Contemplative dimensions of work remove me from earthly realms
The past few days have changed from heavy joinery to more refined and defining work. I like the change of texture as I work and my senses shift their focus to the closeness and higher levels of exactness decorative features bring. The bed head and footboard are now jointed fully and I am contented with how this came out and indeed the work of work.
I have been alone in the Castle for a week now and apart from my tapping and sawing and the driving winds from the oceans, it’s very peaceful. Planing the ebony for the banding to the panels I became conscious of the incredible gift ebony has been to us. Black delineation against the ripples in the oak seems abrupt somehow and yet the wiry and straight make a pleasing picture to me. I am glad the pieces seem so complimentary as I arrange the parts to lock them together in permanence.
The shavings seem random in their interlocking and tumbling, but even here I find a uniformity and order that defies the wild randomness from whence they came. But then I look again and I see the rebellion and I think of the times when I tried to defy the order essential to my making and found myself sadly lacking. I like the concept that working brings order and patterns to my life that when I comply, what I make becomes something lovely. Randomness rarely works in working wood. I think of the violin when I say this, or the beautiful boats of old that sailed the oceans with sails alone. Balance and form, function leading the way by which form emerges
The planes I use are varied and diversely different in function. I could use but two for this work but I am advantaged now by using some of those I have acquired through the years. The bench has filled and will remain so until all the banding and rabbeting is done. It’s funny really. As I build, and clutter reduces my space, I find myself also building the will to clear and clean my workspace, but I maintain continuity for fear of breaking the current of creativity flowing in my work. Soon I will enjoy clearing my bench and sharpening my tools for the next phase. I love this phase of preparation too.
My next stage is to plane, scrape and finish every component. Many are done and it won’t take too long. I have made my shellac for the polishing and before gluing up I will apply two sanding and sealing coats and then an additional coat. This makes for a smoother finish all around. In the palings and the meeting edges I will totally finish out before assembly. If I were to spray the coats I would assemble fully, but using a pad and brush is best done as a step before completion. The larger surface and those unhindered by closeness of parts can be done last of all. I had ordered my bed parts from Lee Valley Veritas and they arrived this week.
My conclusion of part-assembly is near now. I have mixed feelings between the doing of it and the completing of it. Half says I don’t want it to end and the other parts says nearly there. It’s an important stage of mixed emotion for me. Exciting, really!