My, my! I could hardly believe it. Finally settled buying the house for building the house-full-of-furniture venture; the next stage in our online teaching and training. On Friday I took the house keys from the previous owners and I couldn’t think of anything else but a dream is finally coming to pass!
Walking around the house with Joseph made me realise that we’re taking the next steps in our dream to start from the ground up and so will you join us as we walk through the coming months and years to design and build the future for woodworkers on every continent and by the many thousands upon thousands? We did this as much for you as we did ourselves – it’s a big adventure that just keeps gathering its own momentum.
This house is all brick and so is the garage and that means all of the inside walls too – super solid! It was an unusual feeling for me because I at last felt like I was somehow coming home even though I have been back in the UK for ten years. Now I feel at last that I can really build on the foundations we’ve been preparing over the years to enhance the lives of those who love the idea of enjoying building their own furniture by actually becoming skilled woodworkers and furniture makers in their own right. I too can settle on building the designs I have always dreamed of designing and building and it’s not just furniture either. I am including all manner of other woodworking in this project too.
I’ve mentioned the house full of furniture before today but now with the house landed in front of me I better tell you that it happened just when I thought we were about to lose the whole purchase at the last minute. Now, as I walked from one room to another, I feel only potential. Designs are popping into my head as I cross thresholds and I feel we are about to launch the very biggest thing I’ve ever been involved in to date.
The most important step for me is that you join me. There is the future of woodworking that I have always been protective of and a lifestyle that embraces the spirit of being able to do things for ourselves that eschews the style of mass making but inspires skill. About three decades ago the world of so called power-tools had all but taken over woodworking and far from always being good. The world at that point was really being taken over by machine methods and that often meant dumbing down designs to suit the machine. Hand tools for woodworking had all but disappeared at that point and for good reason in that my generation was passing away.
When I arrived in the USA in 1986 I did not find anyone working with hand tools and no one seemed to be trained to that end. It was as if my craft didn’t really exist and nor did it seem anywhere to be found. Of course there were hand tool traditionalists around, but they were few and far between. Fact was people at first looked at me as if I had grown two heads when I stood in front of audiences at power tool shows, the only shows around then, with a workbench, a small hand-tool tool box and a few hand tools. I’d cut my famous two-minute dovetail in under two minutes and then inlay a picture frame, form the eyeballed mitres yet do all without measuring a thing, rebates, moulding, corner splines and all. Today that’s all changed and it is because of all the hard work we’ve done via the internet and my blogging. Yup, we’re bragging just a bit, but I’m more bragging on you not me because you believed in it, followed our work and learned. You are the ones that made the most major shift.
We still have a long way to go because, yes, there is a lot to do, but we can do it – together! Soon I’ll be in the house with my sketch pad jotting down room sizes and shapes, window positions and so on.
I’ll be putting down my original thoughts, changes and then too I plan to video my steps in developing each of the pieces. I’ll be cutting up cardboard boxes to gauge sizes for impact, blocking out positive space to contrast against the negative. So at this point I will just say, “Watch this space.”