Jointer & Planer Secrets - DVD
with Hendrik Varju

Produced by Passion for Wood, Ontario, Canada

R.R.P.$75.00

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As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 137

Imagine that you've asked a professional woodworker over to your home to give you some private lessons about using Jointers and Planers. Imagine that when the guy arrives, you find he's brought his workshop gear with him.

Sound good? Well, this two disk set of DVDs comes close to giving you just such an experience. Not surprisingly, they're labelled: Private Woodworking Instruction in a Box.

Henrik Varju, who calls his business Passion for Wood, is located just outside Toronto in Canada. He's a professional woodworker who does a lot of things other than making fine furniture - he also repairs and re-finishes furniture, restores antiques and teaches woodworking. As a spin-off of the latter he offers an unusual service: he supplies phone or e-mail advice for a pre-determined fee on any topic related to woodworking.

This is his first foray into the production of instructional DVDs. They are divided into 13 chapters, 12 of which are devoted to using a Jointer and Planer to prepare the boards that might be used to make something like a tabletop.

First, he discusses the differences between Jointers and Planers and why one can't be used to replace the other. Then he goes on to the steps that must be taken when milling timber and, in Chapter 3, he demonstrates the Jointing of One Face.

Everything is said and shown against a background of 'reading the wood'. In fact, it is the author's quiet and continual referral to understanding how the grain and texture of the wood affects any attempt to work it, that underlies the entire presentation. It is also this that adds so much value to the instruction, since Varju tries not only to show how each task should be performed, but also the precautions that should be taken when approaching it.

Chapters 4 and 5 deal with special cases - Twisted Boards and Planing Boards Convex Side Down.

Chapters 6, 7 and 8 go on to describe the next three steps of the process: Jointing an Edge, Planing the Opposite Edge and Planing the Opposite Face.

In Chapter 9, Varju talks about arranging boards in a panel, then in Chapter 10, Improving Edge Joints before Gluing. Chapter 11 and 12 cover Edge Gluing Procedures and the Glue Up.

The final Chapter shows the procedure for Edge Gluing a Solid Wood Panel and offers some comments on a number of subjects related to woodworking and learning woodworking.

The subject matter on these DVDs will be particularly interesting to those who have never had any formal education in the craft. The presentation is easy to watch and to listen to. The main reason for this is probably that the presenter is readily recognisable as a real and talented woodworker rather than a polished performer. He makes occasional mistakes, corrects them and continues on in the same way you might expect if you had a real live teacher in front of you.

For those who can't attend a woodworking course, these DVDs offer an interesting alternative.

Duration: 278min, 2 discs

DVD - English - NTSC