There's a Rythm to This Woodworking Thing

Warning. What follows has no tips or tricks to share, no power or hand tool evaluation, no gloat or neener and no inflamatory rant or rave. If your looking for any of that stuff then go to the next post.
Its close to 1 am and Ive just completed putting on the fourth coat of hand rubbed shellac on the spalted maple stretchers of the work bench Im making. I realized that I seem to do, and enjoy ,finish application late at night when its quiet and there are no distractions.. And perhaps because there are no distractions Im often entranced by the beauty and the variety of grain patterns that suddenly appear as the finish is applied to a well sanded (or well scraped) piece of wood.
That got me thinking about the patterns and rythms of woodworking.
I do rough layout on stock early in the morning because its a quiet thing and I have neighbors whose bedroom is maybe 50 feet from the shop door. Its quiet and makes it easier to hear my internal conversation - nice grain on this one, and itll go with that one - damn, wish this knot wasnt right there - can I hide this tear out in a tenon? - should I cut here to get that great grain pattern and sacrifice the rest of this board to the scrap bin? ...
The hacking and hewing gets done after 9 am - jointing, planing, ripping and cross cutting - the loud stuff - dust collector going, power tools each making their unique, but all moderately loud, noises
The afternoon seems to be the best time for cutting to specifc dimensions and joinery - things that require tight cuts and accurate placement. The bodies up to speed, the eyes are focusing for close work and the eye hand coordination seems to be in the zone.
Late afternoon and early evening seem to lend themselves to hand tools. Chiseling, paring, hand planing, hand sawing - the neander tools part of the day. The tools start doing what theyre made to do as muscles go into auto pilot after a short while and the rythmic motion and the focus on the task makes time meaningless. This is the time when parts start fitting together - sometimes they even fit together almost perfectly - and sometimes . . .
But its the late night finishing I like most. Tonight it was the illusion of folds in parts of the spalted maple as subsequent layers of shellac were rubbed on. Move the light or move my head and it looked like folded gold foil, natures holograms. In other places the spalting looked almost like lines and patterns done in india ink, striking agains the pale gold background. What pops out of the wood continues to amaze me.
And often its those images of the grain pattern that float around in my head as I nod off to sleep, anxious for tomorrow to come and more wood to play with.
Theres a rhythm to this woodworking thing - at least for me.
charlie b retired and diggin' it!
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On Thu, 10 Jul 2003 02:03:09 -0800, charlieb

snip
very "zen" Charlie!
i do the majority of my WWing in the evenings, and into the early mornings. my shop is in the basement, and the walls are quite soundproof. in that regards i am kinda blessed. its kind of nice to get an insight into what others do in their shop, and how.
Traves
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Thanks, Charlie! I hear you.........it's great ain't it? What a privilege to be able to 'work' with wood.
out of the shop and said. . .:

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I work best in the morning and the late evening. Precise cutting first thing in the morning when my vision is best and the east light comes into the shop. Rough cutting and glue up in the afternoon for overnight drying. Sanding and fitting in the evening -- because of the noise I shut down the power tools at 9:00 p.m. harrym

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Uh... Charlie, you're not a fan of Bevis & Butthead by any chance, are you? <beg> -- Ernie
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I second that. I just read a funny yet pointless one-page essay/article at the end of a wood mag. (can't remember which one right now) about an opposum in a lumber yard. Didn't have one iota of substance.
This does. By the bucket. This would be a great piece to finish up a magazine with.
also not kidding
-david
On Thu, 10 Jul 2003 04:19:20 -0700, Mark M wrote:

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Guess I should respond to some of the comments
No, no weed involved. Perhaps I inhaled some of the denatured alcohol in the shellac mix.
No, am not a fan of Beevis or Butthead - more of a Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers kind of guy.
The essay article at the end of one of the woodworking magazines is one of Walt Akers' gems. If you can find it in the archives his Snake tale and the Great Clock Incident, among others, are well worth your time. I've seen two or three of his stories on the last page of a magazine. His ability to make you smile or actually laugh out loud is as prized as his woodwork.
As for sending anything to a publisher - sounds too much like "work". I "worked" since I was about 16 and 40 years is enough. Now I have fun.
When I got into woodworking a few years ago I got all kinds of books and magazines about tools and techniques. Then Dave Fleming turned me on to James Krenov's books. They were the critical missing piece. "How" information is readily available. The "Why" part is more difficult to find. So, as what might be called insights occur, I try to put some of it into words. If the words capture most of the "Why" I post them in the hope that others who are finding their "Why" will do the same. Perhaps those who haven't asked why may slow down, pay attention a little and appreciate this wonderful thing called wood and woodworking.
charlie b
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pixelated:

He posted the possum tale here several months ago but it showed up in the latest issue of Popular Woodworking. Needles ta slay, it was good for yet another giggle.

And Krenov did a superb job at that, as you did with that last tale of introspection.

Good lead.
- The only reason I would take up exercising is || http://diversify.com so that I could hear heavy breathing again. || Programmed Websites
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On Thu, 10 Jul 2003 15:48:26 -0800, charlieb
snip

i thought about the OP all day today, and it brought my mind to a movie i saw a few years ago called "a river runs through it"
the narrator comments about life and fishing (insert WWing here) moving to a 4 count rythm. they flyfish in the movie and hope a fish will rise, we work with wood, and hope things of great beauty will rise.
Thanks again Charlie for a great post, and more than one smile today.
Traves
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Poetic, Charlie. Very nice. Thanks for the insight.
-Phil Crow
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Charlieb ~ I sense that you are a very sensitive and gentle person. I work in the shop mostly in the daytime because I can look out of the windows and see the trees, the birds and the garden. I like it when it is pouring rain and I am snug inside. There have been a few times when I was out there in my pajamas, having been awakened in the middle of the night, by a solution to a problem or something that couldn't wait until morning. I may have gone to sleep but my subconscious was wide awake. Peace ~ Sir Edgar
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