email@example.com wrote in message
He who posts off-topic is the troll, that would be most of you.
It is nice that Larry has bought himself some wood for a personal
project, but that is not the topic. On the other hand, in visiting
his website, I find a short dissertation of his personal feelings
while working wood, and that would be part of the philosophy and
psychology of living trade.
Working wood evokes emotion, from the murky depths as Larry would say,
of a man's being. Yet, that is not the whole story either, but
rather, just tip to the iceberg. There are global implications to
what most of you treat as mere hobby, spending countless hours and
dollars for very little result.
Answer this, if you have any understanding...what could be the
underlying purpose of man's emotional response? Why do men work wood,
whether they are paid to do so or not?
On 16 May 2004 10:42:12 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org (D. A. Clark)
as I see it, you started a thread that was almost, but not quite
completely off topic, framed it in such a way as to ensure few would
figure WTF the question was, defined terms in such a way as to
obfuscate the point and jumped on anybody who pointed this out.
looks like a duck, waddles like a duck, quacks....
why does anyone do anything?
it's a part of being social mammals. it's about communication, on a
level somewhere a bit deeper than language. it keeps us from killing
and eating our young, which is a good thing for social mammals. it's
wired in deep, man, so deep that it's really difficult to analyze what
it is and why it's there, especially using cognitive functions that
are "higher" than emotional response...
it's also WAAAAY off topic for this forum.....
the working of wood is one of our base technologies. like weaving,
cooking food and making maps it is something that must be developed in
order to build a complex civilization. why do we do that? beats me,
but we sure do...
being a base technology, we will return to it time and again. it sits
there in our subconscious and feeds our minds principles and metaphors
that show up in diverse and seemingly unrelated endeavors. while we
are not without alternatives to wood for materials with which to
construct the acouterments of this complex civilization that we have
built for ourselves, wood appeals to us on a number of levels. it's a
material used by our ancestors, and humans are nothing if not suckers
for sentimentality. it's also a pretty good material for lots of
things. it has a sweet strength to weight ratio. it has failure modes
that are fairly predictable. coming from a living thing it gives us a
connection to nature. it's easily worked with fairly simple tools.
people like making things. we're just wired that way. it comes from
walking upright and having hands with opposable thumbs. we do it for
pay because there exists considerable demand for things made by people
with specific skills. such is the nature of complex civilizations. we
do it for recreation because whatever we do for pay provides
insufficient stimulation to that part of our psyches that runs on the
principles and metaphors of woodworking.
in short, we can't help it.
Collectively, we do so as a civilization, but real progress is
individual effort, wouldn't you agree?
Not a fully concise assimilation, but lots of emotion. A good
statement in favor of seeking an answer to what is living trade.
This is an answer that I am not satisfied with. To work wood is not
just an inherent condition, there is no such thing as a naturally born
woodworker. The ability to truly work wood comes through the
acquisition of knowledge and understanding. Skills, the assimilation
of tools and techniques are the by-product of time spent in
apprenticeship, whether at trade or in your own shop.
This is where your thesis breaks down. If you give it some thought, I
believe you will see that you are straddling a pointy fence.
Well, bridger, for not wanting to play, you made a fine contribution.
:> >bridger wrote in message
:> as I see it, you started a thread that was almost, but not quite:> completely off topic...
: The topic is, What is Living Trade?
Here's the problem. YOU made the term "living trade" up. As a result
coming in here and asking what it means is contrary to how things usually
work (here, and elsewhere). When one invents a new term, it's to describe
something that ALREADY exists, or already is a focus of discussion.
You don't make a term up and then wander around trying to get people to
help you define it. That's just ornery.
