Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had to remind myself that’s it’s January. A few bright and mild days and a little chipping up in the trees had put that unmistakable hint of Spring in the air around here so I was almost pleased to see a thick blanket of frost covering the floor this morning. Pleased, because I was starting to worry we wouldn’t get much use out of the stove Richard had gone to the effort of fitting last weekend.When you’re busy in the workshop the need for a stove is a lot less than I had expected and I realised that yesterday when I decided to go with my urge to pick up the freshly tuned plane left sitting on the workbench. Richard has often said that creating a new setting for the hand tools which is entirely separate from the business and workbenches allows him to enjoy it all very differently and I’ve started to see what he means. Everything feels less pressing and much more relaxed – just like a hobby.
I used to feel like this many years ago when I’d potter alongside Richard and carve a little something or make miniature pieces of furniture and I remember my first and last attempt at cutting dovetails well; I had to force the joint together fiercely despite it having many large gaps.
Whilst I’ve always had a great fondness for making things when it comes to woodwork I’ve naturally left it to Richard and stuck to my own area of knowledge; the designing and history. This gives a good balance between the two of us but as any crafts person will know, the processes are very closely linked and we’re often bouncing ideas off one another. I understand wood well enough to design well but I feel there’s a lot I could gain from taking a more practical interest.
Yesterday whilst deep in thought about this I started planing a pine board. Once I was taking some full length shavings I remembered just how addictive this was and it made me wander if I would be able to try my hand at those dovetails again soon. I looked down at the pile of shavings I’d made and felt that for now I was quite content at simply making those, it was therapeutic. Athough I would like to expand on this soon and maybe making furniture isn’t out of the question, it would be fun to learn and with all the tools in the workshop it would be an opportunity missed if I don’t give it a try.
I’m aware of course that I could be cheating; I’d picked up a beutifully tuned plane and hadn’t even thought about setting it up or the need to sharpen. If I were doing this on my own it would be those parts which I’d find the most daunting. I also have a feeling that the very solid nature of the workbench was a big help – of all the benches I’ve helped assemble, oil and wrap this was the first time I was able to appreciate one for what it was and it did look all the more beautiful for it. Richard explained to me last week how he needs his Little John bench back at the other workshop but I’m wondering now if I could make him change his mind as I think I’d like to keep it where it is! If I’m successful then maybe I’ll be able to start out in a little woodworking journey of my own and perhaps even start my own journal at the side of this blog.
More Posts From My Beginner’s Journey
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