It was an incredible day for me yesterday and I think I can say that for all of the students too. As usual they are from mixed backgrounds and ages too, which makes for great diversity, the unifying factor is not a keyboard or a cell phone but working wood with hand tools. We are making the solid oak coffee tables but again the projects are secondary to the development of muscle memory, relational knowledge transfer and of course the true and practical skill development only possible through hands-on at the bench. We have gained such ground I can’t believe the empowering I see and thIs for me proves that power woodworking has no plug. Yes I rely on machines as most do, but when it comes to power it should be redefined within the realms of woodworking. On the one hand power woodworking gives us an electrical or mechanical source of energy that rotates some kind of blade or cutter to slice wood more easily and at the same time leaves our skills completely dormant but makes us look good. On the other hand we have developed the skill and power of hand tools that launch us into untold realms of deep consciousness where for the first time our energy delivers the goods and sets a standard no machine can accomplish. That has been where this journey has taken me and hundreds of others around the globe in a global strategy in small creative workspaces ranging from sheds and garages to basements and kitchens. The very first work I had in making furniture for a customer was a set of bar stools I made on the porch floor of my parents house when I was 16 years old. I hand planed all of the surfaces and cut mortise and tenons, 16 per stool, by hand and delivered the stools to the business that ordered them.
This week the coffee tables are coming together with dovetailed aprons and pedestal supports tenoned into the aprons and foot. Pix to follow later today. I will also post pix of the joints that we’re made during the class last week so you can assess their quality. Remember that many of these men had only made one dovetailed box before and that was here at the school when they made the dovetailed Shaker candle box we make in the Part 1 of our Foundational Course.
This month-long has been a blast so far so hopefully you can glean from what we have accomplished.
Joseph joins me here at the school next week and we will be working the last intense days together as we complete the Craftsman style rocking chair so we look forward to seeing him here too.