-- Andy Barss
We do it tomorrow because we did it today, and there's the natural challenge
to make our next product better than our last. The trade lives because as
intelligent as the human race is, a true craftsman can always make "it"
better than the last guy choosing only to use the highlights of what he's
learned through passed on lessons, choosing to improve on that which he
feels justified. The resulting new innovations though many, are simple
derivatives of circuitous technology. Tools, means, methods,
efficiencies...all are simple but plodding enhancements yet the core of the
technology still lies with rudimentary tools, rudimentary materials and
rudimentary physics..... such as it is with any trade that continues, such
that it is that any trade plied today can trace it's ancestral roots to
trades of yesterday, all of which were required to provide basic food and
shelter. As long as the race shall live, so to will the trade....
"D. A. Clark" < email@example.com> wrote in message
In seeking an answer to living trade, I cannot accept the 'just
because' or the 'natural challenge' thesis as the whole of
understanding. And while common sense and manual dexterity can
enhance individual accomplishment in pursuit of trade, I do not adhere
to a belief in the natural craftsman's ability for improvement.
Knowledge is not collective per individual, like books on a shelf; but
rather cumulative in the subconsious of experience...and this is
derived through time in apprenticeship, which is a lifelong pursuit.
I agree, the core of technology is based in the physics of the
material; yet, the innovations of modern technology are not
circuitous...they are destined for obsolescence and have failed to
provide such enhancement of product, that may be derived only from the
assimulation of a human eye and the articulation of a man's hand.
Therefore, man is the greatest technological force at work. As man
returns to the basic material, so too must he return to the first
principles of working the wood...to cut, to shape, to fasten...to find
an answer to what is living trade?
The strength of natural challenge is, of course, a viable force; most
evident in the proliferation of sports; what caused me climb to the
top of a redwood tree. For root cause, however, I perceive the force
of living trade, to work wood or metal or soil, to be an immanent
force of man's nature; an applied subconscious mental event with no
connection to historical fact.
Profit as a motivational force does more to negate the propagation of
living trade than to reinforce man's knowledge and understanding of
the basic material. Industrialization induces a narrow view of the
trade subject; while, the introduction of modern machines, which
require modern materials, separates man from the perception of his own
I am not sure what you mean here, but let's emphasize skill.
Demonstrable skill is individual expertise with tool and technique,
where a man's common sense and manual dexterity will prevail; whereas,
production efficiency is a mental exercise, knowing what you want to
build and planning each step well in advance of your feet; this, too,
is cumulative skill, most evident in the finished product, but
undoubtedly the least appreciated.
Well, you're talking to the guy who has been accused of being a legend
in his own mind on this very thread; I suppose my accepted wisdom is
not to be overly wise in approaching living trade. No man is the
master; working wood is an infinite phenomenon, the more you know the
more you realize you know very little. But, I perceive the pursuit of
living trade to be a life's journey.
Ironic, indeed, if you define circuitous as a neanderphobe with more
planes then brains. The problem with today's technology is that
innovation is the provenance of machine and tool manufacturers,
computer science, and the industrial complex...none, of whom, work
Two decades ago, I located shelf standard products that would have
provided retrofit to the standard tablesaw for numerical control of
fence and the height/angle adjustments of the blade...for less than a
thousand dollars. Yet, today, no standard tablesaw, at any price, is
fitted for these basic functions.
Still, the most intricate detail in wood can only be accomplished with
a single edge of steel...
A man in pursuit of living trade is at peace. You might peruse the
Four Ages in the Metamorphoses of Ovid for the effects of technology
on man's peace from the man who lived his trade two-thousand years
In defining living trade, and bringing to light the underlying
resource that is the driving force of living trade, perhaps, we may
witness a renaissance in man's inherent capability to work wood...
As always, Rob, you have provided opportunity...thank you.
I think this thread has gone on long enough. Geesh. From what I
gather is being said is that no one man has EVER known ALL there is to
know about woodworking ever--especially since, I guess, none of us
know what the future holds. So with this sort if nit-picking, sort of
silly argument, the original poster will always be right. I guess
what he wants is everybody to say is, "Geez. You knw what? You're
I agree with the person who said the rest of us are uninterested.
