Woodworking and Travel: Part 1

When you travel, look around you at the legacy of woodworkers from the past. Remember the work that was done with simple tools, and consider the possibility of making things that outlive yourself. Think of it if you decide that hand planing a board is too much work.

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This view is looking up into the spire of Salisbury Cathedral; one of the most amazing feats of engineering I’ve ever seen. Centuries old. No table saw. No thickness planer. Not even a battery-powered drill. Four hundred steps of climbing just to get high enough to take this photograph.

“In France, we dug trenches ten miles long. We took earth from here and made hills there. We moved entire fields. You wouldn’t believe what we did. It’s possible. It’s just hard work.” – Johnny Shellshocked, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain
I’ve seen a lot of amazing, lasting woodwork while traveling this year. More to come.

(Not to say technology ain’t great. This post comes to you from Virgin America flight 720, somewhere over the Southwest. Ain’t it great.)

Ross Henton
July 2012

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Back to School, Nu Yawk Style

Last year, I was invited to teach a short introductory hand-tool class at the new (not-even-officially-opened) Lawson Boating Center on Lake Chautauqua.  It was successful enough that they’ve asked me to come back this year and present a longer class – two days this time.  This is going to be a fun class, and topics will be all over the map of hand tool types and techniques.  Class will be on Saturday, July 21st, and Sunday, July 22nd. (Yes, it really says 8:00 in the morning. They’ve promised me coffee.)

The poster doesn’t begin to describe the fun we’re going to have (or at least, the fun that I’m going to have).  It can’t capture things like last year’s challenge: “Make this crappy blue Record plane cut something.” Or the fact that we didn’t have a real workbench, but made do with what appeared to be a Roman relic instead.

Seriously, last year was a blast, and I think this one will be as well. I’d love to see any of you there if you’re in the area.

About the Lawson Center:

The Lawson Boating Heritage Center on Chautauqua Lake. If it sounds cool, it’s because it is. Wonderful people, fascinating place, wonderful little town. The members there are all tied to the history of wooden boats on the lake, and you can see some fascinating examples of a type of woodworking most of us never get a good chance to experience – the construction, preservation, and restoration of antique wooden boats.

The Lawson Center: 73 Lakeside Drive (P.O. Box 10), Bemus Point, New York 14712. N 42*9’37” by W 79*23’34”

About Bemus Point:

The Village Casino. I’ll be down there eating wings a lot of the week.

The Italian Fisherman. Or here, eating pasta. Conveniently, next door to the Lawson Center. Maybe it’s fate.

Otherwise, I’ll be out on the lake enjoying the weather. And my friend Bill’s Chris-Craft Riviera. Wahoo. See you on the water.

Next time: Several of you have asked why I haven’t posted recently.  Real Life interfered with my shop schedule, but gave me the chance to do some traveling: Munich, London, Paris, Kalifornia… so next post, it’s Woodworking on Vacation: How To Bore Your Family With Woodworking Stuff While In A Magnificent Medieval Cathedral.

Ross Henton

July 2012