The Hand Tool School

I was busy with visitors at the hand tool school today and demonstrated hand tool woodworking for many people interested in traditional woodworking and conservation craft. From hand cut dovetails to dovetails techniques and discussions on how we can encourage crafts training in young people I found people were truly keen to know the inner workings of hand craft work and were determined it should not die but be passed on. Just why do people feel so strongly that craft work and hand skill should not die? Anybody!



4 thoughts on “The Hand Tool School”

  1. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for the rest of his life.”

    I can’t say it any better than that.

  2. I think that that’s true. I know that throughout the western world the need for skilled craftwork in all craft fields has been drastically reduced and with it the demand for highly crafted products. Domestic prices cannot compete with imported products because the price we pay for the wood before we even start the work is higher than the finished product being imported.
    Of course there is much more to it than mere economics and it’s this that I think is important. No matter how much money people have or do not have, I have learned that people have an innate desire to grow, cook and make something. It’s the creative sphere of the brain that places the stick to write in the sand or the pen on the page; the tool in the hand cuts, shaves and shapes the sapling into a walking aid and so too the string on the end of the fishing pole.
    People walking through my workshops and feel there is significant worth in preserving skill it’s true, and of course there is, but they especially feel there is significant worth in passing it on to the young. You see the seed of conserving hand skill cannot be simply stored in a glass jar or in the pages of a book, it must be passed from one lived life to another. I think people feel a sense of hope in apprenticeship training. Skill being passed from one generation to another is how craft conservation has existed for centuries. We don’t want to reach a point where there are no craftsmen and women, artisans, left to repair, maintain, restore and create anew.

  3. Kenneth Berregard

    The craft of woodworking, or any other handmade craft, should definitely not die with those of us that still enjoy the tactile feel of making things work with little more than will and a few simple tools. The problem we face is a world filled with instant gratification. It’s our own fault. I have tried to plant the seed of woodworking, basic auto repair, or even putting up a shelf that is level in my two boys but the lure of iPhones and Gaming systems Is giving me a run for my money. Maybe we will eventually reach a precipice and folks will realize that getting caught up in tech and instant buying power is all just a sham.

    1. Isolate a group of 10 children aged between 8 and 12 years into a workshop with hand tools and a temporary ban on cell phones for two hours and I can guarantee there will be a 75% uptake twice a week of children wanting to learn to be woodworkers. Split the group into sub groups and you can change their lives. It’s simply what schools do. They didn’t invent it and neither did schools invent education or better it. It’s a natural occurrence in all children to want to know what they don’t know. How do I know? I’ve done it. Soon I predict (hopefully) children will be as bored with technology as they have been through the different stages of each decade of modernism for a century now.

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