Sort of like when the wife asks you waht time it is and you tell her
it's, say, 4:15. And your eight-year-old says, "No, daddy. It's
actually 4:13 and 18 seconds. It's not 4:15. You're lying!" (True
story!) How can you argue?! The kid was 'technically' right.
Extremely nitpicky and sort of anal but, technically right.
I don't want to start yet another flame war that goes off on another
tangent but I, myself, have to disagree with the original poster
because I do believe there was a man who lived on this earth who DID
know everything that was and ever will be known about woodworking and
he was a carpenter who lived 2,000 years ago who was later hung on a
If enybody knew everything there is to know about wood (and
woodworking and everything else), it was Him.
(I am ready to take the hits now.)
firstname.lastname@example.org (D. A. Clark) wrote in message
Of course D.A. will always be right. He created the term "living
trade", and is free to define it as he sees fit. Anyone entering into
the discussion to disagree has lost before he even started.
It's a heck of a way to carry on a "debate". Any other participants
must either agree with him and acknowledge his greatness or they are a
priori wrong. And to top it off, he berates those who dare to point out
his arrogance and pretentiousness.
I think it's more a conversation than a debate and the root of the
conversation is a interpretation of history and an attempt at using it to
forecast the future as it pertains to skills being lost. I don't believe
I've agreed or disagreed with DA (individual points aside) and I don't feel
this is a win/lose conversation, nor do I perceive his quest to strike a
conversation as arrogance.
Then again, I enjoy a good single malt and have been known to ramble about
the sublime on occasion so maybe it's all perception <g!>
"Conan the Librarian" < email@example.com> wrote in message
> I think it's more a conversation than a debate and the root of the
> conversation is a interpretation of history and an attempt at using it to
> forecast the future as it pertains to skills being lost. I don't believe
> I've agreed or disagreed with DA (individual points aside) and I
> this is a win/lose conversation, nor do I perceive his quest to strike a
> conversation as arrogance.
> Then again, I enjoy a good single malt and have been known to ramble
> the sublime on occasion so maybe it's all perception <g!>
I respect your opinion and don't begrudge you choosing to
participate in the discussion. My sole issue in all of this is our
friend. He makes a grand entrance to the wreck once every few years and
seems to expect that everyone should stop what they're talking about and
concentrate solely on his personal great white whale.
While sitting on his imagined lofty perch, he displays an attitude
of condescension and disregard towards the very people with whom he
ostensibly hopes to carry on a discussion. I love a good philosophical
discussion, but I choose to participate on my own terms. Unfortunately,
due to the way he frames the debate, it can only be done on *his* terms.
The only thing he has contributed to the wreck is this single
mantra. He doesn't bother to participate as an equal; instead he
chooses to virtually snipe the group. He takes a few potshots, checks
for casualties and then moves on until the next time he gets bored with
his Mensa meetings.
In that regard, he is no better than a troll. And I don't care for
trolls, no matter how well-versed they are with Roget's.
Anyhow, have fun with it. I know I'll continue to do the same. :-)
I guess, if you are willing to live life with your head stuck in the
sand, I can only assume that that butt sticking up is your real face.
Man is not the only woodworker; a beaver builds a dam, and a bird
builds a nest, but what does the woodchuck chuck? Chuck???
Certainly, the dumb animals of the world utilize the basic material
for their very survival, but would you ascribe man to an equal state
of ignorant grace? The monkey has an opposable thumb; it is in
seeking the resources of knowledge and understanding that sets man
There is a spot reserved for you in the corner of the inane. See
Conan, he has your pointy hat...
By invoking God in defence of your irrelevancies, you have accidently
struck upon a central theme in the assertation of what is living
trade. Those of us who believe in God would not deny His hand in all
that we think, say or do.
