Friday, August 31, 2012

Thoughts on Craftsmanship

Hey there.

Just a few thoughts that have been spinning in my head that I thought I should write down for the sake of writing.

Woodworking is a creative outlet that I get paid for. Sometimes its a good deal and sometimes not the best deal, but overall its fairly rewarding.

To stay inspired, I hit the woodworking blogs to see what other people are up to and look at the pictures.

All cool stuff, but like many things, a lot of woodworkers spend more time on the internet reading about woodworking than actually getting out and doing it.

Granted, tools are expensive and not always available and wood, even the expensive stuff, can be hard to come by. So the net can be a fix for those short on cash or supplies or just looking for inspiration, but at the end of the day, you just have to get out and do it and see where the rubber meets the road.

Just do it.

Most of what we do at the woodshop is off plan, meaning that with the exception of a few general parameters/measurements, we just build it. It's not the best way to do work, but somehow this works.
I've done simple drawings and stuff for customers and worked from those, but when I look at professional drawings, even for some stuff as simple as a workbench, I get confused. But then I look at the picture and I am all better.

Anyway, some people do a couple projects a year and end up with a disappointment at the end of their journey when the look at their work, even with tight "fine" joinery and nice materials. My joinery is pretty basic, a level or two above monkey work and yet a piece can come out looking amazing.

What I am trying to distill here is that its not about the joinery for me, which it is for some who call themselves fine woodworkers. It is about the wood.

I got into woodworking because I love the wood. I love to be surrounded by it. I love to burn it. And I love to work it. What I attempt to do every time I got into the shop has nothing to do with joinery. It has everything to do with celebrating the wood and producing something that looks awesome and will be awesome for someone. The fact that most of it is glued and screwed with the domino joinery from Festool for the most part, well, it is what it is. The wood is still beautiful, the piece is still functional, and it's all built like a brick shithouse.

Though it smells much better.

This concept was confirmed for me earlier this week when Clare and I visited a new cabin-like general store near Crabtree Falls in Virginia. In exploring their cabin, I looked at all the joinery, the wood, the finish, everything. It was beautiful rough-sawn pine and poplar from the mill nailed to the walls and ceiling. Simple. Gorgeous.  Righteous.

It was nothing fancy or complicated in terms of high art, but the whole place was pretty damn beautiful.

So I will close with this thought. Being a purist doesn't always add up. Sometimes you go with what works, what's comfortable, and what, at the end of the day, kicks ass.

God Bless.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dog Walk Gone Awry...

Tonite I had an experience I do not want to repeat.

My new found four-legged friend and I took our nightly walk down to the fields near the small car dealership at the beginning of our road. There is a very large mowed field next to do the dealer that is perfect for staring at the sky or horizon. This evening the moon was out and shining bright.

We had just returned from our trip, so in justice to the dog who stayed behind, I took him on his normal jaunt after our initial return.

After staring at the moon a bit, it was time to turn around and make our way back. Ollie (that is our dog's name) however, gave me a look that said he wanted to go farther and so started trying to play with me. Harder than I'd like. When I met his resistance and tried to get him to stop in ways that had work before. He chose not to listen and baited me to challenge him more.

At this point, I felt my authority as master being challenged. There was a change in the air with him, one that I had not seen before. I was damn near about ready to release his leash and put a bullet in him. Thank God I had my gun. I basically always carry now. He is a huge dog and the little voice inside my head was starting to tell me to be afraid.

So before going that route, I tried the one thing I know that works on both animals and humans to regain control of the situation. I ignored him. This put him off me and he was instantly at attention and began walking like a normal dog again.

But the air had changed. He had openly challenged my authority, using violence as a possible way to get attention and possibly the upper hand. I know he is a dog. I have had dogs all my life, but none ever made me question my safety with them. This one did and now he will have a short trip to the pound.

The truth is, I had a dream several days ago in which there were 2 Ollies. And in one, I pulled my gun and put a bullet in him. This made me sad, and when I woke up, I shook it off, believing it be nothing.

But it wasn't. I was being warned that something was afoot. Sometimes God sends or allows a signal to be sent to us to prepare us for the road ahead. Thankfully, this isn't the first time I've been given a "heads up" on an issue. I just didn't want to see a problem here. But now I certainly do.

Among others, that lessons that stand out to me from this experience are carry a gun for your own personal protection and have multiple options, if possible, for dealing with any conflict. It makes me sick that I nearly had to shoot my own damn dog. And make no mistake, I would have unloaded the clip in him. It's just not something I would have ever wanted to do.

God Bless,


Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Home Projects

Well, as you know, I've figured out the master plan, as it were, to getting this place ship shape.

My commitment is to spend an hour or two each day tacking the things that need to be tackled around here. If you were to walk my house you would see that I am living in a half-finished construction zone, or something like that.

The first order of business has been to wrap up a bench project for the house. Kieran is obsessed with moving chairs and leaning on them, so we have been trying to get a bench put in the house for a while now.

The good news is that the bench is basically done. The first coat of finish is on as well as some oil. Today, I will resand as necessary and do what is hopefully the final oil finish. And then it comes home.

I had taken pictures of my weapons, but somehow they have escaped being uploaded. Those are still to come.

Finally, I've ordered the CZ P-07 Duty, as some (ok one or two) of you know. The idea is that this will be my new carry weapon, as it is a slim profile, light and concealable weapon with a double-stacked 9mm.

I picked it up at Gander Mountain some time ago and it just clicked with me. Most weapons usually do. Imagine that. Anyway, I found a good deal on and am just waiting the FFL. I look forward to taking it out to the backyard. Yes, for moderate practice, I've just sorta said screw the neighbors' misgivings. I will just go out back and shoot.

While I have strayed from discussing the subject of economic apocalypse for some time, I am of the firm belief that essentials should be in order by the election. I am hoping for an unexciting fall where the President becomes a one-termer and that's it, but I am not counting on it. When things go to shit economy wise, it's usually in the fall for some reason. Add to that the election and you have a major ingredient for mayhem.

So yah, shit here is good. Can't complain. Gotta get outside and cut up my firewood, clear the garden for fall crops, and build a dog run. Plenty to do.

Over and Out,