Changing People’s Lives – Working Wood

A New Nine-day Workshop Changes the Lives of More People
Tomorrow we will be DSC_0433 on the 4th day of our nine-day Foundational Woodworking course here in Upstate New York. When I arrived two weeks ago the trees were in bud and now with outspread leaf a green tinge softens the rays, goslings rest on the edges of the pond and the swampy woodland beyond is vibrant with spring life.
DSC_0453 Since the success of the pervious two-day workshop we have started out latest course. The correlation between course work and the class hit me more today than ever before. Some of the guys jumped in for the extra at-the-bench instruction with me and they are producing impeccable work as an extension and continuation of what they have learned through the online broadcast the masterclasses brings. More and, more emails pour in and I am sorry if I have missed any as we don’t have wifi at the school proper and during classes I don;t travel around much at all to get it. You are all so encouraging so please keep them coming and remember to join us on Facebook too.
DSC_0445 I have so enjoyed the class and as I always feel this way my expectations are usually high before, during and after the classes. Expectations are sometimes unrealistic in the early days of workshops like this. I think that that’s because often we might find ourselves living in a microwave world of woodworking where skill levels have been dumbed down by using low-demand skill-less methods. At first things can indeed seem a little daunting but then, on the fourth joint, the thousandth plane stroke, something suddenly registers and a perfect union of heart and soul and mind and effort suddenly results in what we hoped might be truly achievable.
DSC_0424 The energy is always visceral and contagious. Two logs in a fire equals a synergy, 20 people who love even the thought of woodworking cannot keep the energy levels down. Sparks ignite from one side of the workshop to the other. Students walk from one bench to another and they share a short exchange before resuming work. We eat lunch outside and guess what we talk about. You guessed it. DSC_0421 Everyone has a story and we all listen. Wood, tools, technique, methods of work. A failure, a success a new shop, an old shop, back to the shop. We are off again. Sometimes we are totally engrossed to the preclusion of all else. At other times someone laughs and everyone laughs. It’s shared time even when pockets of frustration seem to almost win for a moment. Suddenly the tide turns and successes follow one by one and then, looking around the shop, a bunch of benches are glued up and left overnight to dry.
DSC_0417 Of course to me the box is pretty immaterial. I like to think of the skill they now have. The working knowledge of the plane working for the first time. Feeling the saw cut and the vibration they were robbed of for years. The sense of accomplishment they have that was never there before they picked up their chisels and planes freshly sharpened for the workshop. from here on they sharpen their own planes and chisels. from this day on they will never look to another for how to sharpen them. It’s theirs. It belongs to them. They paid for it in their effort and time. They didn’t substitute developing skill for any easy alternatives because they wanted to know that they could take the pressure and become skillful. You can’t can it or sell it but you can share it with a few friends and people you are training side by side with. That’s success.

One Comment

  1. You are all welcome and thanks Kris flr taking the time to write. We can all make a big difference to the working world of woodworking!

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