Popular Woodworking 2009-11 № 179, страница 6

Popular Woodworking 2009-11 № 179, страница 6

Out on a Limb

BY CHRISTOPHER SCHWARZ, EDITOR

®

Learn How. Discover Why. Build Better.

Getting Worked By the Wood

he garbage disposal was clogged with a chicken bone. And after three unsuccessful attempts to grind up the bone (and a little profanity for good measure), I reached my hand into the slimy hole.

What I pulled out was my beloved Sinn 656 wristwatch, which had gotten knocked into the sink while I was rinsing the dinner dishes.

The watch's crown was battered, its waterproof seal was broken and within a couple weeks the watch stopped ticking.

Normally, this would be a $30 fix. Go buy a Timex at Target and be done with it. But a lifetime of woodworking has made that strategy impossible.

We woodworkers normally view the craft as an activity where humans perform brutal acts on dead trees to shape their dried carcasses to our liking.

However, what we rarely take note of is how working with this raw material changes us.

My love of handmade furniture changed the type of car I drive. When I was shopping for a used car last year, my research went way beyond brand names and dove deeply into the type of engine, plus which factory it was assembled in. Some factories take more care in bolting down your water pump than others. Care counts.

Woodworking has changed the beer I drink. I found a local brewery that sells its beer in half-gallon glass growlers. The beer is fresher, cheaper ($5.99) and there's no wasted cardboard, bottlecaps or bottles to

recycle. Plus, I know the name of the guy who developed the recipe.

Woodworking has changed what I hang on our walls at home. I've found a network of self-taught artists, many with disabilities , who produce work of astounding beauty that is made with care and detail. Like woodworkers, they produce these works despite an industry of mass-produced Matisse posters.

But most of all, woodworking has taught me to reject things that are disposable and wasteful and embrace things that are well-made, even if they are less sophisticated or sometimes more expensive.

To some, this might sound like a political column. I assure you it's not. My personal politics don't fit any party's platform. I frustrate both my liberal and conservative friends at every dinner party.

Instead, this column is an acknowledgement that working with wood has changed me more than any institution or individual has ever managed to.

And I need no more evidence of that than what I did after I fished my watch from the sink. I sent it out to be fixed, even though I could buy 10 watches for the price of the repair. My Sinn isn't flashy, but it's so well made that I could never pitch it.

And that is exactly what I want future generations to think of my furniture. It is simply too good to ever throw away. PW

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Safety Note

Safety is your responsibility. Manufacturers place safety devices on their equipment for a reason. In many photos you see in Popular Woodworking, these have been removed to provide clarity. In some cases we'll use an awkward body position so you can better see what's being demonstrated. Don't copy us. Think about each procedure you're going to perform beforehand.

8 ■ Popular Woodworking November 2009

PHOTO BY THEAUTHOR

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