I had a friend, Tommy Thomas, who was a retired art teacher from the Kansas City Art Institute. He was a great painter, a good woodworker, and it was the woodworking he truly loved. He came by one day with a gift of a complete set of Bracht mortising chisels. These were tools that had been given to him, and that he decided to hold out from the auction of the rest of his shop which consisted of both old and new tools which he had bought for himself. He was dying of cancer. I went to his auction and bought a few more things. Each reminds me of him, and as these things were old before he bought them, they remind me of an unbroken chain. That legacy you speak of is not something one man leaves, but something that passes through the lives of those of us who love working with wood. It connects us each with the best part of what it is to be human. Each small decision we make connects us with and reflects higher purpose. At some point, my own shop will be distributed. If I am lucky, I’ll know some woodworker in the neighborhood who will receive a complete set of Bracht chisels.
But frankly, we are a nation of idiots. We spend millions of dollars on laptops so our children can be distracted and entertained instead of creative and engaged. If they are quiet in their rooms, we think they are OK. But they need to be pounding and hammering things in our shops, sawing, cooking sewing, and learning the highest values of human life.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
I was reading this morning in another woodworking blog The Craftsman's Path about the legacy left by an old woodworker. This story by Mark Mazzo reminded me of an old friend and I felt inclined to add my own comments, which are as follows: