Sunday, February 24, 2013


3/4 in. narrow butt hinges illustrated in sketchup.
Writing how-to books is not just about writing. Unlike fiction, instructional material is based on having really done something. It requires the technological skill to communicate in a variety of ways, that then allows the readers to actually do what the writer has done. On my last book I was asked by my editor to do all my drawings in sketchup, so that dimensions for materials lists could be easily checked. This is all a bit more than the napkin sketches that I used for my first books and articles.

A thing as simple as a hinge can take time to illustrate. Fortunately, once I've illustrated a particular type of hinge, I can use it again and again in illustrations of other box designs. Now I've "made" hinges of two sizes and I've finally gotten the hang of how to do them more easily. I'm getting better at using skechup and I can still go to the wood shop and get away from this computer whenever I feel the need. Working within such a powerful program has certain constraints that must be mastered in order to work effectively.

Roger Guimps wrote of Pestalozzi's regard for intuition as described in his 10th letter in How Gertrude Teaches Her Children as follows:
" what Pestalozzi calls direct and experimental perception, whether in the domain of the physical or moral; intuitive ideas are those that result immediately from perceptions. All descriptions, explanations, and definitions are ineffectual upon the mind of the child if they do not rest upon already acquired ideas. This understood, we can in .a few lines give a resumé of this letter.

Intuition is the only basis of instruction, and for long it has been completely neglected in teaching. After the invention of printing the power and use of books were greatly exaggerated; the book was confounded with knowledge, and words with ideas.

In teaching, nothing but the book has been seen or employed (though now the computer and interenet are taking the place of books). In teaching the child to read, that is to say, to pronounce the articulate sound of the diverse assemblage of letters it was thought that the door to all knowledge was opened; we have only men of books, men of words, men of letters, in the narrowest and most material acceptation of the word: and an endless and unreasoning kind of talk has been created which deceives and stupifies with a 'deluge of words which correspond with no precise idea.

The same thing has occurred in the moral and religious 'development. After the Reformation, the mania for dogmatism was carried even into the teaching of little 'children so as to prepare them betimes for controversy. Instead of rousing and exercising in their hearts sentiments of faith, piety, and virtue, the first thing taught was a Catechism, that is a collection of abstract doctrines which could neither reach their mind nor their heart.

Here again it was words alone that were learnt.

This is how the school forsook nature, direct observation, the immediate impression of things and life, and practical and individual virtue."
Next come tuners, nut, bridge, strings and music (I hope)
Today in the wood shop I finished putting tiny pulls on my veneered boxes, and then applied finish to my box guitar, trying to stay at least one step ahead of my students.

Make, fix and create...

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