The exactness of workmanship
Sometimes, most of the time now, I feel a peace about the work I do as never before. Is it my age, my ability, my confidence levels? As a younger man I seemed to lack this quality. I was rarely contented and the work itself seemed unfulfilling. Workmen I shared my days with too seemed discontented, always striving for money in a brown manilla wage packet that arrived around 3pm each Friday. That was in the days of real money. Less than two decades earlier these men
Every course is as different as the students that attend. In all of the years and all of the students, no two have ever been the same yet they have all been good.
Today we began the tool chest, with students on the prep course from last week joining those from earlier courses. Books and videos do their bit, but there is nothing like gathering around the bench and the exchange that takes place there. Today they dovetailed the corners of the tool chest and so tomorrow we will glue them together.
Apprenticing Phil Adams
Two weeks ago Phil Adams started his apprenticeship with me and quickly settled in at his bench making a range of spoons and spatulas to sell here at Penrhyn Castle. This supports him as he trains. Over the months to come he will progress towards becoming a woodworker and furniture maker. This process takes about a year for most apprentices. Very different than mine. In my apprentice days we focused on the art of sweeping shavings from the floor. With eight workmen
...there is the life I lived and grew to love that goes beyond the words and opinions people pass. My lifelong work working wood as a lifestyle woodworker was decided in 1963. It was chosen not picked, planned not happenstance, directed as a vocational absolute. My experience, tells me that seldom do those I meet make a decision to follow a course not based on pure economy. Some do, but few rather than most. I wonder what happened to references where a man could say his work is his vocation rather
When I was a boy apprentice, the benches I worked on were two-man benches. At 15 years old I was considered an adult and worked as a man even though the older men called me “boy” or referred to me amongst themselves as “the boy.” I didn’t mind being “the boy” at all. Moving up the hierarchy of apprentices, it wasn’t too long before I moved from the lowest dog position to 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th year and a fully-grown craftsman.
All of the benches there looked the same. They were