Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sweat, hand-work and labor—creation of self...

Today I worked up a sweat putting 6 in. x 6in. posts in the ground to support gates at the Clear Spring School to control traffic and abuse of the parking lot at the wood shop. Even with a back hoe to dig the holes, shoveling the gravel back is a chore on a hot day. On the other hand, it is satisfying to accomplish goals requiring some rather heavy work. Working up a sweat on a hot day actually feels great.

I am also getting the CSS wood shop building ready for Steven Palmer's class in furniture making, by finishing the outfeed tables for the new SawStop saws. and preparing for my own classes at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship June 16-27 and in Boston July 7 and 8. That means I'm loading important things in files to travel in my laptop and iPad, and also making certain all the local things that require my attention are attended to. As I mentioned before, I am always nervous leaving town for extended periods, and in the midst of it all, wonder why I've gone out on a such a limb. But each of us will in time pass away and it is best to leave knowing that we have made a meaningful mark, even if that means going out on a limb now and then.

The following is from William L. Hunter's collection of 200 poems for teachers of manual and industrial arts.
We all are blind until we see
   That, in the human plan,
Nothing is worth the making, if
   It does not make the man.

Why build these cities glorious
   If man unbuilded goes?
In vain we build the world, unless
   The builder also grows.—Edwin Markham
Make, fix and create...


  1. Doug,
    Thank you for the poem, it really hit the spot. I'm in the middle of moving out of a woodshop that has existed for 40 years; my employer lost their lease and so we have to evacuate 40 years (and at least 5 cabinetmakers') worth of tools, jigs, leftover materials, a few finished projects, and stuff ranging from taxidermy to neon signs that were "too cool to throw away." I've been trying to embrace the change, but my shopmate, who has been here 12 years, is having lots of trouble. I keep telling him that the value of what we do is in us and the schoolkids and teachers who use our products, but it's so easy to attach to the objects we make instead.

    Good luck in your travels.
    Jim Dillon