Monday, July 26, 2021

the real world

 I've been going over edits of my new book, attending to the editor's comments and questions, and realized that I make a number of references to the "real" world that might be confusing to some of my readers who are so heavily invested in alternative and digital realities that they might question why I do not regard those realms that capture so much of their attention as being real.

So, without meaning to offend, I'll tell how you can distinguish real and true from false and made up. You can call it "the smell test," though it involves more senses than the sense of smell alone.

When something is real, the experience of it involves ALL the senses. When something is artificial or made up, that is not the case. So, is it any wonder that some folks retain an urge to feel the full range of sensory experience? The lack of engagement of the full range of senses, is like fingers sliding over glass. And we'd have to be dumb-numb to our own bodies to mistake one world for the other.

There are two sensory things that are difficult to emulate through the screens of our computers. One is the smell of things. The other is the full range of interaction with gravity and sensing through the hands, fingers, musculature and mind of the tactile qualities of life and doing real things. Those real things have weight and texture. Seeing something made up may convince us to believe in the short term. But a body left hanging loose without the full range of senses to confirm reality, ultimately begins to question.

The other day when I had my one day box making class for supporters of the Clear Spring School, one of the attendees arriving in class noted the strong smell of wood. My own nose is accustomed to that smell, but my student's senses awakened her to welcome the reality of what the day would bring.

Is there something that we can call "the real world" that stands apart from stuff that's made up? I defend the concept and your own senses will confirm.

The drawing developed for the Sloyd teacher training school at Nääs, shows a movement that some in Tai Chi would call "warding off." With the legs spread apart, the body moves forward, shifting weight from one leg to the other as the hands push the tool forward. In this exercise in the real world, you feel the pull of gravity on your own body, the grip of the plane, the resistance of the wood as you push it forward. You see the shaving emerging from the mouth of the plane. You feel the utter smoothness of the fresh surface. You hear the whoosh of the plane cutting the wood. And the smell test? The aroma of freshly planed wood. Of course this is just a picture on your screen. But in real life, there's so much more.

Make, fix and create. Assist others in learning likewise.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Jointer help

I was contacted by a reader wanting help with his Delta jointer. It was causing snipe at the end of a board, but he was at his wit's end trying to figure out what was wrong, and calls to Delta brought no hope. He was thinking about buying another brand. 

The fix was rather simple. And is related to an understanding of how the jointer works. First, the infeed table and outfield table must be perfectly in the same plane. You can check this with a long very straight piece of wood. Raise the infeed table until it's at the same height as the outfeed table and observe that there are no gaps underneath, either at the middle or at each end. Then when assured that the tables are perfectly aligned, lower the infeed table and with the flat board resting on the outfeed table, adjust its height up or down until the knives, as you rotate the cutterhead by hand, barely touch. 

My reader, following the steps I prescribed, found that his infeed table and outfeed table were perfectly parallel to each other as they must be, and then adjusting the outfeed table as I just prescribed, got perfect results with no snipe at the end of the board being planed. Snipe is a small deeper cut that can take place during planing or jointing wood.

It's nice to be able to help.

Make, fix and create.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

The certainty of what is vs. the uncertainty of what might become.

A friend of mine's wife had invited a neighbor over to dinner, learning only after the invitation was made and dinner ready to serve that the neighbor had refused to take the vaccine. Asked why, she replied that the effects of the vaccine were uncertain. And so we're left wondering how to assist the recalcitrant to act in their own defense and the defense of others.

There have been millions of doses of vaccines administered around the world with minimal significant effects. The Delta variant poses an even more insidious risk of illness, possible long term effects, possible death and likely disruption to our nation's economy. While the feeling of being shunned, shamed and avoided due to one's medical choices may seem unfair, that seems to be the lot that some are casting for themselves. Those who rightfully choose to protect themselves by avoiding those who choose not to protect themselves need not feel shamed themselves for their choices. Being one of those fortunate to have received the vaccine and having suffered only very small detrimental effects from it, I plead that others do the right thing, and choose the right path through which we take each other's welfare to heart.

I had a great day yesterday, box making with friends who'd never done anything quite like it in their lives. We see interesting, previously unrevealed sides of each other when we do things of that kind. Today I'm at work going through the edits for chapter 7 of my new book, Wisdom of our hands.

Make, fix and create. Assist others in learning likewise.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Rosebud's retreat

Yesterday evening Rosie and I attended the opening ceremony of our new instructor lodging units at ESSA and took special interest in Rosebud's Retreat, a cottage named after Rosie. Rosebud is a nickname given to Rosie along with several others last year by Nick and Jonah Burstein when they were visiting last year. 

