This week, subscribers to American Woodworker will receive their copies of the magazine and John Kelsey has written a four-page article about our New Legacy School of Woodworking and its relationship to the woodworking world as a whole. John and I talked about the perspectives people hold about woodworking and just how do you restore the balance we have lost in a world so bent on using mass making methods to make the very simplest of projects. I have just spent a year training my students on two continents. We have mastered some techniques and methods and we have to persevere on others. In time, not a long time, what I have becomes theirs. They add to it, and very soon, maybe in only a matter of days or weeks, they suddenly get it. That sharpened edge comes in an instant, the chisel severs dead on without a guide and the mortise comes to perfection with methods I have trained them in. They sit and look at their bookshelf and the box they made two weeks or two months ago and they go wow! I did make this! They realize that they are on the right path following my own life to become a lifestyle woodworker. The article I talk of will be on the newsstands at the end of October. It’s not one I penned but in a sense it is. It’s more about my life and ambition to add balance to woodworking and woodworkers before I leave the planet. It’s the written life I’ve lived, if you will.
Machines have a viable place and prove of equal value t hand tools
Someone wrote me and sent a link to yet another video. In the presentation a man, Michael Pekovich, tells his audience how much he “likes hand tools; a lot.” He then went on to say how he was going to teach his audience how to build a wonderful tool cupboard to house these treasures and did the whole thing with jigs on the table saw using not hand tools but machines. Dovetails came from the sled on a circular saw blade and the same blade made the recesses for the hinges. Of course this would have been quick, simple and easier by hand – I mean like a fraction of the time, but if you spent thousands on machines, bits, blades and equipment you gotta prove its worth, and it is occupying a massive footprint in your garage space. The irony of it all, the writer who sent the link pointed out, is that he couldn’t see what he was expressing in the mass manufacturing methodology he was using. I think that this is the point. We sometimes find ourselves in the fog of industry, invaded by noise and isolated from the skill that would eliminate 95% of it if we could just find this illusive element called balance.
This was at the end of yesterday’s book/DVD shelf workshop, which is Part II of my Foundational Woodworking Course. Bobbie wanted to stay on but duty as a paramedic called her home. To say nothing of her cat and other animals she has in her life. We had a blast and she is the only person ever to convince me to buy a corrugated soled number 4 Stanley plane, which I need as an example to show people what not to buy.