A few weeks ago I posted a questions regarding lightening the color of an a
ntique oak table. The table is a family heirloom that goes back at least 1
00 to 120 years. My folks had already stripped and stained it in the 1950'
s so preservation of patina was not a concern.
This morning I am sipping my coffee and getting ready to apply the 4th coat
of finish on a project that is coming together fairly well. I am doing it
in heated garage workshop that includes a 15" surface planer, 5hp table sa
w, wood lathe and other power and hand tools I have accumulated over 30 or
40 years of woodworking and general tinkering.
A project like this gave me lots of reasons to think. The table is made of
a combination of red and white oak, rather artfully combined. I wonder if
material use was really artistic or just the use of available material in
a small, shop. The red oak top is made of 4" wide boards that were edge jo
ined with a modified tongue and groove edge. The under-frame and slide mec
hanism, that allows it to be expanded, needed a little work. Some of the do
uble-dovetail slides were damaged. I was able to "duplicate" these parts o
n the table saw but I noticed the old ones still showed slight tool marks e
ven after years of use.
Then the legs. The table has five 4" diameter lathe turned legs. The top
and bottom 6"-8" are artfully turned spindles with decorative rings, etc.
Everything else is a graceful rope turn design that kept us busy for days g
ently removing the old finish with toothbrushes. The other morning I laid
them out side-by-side before starting the staining process. That is when i
t occurred to me they are not duplicates. They are damned near duplicates-
-but there are small variations in the width of the turned rings, the coves
, the depth of the groove in the rope area etc. I noticed variations becau
se I was looking for them but it is clear that the lathe was loaded five ti
mes for five legs. Then I looked over at the 14" JET lathe near the wall
of my shop and shook my head wondering if these pieces of craftsmanship wer
e turned on a water or foot operated machine.
My wife and I have built a few pretty nice projects over our years includin
g some hardwood rocking horses that have sold or raffled well . We have al
so finished out our entire home.
We are rank amateurs!
Take heart in knowing that back then it was probably a more common thing
for people to know how to do this type work and the opportunity to learn
or be taught was more available then as it is today.
Surely, regardless of the tools used, there are forgotten tricks and
techniques that made those tools of 100 years ago more effective in the
hands of the craftsman than now with few left that may know those
techniques. Think about the great pyramids. ;~)
On the other hand, most of us today are self taught, and that is a
testament to accomplishment too.
On Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 9:04:53 AM UTC-6, Leon wrote:
Yep. And on a, somewhat, similar note, my niece's son once ask me to make
a new Harry Potter magic wand.... he had broken his.... with braided-carved
handle, kinna like gunstock carvings. That carving wasn't so easy a job
as I had initially thought it would be.
On Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 9:04:53 AM UTC-6, Leon wrote:
an antique oak table. The table is a family heirloom that goes back at lea
st 100 to 120 years. My folks had already stripped and stained it in the 1
950's so preservation of patina was not a concern.
coat of finish on a project that is coming together fairly well. I am doin
g it in heated garage workshop that includes a 15" surface planer, 5hp tabl
e saw, wood lathe and other power and hand tools I have accumulated over 30
or 40 years of woodworking and general tinkering.
e of a combination of red and white oak, rather artfully combined. I wonde
r if material use was really artistic or just the use of available material
in a small, shop. The red oak top is made of 4" wide boards that were edg
e joined with a modified tongue and groove edge. The under-frame and slide
mechanism, that allows it to be expanded, needed a little work. Some of th
e double-dovetail slides were damaged. I was able to "duplicate" these par
ts on the table saw but I noticed the old ones still showed slight tool mar
ks even after years of use.
top and bottom 6"-8" are artfully turned spindles with decorative rings, et
c. Everything else is a graceful rope turn design that kept us busy for da
ys gently removing the old finish with toothbrushes. The other morning I l
aid them out side-by-side before starting the staining process. That is wh
en it occurred to me they are not duplicates. They are damned near duplica
tes--but there are small variations in the width of the turned rings, the c
oves, the depth of the groove in the rope area etc. I noticed variations b
ecause I was looking for them but it is clear that the lathe was loaded fiv
e times for five legs. Then I looked over at the 14" JET lathe near the w
all of my shop and shook my head wondering if these pieces of craftsmanship
were turned on a water or foot operated machine.
uding some hardwood rocking horses that have sold or raffled well . We hav
e also finished out our entire home.
You hit on a very important and unfortunate point Leon. The "opportunity"
to learn. I know of a few young ones that would like to take some woodwork
ing classes in junior high or high school. I only know of one that that th
e opportunity that I had when I was young. For various reasons, liability
being the main one, schools have dropped wood classes with no plans to get
back in. The old, really old, Unisaw that I used in high school is sittin
g at the end of the current agriculture shop being use for occasional cutof
f work or as a table. The instructor is wood-trained but said the schools
don't want to take on the liability of a kid getting injured - football is
OK, but not woodworking. She also said the introduction of Saw Stop techno
logy isn't helping because the smaller programs cannot afford to replace pe
rfectly good Unisaws with new machines.
Very unfortunate in our area. Pittsburg State University (Kansas) is 35 mi
les away and they have one of the top woodworking programs in the country.
