Monday, December 14, 2009

A Note from the Woodshop

I would agree that I am on occasion not the brightest bulb in the universe. I do not see a lot of things that other people see, particularly when it comes to personal relationships. Never let it be said that I ignored those that have been there for me recently.

I have figured out that you can tell who your friends really are when they drive great distances to come and see you when you are shot to pieces in the hospital. This is not to say that if you did not come to see me while I was at IU medical Center, that you are not my friend, but I am saying that the number of people who showed up astounded me. I was blown away by the number of people who came that I would not have ever predicted would show up.

Such loyalty and kindness should be rewarded, I think.

We live in an age of mass-produced crap. Rarely do any of us buy anything that is custom made for us or is made by someone who really cares about what they are making. I can think of a few exceptions, Ducati motorcycles and Porsche cars, being two. At these companies the engine builders still sign their names inside each engine that they produce. There is also a company that produces wood planes and handsaws that are works of art for craftsmen who understand the value of good tools. But for the most part what almost all of us buy, me included, is something knocked off quickly with an eagle eye fixed on the bottom line. Not so with what I build.

The tables, and indeed everything I build, are imperfect; look closely and you might see a scratch from my block plane or maybe a worm hole in the wood. What you won't find is Formica, fake wood or veneers. Again, what I build is not perfect, but it is the best I could do at the time. The next thing I build will be a little better, I hope. I like to think that craftsmanship is like playing music, flying aerobatics or practicing law. There is always room for improvement. I strive for perfection and always fall short. But it is a worthy goal.

Everybody that came to visit me in the hospital is getting a small oak table hand made by yours truly. Each table is made of the finest wood I could find, features mortise and tenon joints, has a custom inlay, and will last at least 100 years. Each table is signed by me and has a personal note to the recipient attached.

Here is a picture of the tables in my shop after construction was completed.

Mike out.

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