Sunny-bright new classful of students

We had a full day yesterdays and a full class of woodworkers who came in from several states. Arian helped me and we quickly went from lecture to benchwork and soon dovetail joints emerged from saw teeth and chisel cut.

I try to imagine how people feel as they work their wood; the saw trips and the pencil lines seem to slip underneath the saw at the last moment. As the joint starts it often seems tight but then suddenly a small gap appears from nowhere and it grows a little bigger as the joint goes together. We practice a little but then comes the box. We must begin. The box for me is the practice piece; for the students it must become perfect and therein lies the rub.

We all want perfection but want to avoid the learning curve by which it’s attained. Well, whereas there are times when someone cuts the perfect joint tight off the bat, mostly that doesn’t happen and we must trip with the saw or miscut that disappointing line by which we learn to work thee-dimensionally. When we relax, just a little, realise that we are not being judged and condemned, we realise that woodworking with hand tools is fun and can be perfected even through our own imperfection. I love these classes because all the images we might have of our own perfection come down and we start laughing…just like we did when we were children.

I noticed that within three or four hours new levels of confidence came with each saw cut and instead of forcing a sharp saw into the cut they started lining up their bodies and eyes and arms and hands and the saw began to glide into the new cut of the saw kerf. Bit like the line up of a locomotive train shaft.

1 Comment

  1. Bobbie on 20 May 2012 at 1:24 am

    What a wonderful class! Yes, with every cut I’m striving for perfection, and with each cut I must remember how many years Paul has with this artform compared to my ‘minutes’ of working wood, that practise, practise, practise makes perfect. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.