Neanderkid - repost

I was chopping up some firewood when my 12 y.o. son asked for a piece of wood "to play with" - "sure, np". Off he goes to the shop and pulls out the Disston 7 tpi crosscut, clamps the log in the vice and proceeds to do a rip cut down the 10-12" length of it. At this point I am restraining myself and think "take thyself inside", which I do.
Watching through the kitchen window, I see him cut four roughly square sides then stop, seemingly unsure of what to do next. By now, unable to restrain myself, I rush out and grab the highly polished and scary-sharp #4 bailey. He looks daunted now, the shiny plane is one of dad's prize possessions - and he knows it. I explain how to use it, "go with the force young Doug" I say, and he does. Little wispy trails begin to appear and I watch his confidence build. Firmer strokes, long sweeping strokes that produced nice even shavings; here I go back inside to watch again.
He now has a sweat up and is still experimenting with the plane, adjusting the depth of cut here, trying against the grain there, getting the thinnest possible shavings and feeding them to shop-dog. He bevels all the sides at 45 deg then flattens the block again, stopping to go inside the shop and get a square to test his work. This continues until he's left with a 3/4 inch dowel that is hard to clamp in the vice. What a way to spend an hour, just watching.
I saw his first steps as a baby, but I think most parents could have described that feeling to me and I would have understood what they meant. It's a much more select audience that could describe, or understand, the feeling of watching their child get 'hooked' on a hobby that gives them pleasure too. That look of being totally absorbed while he planed, up to his knees in curlies, will be a moment I won't forget in a hurry, and it's nice to know he appreciates the hand tools - not just the pow-whirrr tailed stuff.
When I put away the plane later on I noticed a few scratches from the vice where he'd obviously got a bit closer than intended. Normally this would not be a good thing, but today I figure it's better than having a photograph. My tool now has an indelible memory of a special moment of my son's life engraved into it, something I will recall each time I use it and look at the marks.
Most of my tools tell a story of some kind, from a dark bloodstain on a chisel, to missing chunks in my workbench. These scratches will now have a special meaning to me, able to be "read" only by me, a photo would not convey the full memory like the scratches will - does this make sense?
We need moments like this, every now and again, to make the world right.
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Amen.
djb
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Groggy wrote:

Do I get to gloat that my boy has a pretty good touch with a plane, and he's only nine?
Or about the time he came out to the shop and said "Can I have a piece of wood to play with? I want to practice chopping hinge mortises."
Awwwwwwww. :)
I didn't learn any of this stuff from my own dad, so there's no family tradition here. We're making *new* traditions right now.
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"Silvan" chiseled in pixels:

he's
Sure, why not. We need to refocus on what's important to us at this time of year; kids, family and being generous of spirit.
cheers,
Greg
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Groggy wrote:

On the flipside, my Old Man was out here about 1/2 a year ago. while he was looking at my planes he complained that the stanley he'd got at the local Borg just didn't work as well as the one he had when he was younger - WWII. I sent him a tuned #5 type 17 for xmas, coulda been the one he had,age is right, but it shaves real nice. My Mom says he spent the afternoon in the shop making a mess, never could wait to open presents. Well worth the time and sweat. Merry Xmas, Dave in Fairfax
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=><snipped for brevity only> =>... =>We need moments like this, every now and again, to make the world right. =>
Groggy, I'm sure you've heard this before, but you are one helluva writer!!!
Thanks. Tom Veatch Wichita, KS
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Thanks Tom, you're too kind.


Greg


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brought forth from the murky depths:

Man, you're just full of these touchy/feely things today, aren't you?

Yes, we surely do. Thanks for sharing.
========================================================= I drank WHAT? + http://www.diversify.com --Socrates + Web Application Programming
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Too much eggnog, perhaps? <g>
Greg G.
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