If you are like me you’ll continue dating things like cheques and journals with the right day and month, but the year somehow sticks unwaveringly to the two last digits we used over the longest time; 2000 stills seems to be missing something for me. It’s a habit of course, and I am talking about me, but the old adage “practice makes perfect”can just as easily be accepted as practice makes permanent so whatever we do, good, bad or indifferent should be something we are conscious of and concerned about.
I think that just as old habits die hard, so does the way we think or are indeed programmed by our culture to think, which is, whether we like it or not, in certain ways. As a very brief example most men working wood a hundred years ago sharpened their own saws. If, like me, they used a simple saw file, it took them four minutes. It’s about the same for all saws for regardless of the length there are usually a similar number of teeth to a saws length. A 10″ 15 PPI saw has a 150 teeth and a 22″ handsaw with say 6 PPI has 132.The point, no pun, is that saw sharpening being an iterant task becomes a habit and you can be good or bad at saw sharpening so get good at it and it will remain of great value to you. Of course few people boast their sharpening skills and would rather boast their throwaway saw…bad habit developed. Loss of skill. Dependent on mass makers to take care of their needs. One step at a time and we end up with unreal woodworking.
On with the theory then:
I think that many aspects of my work as a craftsman are sullied by expectations others have, not me. I enjoy processes of my work like planing wood after the machine planer or routing out a hinge recess with a chisel and a hand router p Quick,simple effective and efficient procedures that enhance my work and keep my environment dust free , healthy and in my control. This then is who I am. When I mention ripping a bard to width on the tablesaw or routing a moulded edge by machine router or spindle moulder (shaper US), I get raised eyebrows and called a hypocrite. Others would see me as deceptive yet I have never said machines have no value and shouldn’t be used. I have more than likely used them more than anyone that posts anywhere. The difference is I have a choice because I love skill and want others to master skill too. I rely on skill in my work. f I can help with posts and forums and writing article I will.
On a forum recently a post declared me a hypocrite because a company, not mine, placed an ad next to an article I wrote freely from my own world of working wood. The article was to help people get more involved in working with wood and gave ten steps on how to help get young people back in the home shop. I received no payment for that article as I don’t for many of my articles. Anyway, I write to benefit others around the world and I am determined that I can pass on my skills using this type of media. I want others who like me find machines for what they are, which in general is, well, a bit boring and mundane. I don’t expect anything more from them so I am not disappointed or disillusioned by my findings. However, they are very excellent for dimensioning big wood down to the right size quickly. I like them for what they do and nit for what they cannot do but others claim they do.
Hope for a New Year
So, going forward – a new year ahead, a new New Legacy school is born, a New York awaits and a new story unfolds. This is a year we know nothing of, yet it’s in hope that the farmer ploughs his field and plants his seed. Beyond that he waits in hope for growth and a good crop. His expectations are high for the seed he planted was good seed. He hopes there was no contaminants to choke out the good – darnel looks like wheat, but it puts you to sleep, while the other feeds your inner man.Machines to me look like the furniture sold in megastores around the world. How can it be any different? So too the furniture they seel looks like nothing to a craftsman making creative and fine work. Machines and megastores have their function in making money and cheap goods. They have no soul. A barrel organ plays a merry ditty, but interest lasts only for a short time. Powered by steam and mechanical bells and whistles can never match the heart and soul of the BBC Philharmonic and the Dallas symphony with every beating heart and fingered tip of those who play responding to the subtle twist and sweep of the Maestro’s guiding baton and his hand.
Happy New year everyone of you
Happy New Year my friends. It will be continued challenge to make change but with your support we can step off the conveyor belt and change many things to get back real woodworking. Plumbers and doctors, dentists, accountants, software engineers, joiners and carpenters, writers and film producers and actors from around the world are making it happen.
Blessings to you all in 2012.