Guide Toronto Unplugged

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Or maybe it was the fact that this show was a fan-fueled event for a good cause, and therefore lower stakes than an expensive arena show, but Bieber Unplugged amounted to a decent dress rehearsal. Bieber is clearly going through things, and performing an acoustic show that called back to the squeaky-clean sound of his early teen-pop era shows a reluctance to loosen his ties to that time. Jennifer Roberts for Rolling Stone. Related Reviews. Newswire Powered by.

Close the menu. Rolling Stone. His blog, The Unplugged Woodshop , reaches upwards of 60, views a month, along with his YouTube tutorials , some reaching over , views. After working in the industry professionally since '93, he opened his own studio in Toronto due to the demand from his growing community and outgrowing his 12x12 basement offering one-on-one sessions. The 21, square foot studio, located in Leslieville in the Carlaw Industrial Building, is on the second floor and has tons of natural light.

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Their offerings are extensive, from two hour introductory classes to hand tools and sharpening, to four day intensive workshops and five week long classes to make a unique piece. I walk into the studio and am greeted by Fidgen and his apprentice, Justin Starr.

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There are three other students in the class, which was a perfect number so that everyone could get one on one time with the instructors and ask a bunch of questions afterwards. Fidgen starts off the class by explaining some of the properties of wood, and why it's important to build with local rather than imported wood. Without over-explaining, he lays out some important fundamentals to understand the ebbs and flows of the material. We're then introduced to the two saws we'll be using, a cross-cut saw and a backsaw. Fidgen explains the two different types, one for cutting against the grain and one for cutting with the grain.

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Fidgen is full of examples and analogies during the class, and explains that his 9 year old daughter, Piper, is the best at using a saw, since you're meant to let the saw do the work for you rather than focus on your strength. We proceed to the dedicated sawyer benches a staple Fidgen mentions is crucial to working with hand tools - he also offers a class to show you how to make your own , and we start sawing. Although I've only sawn a rough cut on a small piece of wood, I feel a sense of accomplishment. Now that we've made our cut, we're off to our work benches where Fidgen introduces us to hand planing.

Fidgen passionately - and patiently - explains what tools we're using and why, and a bit of the history surrounding each piece. It's a craft he's perfected.


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I begin to plane my piece of wood, and being someone that's dabbled in hobby woodworking before, I'm impressed with how smooth the piece can get using a hand planer. After continuously running the planer over the wood, I can begin to see the appeal.

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It's quite relaxing. Curious about the other hand sanders in the room that are on display I later learn Fidgen has referred to the space as a "hand-tool emporium" I begin to ask some questions, that are eagerly answered by Fidgen. He introduces me to some unique, antique hand planers, including a beauty from New Zealand.

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Fidgen has been working with hand tools on and off his entire life, sparking from an original interest from his dad, helping him frame houses when he was a kid. In '93, Fidgen signed a record deal with his band Sunfish and played professionally until , and in similar Canadian musician fashion, didn't make much money. While he was off the road touring, he worked with his hands. Given he was a guitar player, using hand tools to prevent unnecessary injuries from power tools was a natural fit.