Today’s class is progressing admirably and I feel this is going to be one of the most practical ways any student can master creating book and display shelving units using hand methods. This is our new Foundational Part II workshop and today we took time to explore all the possibilities and potential these participants can look at to develop their hands-on skill. The amazing thing I think is that the hand skills they now own can always be adapted to machine methods with minimal training but machine methods, which require no skill at all, cannot be adapted to hand methods unless you learn hand methods and develop the skills we teach.
Hand methods of course are as fast or faster than many machine methods when making individual pieces and this I have well proven over the years. Almost 100% of attendee woodworkers attending any woodworking venue or show will never mass-make anything, they are not looking for mass production methods, but that they are looking for the real woodworking only possible using hand methods.
Today the bookshelves came together as a complete shelf unit using not mechanical fasteners, screws, dowels or biscuits but real housing dadoes and mortise and tenon joints that fit well and offer more mechanical strength than any other method. Tradition has its place in today’s woodworking and today’s woodworker. Joints, saws and planes three thousand years old developed by the Egyptian craftsmen of the time are continuing as a preservation and conservation of culture in these students. How amazing is that?
It wasn’t easy for some of them to come to the class. Some have to overcome all kinds of baggage from the past; criticisms, gender selectivism, ageism, financial struggles, work demands and much more than that. Once they took that first step though they entered realms that unlocked skill and understanding. A working knowledge began to unfold that no film or book could ever do. Imagine what that can lead to for anyone. Who know if they are not understanding for the first time what it is to answer their vocational calling, even at 23-, 45- or 75-years old. Even if you are a bank teller or a fire fighter. I am so glad that I started to teach. It has been my most worthwhile investment.