Starting the day – stirring the senses

More sunshine this morning. All the red leaves on the castle walls are gone, save for a few on the eastern side by the entrance. Everywhere lush and green and sheep and cattle graze down to the shoreline below the workshop.


There are many impressions from around the world that fashion our views of work, creativity, art if you will. I wonder that we progress at all in our present culture because by the internet dump of information we are now so informed we seem to know all there is to know.





I remember my senses swelling with the essence of pine and oak and mahogany as I wandered through my first woodworking workshop in 1961. Sawdust behind the 2′ diameter circular saw with no guards on it. Russian redwood stacked in piles and resin-filled pockets oozing out at eye-level and catching the purest amber as the sun passed through that beautiful swollen bulb. Merlin Bates was chopping firewood kindling from the scraps with fine precision and each splitting blow preceded a dozen more as the sticks then fell to his feet. I filled the hemp sack to the brim but could never carry it for its weight was beyond my boy strength. These were my informative years. My information came from the bench and the atmosphere created within this sphere of creativity. It wasn’t boring as some might deem it today, it was, well, inspiring, working knowledge about kerruing and jelutong, rosewood and ebony, miranti, oak, ash, cherry and a dozen more.

My world of working wood never changed. I still feel inspired and alive as I work the stuff of it, inspect the surface beneath my chisel and plane cuts. I would that others would discover the art of hand tool woodworking for themselves. That their nostrils, eyes, ears and taste buds we imbibe the essence of what working wood is all about.

Time to go through the woods to work now. This is the end of the internet and emails for a few hours and in my work, with my hands, with my apprentice John in the background making his table, I find my peace.

Have a nice day every one of you!