Thursday, June 28, 2012

a visit and box making...

Our class photo
My students were so busy today that they hardly needed me. Our two week class will finish tomorrow and all have made great progress in addition to having fun. One exciting moment came when Dennis had accidentally sanded away the marks that indicated the top of the box, leaving it nearly impossible to know which side to cut the lid from the base. Fortunately, some careful refection on how the grain was oriented when the box was assembled and some just plain luck resulted in a box that was cut just right. It was a great relief for both of us and a near mistake that will not happen again.

Each student has made boxes of their own design, and each has pushed his own limits and gained ground, not all of it easy. I have been having fun making a few boxes with scraps left over from my demonstrations. I've been making very small useless boxes with lids inlaid with granite stones gathered on my walks at Machiasport and Rockland harbor... very fitting souvenirs from the granite state. Oscar Wilde had said that the ugliest objects were made in the effort to make something beautiful and the most beautiful things were made in the effort to make something useful. I guess in that, my new Maine commemorative boxes are ugly, except for having made "use" of woods that would have gone to waste were it not form my intervention. Tomorrow we apply a Waterlox oil finish that I've heard recommended many times and have wanted to try.

Home of Thomas Lie-Nielsen Toolworks
I slipped away today for a visit with Thomas Lie-Nielsen, maker of fine woodworking tools. His workshop is amazing with skilled teams of craftsmen who obviously take great pride in their work. I wanted to show Tom my own design for a dovetail marking gauge, which is different and  in my opinion more useful than any other on the market, as it simplifies the measuring required and also functions as a square, thus eliminating one tool necessary for hand-cut dovetails. This essentially  means no longer having to switch from one tool to the other. Tom is interested in it and we will discuss it more tomorrow during the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship annual open house.

I got a great tour of the Lie-Nielsen Toolworks as you can see in the photo below. Everyone working at the tool works seemed to enjoy the opportunity to show what they were working on... a sign of obvious pride that everyone in the US should feel for their work, but too often do not.
Making chisels

Make, fix and please spend some time exercising your own creative capacities... box making anyone?

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