There was a time when almost all people worked manually with their hands. In my youth it would have been hard to think that one days that could mean touching a glass screen that manipulate non existent numbers and letters on a non existent keyboard that sends words to another continent in seconds and that that stimulates economic growth in the world of another that the keyboard operator may never know anything about. Man is of course made to work and for some that means painting toe nails while for others it’s exchanging a human heart and replacing it with another. Both are of course diversely different but both are tangible expressions that change a condition from one thing to another. In many work lives today that is not the case. Seldom can we sit on what we just made or serve coffee on a table we scraped with steel scrapers a few days earlier. The drawer on a hand made tool box glides open now that it’s polished with shellac and waxed to perfection. Tangibles like this are seldom experienced today but then this kind of therapy lasts a lifetime.
My lifestyle working wood means I can continue making and teaching and above that I can write and photograph in a way that helps my friends and fellow woodworkers around the world. What more motivation does anyone need?
Some pictures posted of people working with hand tools are images I took that record their transition from never having worked with wood. By my passing on what I know they have gained decades of working knowledge in a matter of weeks. Logan is 18 years old, just. He just made a rocking chair in oak and upholstered the seat in leather in seven days. I never sawed a stroke of it or planed a surface on it or chopped a single mortise cut. The joints are all tight with gapless shoulders. He has a rocking chair. What can now stop him from making any chair he wants to? Best of it is, he didn’t come to make a rocking chair, he came to master the skills to make a rocking chair and now he has them. He owns these skills. That’s what people seldom understand and that’s what you don’t get when you use machines. Alongside hos chair he made a coffee table. The skills that took translate into tables of any kind he cares to make. He has those skills as his own. he no longer needs Paul Sellers and that’s the same for all of those who have just spent a month with me.
Someone once said that his hands had provided for his own needs and the needs of others. He was expressing what I feel about work and workmanship. We provide our needs by working with our hands and keeping our eyes fixed on the goal we have as our objective. My goal is to train others on an ongoing basis for as long as I can and wherever I can. It’s always been that way. Your success is mine too. You drive me!
Tomorrow is the last day and I will be off to the UK for moth or so to develop some projects before I return to the US in October for the next Foundational courses. We have some very interesting things to show you over the next few weeks and months.