When despair for my craft becomes weary, and I tire at the loss I now see, I remember that many are out there searching and surfing for something to make them real crafting men and women beyond the mundane of daily life in their own right. I set aside my thoughts and work with my hands to make a piece they can learn from and there at my vise a plane comes from a block of wood and a piece of steel. The plane shaves and I see the need to set the plane so others can learn as I set the plane. I stand at my bench and tap the iron and the wedge and another in Dubai and Israel watches. Others in India, Australia, Poland, Sweden and Finland follow too. A few in China are fascinated by the possibilities they see and then hundreds more in New Zealand and Argentina. 2,000, 3,000; no, 6,000, 7,000 watch around the world in any given day and learn how to work with a #4 Stanley, how to sharpen a dovetail saw or make a dovetail. My despair lifts in a matter of seconds as I read my emails. Here’s a snippet from one:
…(first off, I’m absolutely loving the master classes. It is so nice to have a visual way to learn woodworking through the guidance of a wonderful teacher. Your ability to harness new media is truly humbling… This comes from someone who works as a software engineer, or a software craftsman as I’ve begun referring to myself)…
What is truly humbling is the support I have from my friends that work alongside me to restore what’s been lost and of course my personal family and what has become a family of woodworkers around the world. I do lament the loss of craftsmanship in the workplace and home workshop where methods for mass-making dominate, but I believe the continuance of revival in respect for craft will reward those who discover the art and craft of hand work, and, even though it will never return through industries giants in manufactured machines and magazine pages, I do see its preservation through the work we are doing and in the lives of people exactly like you.
In the last year we’ve recorded 50 hours of video to train woodworkers worldwide and now every centimetre and inch of it is readily available online. The projects are diverse and uniquely designed specifically to develop the lost skills so that the are preserved in the lives people. My blog goes out every day and we have hundreds of training articles that never grow old. Yes it takes time, much time,perhaps even time I don’t have, but I believe in you and I believe in what I am doing to train a new generation of woodworkers. What this will look like in one year’s time may be as different as it looks now after a year of hard work has passed. Get ready for change. It makes a difference and it really matters!