It’s funny seeing the confidences grow. Wrestling tenons into mortises and pressing dovetails home seems quite natural to them now and yet only a week ago they were tentative with the tools and the wood. The tools work for them and they seem settled knowing what the planes can and cannot do and that the problem is most likely not them but the tool and the wood they negotiate settlement with. They twist and turn the planes now and feel the direction as the cutting edges touch the surfaces.
The joints may start out with a loose one that galvanizes determination that the others will be right and tight. I enjoy seeing their faces when the thing they are doing works or even when it doesn’t and they know what to do to correct it. It’s a little more relaxed at different times in the day and every peak of intense challenge culminates in a downhill relaxation before the next challenge. We press hard for good results as we counsel them through the work involving their decisions. Expectations are high but real now. They know any shortfall can be due to inexperience and practice and therefore they persevere even when something is less than perfect.
Today is the last day for them. We are up against a 5pm deadline and all the tables must be glues up by about 3pm so that the glue dries in time for them to leave. Today we shape and fit, glue up and plane and scrape the tabletops. It’s a big day.