Becoming – the new-genre artisan

My day twists and turns according to many questions. Wood splits, and grain rises against us in short, quick distortion contorting willfully to destroy the pristine glassy surface we hope results from beneath the plane’s sole. We counter with a shift and the surface fibres pull like string and no matter the twist and turn we stand forlorn at the wasted effort. So too shoulders to tenons and the edges of boards seem sometimes to counter the drive for perfecting joints and yet we persevere until we replace the wanting with results of success.

Sometimes we expect more than we are yet capable of and I think that it’s this I build on the balance of mastering through patience and diligence to exercise my body and mind in coordinated effort. You cannot become a craftsman at the right click of a mouse or the tap of an iPhone. It will never happen, thankfully. In our instant-grat’s living we want instancy in all things. Becoming a craftsman or woman will not happen that way. We work at it, think it through, and master what we see through our successes and our failures.

Today is the day we close on our tool chests; maybe! This highly complex project has many twists to it. No machine cut dovetails and mortise holes. No routed edges and dado cutters housed in tablesaws. That’s what is so exciting about the whole month-long process of training. People come to New Legacy for what they can’t get elsewhere. The methods work and so too the atmosphere is clean and therefor healthy and non-invasive. The students always leave with new hope and the projects serve as the vehicle by which they ‘become’ what they strive to be. Become literally means to ‘come to be.’ When the raised panel comes from beneath the #4 Stanley plane


I’m looking forward to todays challenges as I craft new-genre artisans.they gain mastery of the plane stroke by stroke. The Veritas bevel-up jack has proven really popular for leveling and we investigate the differences between the #5 1/2 jacks by Stanley and Record and then again my I Sorby. We discover the leverage of long paring Marples chisels and lament their loss. The grooves from the plough planes are clean-cut and dead on; the newly raised panels slide into grooves made by and energized by pure human effort. We succeed only after subduing failure and remaking what we made wrongly. New shoulder lines are always recut and the two parts marry for life. I like that reality, Joinery, harmos, harmony. That’s success in ‘becoming’ a crafting artisan and going on to new levels of self development and refusing to stop in mediocrity somewhere between the two extremes of being not and becoming.