Saturday, January 22, 2011

choose the right profession, never go to work...

Today was a great day in the wood shop. I am making a small maple cabinet on legs of a style similar to what James Krenov made sort of popular. Simple work with hand tools, it is not, but I did cut the dovetails by hand.

It has been said by some that one should choose one's profession so as never to need to go to work. That's what woodworking is for me, and I know others share the same sentiments. When I am in the right frame of mind, things fall into place. And so it is with every profession. Our real work is on our own relationship to the universe at large, and to feel in opposition one's own profession is a sad situation that makes work feel like work.

On the Krenov inspired cabinet, I decided to use only hardwoods, no plywood back, and so to allow for the expansion and contraction that takes place over a nearly 20 inch width, I designed the back in two floating panels which intersect at the center with a simple tongue and groove joint. Cutting that joint is what you see in the photo above. In the photo below, I routed the groove in the cabinet sides for the two part panel to fit.
Earlier in the day I worked on the frame and panel doors. At this point, shown in the photo, the panels are formed to fit in grooves cut in the door stiles and rails. After sanding and shaping the inside edges, the doors will be ready for assembly. If you look closely you may see that the door panels are not rectangular, as the door rails narrow toward the center of the cabinet.
At left you can see what the finished cabinet will sort of look like.


  1. Anonymous9:21 PM

    My favorite shirt bearing the name of my college, Virginia Tech, has a saying on the back: "It's Time To Go To Work" . I love it because it expresses the joy I find in showing up at the shop in the morning with a few kids in tow and seeing what we can create that day.

    I'm glad you've found the same thing. Thanks for all the writings recently - I can across your blog in the Globe article hand have been enjoying the conversation.

  2. Cowboy, welcome to the conversation. We're not preaching to the choir. We're having choir practice. Hand people have been pushed aside for too long. And the nation of pinheads and idiots is the result. There is more than enough evidence of the value of hands-on learning (including wood shop). What we lack is confidence and will. Choir practice is about both of those matters.

    Will is the subject of tomorrow's blog post. And yes, "It's time to go to work."

  3. Anonymous5:18 AM

    So let's go to work and see where this Krenov inspiration takes us.