Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Spanish Galleons... And golden mean.

 Today in the wood shop at the Clear Spring School, first, second and third grade students began making Spanish Galleons as part of their study of explorers and the discovery of the "new" world. The students first designed their hull shapes using paper and scissors and then cut the shapes with coping saws. Some students managed to add masts and superstructures.

Snow put an early end to today's lessons as school closed hours ahead of the normal time to allow parents to get their children home while the roads were still safe.  Jason sent a link to a  TED X talk by former teacher Tony Wagner, Play, Passion, Purpose. Wagner says that the world doesn't care about what we know, but does care about what we can do.

The maple box below is designed according to the golden mean, with the length equal to 1.618 times the height and depth (front to back). Viewed from the end the box appears square as the depth and height are equal.

And so, the question comes up, does this box have a particular beauty of proportion that cannot be seen in my other boxes? You can decide now if you like, or wait until it's been sanded and finished. Use the comment section below to share what you think.

My apprentice has been doing well. At his own inclination, he's working in threes. He made three benches, and is in the process of making three cutting boards, three stands for iPads, and is starting his second of three meditation benches.

The photo is of his first tool box. Not only is he showing signs of progress in his hand cut dovetails, he's also showing some Arkansas ingenuity. The tool box was left square at the top because he wants it to also serve as a bench or stand, when one may be necessary in his small shop. Realizing his shaped and tenoned handle wouldn't fit, he made a scarf joint without having seen one before and without knowing what it was to be called. He installed dowels in the ends and grooves in the tool tray so that it will lift in place, and can be carried without sliding. One of the hardest things for beginning woodworkers is to avoid self-recrimination when things go haywire. But when one knows that things nearly always go wrong in some way or another, and that all the best things started out as mistakes,  a different understanding of work becomes clear that allows for forgiveness, creativity and growth.

Jim Long in his much loved working garage.
On yet another subject, Mario informed me of the loss of his good friend, Jim Long, a tinkerer/fixer/craftsman I had featured as a bloke in shed/geezer in garage guest in the blog in February 2008. In tribute to Jim, I offer this link in remembrance.

Make, fix and create...

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