The universal hub to the machine workshop doesn’t exist beyond an assembly line in the same way the end of the assembly line is the fragmented existence of those who create only a tiny piece of the whole. This cheapened life came as a result of people like Henry Ford who’s contribution to fragmenting, society, community and family gave us what we have today. “You can have any color (US sp) you want as long as it’s black.” H Ford, 1909. We may have coloured Fords today but we pay for it. Colour and texture is everything.
The epicentre of the hand tool workshop knows a different core element. Today I begin a new workbench for Monday’s class and for the years to come. At this hub I will stand, saw, plane and cut wood into joints cabinets and perhaps even masterpieces. Here will be carving different medium in the lives of people I know and will yet come to know. A brief time at this bench will change the lives of thousands in a process of reverse-industrialism. On monday the continuum of the deindustrial revolution takes place and many will be freed to a new way of working wood. The tools will be sharp, pristine and ready for action. By the end of three days, those standing around the bench will be too.
The bench squats
The bench squats doggedly immoveable, rigid, fixed, content it seems to me to be the centre of my life yet all too often unseen, unnoticed and without a face or personality beyond the deep-scored scars left by my chisel’s cutting edge and saw tooth.
I load it, unload it, shove on it, push on it, pull on it and twist on it and it, my close right-hand, stands immoveable, rigid, fixed,content and centred where
without my bench to work upon focussedly, work from intently, work with in constancy I am but only half a man for with its vises I conclude my thoughts in finished work, it never shirks to hold the stuff within that unrelenting jaw from which my planes and chisels slice and pare and sawdust spills beyond my saw stroke to the workshop floor.
And there my bench squats waiting every day beyond each day upon its rigid, stiffly standing, undemanding legs of solid fir.