Gwyn started off by showing some basic tools, such as saws, hand powered drills and chisels. He also brought out some tools less common to MIT, but equally interesting items like a wood splitter, a planar and a sickle. Gwyn talked about the basic structure of wood, cutting with and against the grain, and hardwood and softwoods. He asked students to think of some projects in which a less processed (like those found in the aisle of Home Depot) piece of wood my be desired. Someone responded with a "bow," and Gwyn answered by talking about the intricacies of bow-making.
For a hands on exercise, students paired up to do some basic tasks such as saw, hand drill holes and get some time with a hammer and chisel. While the students worked, Gwyn continued to give tips, like how to angle a chisel for a smoother cut and the subtlties of how hard to push down while using a saw.