“Don’t dismiss the journey!” I told them. “It’s most important, perhaps even more important than the final piece you make.” These are my apprentices I talk to in the early days of their training. Someone has to create an alternative perspective than the one they were trained in school and university or college. It’s mainly about resetting their coordinates. You know, rethinking what life could be about living with new and alternative realities to the ones that so influenced their early life and formative years It’s a shameful thing that so many were robbed through their personal education path because of the shortsightedness of authorities influencing their education by educational providers. It’s happened over a four-decade season where the need for skilled work was bartered off to the lowest bidder in the name of progress, competition and free enterprise. Dumbed down from the days when boys made writing desks with drop down lids or a canoe, such like that to become a single joint made to computer drawing. It is definitely an era resulting as the bi-product of the Industrial Revolution the cogs of which constantly shift the need for long term or permanent skill and even employment for the different generations along the way. And most of us slept through adverts as we pursued the sales days and ever cheapening goods resulting from subsequent demoralising values in humanity.
Over the past few months I have made dozen or more pieces and a 120 square foot shed. I have replaced and made new doors and set up my home garage workshop too. Moving to my new home for the third time in as many years using a 4 foot by 8 foot car trailer was actually a lot of work and a lot of enjoyment for me. I like the mechanics of leverage and moving things twice my size and twice or three times my weight.
The pieces I made include the babies cot times two with both of them now in use. I made two garden benches, two console tables, two new chairs and three handy stools.
This week I have completed the latest piece which I am very proud of and that comprises two bread stows previously identified more under the name bread bins.
The most important thing in all of this is the behind the scenes stuff supporting my work. I’ve of course spent time sharpening my different saw types, chisels, planes, spokeshaves, card and cabinet scrapers a hundred times. I’ve drawn up every project with technical drawings for dimensions using a drawing and tee square, paper and pencils.
I am sure that that won’t change because I am so fast at doing it. Everything I’ve done I have done from scratch. It’s who I am and the way I do things. In the mix of course each project was filmed and this always doubles and even triples the amount of time I spend on developing my projects. I have never stopped learning which is the way of the teacher. When a teacher thinks he or she knows it all they close off the possibility of learning anew and more. I wish the politicians, educationalists, economists and administrators could all spend some time learning a craft, even for just a few days. They would likely see how ill equipped they are for equipping the countries the preside over to make policies they are really incapable of making yet they always seem to wield such self-assured power. Few of them really see what the real needs are yet by clever speeches and manipulation they somehow manage top secure years of tenure.
I just swept the floor on a weeks making and felt so grateful that I could indeed make. Despite countering the tendency of others to project their self confidences in realms they know little or anything of we are winning the battle to reestablish crafting artisanry through the work we do. In the land of giants that’s no small thing. Social media, for all its pitfalls, has allowed the little man like myself a massive platform to speak from.People are able to change their lives and even engineer themselves as true and real woodworkers. I am not really political so I just do what I do and share it online. I don’t just talk the talk because the walk has real value for others. Imagine multiple thousands of people every month traipsing down to their sheds and garages to pull out their planes and saws for a weekend or evening of real, hand tool woodworking. It’s definitely working folks!