The cottages are delightful and were designed by our architect, Dave McKee. It was special to see a number of old friends at the event and Rosie was a very good dog, showing love and appreciation to all the new friends she met.

I had donated small cabinets made during the writing of my book "Building Small Cabinets" so there is one in each of the 8 units. A former board member asked, "did you make those?" He was certain he'd recognized my style in the work. I hope the cabinets become places where visiting artist will put interesting things to share with each other. "I found this pretty rock." "I made this lovely small object." I'm leaving this small thing for others to enjoy...

Today I taught a small group of friends to make boxes in the Clear Spring School wood shop. Chuck, Ramona, Sharon and Dave have been long time friends and also long time friends of the Clear Spring School. A couple years ago, before Covid, Ramona bid on and won a box making class for 4 I had offered at the Spring Fling Auction to support the school. So, today was the day and the photo shows what we did.

Make, fix and create. Assist others in learning likewise.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

avoid the willy nilly

I got an email this morning from a friend in Australia who had seen on their national news that rising cases in Arkansas are once again putting us at serious risk from Covid-19. He was worried about us, and rightly so.

In Australia, Richard and his wife are just now scheduled to get their second doses of vaccine. Fortunately, folks in Australia are also much more likely to take science seriously and follow the guidance of medical experts than is the case in Arkansas. Wearing masks and social distancing works and being smart folks, they have stayed safe.

Here in the US we have an abundance of vaccine and an overly active misinformation machine that discourages folks from getting it. Two of my fall classes are likely to be cancelled due to the refusal of folks to follow medical advice and we have an ESSA board meeting this afternoon to discuss our covid-19 policy going forward for the next critical months.

People are free to get the vaccine or choose not to. Those who choose not to put others at risk. I will try seriously to avoid those who have chosen to avoid protecting others while they run around willy nilly spreading the disease and wrecking our economy.

In the shop I've been sanding boxes and getting ready for my current teaching assignments. My editors and I have made it through chapter 2 of my new book as we prepare it for publication. 

The photo shows the wood working classroom at Nääs, Sweden in the late 1800. You will likely note the abundance of women involved. Teachers from all over the world were trained there to teach woodworking to kids.

Make, fix and create. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

quadrant hinges

Readers of Popular Woodworking Magazine will find my article about using a story stick technique to install quadrant hinges in the August issue. It is a complicated technique that may not be real easy for all readers to understand. The article can be found here: Learning comes best through the medical school model. See one, do one, teach one. In the article I show how it can be done, but it's up to the reader to test what I've done and then teach others.

Box making classes are very much on my mind. On Friday I have a special box making class that was purchased by friends at a Clear Spring School charity auction.

Make, fix and create. Assist others in learning likewise.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

looking forward and back

Last year at this time, we were buckled down in a routine of not going out and never without masks. My summer classes had been cancelled due to the dangers of travel and the risk of dying from a deadly disease.  My daughter and son in law who had come here to escape the pandemic in New York had returned to Brooklyn as cases here were rising fast and as New Yorkers were getting a grip on things.

The economy was limping along thanks to stimulus spending intended to keep things afloat. Rich folks were raking money in like gangbusters and poor folks like always were figuring out ways to get by. 

Toilet paper was gradually creeping back onto the supermarket shelves, and the idea of a vaccine that might bring safety to us all seemed like a distant dream. Those of us with a modicum of common sense, knew that the next months would be disastrous for some, most particularly for those who chose to ignore science and refused to wear masks. 

So 600,000 deaths later, here we are again. Arkansas was featured today on the front page of New York Times website, due to the spike in coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths among those who have refused vaccinations. On twitter they call these folks #covidiots. And we've learned that those who choose not to get vaccinations still have the power to infect those who have gotten vaccinations. They are willing to die for their beliefs and take other innocent folks down with them, including those whom they profess to love. (personal note, being willing to die for your beliefs can be a noble thing if your beliefs are truly worthy of dying for. Covid-19 misinformation is not).

With every covid-19 post Facebook tells us to get the facts straight. And they will do the same with this post, issuing a warning. And in the meantime, some folks we may care for and about will be continuing to use social media to stop the use of the vaccine thereby putting friends, neighbors and the national economy at risk.

I urge those who choose to remain among the unvaccinated to reconsider for your sake as well as mine. I want to have a normal school year this fall in which children can run and play and those who are entrusted with their care may be equally as carefree. The vaccination can do that for us.

If you've not gotten your shots, get them ASAP.

In the wood shop I've been sanding boxes. I've been revising edited text for my new book and planning one about making jigs.

Make, fix and create...