A thoughtful statement on WW

On page 12 of the "Tools & Shops Annual Issue" (Winter 2009), published by FWW, there is a letter from Peter Corn, Executive Director For Furniture Craftsmanship, he observes that interest in woodworking has not waned during the recent recession, he writes:
...I'm sure this comes as no surprise to the authors and readers of FWW. With the promise of Wall Street tarnished, the enduring satisfaction one can discover in the workshop seems to glow brighter. Woodworking exercises a person's full capacities--hands, heart, and head--in a holistic way that is both enjoyable and empowering. Instead of buying happiness, you learn to make it. Instead of acommodating a world built by others, you learn to construct your own. Craft has long been a road less traveled. Yet there is much to be said for meaningful, self-expressive work in today's world; whether one does it as a hobby or a profession.
Although everyone reading this has found there own individual route to this forum, I thought that most of the people here could probably identify with this statement and that some might enjoy it.
Bill
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My interest certainly hasn't waned and I believe Peter when he says he hasn't seen it, but I have definitely noticed an increase in the amount of woodworking equipment I've seen on craigslist.
Some of it looks like contractors sizing down and some looks like hobbyists who bought themselves a whole shop but never got started and are finally admitting they need the money more than their pride but whatever the reason there's been an increase. It's helped me realize my shop is more complete than I'd realized. The prices are decent (another change) but usually I've already got one, whatever it is.
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Dan wrote:

...
...
I interpreted the letter as reflecting them seeing interest in their courses and training. It seemed quite natural to me; community college and other tech school attendance is up nation-wide as it always is during periods where it is more difficult to find good-paying jobs straight out of high school or where those who are just out a couple of years are the ones laid off and now realize they should've had some training. The local CC academic course enrollment was up by 15%; the associated tech school by almost 60% this fall.
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dpb: wrote:

What you said may be perfectly true, but the letter expressed a point that may be worth repeating, it said:
"Woodworking exercises a person's full capacities--hands, heart, and head--in a holistic way that is both enjoyable and empowering. Instead of buying happiness, you learn to make it. Instead of acommodating a world built by others, you learn to construct your own.".
We all showed up at this forum for our own reasons, but those remarks help me understand how I got here. I'm here for reasons which have little to do with my livelihood. Financially, I'd probaby be better off if I just played my guitar and avoided TAS ("Tool Acquisition Syndrome"). Although admittedly, the related malady GAS ("Guitar Acquisition Syndrome"), has been the ruin of many a poor boy (...and God, I know I'm one.)--LOL.
My wife recently came down with BAS ("Bass Acquisition Syndrome")--that's not a pretty sight either... she'll pick it up tomorrow. Of course, you don't pick a bass, but you know what I mean...
Make a joyful noise, but keep your mouth closed when you're using your TS. ; )
Cheers, Bill
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Bill wrote:

...
Well, I'm a pretty straightahead kinda' guy--I do woodworking to basically make stuff I either want or need w/o worrying too much about the "why's"... :) I suppose that's reflected in being engineer and farmer, not "artiste"... :)
Not that I don't like pretty stuff, but don't go out of way to place "interpretations" into it--iff'en I think it looks good, that's good enough. I'm one of those who had a difficult time trying to write much more in American Lit about Moby and Ahab other than it was "a whale of a fish story". :)
I guess if there's some "deeper meaning" for somebody and any/all of their students, power to 'em...
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No farmer here, engineer from an engineering family (father was an EE prof, three of us are EEs and the weird one a veterinarian ;).

Yep. Our Amish built cherry dining and bedrooms were beautiful so I bought 'em. ;-)

"So the fish took the bait. Next story." Sounds familiar to me. ;-)
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krw wrote: ...

... Grew up on farm, future wasn't certain on how it was going to (or was, even) stay in family when needed a decision; so got BSNE/MS Nuc Phys coming back after Dad passed away suddenly after 25+ years consulting primarily for R&D side for electric utilities. Do have the weird vet brother, too, though... :)
Been back about 10 years now...
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Coming back? To the farm?

My dad passed away 45 years ago and mom last December, at 95. I'm the only electronics type (other than a couple of nephews). They were all power engineers.

Where abouts?
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krw wrote: ...

Yes...Dad did in the end work out a buyout arrangement w/ his siblings to consolidate the place...

Far SW KS...
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For me, personally, I would edit the expression down to "Woodworking exercises a person's full capacities--hands, heart, and head--in a holistic way that is both enjoyable and empowering.".
Life, religion, art, philosophy, woodworking, architecture and engineering are surely as deep as anyone wishes to make them...
They all seem to have "humanity" in common. Maybe that helps explains our attraction to the "What is it?" threads?
Searching for "deeper meaning" is one of life's little games. Perhaps participants are rewarded by a better understanding of humanity. Non-participants are rewarded with the time to do something else. Some people work fine without a plan, some people prefer a plan...it's a free country! :)
These are just my current thoughts/observations, YMMV! Bill
BTW, my experience with farmers is that they are some of the most imaginative problem solvers I've met!
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Bill wrote: ...

My Dad was one of the epitomes of the phenomenon, indeed... :)
Amazing what can come from an old F20 front steering gear case and a few other various castings and scrap iron and an afternoon w/ the torch and a weld rod...
The modern 4-wheel drive large tractor began w/ two MN farmer brothers in their shed over a winter for a reasonably well-known example (Steiger).
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Bill wrote: ...

...
Indeed, as is farming. I recall during school summer days making up and solving differential equations in head and/or other diversions to pass time on tractor working mile-long row crop rows that seemed sometimes interminable between one end and another... :)
The thing about the letter that I was commenting on was, in fact, the writer's viewpoint and I was wondering how much of it was colored by his own interpretation while thinking there was a real good chance most of this apparent (in his viewpoint) increase in interest was in fact simply folks looking to find an alternate or second career.
I'm on board (current prez) of local community college/tech school Foundation is why I'm so attuned to the current increase in interest and enrollment. We've had very hard time meeting demand this year w/ the big jump in numbers in conjunction with performance of investment market over the last year.
'Tis interesting to consider whether most of these current students here and there will still be following their new track down the road when things have turned around as inevitably will. At that point will he then write a letter decrying the lack of interest in woodworking?
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...

Interesting post. Some nice observations/hypothesis concerning humanity. ; )
Bill
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Fresh water or salt?
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I reckon. Woodwork, metalwork, home electronics, I'm involved in all of it to a measure.
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