Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Today in the CSS woodshop, the high school students helped me to complete the carving mallets shown in the photo below. The design is based on one I made several years ago, and it's the one all the students want to use whenever chisels or gouges are in use. I never allow a fine chisel to be struck with a metal hammer so good mallets are a must. In addition, students continued practicing the cutting of dovetailed joints. They are getting better. One student wanted to give up and do something else, but with some encouragement, he did better as the afternoon progressed and he informed me that he will be ready to try again next week.

Students are being trained through their use of technology that every thing should be easy... "Ease of use" is the selling point on all things technological. We are being told that we need not face difficulties. But those of us of a certain age know that the things that are difficult present greater opportunities for pride of accomplishment and development of character.

During the weekend I had a conversation with my cousin Gary, a retired optometrist. His older brother has always been capable of making and fixing all kinds of things. And Gary has regretted that he had gotten the short end of the stick when it came to fixing and making, and reaping the satisfaction that comes from DIY. Although successful in his career, Gary knew he was missing something important, the confidence and satisfaction his brother expressed.

We need to be encouraged to look for the kinds of satisfaction we can find in working with our hands. And without that encouragement, it may never happen for us.
“As the development of the motor centers in the brain hinges, in a great degree upon the movements and exercises of youth, it will be readily understood how important is the nature of the part played by the early exercise of the hand. There can be no doubt that the most active epoch in the development of these motor centers is from the fourth to fifteenth year, after which they become comparatively fixed and stubborn. Hence it can be understood that boys and girls whose hands have been left altogether untrained up to the fifteenth year are practically incapable of high manual efficiency thereafter.” --James Crichton Browne
Certainly, not all children and adults have the same level of manual dexterity. Not all have the same integration of hands and mind, and even within a single family, one child may get encouragement that another will not. But each of us can gain greater wisdom through the efforts of our own hands.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. Making a small cabinets can be done on your. But, first you have to plan it. You need basic tools for this activity.