A New Legacy Dawn

The Cardinal woke me with redundant notes from the riverside and I see the mist from the river reach high through the trees and disguise the pine- and spruce-tops in feint grey silhouetted sentinels against the emerging blue of a new sunrise. His rhythmic calling reminds me that life itself is filled with an ever-present rhythmic pulsing always heard but seldom acknowledge in the dulled, sullied dimensions of modernity.

I rest today and reflect the value of what inspired the past three days of life in the new school of working wood. My pulse partners the pulse and heartbeat of others who wrought the building and the benches, the tools and the internals of progress on my website and beyond. My fresh cup of tea grows cool as I look from my window and wonder over the wonder of life. The new New Legacy School of Woodworking is now born. The first students, seventeen woodworkers, left the school last night to rejoin their families replete with a small, wooden Shaker box dovetailed pristinely at the corners. Last night they left with much more than they came with; they took home skill, contentment, excitement and enthusiasm. They will soon come back to increase their awareness and knowledge, and their expertise in wood will grow continually from now until they grow old. They will learn, train and mature and within a few more days and will gain all they need to make anything they want from wood using no more than a few hand tools. I love the sense of accomplishment that’s so visceral and feel a rising gratitude beyond description that somehow I played a part in helping them take the first steps.


Tomorrow a new class arrives. The class is about the same size and some of the people coming I may have met just once before in a Masterclass somewhere here in the US. Most I will never have spoken to at all, but we will become friends over the three days and we will again share insights from my past that will create a pathway of learning and growth. Though the goals are the same the classes are always varied. Personalities fall into half a dozen categories usually; most are affable, hopeful, serious and happy. My work is to bridge gaps, train and inspire.

David Ashdown and Jacob Fruchter worked with me throughout the past three days and shared from their experiences in wood. I think that their constant availability, patience and kindness really helps to keep the class upbeat and buoyant and we all work together to minimise uncertainty.

As you can see, the box dovetails really came together well and the intenseness of learning is dynamic. Please remember that most of these students have never cut dovetails before they made this box so these are their very first dovetails. I try to imagine what a class filled with routers and dovetail guides looks like or sounds like and realise it must be a nightmare so I dismiss the thought. I have made at least 120,000 woodworking joints in my lifetime of working wood, most of them by hand. I have never once used a router to make a dovetail joint. I have seen it done and it must be one of the most boring things I ever saw. I have never lost interest in making a dovetailed box and a few years ago I stopped counting when I realised that I had personally trained over 3,500 woodworkers to make this joint. It has never grown old. Now that people are following my course online and through my book and DVDs I will never know exactly how many I will have reached.