Thursday, November 06, 2014


Yesterday I sanded over 120 boxes, preparing them for signature and finish next week. I've refined my technique by using a 1/2 sheet sander turned upside down in a wooden box that confines its vibration on the benchtop, and also allows for a vacuum to remove sanding dust. It makes what would be an odious task, much more pleasant, and nearly dust free. The box rattles when the sander is turned on, but overall the sandeer is no noisier than normal and the small gap around the pad allows for the vacuum to maintain a constant stream of air pulling dust away.

I am also working on chapter four of my book on making Froebel's gifts. This chapter will include gifts number 5, 5b and 6, and I had been puzzling over how Friedrich Froebel would have whittled certain shaped blocks with simple hand tools. We have no evidence that he had power tools of any kind, and we do have evidence that he whittled and did basic carpentry.
A simple gouge provides the answer. While at first I had thought perhaps Freobel might have had molding planes to make these cuts, I learned yesterday in my experiments that a gouge is far more effective, provided your wood has a straight grain. This does require a modicum of skill in the use of a gouge, but no more than a craftsman might acquire easily by use of a chisel.

Those of us living in a highly technological society, presume solutions to come only from high tech, rather than low, uncomplicated and skilled means of production. Efficiency in manufacture of small items may require machinery, but craftsmanship does not.

Make, fix and create...

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