Who You Are Matters, Everyone!

A teacher in the Netherlands pulled a blog post I wrote about the beginnings and outcome of following my passion in woodworking here and I am not altogether sure why what I wrote altogether mattered except, well, I got something that matters to me off my chest. It happens all the time that things left unsaid are never understood and this parallels what I have written about the hardest question to answer being the one that’s never asked or seeing the things that are missing or the things that you don’t want enable to you so see and determine the very things that you do want.

For me it mattered that I wrote down how my life as a craftsman unfolded from a genesis of surrounding profound influences that gently flowed into my life. Being at school helped me to see first what I did not want, did not want to be and then what I did want to be. I wrote down my feelings because I understood what it was not to have a sense of belonging and then what it was to find a sense of place in which belonging thrives. I understand that many people have yet to find their becoming. They can be 17 or 70, boy, girl, man, woman in search without knowing they are searching or seeking.

The teacher at HMC Rotterdam (the vocational college of furniture making I think) in the Netherlands had compassion for the students and used my post to reach out to them. They read it and wrote to me in the comments section of my blog expressing their senses and sensibilities revolving round their choosing woodworking as a future. I believe I received around 30 messages. So this blog is just to thank them and their teacher. I would love to meet them all in 5 years time to see how they are doing. Maybe I will go to HMC and see them all now. Who knows?

9 thoughts on “Who You Are Matters, Everyone!”

  1. Hi Paul, thank you for your blogs and you tube information which I am finding extremely useful and totally fascinating. I am newly retired and just starting to attempt to build my skill. However as a beginner I have a problem in knowing where to start. I have three diamond plates on which to sharpen my chisels (ex Lidl) as well as a #4 plane but no holder for the diamond plates. I want to make a poor mans router to make the plate holder but the chisel is blunt! Using the diamond plates individually risks pushing them off the small work bench I have on to the floor.

    How would you solve this seemingly intractable problem?

    All help grateful received.

    Best wishes

  2. Michael Ballinger

    Just to add another option to the mix you could nail, glue or screw strips of wood to a base of plywood that would save you having to use a router.

  3. Andrew Wilkerson

    I’ve been meaning to make a holder for over 10 years now I think, I just use them on a non slip mat that came with my DMT’s, a quick spray with water or glass cleaner keeps them suctioned down most of the time, but I still want to make a holder when I have time, this way I won’t have to handle them when wet and sludgy when I swap them over, I can have all 3 next to each other and quicker to move from one to the next.
    So don’t worry too much about making a holder, just start using them and get better at sharpening first. Then you’ll be able to make a holder to suit your needs further down the track and will have much sharper tools by then to work with and do a better job.

    My advise is to work out where you will be doing your sharpening, make sure you always stand on the same angle at the same bench height each time you sharpen — swapping around all the time will just confuse your muscle memory in my experience. Once you’re good at it you can do it anywhere but for now just stick to the same spot/bench/work surface. Consistency and being repetitive when learning anything to do with muscles and the way the neurons/links to your brain are created I find this really helps a lot. Even learning which eye is your dominant and how you are positioning your head can help a lot with using saws, cutting dovetails etc. Forget about the holder for now, just use a temporary solution as described by others here.

  4. clamp the edges down with the edge of a thin piece of wood (a sort of ‘bench hook’).
    A piece of rubber coated cloth (the open weave kind used to line drawer bottoms or for holding things steady on a picnic table) would also help.

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