Woodworking in America

If you are able, you should definitely check out the Woodworking in America conference this weekend. It is happening in Valley Forge, PA and it is the premier woodworking event in the country. You will learn from such woodworking luminaries as Roy Underhill, Thomas Lie-Nielsen, and Christopher Schwarz. It is absolutely must-attend for hand tool woodworkers and those who are interested in viewing the best tools available today.

You can visit Woodworking in America on the web to sign up.

Hope you can make it!

Fall is falling all around

Here in Eaton County, Michigan, Mother Nature has fired the first salvo in the winter war. It is in the low 50s, completely overcast, and pouring rain. All in all, a terrible fall day outside, but a perfect day to spend some time in the shop.

My wife is heading to Cleveland this weekend for a library event so I'm hoping to get some progress made on my new workbench. I'm laminating together a Roubo style 8' long benchtop from 16" x 3/4" x 4" hard maple drawer sides that I got really cheap. Perhaps I'm a masochist for doing it this way, but I'm about halfway through the process. I've used almost a whole gallon of Titebond to date. It should make a rock-solid bench when I'm done; the first half of the top weights in at 150 pounds!!

Tenni... err.. planer's elbow

An important consideration when avoiding tennis elbow while woodworking, along with bench height, is the grip with which you hold your planes. If you have a death grip on the tote, you are likely to be over-tensing the muscles around your elbow, leading to problems like you have described. This is similar to a leading cause of tennis elbow in recreational tennis players, gripping the racquet too tightly. Also happens in military pilots, I have been told. Using improperly sized gloves can lead to overgripping and, in turn, tennis elbow.

So, after fixing the bench height issue, take a close look at your grip on the tote. You shouldn't need a death grip on it. If you still can't plane without pain, maybe try making a custom tote? Perhaps a little larger so that you can get a good grip without really holding on.

Just a thought, best of luck.