Wednesday, March 31, 2021

'godt øyemål'

Øyemål is a Norwegian word meaning "eye measure" and is related as a concept to a phrase used by boat builders when they describe building a boat by "the rack of the eye." The word "rack" is related to Norwegian and Swedish as well as Scots Gaelic meaning straight or direct, and is related it seems to both the ability to discern proper form by eye, and the process of building direct without being encumbered by plans... to go from the mind to the finished form. This is important, as developing a sense of form is related to math in the form of spatial sense. Spatial sense is an important part of mathematics that lies deeper and more foundational than the manipulation of numbers and number sense.

In woodworking,  "godt øyemål" or good eye measure is useful in planing a board flat or an edge straight or square, but it also is useful in determining the "rightness" of curved surfaces, what are called in boat building  "fair forms." In this case, fair does not mean something only halfway done, but rather smooth and beautiful. A fair hull, unencumbered by unnecessary bumps and irregularities would cut through water like a knife. This also seems related to one of my earlier blog posts about Malcolm Galdwell's book "Blink," and left and right brained views of the world.

It is  also related to the exercise of creativity in the wood shop. Today in the wood shop at the Clear Spring School my students will begin making spoon carving knives. My thanks to my friend Knud in Stavanger for finding the word øyemål.

Make, fix and create. Assist others in learning likewise.

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