Woodworking

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Another perspective from G.

~Sallie

 

If I could be given any one skill that I don’t have now it would be the ability to work with wood. Who among us hasn’t seen some beautiful piece of furniture, or statue or something made of wood, and hasn’t gone “Isn’t that beautiful !” Well every time I see something like that I say “I wish I could make something like that !”

Back when I was in the Marines I had a friend who was a wood smith. I’d go over to his house just to watch him make that magical transformation from raw wood to something magnificent. I’d watch as he meticulously cut, turn, rub, and angle, sand and polish until that stubborn wood was reborn into a work of art. I was envious of his talent, and remain so to this day of anyone who can wood work

. Have you ever noticed the hands of a master tailor or master barber? Their hands are terribly misshapen and deformed. This comes from years of holding the tools of their craft in a certain way for hours a day on end. The same is true of a master woodworker. Not only are their hands misshapen but they are rough and worn, have cuts and bruises, and broken fingernails. Wood is a hard and tough taskmaster, and does not surrender itself to a transformation easily or readily. You MUST love the craft, and LOVE the wood. But I’ve never known a master woodworker who complained about the price they paid.

One day at my aforementioned friends house, we were sitting at the dining room table. As we were talking about woodworking, he launched into a fabulous monologue. I remember it still: “G I made the table we’re eating off of. I took the wood and shaped it into something my family and friends eat their sustenance off of. While they hardly if ever notice, it gives me great satisfaction knowing they are helped and enjoying their meal on the fruits of my labor. Same is true for the many items around this house I made. It’s doubled when I made something for someone and gave it to them, and now it’s in their home.”

I told him my envy and jealousy of him was now doubled. My friend, and several more, have tried to teach me woodworking over the years, but my hands just don’t have the ability, dexterity, and agility needed to be any good at it. (Never mind the patience!) But I swear to you that I NEVER see a beautiful thing of wood but I don’t envy the hands that created it. Think about it please.

P.S. I haven’t seen or heard from my friend in well over 30 years. We lost track of each other, common for military people. But I think of him often. Why? Because in my home office is a gorgeous chair, MORE beautiful with age then the day it was made. He gave it to me, and I use it almost every day— Thanks pal, you CREATED something from almost nothing, and it is a part of my life. What a legacy, a legacy craved in wood!

 

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