Workshop: Training The Hand

Workshop: Training The Hand
  • Workshop: Training The Hand
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Workshop: Training The Hand

Rob's Training the Hand Workshop is held four times a year; twice in Fall and twice in Spring. Each workshop is 5 days long and is held at Rob's Workshop in New Brunswick, Canada.

There are 12 student positions available per workshop (48 per year). Six slots in each workshop are reserved for Wounded Warriors participating in Rob's Purple Heart Project (24 per year) and six slots are reserved for paying students (24 per year).

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Rob's Training the Hand Workshop is held four times a year; twice in Fall and twice in Spring.  Each workshop is 5 days long and is held at Rob's Workshop in New Brunswick, Canada.

There are 12 student positions available per workshop (48 per year).  Six slots in each workshop are reserved for Wounded Warriors participating in Rob's Purple Heart Project (24 per year) and six slots are reserved for paying students (24 per year).

Think of this as a "Boot Camp" for woodworking with 12 to 15  hours of intensive hands-on training daily.  Each day starts at 08:00 am and we train until about 12:30pm when we break for lunch which is delivered to the training site.  After lunch we continuing training until around 6:00pm when we break for supper, which is delivered to the training site, then its back in the shop until around 8:00pm; however, we keep the workshop open until 10:30pm if students want to work on their projects, which typically happens.

To have the same amount of instruction and workbench time from other woodworking courses you would typically have to attend a more expensive two-week course and incur the additional lodging, transportation, and food costs.  With Rob's workshop you get it all in just one intensive week of training, ultimately costing you less money and time.

Students bring their own hand tools or you can purchase them at the workshop (see video for required tools).  Each student is assigned an individual workbench for their use during the week.

By the time the week is over you will be able to sharpen your tools, use a plane and chisel, six-square a piece of wood, saw correctly, hand cut dovetails, and leave with a small project you have built. 

If you want to jump-start your hand tool woodworking skills or just need a in-depth refresher then this is the workshop for you.  In one week you will obtain more woodworking craftsmanship skills and techniques than watching  numerous DVDs or taking numerous weekend courses.  I guarantee it will be money well spent and you will go home a better woodworker. 

Cost:  One week Training the Hand Workshop costs $1575  ($1500 tuition + $75 for materials).

Dates: The next Workshop dates  are:

  • 7-11 October 2019
  • 14-18 October 2019

Sign-up:  If you are interested in attending one of Rob's upcoming Training the Hand Workshops please call Rob at (877) 967-5966.

Location.  The Training the Hand Workshop is held in Rob's personal workshop which is located at 275 River Valley Drive, Grand Bay, New Brunswick, E5K 1A7, Canada.  The nearest large city is Saint John, New Brunswick (Canada), approximately 20 minutes east of Rob's workshop.  The nearest large U.S. city is Bangor, Maine, located approximately 3 hours south of Rob's workshop.

Woodworking Space.  The Training the Hand Workshop is held in Rob's personal workshop.  Approximately 1000 square foot section of Rob's workshop is set specially designed as a teaching area with 12 student workbenches.  Each workbench has a sharpening station, anti fatigue mats, power over head, bench lamp, and is adjustable height.  The teaching room is beautifully lit with natural sunlight from a glass exterior wall and has bright white overhead LED lights. 

Daily Schedule.  The Training the Hand Workshop is held Monday - Friday.  Travel days are the Sunday before the course starts and the Saturday after the course is over.

  •     Breakfast: 06:45 a.m. - 07:30 a.m.

  •     In the shop: 08:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.

  •     Lunch (In the shop): 12:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

  •     In the shop: 1:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

  •     Supper (In the shop): 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

  •     In the shop: 7:00 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. (?)

Daily Workshop Topics:

  • Monday: Free-hand sharpening of planes & chisels; how to prepare and use a plane; how to plane wood flat, square, and straight.  

  • Tuesday: Hand-cut through dovetails. 

  • Wednesday: Dimensioning lumber from rough to ready.

  • Thursday: Build a through dovetailed bench hook from rough lumber.

  • Friday: Mortise and Tenons and half-blind dovetails (as time allows). 

