Tuesday, June 16, 2009

today in the woodshop

It is dark and cold for a morning in June and raining cats and dogs. The sky is as dark as late evening. So this morning, I am in retreat, doing things I've done a thousand times before and taking comfort in motions and procedures I know by heart. My friendly competition with the Chinese. I have many more complicated things I might be doing instead. But there is comfort during such a storm in simple things.

Last week I found artist Eleanor Lux in front of her weaving studio, stringing beads, and thereby repairing a necklace for a friend. There were many more challenging things she might have been doing, but Eleanor told me how much pleasure there was in that simple work. Should it be called "meditation"? No, I'll not complicate it by making it something more than the pleasure it is.

My photo above shows the simple process for cutting slots for barbed hinges. The set up is done by feel and by eye, and while it gives precision in the range that an engineer might measure at less than .001 inch on fit, no measuring tools are required. We have a tendency to think that without precise alphanumeric measuring devices, no precision is available to us. With experience, and practice however, even complicated processes requiring a high level of precision can become simple and mindful, like stringing beads on a slender wire.


  1. Anonymous1:58 PM

    It's also grim weather here in Buffalo, so I'm taking comfort in the familiar. Music and woodwork.


  2. Very cool, your a talented person. My uncle also knows how to do woodwork. and He loves also singing..