Satori

S-tr-ee noun. (Buddhism) A spiritual awakening, often coming suddenly.
Sitting on the back deck this fine Thanksgiving morning, feeling grateful for all thats been given me, and got to reflecting on all of those moments during my wanderings through this edenic world of woodworking that have enabled me to free myself from old ways and given me the inspiration to grow, to do, to be, better.
There was a singular moment that changed my woodworking life. It was a _very_ long time ago, but I remember it like it happened yesterday, and it never fails to make me smile. It was the moment I realized I didn't have to be a slave to measuring devices.
I was trying to divide something _exactly_ in half. I'd done the math, using some crappy ruler I'd probably had since kindergarten, and with the fractions involved, and the "how do I account for the saw kerf" thing clouding the issue, I'd managed to botch up a couple of tries. I'd also managed to half convince myself that this woodworking thing wasn't going to be something I was capaple of doing and I probably should just give it up.
I got another board, threw the ruler on it, and looked down at the most amazing revelation since... ever.
You know what's coming, of course. The ruler wasn't square with the board, it was laying across it at an angle. There were BIG, HUUUUUUGE, inch marks at each edge of the board. Not little 16ths, not little indecipherable spaces between the 16ths, but _inch_ marks. I put a mark at the halfway point, moved the ruler farther down the board, did it again, connected the lines and cut that board right down the middle.
I realized that day that it wasn't my woodworking ability that was flawed, it was my thinking. I didn't need to know what half the width of the board was, I needed to know _how_ to cut it in half. They're not the same question at all. If I'm ever going to get the right answers, I first need to ask the right questions.
That moment was start of a lot of requestioning and today, (although I own a lot of them), I rarely use tape measures. I use sticks. A lot. When I build the barn doors later today for the shop, I won't care how tall the opening is. I'll grab two sticks and a c-clamp and _know_ how tall the doors need to be. The hinges will be right the first time, because I'll lay them out on the sticks first and use _the sticks_ to mark the doors and the frame. None of this will involve me knowing how long or far anything is, because that's not the question. The question is "Where do they go?" And I'll _know._
Simple. The best, and most useful, ideas and techniques usually are. It's only my ego that gets in the way. And for realizing that, and being willing to change, I'm grateful.
You?
Michael
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Michael Baglio related the folowing

I only use story sticks when I want things to fit properly. %-) Dave in Fairfax
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reply-to doesn't work
use:
daveldr at att dot net
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So you use story sticks, and Michael uses Satori sticks. Hmm.
Bejay
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re. email: I have no equal.
< snipped-for-privacy@fairfax.com> wrote in message news: snipped-for-privacy@fairfax.com...
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<snip waxing poetic>

Michael-
I'm trying to visualize what you did. I get the gist - you essentialy used (I think) "intuitive geometry" to cut the board in half. But I'm still not able to visualize the epiphany. Can you (or someone that _did_ get what he was saying) post a link to a quick drawing?
("Concentrate grasshopper, concentrate!")
thanks! -aaron
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On 27 Nov 2003 11:41:49 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@ajbacker.com (aaron) wrote:

It's my fault, Aaron. I shouldn't post on insufficient coffee.
Pretend, for a moment, you have no concept of fractions, and therefore no concept of what all the little lines between the "inch" marks on a ruler are. All you know is whole numbers and therefore whole inches.
You want to cut a 3-inch wide board in half down the middle so that you have 2 strips, each 1-1/2 inches wide. You think you can't do it, because your limited abilities include only whole numbers.
If, however, you lay the ruler _diagonally_ across the board so that the "0" mark is on one edge of the board and the "4" mark is on the other, you can make a mark on the board where the ruler says "2" and you will have halved the board. Do this a little further down the board and then connect the marks you made, giving you a line right down the middle of the board.
Really simple example, but I use it all the time. Did so today as a matter of fact, when building shop windows. Layed out screw wholes on some plexi, evenly spaced. Didn't need to know exactly how long the run was, I just new I wanted 6 evenly spaced screws on each edge. Used the method above, extended the lines out to the perimeter of the piece, and had my holes laid out. I don't know how far apart they are, but...
they're EXACTLY that far apart. :)
Best, Michael
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A rule, or tape measure, is a pretty informal expedient. If you flip the tool, and try from either side, that helps to confirm.
But, there's many ways:
For fairly narrow stock there's a shop-made guage that's pretty good for halving.
Fasten a couple of dowels (1/4 inch or whatever, wood, or metal for longer lasting) centered in one edge of a length of square stock (one inch by one inch by, say twelve), so they stick out a half inch, or one inch, or whatever, depending on use. Put them, maybe six to twelve inches apart, your choice. Drill a hole exactly between these to hold a pencil, or pointed scribe.
For any given piece of parallel-sided stock within its range, the guage will scribe a center line for you, once you set it so the insides of both dowels touch the sides of the stock. There's nothing to read, so the "measuring" task has vanished. Just run the center point down the middle of the stock, keeping the insides of the dowels touching the outsides of the stock. End of sa story. <cough, cough, er, kerf, kerf> FM
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On 27 Nov 2003, Fdmorrison spake unto rec.woodworking:

    Umm... how do you find the exact halfway point between the dowels? ;^)
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Place two boards of equal width edge to edge and apply the centerfinder. Mark the center finder using the edge-to-edge boards. Larry
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Scott Cramer wrote:

Drill the center one first, use as a pivot two drill the two dowel holes (and cut the ends so it looks like it was better planned... <g>)
-- Mark
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Mark Jerde wrote:

Arghh! "use as a pivot *to* drill the two dowel"
Had a 103 fever earlier in the week. The slag is still coming off...
-- Mark
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On Fri, 28 Nov 2003 14:47:32 GMT, Scott Cramer
You get a copy of Euclid's Geometry and a pair of dividers. It was enough to build medieval cathedrals and you teach a 6 year old to do it.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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I'd take a picture for you, but my digital camera battery needs recharging so let me try and explain in more detail.
Grab a 1x6. Put the zero mark of a straightedge on the 1x6 and on the opposite side of the 1x6 put the 10 inch mark of your straightedge. Your straightedge will be sitting diagonally on the 1x6. Since the middle of 10 inches is 5 inches, the 5 inch mark of your straightedge is the halfway point or in other words the center of your 1x6.
This is just an example, you don't have to use a 1x6 and in the example above you could put the straightedge at another mark besides 10 inches. The idea is that to find the center you just divide your straightedge distance in half. If you used 8 inches instead of 10 then the center would be at the 4 inch mark (1/2 of 8 inches).
This can also be used to divide a board into any number of equally spaced sections. Just measure diagonally on the board using a distance that is easily dividable. For example, if you wanted to divide a board into 4 equal spaces, just lay your straightedge diagonally so the 8 inch mark is on one side of the board. I used 8 inches because 8 is easily divisible by 4 and is of course 2 inches. Therefore each space is 2 inches on your straightedge. Mark your board at 2", 4", 6", and 8"(i.e. the far edge of the board).
--
Larry C in Auburn, WA

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