We finished the three-day foundational I this evening and loved every minute of the time we experienced together discovering real woodworking. On Monday I start Foundational II – no rest for the busy. here are some photographs. This was the quietest class ever. Intense and conscientious, quiet and diligent, enjoying a break from the norm to enter the real world of unplugged woodworking.

Try to imagine what it means for some of them. Something like this perhaps:

Your life took a direct turn at 18 years of age. You just finished you’re a-levels and went to your careers advisor. You want to work with your hands, enjoyed designing things in your head and were pretty good at Design and Technology. Your appointment in school with your career advisor is scheduled and you excitedly spit out that you love working wood. She says, “ you don’t want to be a carpenter with three ‘A’ levels, you need something more challenging. Now you never met this lady before, but she know what you want? Not really. Ask any careers advisor for a list of woodworking crafts and they will automatically look at their list and say, “Oh, carpentry and joinery.” Never guitar making or making fine hand made canoes, or building schooners or fine furniture. They cannot think in those realms because they are programmed and have certain parameters and frames of reference within which they are constrained to work.

I mean, what if you said, “I want a career working on a small holding raising animals and growing my own food. I want to have a woodworking business that helps to support this and I want to live much simpler with a connectedness to the earth that I can relate to others through.” He or she would look at you as though you had no ambition and to make matters worse they thought they saw a second head grow nest to your first, or that’s what you thought it looked like to you.

Well, in my class there were several people that got off the conveyor belt, want to get off the conveyor belt or are in the process of doing so and have bought land, chickens, pigs and goats and sheep and now they want to become woodworkers to boot. And all this in one class. And why shouldn’t they? The lady likes working land and building things from wood with her friends even though she’s intelligent and didn’t go to technical college (You know, the place you send the thick kids). She wants to refine some additional skills to experience something different. She loves working wood by hand without machines. On the other hand the doctor had a blast, took a break from the pressure of working in the surgery and discovered many things about himself he never knew before. He found he could relax, even though learning can be stressful. He learned he could detach himself for a few days to think about wood and life and the organic stuff of woodworking with his hands and a few hand tools.

How ‘bout that. It’s the Real Woodworking Campaign in action.

Remember the Dylan song; “People get ready, there’s a train a comin’. Don’t need no baggage you just get on board.” Leave the baggage behind and get working wood. I’ll help you and remember, if you cannot afford my class but want a class, we give one class away with every ten students. All you have to do is write to me and tell me your situation. No one else will ever know.

  • Tom Dowling, Olalla, Washington on Cluster Workbench AreaHi Paul, Is there any way I could get the plans to build that nice doll house (2nd picture) for my great grand daughter ?
  • Sylvain on Cluster Workbench AreaIs the nice doll's house (2nd picture) for your grand daughter? Sylvain
  • Sylvain on Cluster Workbench Area"The important thing is that any autist who comes to learn and apprentice with me will feel a sense of belonging and a level of permanence they might not get otherwise elsewhere."…
  • bytesplice on A Machine-free HourPaul, The title "A Machine Free hour" hit a resonance with me, so I thought it would be a good phase to promote hand tools among the those who thing woodworking is too noisy or req…
  • Toni Carré on A Machine-free HourHi Paul, When I read your blog about meeting someone who thinks and works like your self I just had to reply to your comments. Look no further my friend because the exact same thin…
  • Joe on A Machine-free HourNice mirror Paul. Making one for my wife out of scraps of cherry or walnut will delight her. Looking forward to the video. Two other thoughts based on your post. As you close up sh…
  • nemo on A Machine-free HourThat's a very lovely mirror. Such simple elegance. I knew there was a reason I was saving the mirrors from the old plastic-handled ones I threw away. Seems like a nice afternoon-pr…