More on works in progress

Today was another shop day of saneness. I finished the second drawer so that the tool chest will be ready for the show; cardboard boxes aren’t the greatest travelling protection, but they’ve got me thus far. My tool chests are full and safe behind three-foot thick Penrhyn Castle walls in North Wales. The contrast between the UK and US workshops is indeed quite radical when I think about it. But regardless of contrast, both spheres give rest in which I work. My hands move quickly, deftly, from chisel to router plane and recesses and tenons make the back of my drawer become mine. I enter realms of acute awareness and find no words to share just how and what I feel. Building up from slowness at the start I scarcely stop to think or even breath as my hands race to task and challenge moment by moment. I have never known anyone who feels and works this way. I once thought my work could be conditioned and that perfect shelves full with perfect tools in perfect order would give me fulfilment. I found that not to be true and went back to what I had. I know many people now who think that they know the way of this crafting man They write about him, lay on pages clever words still thinking that they know, but never can they really know what’s in the heart of an artisan who simply places his hand upon the wood and shapes its substance with a gouge and chisel and knife. I enjoy a rest I cannot get from anywhere to rethink my consciousness and allow myself time to be moulded and shaped by my work. In single-minded simplicity my work becomes complete and with each piece I make I find rest time and time again. Isn’t this what we look for as we work?

1 thought on “More on works in progress”

  1. As a neophyte to working wood I have recently begun to feel a pleasant euphoria towards this craft and art. I must admit that at 63 it is wonderful feeling. After stumbling across one of your DVDs several months ago I have begun to rethink my focus and direction regarding working wood. Like many I had been convinced that the only way to produce “good” wood pieces was to purchase all things powered. After finding 5 Stanley planes at a flea market for $40.00, reconditioning a #5 smoothing plane so that I can now take a whisper of a shaving to me is incredible. Last evening I watched a well known “wood worker” on YOUTUBE spend the better part of an hour demonstrating how to cut a Greene and Greene box joint on a table saw. As I anguished and talked to my monitor, I asked out loud, “Why don’t you just use a back saw and a chisel?? He didn’t hear me. I say all of this to reach this summary. Thanks from many of us for showing us “the light.” I now am more patient and deliberate with my projects and eagerly look forward to my next session in the shop.

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