The Joy of Woodworking

05 Aug

“0 Degrees” by Patrick Ashley

I am a craftsman, and I work with wood.

I don’t make the kind of excellent money some people make; I don’t always have a paycheck every week, but I do love what I do, and have a passion for it; it is not work, but my life.

I don’t sit in an office all day, pushing around electrons, rearranging pixels; I don’t wear nice clothes, and eat in a hip cafeteria. My office is dusty and noisey, my clothing tired, but there is a zen and solitude I don’t find anywhere else; it is a church of sorts.

I don’t have a prestigious title, nor a pension; but many men in offices would like to do what I can do – yet I know no fellow craftsman that would like to be in the office. At the end of my day, I have something to show for my efforts, a tangible object, not things done on a computer. When I am done, I have have crafted an object people like to take in, to touch.

I don’t sit in meetings all day that bore me; the only meeting I might have is with my sawyer, a coffee cup and some tools, and they are good company.

I make my own hours, and I determine my own course. I know what I need to get done, and I know when I can do it. If I don’t believe the course of my business is going in the right direction, I change it; there are no endless meetings, no debates with egotistical personalities.

You can’t buy what I make anywhere else; there is only one of what I make, even if I make several from the same plans; the wood determines the personality – I determine the body.

I don’t have a frustrating commute, and I don’t have to put up with office politics. There are no social agenda activities that I have to feign an interest in; I don’t have to work with people I don’t like, who get ahead unfairly, are obnoxious, or don’t pull their load. I don’t have to go through three people and five committees just to make a simple decision; I can make a decision on a dime, and execute it quickly. I am not simply a cog in the machine; I am the machine.

I work with wood.  I take it with my hands, in raw form, considering and appraising it for worth, and using my machines, cut, shave and bend it to my mind’s will, where I worked the wood first, even before my hands did. If, after all of the planning, the conjuring of a vision, the careful selection of the wood, the experience of my hands upon the wood creates something that, if I am a credit to my craft, I coax it into a beautiful and useful object, contributing to peoples lives, and speaking to them for me, reciting my passion and vision, evidence of the work of my hands and the impression of my thought, long after I am gone. What I create is it’s own; it has a voice, though silent, and can hear you, though mute. How many people can say that of their work?

I work with wood. I take what God has made, and I reveal the beauty within, posing it into a creation which can serve.


Posted by on August 5, 2013 in BlogNotes



2 responses to “The Joy of Woodworking

  1. Dave Shields

    August 6, 2013 at 7:13 am

    You put into words the exact thoughts that are in my mind. I have been trying to explain these thoughts to family and friends for quite sometime. Now I will show them this! Thanks


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