Thursday, January 05, 2017

hand tools

We received a gift of tools yesterday from a school in New York. These were old planes, chisels, rasps and more, still unused and in original packaging. Of the 5 boxes, one was full of old hammers, and two more boxes containing saws and miscellaneous tools will be shipped soon.

A school had these tools including over a dozen and a half planes for nearly 25 years, put away in a closet and their program had moved away long ago from hand-tool woodworking.  As we opened packages, we put the tools to immediate use. Tools demand use.

The school in New York had learned of our woodworking program at Clear Spring School through an article in the New York Times. We will use some of these tools at Clear Spring School, and any excess will be passed on to the Eureka Springs School of the Arts where they will be kept sharp and put to use.

Is there still a place in education for hand-tool woodworking? Or must things be sped up to fit a faster, less patient generation? If there is value in slowing down for more considerate learning, hand tools may still have a place in the scheme of things.

Chaucer had said of craftsmanship,  "The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne, the' assay so hard, so sharp the conqueryinge." If things are made too easy, how will young people draw satisfaction at the deepest levels.

A friend sent a link to a video Millenials and the risk of social media addiction. 
It is an interesting lesson presented by a millenial to millenials, and raises some of the same concerns that I've expressed in this blog and that I have for our children. We try to make education sexy for them, by adding layers of technology that do the hard work.

In addition to receiving tools yesterday, My first, second and third grade students had a practice day in tool use, but also managed to make a few things. Joe made a fishing pole and coded game controller. Clare made a house, and other girls made tiny stools for their dolls.

Today in my home woodshop, I'll be finishing the walnut base for a trestle table.

Make, fix, create, and extend the likelihood that others learn likewise.


  1. I guess that the school's football coach was just too busy

  2. The tools were not being used and they wanted them to be put in the hands of kids. They still have hands-on learning activities, just not with these kinds of tools. They were generous.