Travel Days.  You should plan to arrive at Rob's workshop in Grand Bay on Sunday evening at 8:00 p.m. for the initial link-up (see below).  If you cannot make the link-up just let us know and we will see you on Monday.  Schedule your departure for the Saturday following the course.  See  the transportation section for a listing of nearby airports and approximate travel times.  

Initial Meet-Up.  We have an initial link-up / meeting at Rob's Workshop for all students who can make it on the Sunday night at 8:00-9:30 pm before the course.   This is so you can see the facility; claim your workbench; drop-off your tools; meet Rob, the assistant instructors, and the other students.  As the course gets closer we will  email more details on this "link-up" meeting to registered students. 

Nearby Airports:

  • Saint John Airport (YSJ), Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada; approximately 45 minutes driving time from Rob's workshop.  Served only by Air Canada and Porter Airlines.

  • Fredericton International Airport (YFC), Lincoln, New Brunswick, Canada; approximately 60 minutes driving time from Rob's workshop. Served only by Air Canada and West jet Airlines.

  • Bangor International Airport (BGR), Bangor, Maine, USA; approximately 3 hours from Rob's workshop.

  • Portland International Airport (PTL) Portland, Maine, USA; approximately 5 hours from Rob's workshop.

  • Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Boston, Massachusetts, USA; approximately 6.5 hours from Rob's workshop.

Local Ground Transportation.  Students are responsible for local ground transportation from their hotel to and from Rob's workshop.  Automobile is the recommended mode of local ground transportation.  Unfortunately, there is no convenient public transportation system (bus or train) in Grand Bay, but our students are great at sharing rides and car pooling.  If you are flying in, your choices for ground transportation is basically limited to airport rental car.   If you are not a Canadian resident we recommend you check with your auto insurance and see if they extend coverage to rental cars outside your home country; we have found that most insurance companies do not. 

Lodging.  There are no hotels in Grand Bay.  The closest hotels to Rob's workshop are 6 to 10 miles away, located on the west side of the city of Saint John, New Brunswick (note: Not St. John's - thats a different city).  Just search Hotels.com or any other hotel site for hotels in Grand Bay - Westfield, New Brunswick, Canada area and these hotels will come up.  

Recommended Hotel.  Our recommended and sponsoring hotel for  the workshop is the Travelodge Suites by Wyndham,  located at 1011 Fairville Blvd, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.  This is a two star hotel with 4 out of 5 star ratings on TripAdvisor and Google and an 8.4 out of 10 rating on Bookings.com

This nice Travelodge Suites Hotel is conveniently located between the city of Saint John and Rob's workshop in Grand Bay.  Driving time to Rob's Workshop is about 15 minutes and Driving time to downtown Saint John is about 10 minutes. 

This hotel supports our Purple Heart Program by sponsoring the Wounded Warriors attending the workshop and offering a significantly low rate  for paying students attending Rob's workshop.

To get the special Rob Cosman rate please call the hotel directly at (506) 635-0400 and ask for the "special Rob Cosman's PHP workshop rate".  

The rooms have free Wi-Fi, DVD players and desks, plus mini-fridges and coffeemakers. Kids 17 and under stay free with an adult.  Amenities include free continental breakfast and parking. There is also a fitness room, laundry service, and a business center. Pets are welcome for a fee.

Other Nearby Hotels You May Like:

  • Holiday Inn Express St John Harbour Side  

  • Homeport Historic Bed & Breakfast

  • The Cozy Cottage Inn

  • Fundy Heights Bed & Breakfast

Meals.  Generally, everyone eats breakfast before the daily class starts, we cater in lunch to the workshop, and we take a 1-1/2 hour break to go eat supper.

For the lunch menu we find it a big time saver to just bring in deli sandwiches, pizza, or burgers for lunch.  This way its a quick break from the workbench then you can get right back to work.  We offer a pre-paid lunch option that you can select upon course registration and payment.

Tools. Each student (except for Rob's Purple Heart Project scholarship students) is expected to bring their own tools to the course.  Please watch Rob's video on this page to listen to Rob talking about the required tools. 

