It’s broken my heart the past few months to have so little shop time. Work-related travel has kept me away from shavings and sawdust – honestly, I recently bought a new set of chisels (Stanley Sweetheart 750s, more about those later), and I really enjoyed the hour I spent sharpening and flattening them. When I really enjoy sharpening, I’ve been out of the shop too long.
But being away has also amazed me sometimes, as I’ve seen (and learned things) from past craftsmen. For example:
This amazing carved bench – inscription courtesy of Otis Redding – was on display at the Chelsea Flower Show, in London. The work was outstanding; I loved the subtle curves carved into the seat. The closer I looked, the more impressed I was – it was flawless work.
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not it’s worth that little extra time to put into your joinery, consider this little chaise – it’s Egyptian. 18th dynasty, somewhere between 1550-1186 BC. It’s survived over three thousand years. Honestly, that makes me want to spend a little more practice time with my joinery, and stop patting myself on the back because my mesquite table has survived three whole years so far.
One of my favorite pastimes is making my own hand tools. They’re fun, accurate, made for my hand, and I get far more joy out of using them on other projects than anything I’m likely to ever buy at Woodcraft. I hope they hold up this well – this ruler (an “angulated rule”) belonged to Tutankhamen’s Minister of Finance.Stop to consider sometime that the work of your hands may outlast a few years in the corner of your house, or a generation in your tool chest. Maybe it’ll face a longer test of time.
And Now, a Shameless Plug:
I have one other great passion besides woodworking – I’ve been a photographer as long as I could hold a camera. Recently, I’ve gotten more serious about it, and started to make prints available for sale. My work is mostly travel, architectural, and garden photography – the photos on my blog are mostly just iPhone snaps (because it’s handy).
If you’re interested to see some of my other work, it’s viewable at my other website, Art in Transit: http://ross-henton.artistwebsites.com/
Also, on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ArtInTransit
Next time: Hopefully, back to the Mystery Project.
black white art