The old time woodshop journals #21: Technology and woodwork

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Blog entry by jjw5858 posted 08-15-2012 09:03 PM 1871 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 20: From maple shaves to maul Part 21 of The old time woodshop journals series Part 22: Wonders of German Woodcraft! »

Wether your shop is filled to the walls with the latest and fastest powered equipment or you may entertain the challenges of hand tool work, technology has definitely taken great force in our modern times for almost anything you can think of.

Just the other evening I found myself being reminded of just how much information you can click and save on woodworking, music, history, etc….it is so present in our daily lives we all have become quite expected to be instantly served data of any kind quickly. If and when this does not happen…we usually become unsettled, angry, or panicked almost as if a portion of our bodies has been eliminated…lol.

It’s good to laugh at all this gizmo madness and all the while on the other hand it is pretty scary even a little sad. Where are we going exactly? Fumbling about like zombies watching television on our droid cell phones…remember them?..droids?....did you ever really think at some point the robots in 1977’s Star Wars would actually be a gadget to call up your friend to have over so you can watch the game…on your movie house sized high definition entertainment system. Call up C-3PO we may just be doomed master Luke…lol.

My fascination for this themed composition is that I totally love shutting off this gigabyte world for a few hours daily if possible so I can retreat to my shop and pretend basically I am in a different time period. But why is that? Why at 41 years old do I crave this? I think for me I want to keep a relationship with real things like trees, birds, the smell of flowers and surely old tools. Ok, lots of old tools. But it is rather funny to type these thoughts down on my apple computer….see…more tech!

There is some very basic element that is satisfying to me to feel a spokeshave glide paper thin shavings down a work piece. The skills seem easy and yet as that spokeshave blade progresses it’s cut I realize my eyes must guide the paths of grain, wood sailing if you like in the seas of pine, cherry or whatever is available.

I guess a woodworking commercial break is in Here is a preview of my latest spoon project.

To see the whole pictorial please click here!

I have stated before that I enjoy the social outsider capacities of this old grunt work too at times….it’s sort of fun to have something that’s not always cutting edge (hey there’s a good pun) or the fastest way to finish a project. What happened to all of us on the planet anyhow? Sometimes I see us all like a bunch of crazed ants always wanting the speed and rarely knowing the need. My neighborhood has continued to increase with traffic and far too much road kill at an almost daily rate. I think a little slowing down is well in order….hold on…gotta call on my cell….lmao…..just kidding….it was a text.

With all of this I have come to the comedic conclusion that all you can do is try to restore balance in your life. Enjoy a little ipod with your millers falls as you bore that mortise, text your friend to tell him about your new hand plane you just got from ebay, facebook your friends about that new axe sharpening routine (but be careful how you word that…lmao), or tweet….ummm….......nah,...hell friends….I ain’t tweetin’ a dam thing…................yet…..lmao!

Of course we have our lumberjocks as well….here is a wonderful showcase of artisans from all parts of the globe varying in styles and approaches to wood work. We have to be grateful for that technology. Just think somewhere as I sit in my little part of the woods in NJ all of you are out there in different time zones some working wood, some asleep, all through the world of the computer. That’s pretty amazing.

It’s amazing…and it’s great that we all can share in it. We have the ability to share our time and talents of something we really love putting our souls into ….woodworking.

I thank you all for sharing those talents and time with me.

This is Joe in HQ (High Quality) sending a cheers!

Be well!

-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

10 comments so far

View Brit's profile


7385 posts in 2864 days

#1 posted 08-15-2012 10:38 PM

@jjw5858 Stop the world, I want to get off.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2430 days

#2 posted 08-15-2012 11:30 PM

I live in the north-western tip of Virginia. I am lucky in that a cell phone does not work where I live. YEA !

I have never texted or been texted to and am not interested in it at all. BUT….......the world-wide-interweb is a MUST have for me. An electronic library, encyclopedia and, dont forget, the biggest voyeurs window on human behavior that has ever, so far, been invented.

