Monday, April 16, 2012


Over the weekend, I applied Danish oil to boxes and shipped an order to Appalachian Spring Gallery in Washington, DC. There is pleasure in watching the wood come to life as the oil is applied. Getting the finish just right requires careful rubbing and wiping of each piece. The finish also reveals any small scratches that have been missed in the sanding. So the craftsman learns to apply diligence at all steps.

There is also pleasure in shipping and selling my work. It provides cash for the household expenses and also provides the excuse for me to make more.

The photos above and below are from today's classes at the CSS wood shop. The 4th, 5th and 6th grade students had a practice day learning safe and careful hand tool work, including planes and 3 kinds of hand drill. They asked when they arrived, "What are we making today?" "Evidence of learning," I replied. The idea was not to make anything specific, but to simply take a piece of walnut, and use it to learn the actions of the various tools, planing the surfaces flat, squaring edges and drilling holes.  Ozric, a 5th grade student said, "this is the best day of wood shop ever!"

Among the lessons learned in the use of hand tools is to be aware of your own body. As I explained to the kids, you can run a game controller while flat in bed, but to use real tools requires a sense of your own relationship to the earth and to the work at hand.

The high school classes finished their bridge building.  All students are more excited about learning when they are able to test tools, materials, skill and attention in their own hands.

Make, fix and create...

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