Had a Good Day?
I’m often asked if I had a good day. I ask the question too. Mostly of people I know because we exchange questions and have that kind of relationship. Most days I have half a day or so to myself and I think that is fine. In a culture extolling independence as a value to be admired and sought for I find myself more and more isolated in my views. I think this is because I feel that it’s good to be interdependent. I even feel that codependency has a place in society as a whole as long as there is respect. If people can share their lives more closely without fear of being taken advantage of or indeed taking advantage of others they work with or live with or share life with, positive things start to happen. I ate a later brunch at Bluesky cafe and thought to myself, thank goodness there are people to share life with. Two ladies on the leather couch in the corner ate and spun wool on drop spindles. We chatted for a while and they talked together for over an hour as they worked. I finished off some sketches I needed for my book before I walked back to the castle, which is a couple of miles away from Bluesky. Chrissy was serving today, she and the staff make Bluesky what it is for me. I say all of that because part of what you read comes to me when I am there.
Making My Personal Oak Workbench Stool
I carved out the bench stool seat which took just over an hour. I used my contour plane and that reminds me to say don’t sweat the hardening of the plane iron if you don’t want to harden yours. It will still cut just fine without hardening but you may have to sharpen up a couple of times. That said, mine did the whole of the stool seat without needing an initial sharpen or repeated sharpening and I also did two pine seats with it too. My first gouge cut started at 1.10pm and I finished the carving and planing at 2.20pm. I used some quartersawn oak I had and it was lovely to work. Easier than the pine and spruce.
The Bookcase is Coming Along
After the seat was done worked on the Shaker-inspired bookcase we are making on the Woodworking Masterclasses series. Prepping the stuff and making sure we have all of the parts ready to go. This saves time with the filming staff and gives me time to think before the pressure begins. You will be surprised how often I lose something in the process because not everything I use is in my usual place but close to hand for the filming. I am really happy that we have been able to pull this aspect of media work together and to keep the costs down for everybody. I am most grateful to the real team behind the scenes that have made this happen. I suppose I spend the most time with Phil who is a real star to me and Joseph.
John Winter Returns to Wales
This is an oh-by-the-way by the way, some of you will remember my former apprentice of two years ago, John. Well, he will be here in two days to work on advancing craft skills and he will be here for just shy of three months. It was hard to turn him loose when he went back to Argentina, but he has made progress and we are hoping to press him all the more while he is here. He will be making and making and making and of course I will let you know his progress.
I have a request to make to those of you who rely on working from a sitting position and indeed a wheelchair. Will you contact me via the contact form or privately to my email. I want to know how you work at the workbench and what problems you face in your woodworking. If any of you know of woodworkers who work with hand tools or indeed would like to work with hand tools and use a wheelchair to get around please let them know for me. My workbench is not so well suited to wheelchair users and I have some ideas to help with this. I thought maybe some of your input could help think through and test out the theories.