I could go on and on but won’t. LOL

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 2246 days

#3 posted 08-15-2012 11:57 PM

I am horrified daily that so many of us cannot go five minutes without some outside stimulus. The thought of not being able to INSTANTLY tell everyone I know what I saw on my way to work, or to share the link to another funny video on YouTube, frightens us. If I make a habit of turning off my employer-paid mobile phone for a few hours every night, I am accused of not being available whenever my boss wants to ask me a question. Every airline terminal, every doctor’s waiting room, every car dealers showroom is filled with video screens assaulting me with over-loud images and sounds.

What is surprizing is that there is not more of a trend toward stepping back whenever we can to breath, pick up a tool and see what we can do with it, to explore, to experiment, to play. To see where my imagination takes me, rather than being lead by the raucous trumpet blaring for everyone’s attention.

i want to get off too.

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2826 days

#4 posted 08-16-2012 12:29 AM

I’m sippin a Coors Light with that toast. “click”

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View mafe's profile


11730 posts in 3111 days

#5 posted 08-16-2012 05:09 PM

Just had two weeks off the world, no cell phone no internet.
Two weeks just breathing.
Yes there should be a month off every year.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2862 days

#6 posted 08-17-2012 12:22 AM

Joe I come home on Friday and toss my phone in the night stand and may not look at it till Monday morning.
One of my favorite pastimes is riding my motorcycle. I get on it and ride.It is me, the road and the wind. An occasional bug or two. But I will ride all day and there is no radio, phone or any one hassling me.
There are no motorcycles in front of a psychiatrist office.
Wood work eases my mind as well.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Brit's profile


7385 posts in 2864 days

#7 posted 08-19-2012 12:08 PM

I nearly threw my laptop through the window today. I was entering my expenses for last week and for one of my train tickets into London, it kept giving me an error which read ”A transaction expenditure control has been violated.” My response was “You piece of SH1T!!! Why don’t you tell me WHAT I’ve done wrong instead of just telling me that something IS wrong?” GRRRRRR!!!!!!

I’ve been travelling to London all last week on the 05:53 train. I thought of this post and smiled as I looked around at my fellow travellers. Half of them were trying to reclaim lost sleep so they could get through the day and the other half were assasinating the English language as their fat fingers tried in vain to press tiny keys on their smartphones. God help us all!!! LOL.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 2624 days

#8 posted 08-19-2012 10:40 PM

Sorry for your troubles Andy. Glad you had a laugh with this piece though to help you through your frustrations…lol.

Be well my friend and safe travels!


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View mafe's profile


11730 posts in 3111 days

#9 posted 08-21-2012 06:24 AM


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2878 days

#10 posted 08-21-2012 07:27 AM

Joe you are getting it into a balance

The other day you made a simple spoon

It was amazing the conversation that it

stirred amongst my “Jolly Rouges”. It for me

brought me back to being a wee boy again

and I remembered the hand made spoon I

ate my porridge with and a smaller one for

my boiled eggs. They were made of Horn

and were fairly common here in Ayrshire.

One of my JR’s is 78 and another is 23 so

it was educational for us all. So your post

was of great interest.

I was retired at 40, I fought and kicked up

about how unfair this was for about a year, I

felt trapped. Then I got my tools out started

cleaning them up and started appreciating life

out went the TV & newspapers.

I’m now with a full order book some great friends

go through a few hundred tea bags a week, but

I have time to enjoy the real pleasures in life. LJ’s

has been a great place for me, even during a bad year

they were there checking I was ok. I can go into my

shop at 3am pick up a tool, hone it and pick up a

piece of wood and make something. I have my ipod

and my PC for when I need it. They can be switched

off and I can enjoy the sound of a sharp chisel cutting

through wood. :)

Thank you for sharing a piece of your world


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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