I have mentioned tension in a previous blog; how there are points of tension, high points of tension and how it disappears suddenly when a joint is seated to a shoulder of a difficult joint. On the rocking chair there are difficult joints that occur. Technically, the shoulder line of the tenon where the legs meet the actual rockers is a compound mortise and tenon joint that has not one single square line. Each shoulder must be scribed to the rocker. This Is primarily because the chair is not parallel from front to back but tapered. (I am not sure if anyone saw the unbeleivable article in Fine Woodworking where a questioner asked about a mortise and tenon joint on an angled chair and somehow the answering guru suggested it best to be inline rather than angled at the shoulder because of strength. I will follow up with the correct answer if I can find the magazine, but the guru answered with a most ridiculous answer.)
The skills of course are becoming theirs now. Inherent, honest, commonly held skills passed down. They are not fanciful but basic. Discussions on sharpening started out between them in the beginning are now laid to rest. Joseph Sellers increased their knowledge in this area by imparting the skills he uses for sharpening scrapers in making violins. It has become very matter of fact now for them to go sharpen up and this is the difference between the doers that build and make and those that, well, talk. Passing on skill without fuss seems a rare commodity now. When we sharpened a plane fifty years ago we were shown once and then we did it for a lifetime. Life working wood all day was hard with a dull chisel, plane or saw, we soon mastered sharpening. Thousands of people use these methods of no-fuss sharpening and it didn’t start with me and thankfully it won’t end with me because real woodworkers just do it.
A problem we face in this present age of mass misinformation is that lots of information needs lots of attention. The fact is that information creates a dearth of what it takes to assimilate it, which is of course ATTENTION!!! I am so grateful for the internet in many ways because we can freely share our experience with others. The information passed on becomes a part of someone else’s life – often someone we may never meet. It has become much easier to dismantle misinformation via the internet on a broad scale and also pass on the good stuff people need.
We only have a couple of days left to completion, as you can see. Has it been successful? It has. One person in the class said yesterday that for the first time in any course he had attended over the years, this was the first time he had felt that he had become a woodworker and that he was now a woodworker. Everyone there agreed. This then begs the questiion, just how do you measure success? Well, it is different for different people in so diverse a culture. It was a risk for so many to take a month off and immerse themselves in a month of woodworking, but the successes were immeasurable. For some, this will mark the beginning of a career change, for others it’s a stepping off the conveyor belt some have resigned themselves to as a life sentence. For others it’s Christmas gifts and birthday presents and for others it’s sanity. In any and every case it has been an answer for them in that the course added skills and working knowledge to their lives that added value andqualities to continue with on their own and with others. Above is only one third of the projects they have made in the class.
By the way, so many of you are making my workbench around the globe. I think it’s the best bench I have ever used and I am glad that you are taking the bold steps in making it. Thanks for your emails and well wishing. We have much more top stuff to offer yet and our plans as always include you.