Friday, April 01, 2016

dog bones and puzzle boxes

I am in the thick of editing the last chapter of my book on Tiny boxes, this being the one on making Japanese Puzzle Boxes. As one might expect, making a puzzle box is not for the faint of heart. The steps are challenging, and it has nothing to do with whether or not one can speak Japanese.

Some of what I have to do is come up with names for various parts and then stick with those names and correlate those names to numbers on drawings that provide precise dimensions. It is fortunate that my primary editor is not a woodworker. She demands that I make things clear to her, for an author must not assume that the reader can read his mind as well as his instructions.

I have a student in wood shop who remains reluctant, and strives to see little value in it. I take none of that personally. In her other classes she tells how bored she is without her iPad, and I guess that's what we get when entertainment at all ages centers on the ubiquitous device. I mentioned flying back to Arkansas from San Francisco last week following my classes in Portland. The family to my left had a total of 5 iPads and a laptop, all of which were in use for almost the entire flight. And so devises have taken over and less expensive/more creative amusements have been pushed aside.

A few years back a Time Magazine writer had told that as an "active gamer" (can one take pride in that?) he was excited to buy his two year old her first laptop. But then he met a child development expert he named "Susie Joy-killer." She told him of all the diverse reasons buying a two year old a laptop was dumb and wrong headed but the writer asked, "What about hand-eye coordination?" She suggested that his child's need for hand and eye coordination would be better met by scissors.

In any case, woodworking and doing real things can grow on you. if given a chance. Yesterday, before class, as I was planning for one of my students to make a hammer, my reluctant student came in and suggested she would like to make a dog toy. The photo at the top shows what I came up with, and my student made two. The surprising thing was that she insisted on doing much of it herself, operating a tenoner and drill press with my assistance.

Make, fix, create and extend to others the love of learning likewise.

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