First of all, thank you. Thank you for caring about the way things were done long ago, and bringing them to life in the modern era. Thank you for your books and DVD’s (all of which I own). Thank you for your blog. Thank you for caring enough about the art of woodworking to re-establish the ways of old. In this day, we simply assume that machines equal speed and precision. I have now been shown what I’ve always wished to be true–that a piece of furniture can be just as accurate measured in millimeters as it can in cubits.
That said, I have one burning question for you. I’ve been searching for an apprenticeship to woodworking for years, and to no avail. No one wants, as you said, to mentor anyone any more. They only want people with experience, yet experience they aren’t willing to give. So my question is this: do you know of anywhere, and I mean ANYWHERE, that someone would be willing to take an apprentice with minimal (but basic) experience? I don’t care if its in the US or London, Japan or Uganda. Please, any information would be appreciated. And never stop writing. Whether about grain patterns or dovetails or birds, a good writer never goes unappreciated. Thanks much.
I must think this one through my friend. I understand the dilemma. So few altruistic opportunities these days. Everybody wants a piece of the pie and the pieces get smaller while the costs get higher. I would love for craftsmen to take on mature apprentices, anyone over 18 years old, and not pay them but not take advantage of them either. A reciprocal benefit can be readily achieved without money and wages being exchanged as long as all is agreed ahead. Do not pay an apprentice. The work with me not for me. They learn from me and I spend time with them setting out their work for the day and they are as a volunteer. They make nothing for me, but they work along side me for several months. They help me as I train them in their craft. None of this silly government apprenticing stuff like “you pay half and we’ll pay the other half”, NVQs (not very qualified) and masses and masses of other unbelievable hoops to jump through and let’s not go down the health and safety road. This again real woodworking. It is flexible and athletic. At the end of a given period they can make furniture, we become friends and our relationship is long-lasting.