Monday, September 3, 2007

My Summer Vacation

It's finally happened. This is the first morning where it's too cold to sit on my porch and watch the sun come up over the treeline, so that must mean that blogging season's here! It has been a very busy summer, multiple students, two trips down south, a bunch of chairs built and some exciting new projects. Below is a photo of my teaching partner down at the Penland School of Crafts, Marc Maiorana.

As you can see he had the students full attention as he demonstrated the skill of hardening high carbon steel. Getting down to the basic connection between wood and iron was the focus of the class. I enjoyed seeing the students gain the ability to shape, harden, sharpen and use tools of their own making.
I had a conversation with Doug Roper the other day. I was happy to hear that he had arrived home safely in California after his chairmaking odyssey out east. Doug stopped to work with Curtis Buchanan, myself, and Dave Sawyer. I was curious to hear the impression that his experience had made on him. Doug mentioned that even though we all had variant techniques and priorities, there was a habit that all three of us exhibit. He said that we all, without hesitation, will stop what we are doing and sharpen the tool that we are using. I thought this was interesting and made me think back on Marc's demonstration. The fascination and joy of using sharp tools to cut wood is the basis for my interest in chairmaking and woodworking in general, the product is secondary. The dull tool is the equivalent of working in the dark.