the skills he teaches, his approach is systematic and thoughtful. It is skills-based learning, rather than project-based, which makes a lot of sense to me. I also like his down-to-earth approach, devoid of hyperbolic claims of quick and easy perfection.

The best part is that Steve offers you three ways to learn. At his Pepperell location, you can attend group classes. There you can also get private instruction from him in which you have the option of choosing the skill areas you want to work on. Thirdly, Steve will actually travel to your shop/home (within a 60-mile radius of Ayer, MA) for private instruction. In all cases, he even provides tools and materials, or you can use your own tools. There is no excuse left for sitting on the hand tool sidelines or floundering with trial and error.

By my calculation, Steve has somehow managed to circumvent the normal human requirement for sleep. Actually, this is my way of expressing admiration for his entrepreneurship as well as his dedication to sharing woodworking skills.

Category: Resources
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