To learn and keep up in the course you need quality tools.  We prefer you do not bring sub-par tools to the class, as you will spend more time tweaking and trying to tune the tool than learning woodworking skills.  If you are unsure about your tools just drop Rob an email and he can advise you. 

If you are lacking quality tools you can purchase any of the tools from RobCosman.com for delivery at the class.  We will also have tools available for purchase at the class if your forget something or want to upgrade. 

Let me mention sharpening.  Sharpening is the most important woodworking skill for a hand tool woodworker.  There is numerous sharpening system on the market today, but we teach and will be using the Rob Cosman sharpening system.   We ask that you bring the sharpening materials Rob discusses on his video and that is listed in the tool list below to the course - these will also be available for purchase during the class if you don't have them.  

Don't forget to plan for getting your tools home, especially if you are traveling by air. (Note: shipping tools across the US/Canadian border using a delivery service (e.g. UPS or FEDEX) is a very bad idea and is NOT recommended).

Required and recommended tools:

  • Dovtail saw (Rob Cosman's Dovetail Saw recommended)

  • Crosscut Saw (Rob Cosman's Joinery Crosscut Saw recommended)

  • Tenon Saw (Rob Cosaman's Medium Tenon Saw recommended)

  • Dovetail Marker (Rob Cosman's 6 degree Dovetail Marker  recommended)

  • 2 x Marking Gauges (Rob Cosman's or Cosmanized gauges recommended)

  • 2 x Dividers (4 - 8 inch dividers recommended).

  • Dovetail Marking Knife.  (Rob Cosman's recommended)

  • Fret Saw and spare blades,sized to fit into your dovetail saw kerf.

  • Sharpening gear (Rob Cosman's Apprentice sharpening kit recommended). 

  • Bench Chisels: 1/8 inch, 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch, and 5/8 inch (IBC or WoodRiver chisels recommended).

  • Mallot (Rob Cosman's Mallot recommended).

  • Mortise Chisel: 3/8 inch (Lie Nielsen recommended).

  • Bench Planes: Low angle block plane (WoodRiver low angle recommended) and a Jack plane (WoodRiver #5 or #5-1/2 recommended).

  • 6 or 12 inch combination square (Starrett or PEC recommended)

  • 2-inch solid square (PEC recommended). 

  • Winding Sticks (Rob Cosman Recommended).

  • 4"- 8" Fine, flat, rectangular, metal mill file (for preparing your plane). 

  • Tape Measure. A small one 6' or 12' is all you need.

  • Pencils. A couple of #2 pencils and one of those small hand held manual pencil sharpeners.  You will use a sharpened pencil to mark layout lines.  We don't recommend mechanical pencils, but if you must bring one bring one with a hard lead at least .07mm thick (.05mm is too thin).

  • Red Ink Pen. One or two red ball point (not felt tip) pen.  A red pen is needed to mark on walnut.  Red ink shows up on dark walnut.

  • Rag. Bring an old T-shirt you can cut up and use for a rag to wipe off and oil your tools.

  • Screwdriver.  To adjust your plane frog.

  • Wax.  A small piece of paraffin wax to wax your plane (a tea candle is recommended).

Optional Tools

  • #7 Jointer plane (WoodRiver recommended).

  • Scrub plane (Lie Nielsen recommended)

  • Skewed block plane (Lie Nielsen recommended)

  • Small router plane (Lie Nielsen recommended). 

  • Mortise gauge (Rob Cosman recommended).

  • Softwood Bench Chisel: 17 degree beveled chisel (1/4 or 1/2 inch).

  • Medium Shoulder Plane (WoodRiver #92 recommended)

  • Panel Gauge (Rob Cosman Panel Gauge recommended)

  • Shooting Board (Rob Cosman's Shooting Board recommended).

Canadian Money.  For non-Canadians coming to the course we highly recommend bringing a credit and/or an ATM/debit card.  Most Canadian businesses take US dollars although they don't give you the best exchange rates.  Credit cards and debit cards generally get good exchange rates, and everyone takes them. For non-Canadians we also recommend arriving to the workshop with some Canadian money in your pocket.  We recommend exchanging about $50 at the airport or border before arriving to the workshop.

