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Blog entry by frank posted 12-29-2006 02:05 PM 830 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Spirit Level

....and then there are those days when I need to make an adjustment to my way of thinking a project through, to see if I am still within the perimeters of abstract vision in my head or has my peripheral outside vision become tainted and therefore infected with a virus whereas I am no longer horizontally centered,....

WOW!!! Now where did I last lay my spirit level down at?

As a worker of wood and one who has been captivated by the character of rustic furniture, it did not take me long to realize there was going to be a problem with the way I continued to use my ‘spirit level’. Actually, I have had to re-adjust a lot of what I once thought and how I now work in the areas of woodworking.

As a finish carpenter where 32nds and 64rths could be too big, I also worked with machines where distance was measured by the micro. So when I converted over to timber framing I was lost, or a better word might be, I was handicapped by my need to see no-gap and no tell-tell lines. I would cut a half lap for some floor joists and get upset that there was an 1/8 inch gap when I dropped the joist into the summer beam and then there was the mortise and tenons….no, I’m not even going there.

But even through all the mind games that timber framing gave me, I always managed to hold onto and have faith in my ‘spirit level’, until the day I decided to make a piece of rustic furniture. I can still hear my head screaming at me now, “NO, and I mean no way, you are asking for too much if you expect me to work with you, without having a place of horizontal orientation.”

Yes, that was then and today is my now and in all the time that has come and gone, just as water passing below a bridge, I have overcome and learned how to live as one who can work with or without my ‘spirit level’.

I might add that in the summer time here in NH, I make it a habit of mine to go wandering at estate sales, barn sales and garage sales where I am still enamored by chasing after the many different versions of ‘spirit levels’. Ha! What I mean to say is I can not pass them by and so I take them home and place them on top of the grits in my barn. At least this gives me a since of comfort and stability, since I notice when doing this, that those girts are stiiillllll leveeelllllll. Giving thanks for the small things in life!

You all have a very good day!!!

-- --frank, NH,

2 comments so far

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4328 days

#1 posted 12-29-2006 03:16 PM

That reminds me of an old fellow who told me, that before they had rulers for measuring, they used two sticks, or straws to transfer measurements, so sometimes I use the same method instead of looking for my rule.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4206 days

#2 posted 12-31-2006 05:20 AM

Frank, this is one of the things I love about woodworking. In an age when technology is moving faster than the average LumberJock can keep up, it’s a delight to be involved with a pastime that still uses some of the oldest tool technology known to man.

I enjoy photography, and computers – but it gives me a sick sinking feeling each time I spend some of my hard earned money on a new item, knowing full-well it’s obsolete before I get it home.

When you think about it, a pull saw, chisel, hammer, plane, scraper, brace & bit, spirit level, and many many more woodworking tools have gone almost unchanged over the past two hundred years. And even if newer models with new features are introduced, the old versions still retain their usefulness and value – often even increasing in value.

Is it any wonder that we feel an affinity with these old tools?

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

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