It seems such a small thing, a simple thing.
Not worth too much, even, but it’s yours.
You bought it with a whole week’s wage.
It cost you something, you see, that plane.
I was 15 back in 1965 and it cost me a week’s working in a wage.
When you buy your first hammer, a bench plane, a square and a spokeshave,
aged 15, you don’t know that you’ll be using them, day in, day out,
every day of the week for 57 years.
You took a whole week’s wage to buy each one of them,
think you spent a lot. Too much!
And then you look back, see the beginning, recall the days you spent that week’s wage
and you just swell inside and say, just quietly, to yourself, alone,
You see the mallet you made, cast your mind back to the day
you made it from scraps of wood with your own hands fifty years ago
and something floods into your very soul as tears of joy, of gratitude,
of humility bring you to raise your hands high.
And here it is, another day you left hunger at the door, another day you fed the kids good food,
and that from the work of your own hands.
It’s more than just another plane, another hammer, a saw,
a spokeshave, a rule and a wooden pencil or knife even.
It’s a way of living life as a maker woodworker and struggling against
all temptation when another says, “When are you going to get a real job?”
Being a lifestyle woodworker making furniture for life is to
follow a vocational calling that doesn’t tick all the boxes
in our modern world.
I did it!