Last night I walked through the giant beech trees on my way home from the workshop and then again I spent some time in the woods on my way to the castle. It is a good and practical thing to reflect on the substance of what I work with before the great reduction takes place and the wood ends up on my bench.
The whole of woodworking is a reductive process that begins with severing the tree bole from its roots in the soil. Such a decision is irreversible and having cut hundreds of trees for the wood to work with I never lost sight of that one reality. The cut I would make could never be undone. The trees I cut were carefully considered beforehand. I would that all woodsmen had that resolve. I believe at one time they did. But it is good to stand beneath a tree and look up into its outspread branches filled with new spring growth and reflect on the years it is stood in the forest and woodland. Today I watched the breeze toss the bells of blue beneath my feet and wondered for how many millennia these campanulas had risen from the soil I stood upon. A few weeks ago there was no sign of them. So too the beech leaf stayed furled within the twig tips and then suddenly burst to cover the tree with a wondrous shade of green. What a provision for we woodworkers to reflect upon as we walk the woodland paths to work.
Today was fairly restful day. The banks were closed, but the castle was busy for me. I worked little and talked a lot. Some to myself, but mostly to people and friends who dropped by the workshop for a chat. My friend Claire came by and asked If had thought any more about starting a woodworking guild for my students and friends. Good idea I think. I think we should do it one Saturday a month to start out.
I went to the car boot sale first thing and bought a dovetailed mahogany box for £3.00. It will make another tool container. There in the clutter i saw an moulding plane made by Mathieson and bought it for 50p.
There were two old beechwood mallets lying there so I bought them too, for the school. You cannot get them that bog these days. these two had the name of the welsh school written on them Crybi. Sad that schools sold out our kids inheritance in woodworking. Anyway I put a coat of shellac on the other box today. It is looking and feeling nice now. Tomorrow it should be finished and ready to load.