The last few days in the shop have provided opportunity for some self-observation. My power tools have been ignored while I do some assembly and finishing. And since a piece of sandpaper in my hand to typically pretty safe my mind has been kinda watching me do things.
First, let me say that hand tool work is hard. I’m making a few tables and thought it was a good opportunity to practice flattening the tops using my planes. And, when all was said and done, they were definitely better than when I’ve relied on my power sanders. HOWEVER, when I was done, my arms and shoulders were quite sore. Apparently planes don’t cut through wood as easily as it looks; they require someone to push them. And the repetitive pushing causes a bit of a strain on the old muscles. So while the result is desirable, it’s a lot of work.
Second, hand sanding has become very theraputic for me. I find I enjoy the simplicity of it and the rhythm that accompanies the process. Well, at least until my hand cramps up. Still I’ve found that as I sand, I get a hint of when I’m ready to move to the next grit by the sound the sandpaper produces as it moves across the wood. As the wood begins approaches the point where it’s time to change, the pitch of the abrasive get a little bit higher and a little bit softer. It’s almost as if the wood is saying, “I’m ready for the next step.”
Finally, have you ever wondered what you look like to someone else while you’re working? While cleaning out some mortises with a chisel a picture of my grandfather working at his bench came to mind. I wondered if people saw me working would they think of a meticulous older man fiddling with a part to get it to fit just right? Or, would they just see me hunched over tapping a chisel into a piece of wood? I’d like to think of myself as that meticulous fella, but sometimes I think I’m just some guy pounding on wood.
So as it turns out, this whole woodworking experience is more than just making stuff, but an opportunity to let the mind wander a bit.
-- Working at Woodworking http://www.VillageLaneFurniture.com