Lynn, Thank you for the nice comments about my work. You made a statement of which I would like to express my thoughts. You stated "if I could only make such beautiful...........". Lynn you can do the very same thing as I do. You are already further ahead in the game that you think you are or at least are not giving yourself the credit that you should. You are making log items, going back to the very beginning of woodworking when it all began. The taking of a log and or a combination of twigs and branches and making items of use. Your are doing the logging and processing of lumber that gives you a great understanding of what lumber is all about and how it behaves in the stages long before it gets to the craftsman in a well equipted shop. What this tells me it that you definately have several things needed to be a craftsman, The first and most importance is the love of wood and the appreciation of what it can become. You have a talent with knowledge many do not have or never will have and part of that is being able to assemble whole or part of logs into something of beauty and usefulness. This takes more that just understanding of wood and it behavior but also artistic talent and ability to see something in the form of an object. in your craft, you do not have the luxery of having straight perfect lumber that we find in a lumber dealers racks, but you are taking Natures own form and perfecting objects of a speciality quality. I would call this a "special craftsman" whom can do this. You are practicing a craft that is rapidly dying, faster that the arts that I am practicing. I would love nothing more that to see some of your work posted on this site as an example and inspiration for others.
Leaving the hetic world of law enforcement over 20 some years ago and starting a new venture in working with wood has been truly the best move I have ever made in my life. It has given me much enjoyment and satisfaction in life. Although I had played with woodworking in my juvenile years it was not until I began a second career that I really found out what it was all about. It was scary to step into a world where I would would be competing with craftsman whom had years of experience and the very best of equiptment. I started with a few hand tools and bought a saw and a few power tools and burined my head into building cabinetary and other custom woodwork. I give credit to a couple things that I had told many of the persons whom I have interviewed in my prior career, that probably isone of the things that caused me to achieve my golds. That was a quote from an Anonymous person years before my time, " If you don't learn from your mistakes,there is no sense making them." and the famous quote from Aristotle, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not and act, but a habit." With these in mind I plunged on making mistakes and learned how to fix them. By learning how to fix them it taught me not to make the same mistake again.
I found myself either in the wood shop or with my mind reading from the works of other crafstman and read these books like they were law books. I learned as much as I could assorb from the books and practiced on different wood joints and tested them to determine which were the best joint for a perticular job. I made my share of the dato joints and the common wood joints in cabinet work. Competion was stiff and things were tight and I needed to figure out how to increase my work productivitly and started seeking additional shop methods.
One day in early 1990's at a woodworking show in Portland Oregon I met a young energy filled Represenative from Kreg Tools whom was demostrating and selling the Kreg jig. He was full of knowledge and information relating to woodworking and its construction with skills that left you knowing without a doubt that he knew more than: "this is a product I'm selling and this is a butt joint and you join it here with two screws drilled in piece."
Talking with him he told me of his years of experience and had been a cabinet maker in his own shop. He demostrated the kreg jig to me showing me ways to make joints that were unheard of before in wood jointery of which were complicated joints. I bought that tool which was the K2 kreg jig. I took it home and it changed my whole method of building cabinets and actually about doubled my shop products. My point here is that there is always a different method and way of arriving at the same gold. Your method and my methods might not be the same however they can arrive to perform the same functions. A bed frame you build with logs will perform the same as mine, they just have a different form of how they look.
What I am trying to convey to you is that you are practicing a harder form of craftsmanship that I am as you have to figure out how to make your joint fit where as I just cut mine to fit. You are a "CRAFTSMAN".
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