Sometime you just have to keep up with the times, so I'd like to introduce my new robotic travisher maker, The Armitron.
Actually, this is what happens when I leave the shop for a few hours and a 25 year old toolmaker finds a 30 year old toy. The funny part of pulling this thing from the attic is that every male from 30 to 45 who see it shouts, ARMITRON!!
Here is a photo of Ken St. Onge, Armitron devotee and editor from Fine Woodworking. He and I have been working on a two part turning article and he took it to heart when I suggested a day at my lathe might benefit us both as we head into producing part two. Perhaps no tool requires resilience when learning such as the lathe and teaching it gives a view into the ways that each person deals with failure, largely because there is no way to learn to turn without lots of it.
Of course, there are plenty of other activities in chairmaking that require a healthy does of composure in the face of adversity.
I think that perhaps I’ve reached a tipping point where I’ve had my efforts go awry enough times to take it in stride, or at the very least, not be shocked and utterly demoralized when it happens.
One part of our woodworking literature that is sadly missing is dealing with the failure inherent in the learning process. Most of us are on our own, learning from books or trial and error. The glossy images of wisened woodworkers who’ve mastered the craft only go to rub in the fact that we are not likely to get anything right the first time.
Here are a few quotes that I always have kicking around in my head when run full speed into my limitations.
"An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a given field."
"The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas."
"I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work."
Everyone screws up sometimes. It’s a humbling process, but if you embrace your mistakes and sometimes even learn to repeat them, not only will you master the technique, but you'll forge a process and perspective for learning that will spread into the rest of the workshop, maybe even beyond.
And of course, I'm referring to mastering the Armitron.