Jack’s pine box follows a pattern. I was inspired by one I saw it in a book on Shaker pieces of treen 40 years back but changed its proportions and some of the details to suit my needs. Since then I have made at least 400 or more of them and sold them regularly when I lived in the USA. For Jack it concludes his foundation course, a course I developed and now put out via either woodworkingmasterclasses.com, commonwoodworking.com, YouTube and here on my blog. These channels replaced my first book to give total visual content for all and it has definitely reversed the unpleasant trend that my craft with hand tools was dying out. It also replaced my one-on-one courses with students attending my workshops though one day, if I live long enough, I will repeat them. I stopped because my workload doubled and even tripled when I took on filming my craft. Had I not taken this step many of the ‘trade secrets’ and less common practices would have been lost.
Woodworking with individuals like Jack, Peter, Hannah and several others in the past are transformative. It’s students over the years, at least 6,500 to date, that enabled me to encapsulate a different lifestyle I engineered to teach and train others. The 25 years of classes meant writing, writing meant writing articles for magazines and then writing my own efforts in manuscripts to include my drawings and so on. The thing is, though I was told at 14 years of age that I could never be educated, I found writing about the things I loved and lived for took me beyond the bench and the vise, the tools on the bench and the wood I so cared about into a new world of discovery. I discovered drawing had much more depth, sentences could be rearranged using more words than school ever taught me.
I study etymology not to get a degree in English but because they have such incredible depth and history. Few words reach the tips of my fingers and the keyboard without my researching the meaning, root, origin. For my woodworking this translates into words such as spokeshave, spike + shave. Not so much spoke as in wheel per se but think chair spindle and ladder rung, chair legs, rails and posts. Not that this discounts wheel spoke, just that it adds in a 100 times more applications than wheels though there are a lot of spokes in carriages and wagons from the past millennia.
So, my life has and still is unfolding with new days filled with not just interesting things but, and I think much more importantly, meaning. You see, I may have had the odd detour to distract me occasionally, but I have kept pretty well on track in my love of woodworking and everything surrounding it. I’m not so much interested in reading about it or even just watching it but the doing of it. That small split still intrigues me. The splitting of an 18″ log eight feet along its length is unmistakably log-split. Then the split-cutting of tenons in pine or differently in oak and cherry and ash. Each its own sound is like musical nots in my ear. They are indeed recorded there to such a degree that I can usually tell when my student is splitting one wood or another.
This was Jack’s 2nd dovetailed project with one or two practice corners to preface the single dovetail and the double. It’s not that long when my other apprentices through the years completed their multiple dovetails in a larger project like a tool chest. Considering this is Jack’s first double dovetailed project, and all of the dovetails were remarkably well fitting, I can see that he is on the path to a remarkable future as woodworker and furniture maker should he want to pursue such a thing. The trick now is see what we can do to allow it to unfold as it should. What made Jack transfer to woodworking after gaining a degree in IT? It was a chain of events that would take another blog to answer.