Saturday, July 25, 2009

Work with the hands

Today I am sanding the parts of my tables to prepare for assembly. Some of the work will be done with power sanders, but the fine details can only be done effectively by hand. In the photos above you can see the lower stretchers shaped and ready for the shelf to fit, and the use of a sanding stick to begin sanding the small parts. I used spray adhesive to attach sand paper to the stick, making an effective tool for the job. Power sanding these parts would distort their shape.

Richard Bazeley from Australia sent the photo below of his year 11 furniture class, he says:
They have shown the patience to hand cut their mortise and tenon joints and make some very accurate dovetails. Given the opportunity to show their skills they have not let me down. So far they have met every challenge that I have given them, without complaint. To do this sort of work you need a calm atmosphere and a group of students that you can trust. They have shown a high level of maturity and ability to get on well with each other. I feel very lucky as a teacher to be able to walk out of the class room at the end of the day and feel a calmness that is real. The decision to do things by hand pays a real dividend. I have also found this with junior classes who seem to develop a more caring approach to their work when shown how to do things with their hands. I can only hope that this will extend into the rest of their lives. The values we teach by doing things by hand are immeasurable.
You will probably suspect that these proud students are equally grateful to have Richard as their teacher, and to have had the opportunity to do work that will last a lifetime and that they will always remember.

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