Westhoff Interiors, a leading Yacht interior company, is on the north edge
of our town. Westhoff draws some kids into training programs but their be
st trained come from Pitt State, which in turn pulls students from other ar
eas. Other than the Joplin area there are few local opportunities for wood
It is sad. Our country is becoming soooooo politically correct and
recklessness letting the lawyers go after any one that might do
something as simple as teach some one how to strike a match that we are
loosing the ability to actually think and innovate. Let alone do for
The thinking that it would be too expensive to spend $5K to replace a
new saw is ludicrous. The life long skills that could be taught in a
wood shop would be thousands of times less expensive than incarcerating
those that have no other skill and peddle crack on the street corner.
For some odd reason our mentality is switching over to the idea of
knowing how to do "ONE" thing that requires no thinking.
The grocery store cashier from the 70's would look like a genius
compared to those that take you money these days.
AND Jeez. Our president wants to make community colleges free to all!
I can appreciate the gesture but that is only going to appeal to those
that should not be going to college in the first place.
A free college for all will be no different than adding more years to
high school. It will be free so the vast majority that did not want to
be in school in the first place will be there taking up space. I am of
the firm belief that 90% of the students that don't directly pay for
their higher education will get less from it, what do they have to
loose? If you want a lower quality education choose one that is funded
by the tax payers. If you want a lower quality health care system,
choose one funded by the tax payers.
I will get down off of my soap box. ;~)
AND I did not mean to hi-jack your thread, I did appreciate your
thoughts on how much more adapt we as a society were 100 years ago.
Given how much in debt the government is as a base for comparison, of
all the money the tax payers give the government, how much do you
suppose will actually go towards an intended purpose.
Simply put, the government wastes so much of the money it collects that
darn little will actually be spent on the staff.
There will be exceptions but simply look at how the government runs the
education K-12. Free community college will simply be the new K-16.
Private enterprise will always trump the government in production and
results. Private enterprises have to run efficiently or they don't
exist. This is not true with the government.
While private college professors are not all being paid near what the
colleges collect for tuition I can assure you that a government paid
system is going to pay those professors even less. Where do you think
the smart professors are going to work?
Do we really need to put people through 17 years of formal education? Even
13 years is too much for some people. What it seems a good many people
haven't realized is that after a point formal education holds a person
I didn't here the president say he was forcing anyone to go
(please pardon me for not reading all of the preceding messages of this
thread). I'm hope you're not saying that you have figured out a way to
filter out some of those who would like to go.
Well I did not listen to him either but the notion of making yet another
thing free, for the taxpayers to pay for, will with a certainty end up
as unsuccessful as most any thing else the government participates in.
As far as forcing students to go I have a couple of thoughts.
A. There are millions of HS drop outs so the government does not do a
good job at keeping kids in school either. The number of students that
actually attend does not affect the cost to educate them. The cost is
the same whether there are 15 or 30 students in any particular class.
B. There is a vast number of students that pay for their higher
education and should not be in college. When college students end up
not going into the field in which they studied, what good is that
$60,000 of debt which will take 30 years to pay off with a job paying
$20,000 a year?
C. Countless families will continue to support and let their kids live
at home as long as they are in school. This turns into 4 more years of
HS quality education that the dead beat kid will attend so that he does
not have to gout and support himself.
Again I will say that a free education sounds good but in reality you
often get what you pay for.
If it's paid for by the government it will soon become the standard.
Like a HS diploma now, one won't be able to get a job flippin' burgers
without a 2-year degree. It's the way the world works.
It's a *bad* idea all around. It's probably worse than the college
Over qualified. During periods of economic down turns, like the one
that we are starting to recover from, there are lay offs and college
kids graduating. They are all hunting for jobs. Typically when there
are cut backs/lay offs, those that are the least important to the
company are let go. Those that immediately find jobs are not over
qualified. Those that can't find a job, even when people are being
hired, are over qualified for the jobs they are seeking.
And if you read between the lines, over qualified can also be defined as
educated well beyond ones intelligence level. If you don't know how to
apply and sell yourself with what you have been taught you are over
qualified for the job you are turned down for.
In addition an overqualified person can be a risk. He is desperate to
find a job to support his financial needs and in a tight market will
jump at anything to have income. If the economy improves or a job that
suites his qualifications better comes up, he is gone. A workforce is
going to be more stable when it's qualifications match it's pay level.
We have that situation now. I don't think it would get any worse by
educating people more, given a proper education. By proper, I mean
something usable. I have a PhD in 4th century Greek sculpture and can't
find a job in my field.
My point is, having the opportunity for an education does not lead to
the problem it is what you do with it. Instead of Greek scupture, go
into the medical field where there is a steady demand, or maybe
engineering, or even learn a trade.
There are some professional students that will stay in school as long as
mom and day foot the bill. They have no direction and will be
overqualified if they ever do get kicked out of the house.
The higher education system needs serious overhaul. Tuition is going up
much faster than the cost of living and inflation rates The tuition at
UCONN is up 6% and the president got a 20% raise. Yeah, that makes
sense. Tough getting by on only $750,000 a year.
I think we agree. Better educated is not the problem but can compound
And while, thank goodness, we still have people in this country that can
be trained or educated to do most anything....the vast majority is not
going to do well with that process.
Agreed. But giving away an education seems, to me, to be the wrong road
to an overhaul.
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