I live about four hundred yards from work. I cycle five miles to get there each day. That’s the distance of the circuitous route I take through the countryside, woodlands and fields, cycle paths and mud tracks to get there. I cycle again at lunchtime and often too in the evening but then that’s if I choose not to walk three or four miles before I close off my day. As it is with woodworking, there’s the easy way and there’s the harder way. One is zero demand and one one is high demand. I choose hand tools 95% of the time.
To cross cut my wood I make a knifewall to four sides and a second knifewall 2mm parallel to it so no splintering takes place. Usually, when I have gauged it to dead size by eye, there is really little need for further truing by planing, but I do it anyway, even if it’s the end of a hidden tenon that will never be seen again for two hundred years (perhaps). Why? Well, i keep saying it and ~i’ll say it again. No one said it to me before. I strung these words together because they’re what I feel deep inside. ‘It’s not what you make that matters but how you make it. That alone determines the outcome!’ People, woodworkers at the business end, for the main part anyway, don’t get it in the same way people don’t get the bike ride. Usually it’s because at the business end they’ve never mastered hand tools, don’t understand them, been taught mentally that it’s not the progressive way and that, well, you can’t make a living that way. Baldersdash!. But I don’t try to change the way they think, I just get on with the I-do-it-my-way way and enjoy life to the very fullest by pulling others off the conveyor belt or indeed stop them before the rot begins.
As I biked to work this morning the sun was glinting off the heads of oats in the fieldO I passed. Swallows were diving and swifts soared sky-high as two seagulls mobbed a buzzard at one point and a red-tailed kite further along. It’s nest, egg and fledgling time and the raptors think nothing of diving on a youngster. The red campions too are buzzed by solitary bees laden on their back legs already with sacks of pollen and I stopped to film them all so my journey took three times as long.
The lake area always seems much of a buzz with life too and not just with with wild life. The truckers, heavy laden with gravel, I see every morning wave, followed by a return ‘thumbs-up in answer to mine. It’s a new day and the mercies are always new every morning. Yesterday we had a good rain soak, which our world here in the the UK seems always to be condemning of as a bad day but any farmer knows beats anything anyone else could be wishing for.
Choosing the harder path means that you meet juggernauts along the way. It is not always greeted by all as a welcome way, so for me, the bike ride, the hand work, the things I engineer and CHOOSE for myself are a way of life, a lifestyle, and many now follow similar self-engineered paths. It’s not at all easy for all, life, some things are impossible, but engineer what you can, bit by bit, and changes will come to you. Not all at once, more evolving with your decisions and around you. Such happenings are always amazing!