Wednesday, August 25, 2010

this morning...

I finished Mark Frauenfelder's book Made by Hand, Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World. I have also been reflecting as I always do, on the Wisdom of the Hands. I have a sense of immediacy with regard to what we are needing to do with the restoration of hands-on learning in schools. We are doing damage to our schools, our children and our culture by neglecting our hands. We are not just challenged to fix things, but to fix all that, too. For parents, that may mean throwing out a few devices and buying or making tools in their place. It may mean making messes. Paper scraps and sanding dust are inevitable in a fully creative life. In schools, it means revolution. It means art, craft, making and design, and also biology and chemistry labs in place of text books, standardized testing and work sheets.

But that sounds like work doesn't it? Let me assure you, it is not. It is joy, it is pleasure. It is restoration of self and discovery of deeper meaning. Frauenfelder, in the final chapter of his book states, "I am not alone in my discovery of the joy of using your hands to build a richer, more meaningful life." And as you probably know from your own life, he is not alone. Make, cook, fix, create. Get better at something tangible. The rewards are palpable.

This afternoon in the woodshop, I am continuing work on veneering my tie cabinets. Now, I am ready to apply the veneer to the fronts and backs of the elm veneered ones. Before vacuum veneering, I fill up the empty space at the inside of each section. This alleviates stress from the pressures involved, and also reduces the amount of pumping I will need to do to remove air from the vacuum bag. As you can see in the photo below, I've also made a foam piece for the top of the stack to evenly apply clamping pressure.

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