On your part, the assumption that Jesus, as the carpenter's son,
qualified himself as a woodworker is a fallacy. Otherwise, when
inquired of by the merchant...Ben Hur, 1956...Jesus would have been
there to finish the guy's table, but instead, was in the hills
contemplating his Father's business.
Hence, I maintain, that no two men may have the same knowledge or
understanding of working wood. It is an infinite phenomenon, and
thus, a living trade.
"If we don't change direction soon, we'll end up where we're going."
Professor Irwin Corey
Thomas J.Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.)
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email)
You know what, DA? If I said that you were rude or arrogant or
anything like that, I was wrong. You are actually pretty funny! I
think the only thing you are guilty of is overanalysis paralysis,
Yes, it is my opinion you think too much. That's okay, though.
Whatever floats your boat!
But I don't think you have any right to force any other person to
deleve into any subject any deeper than they want to go. And I do not
think you should get us to say "Yes" to you.
When you nitpick to the point of being ridiculous, it sort of forces
others to actually say "No" when you really want them to say "Yes" and
I see that happening here.
Oh, I know you will come back with some really snappy, Mensa-like
retort but, oh well, it is just something I will have to endure.
I know I started it and I don't want to go off on too much of a
tangent but I have to rebuke what you are saying. It is not a
fallacy. You are basing your biblical facts on a fictional movie made
in Hollywood?! Talk about shallowness!
First off, Jesus was a carpenter; a woodworker. I do not have the
actual documents at my fingertips but you can write to Chuck Colson at
Prison Fellowship Ministries for them but he reported that it was
discovered that some plows Jesus of Nazareth built were still used
over 100 years after His death. I am not going to go any deeper
becauseit may offend some people but I think you saying my assumption
is a fallacy is, well, a fallacy.
Here is how "The Merriam Webster Dictionary" published in Springfield,
Massachusetts and copyrighted in 1994 defines the word "TRADE" as it
is used as a noun:
1. one's regular business or work: OCCUPATION
2. an occupation requiring manual or mechanical skill
3. the person's engaged in a business or industry
I take it you are using the word "TRADE" (or "living trade") as a
As such, to nitpick, I would have to say that how you describe it is
absolutely not 100% true 100% of the time.
I have been in the IT business since 1978 when I was 17-years-old.
That is still the business I am in. Ain't never changed.
I have never used woodworking as a form of income. I have never sold
anything but I have made things for people and given the product to
them. It is far from my occupation, however.
And woodworking is something more and something less than what you
claim it to be. I, personally, use woodworking as a means of clearing
my mind. I don't WANT to necessarily think. I do that for 10, 11,
12-hours a day; sometimes 6 or 7-days-a-week.
When I go into the garage to mess around with wood, I use it as a
means of clearing my mind. There are times when I clamp a price of
scrap wood into the old vise, grab a hand plane, and scrape away. I
doitbecause I like the sond it makes. I do it because I like to see
the thin shaving fall all over. I like the smell of the wood. I like
the feeling I get in my hands, my arms, and my shoulders as I use the
hand plane. I like the way it allows my mind to, well, do nothing!
No thinking--just use it to enjoy what is happening at the moment.
When the price of scrap is gone, sometime I grab another and start all
I view woodworking, FOR ME, as a pasttime, not a trade. As such, I am
going to nit-pick and say that woodworking is not a living trade. For
me, woodworking is a way to pass the time and do something I find as
enjoyable--even if I am not making something.
I know you will morph a lot of my words and say I am agreeing with you
and I should just swallow my pride and say such but I don't.
If my shallowness annoys you, is it my problem?
If I don't agree with you, should I be flogged?
If a man says something and there is no woman around, is he still
I think I will continue to view woodworking the way I always have: as
a nice way to pass the time and to have fun. I choose NOT to think
about it too much. If you feel that makes me something less than you,
well, that's the way it will be. I can't change that and I am not
going to work to hard to change your mind.
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