Pre-course Woodworking Skill Homework. The most important woodworking skill for a hand tool woodworker is learning to correctly sharpen your tools.  If you cannot sharpen your tools you cannot do hand tool woodworking.  This is the very first skill you will learn in the class and it will be reinforced every day.  To improve how quickly you learn to properly sharpen please watch Rob's YouTube video titled "Top 5 Hand Plane Issues."  This 15-minute video explains Rob’s sharpening method at times 1:22 - 9:00, but I recommend watching the whole video as he gives you lots of tips on using hand planes that you will need during the course.  Watch the sharpening part a couple of times until you are familiar with the basic sharpening steps.  Here is the link to the video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nxKVpVmXGI

Clothes in the class. We always get a couple of questions about what clothes to wear during the class.  The answer is comfortable.  Rob will be in shorts (he does not own long pants!), T-shirt, and a woodworking apron.  The assistant instructors will wear similar clothing. (You DON'T NEED an apron. If you don't have one, don't go buy one.)

Basic Requirements to Enter Canada. Entry into Canada is solely determined by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials in accordance with Canadian law. The Canadian requirements for entry are:

  • Must have the necessary travel documentation to enter.

  • Be in good health.

  • Have no felony criminal convictions or immigration related convictions

  • If asked, they must satisfy an immigration officer of ties to their country of origin, such as a job, home, and family.

  • If asked, they must also satisfy the officer that they will leave Canada at the end of their visit.

  • Must have sufficient money for their stay.

  • All items belonging to an individual, including the vehicle the individual may be traveling in, are subject to search by the CBSA.

Necessary Travel Documents. All persons entering Canada are required to possess the requisite documentation to enter Canada and must also meet the requirements for re-entering their home country at the end of their visit. Our recommendation is to travel on a passport as this is the method which causes the least hassle when crossing into Canada and back into the U.S. (for U.S. citizens).  Below are excerpts from the US and Canadian Border Protections Services website for proper travel documents:

     A. US citizens entering Canada.  If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident, you must carry proof of citizenship such as a passport, birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship or naturalization, a U.S. Permanent Resident Card, or a Certificate of Indian Status along with photo identification. Americans are not required to have a visa for entry into Canada.  For more information go to http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/ivc-rnc-eng.html.  Note: Our experience is traveling on a passport is the easiest and best document to use.

     B.  US Citizens returning from Canada. Documents required for U.S. citizens and permanent U.S. residents returning from visiting Canada are a U.S. Passport; Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST); U.S. Military identification card when traveling on official orders; U.S. Merchant Mariner document when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business. 

     C.  Non-US Citizens. Most travelers to Canada need a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to, or transit through, a Canadian airport (U.S. citizens are exempt from this requirement). If you do not have the proper documents, such as an eTA or visa, you may be delayed or prevented from boarding your flight to Canada.  What you need depends on:

          1) The type of travel document you will travel with;

          2) The country that issued your travel document;

          3) Your nationality; and

          4) How you will travel to Canada.

To find out what you specifically need to travel to Canada, go to this website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp

 Felony Convictions. 

     A.  General.  Non-Canadian citizens that have a conviction on their criminal record that is a felony in Canada may not be permitted entry into Canada, even if the conviction happened numerous years ago.  The biggest issue related to this that we have faced with our students is related to driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI/DWI).  If you are a U.S. citizen with a DUI/DWI conviction on your record, even if was reduced by the judge, you have a good chance of being denied entry into Canada.  The Canadian border agents have full access to all the US FBI criminal records and all the state Department of Motor Vehicle databases in the United States, so any U.S. citizen who has been convicted of a crime will very likely be flagged at the border.  

     B.  Options. There are two ways to travel to Canada with felony charges or convictions appearing on your criminal record. The first option is a Canada Temporary Resident Permit, which is a document that enables a visitor with a criminal record to enter Canada for a limited amount of time. The second option is Criminal Rehabilitation, which is Canada's permanent solution for criminally inadmissible foreign nationals. Once an individual has been granted Canadian Criminal Rehabilitation, their inadmissibility problem will be fixed forever, and they can be permitted to cross the border freely again.  For more information we recommend this website:  http://www.canadaduientrylaw.com/

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