I am delighted and excited to announce that hand-tool guru Harry Bryan will be in town April 11. He and Martha are touring the west, and yesterday Harry agreed to put on an afternoon workshop at Fretwater Boatworks.

For those of you who have not followed Harry’s career, he is an off-the-grid boatbuilder in New Brunswick with an unusual love for hand tools. He often writes articles in WoodenBoat Magazine, sometimes reviewing tools, talking about how to restore tools, and how to make your own hand tools.

I took his course in making tools a couple years ago, and like so many of the courses I have taken at WoodenBoat School, the day in my shop does not pass that I am not using some tidbit or technique that I picked up from Harry. My chisels are sharp. My planes actually work. I use them a lot, even when the power tools are nearby.

That course was five days long, and we have but an afternoon. So we are thinking of focussing on a few sharp tools: chisels, planes, and saws. How to use them, what they’re for, how to sharpen them and keep them sharp, what to look for when acquiring them. You will be amazed at Harry’s comprehensive knowledge and how useful what you pick up from him will be every time you’re using hand tools.

I will update this as details develop. We should probably keep the class down to about a dozen. We’ll be asking for a donation for Harry’s time and expertise.

Here is Harry with his favorite hand-powered chisel sharpener. His very cool drill press is in the foreground.

Harry’s forge, made from plumbing parts, a brake drum, and a hot-wired hair drier.