Monday, December 03, 2012

18th century wood shop...

An 18th century wood shop was discovered at a private pre-school for in Doxbury, Massachusetts. It is certainly a reminder of more simple days of craftsmanship. One can only wish that tools and shavings were still in place. This series of photographs, however, can help stir the imagination. My thanks to JD for the links.

Yesterday my wife asked my ideas of life, death, life after death, reincarnation and the like...  notions that I would normally reserve for my Sawzen blog which usually languishes unattended, as most of my writing time is invested here. One can almost feel the presence of an earlier craftsman in the Roxbury shop. Can it be that the man who spent glorious hours creatively engaged there is actually dead? Or does the best part of him live in our own hands and attentions and through our own creative acts?

There is a silliness in thinking we are separate individuals in the first place. And if we can get over that silliness, can we not see that the comings and goings of individual bodies is of less significance than our fears might imply? And if we were to arrive at a place beyond that silliness, from which we might witness the depth and breadth of our connections with others, could we not determine it to be wise to give more to others, that our own attentions might be more fully invested in that which lives on uninterrupted by death? If you make something beautiful and lasting, or share with others the ability to do so, and then your own body meets the moment of actual dissolution and distribution, are you dead, or is the best part of you extended as essence in all that you've touched?

Today at the Clear Spring School students in 4th, 5th and 6th grades will be making toys for the food bank and the high school students will be making cigar box guitars.

make, fix and create...


  1. Do you use an available plan for a cigar box guitar? My wife has brought home several cigar boxes and I thing I might like to make a guitar from one of them.

  2. We're not working from a plan, but because I wanted the guitars to have frets uniformly placed so that the guitars can be tuned to play together, we used a standard fret layout which requires a set distance between nut and bridge.

    We also are making our own boxes rather than using actual cigar boxes, because with my skills as a regular box maker, we were able to set up and make box jointed boxes so easily. Some of the kids would have preferred to use cigar boxes, but with my father having died of lung cancer, my preference also was to not buy into cigar boxes, but to use the process to develop skill.

    There are lots of plans on the internet for making a cigar box guitars. I examined them to help gain confidence in going ahead, and then settled for an evolving design as we've made them.

    Thanks for asking.

  3. I really hope that my essence will outlast my body by quite a bit. In the same way, those box guitars will probably outlast their makers and be family stories for a very long time.


  4. Despite the seemingly individual notions swirling around in the confines of our heads, it appears to me that the idea of our individuality and separateness is a fallacious.

    Those who look beyond the apparent boundaries of self, discover we are so much more. Attempting to make something that expresses wider, more transcendent self requiring individual growth is one key to discovery of true self. And that can last a long time, even if the object made is a complete failure.