Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Master's project

It used to be, that to become a Master woodworker, a person had to pass one last test. He had to use all of the skills he had learned from the master he studies under to craft a final piece. It would be his Master-piece.

If his master approved of his work, the woodworker was now a Master himself. If he didn't approve of his work, he never would be. It's a one shot deal, there are no do-overs.

Today things are done very different in most trades. But woodworking is one of the oldest professions (in here we need to interject a little story: woodworking is in fact the second oldest profession. When the first profession was offered, a branch was broken off a local tree, thus creating a club and the second profession - woodworking. The club was then used to procure the first profession, thus creating the third profession - war. And eliminating a problem that would not appear for an eon, pacifism).

Back to the point: In woodworking there is still a respect for the ways of the past. Many advances have been made, but you'll find that much of that is about making things easier and faster. But those old ways still work wonderfully and still inspire the hand to touch the piece.

However, most have forgotten the test of the Master Piece. Few attempt it these days. But I'm going to be among those few. I'm going to create my Master's Tool Chest as my Master's project. Because I'm a furniture builder, my Master's piece needs to contain elements of that in it's design. It will also have elements of all of the things that I can do.

The biggest trick, I can't really use all of the modern electrical tools to make things easier and faster. That's right, no power tools. Am allowed to use a mill to cut, but everything beyond that, including the drying, must be done by hand.

The first step has begun. I am building a drafting table (Pictures of this will be coming soon) in the shop so I can design my Master's chest. This is not part of the master's project, so yes, I am using power tools on it. And I have acquired a private tutor to teach me to use a slide rule so I can relieve myself of that wonderful little gadget, a calculator. UG If the slide rule don't work out, I may end up making an abacus. I know how to use an abacus. :)

My next step is to obtain a log. That's right, not lumber, but a log. And I'll have to turn that log into lumber. Surprisingly this has been harder than expected. But I'll discuss the trouble with this later as well.

Be sure to check back often as I work my way through this amazing project!

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