Friday, May 14, 2010

mixing and matching woods

My article for Woodcraft Magazine, "Mixing and Matching Woods" came out in the Jun/July 2010 issue.

Today in my home woodshop, I will be applying coats of Danish oil to small boxes, and cleaning the shop in preparation for starting a new book on making small cabinets.

John Grossbohlin sent this link to an article about those who need not or best not go to college. College for all? Experts say not necessarily. There are two simultaneous poems in the old book, Two Hundred Poems for Teachers of Industrial Arts Education that add to the discussion. The first describes the pleasure that some feel in the trades, that may guide some to seek much more than academic involvement in learning:

I want to be a carpenter
I want to be a carpenter,
To work all day long in clean wood,
Shaving it into little thin ribbons
Which roll up into curls behind my plane;
Pounding long, thin nails into white boards.
I want to shingle a house,
Sitting on the ridge pole in a cool breeze.
I want to put the shingles on neatly,
Taking great care that each is directly between two others.
I want my hands to have the tang of wood:
Spruce, cedar, cypress.
I want to draw a line with a flat pencil,
And then saw along that line,
With the sweet-smelling sawdust piling up in a heap at my feet.
--Amy Lowell
The second poem is shorter, author unknown but describes hand work and work of the mind combined as it must be in order to create whole people.

Hail to the Skillful Hand
Hail to the skillful hand, cunning hand;
Hail to the cultured mind;
Contending for the world's command,
Here let them be combined.
And so, the point of the Wisdom of the Hands is not merely that some students are best served by not going to college, but also that those who do go to college would be best served by engagement through their hands, learning mastery of both themselves and physical reality.

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