Panzer IV/ Connor Davidiuk
Sitting around at school supervising the English Part A final and came across a twitter feed from an ex student who has kept up with his scale model building. I started thinking back, way back, to the times as a kid where I would build just about anything… model aircraft, tanks, battleships, go carts, tree houses, a wooden sailboat with my Dad. The roots grew deep back then, it is why I still do this, and why I teach it. For years I kept all those models and crashed a few go-carts. The boat survived years before we sold it. As I got older, I “reassessed” most of what I built. I distinctly remember the shivering cringe as I looked at the Churchhill tank I built at the age of 12. The solution? Best friends farm pond, and a few Winchester rifles. Over 240 models sunk or obliterated.
I look at some of the work I did before I went to IP , I should probably mention that I have been going back and forth to that school for about 4 years. All the training and years of experience I have working with this material and I cringe at some of the mistakes I have made. Most of it grain and attention to it. Did I say- lack of attention? How incredibly important that one little element is. It’s like final paint while restoring a car. Forgive me for using automotive analogies here, it is my other weakness. The thousand or so hours of body work before that paint is layed down. Grinding, cutting, welding, filling, blocking, guide coating, filling, blocking, guide coating, rinse and repeat. The dust, sore hands, barrels full of used sandpaper and empty Bondo containers. All the sweat equity, the hard and necessary work to get there, and in the end its the paint that one notices first, you know-the grain.
So it is with this craft called woodworking, get the grain wrong and people will take notice. To the general public the outward appearance of a thing is ultimately the most important aspect of a thing; we see from distances first. Yeah, I could be wrong, but its my blog. The small details, the custom work, many will be innocently oblivious of the efforts. We as builders know it is the culmination of the small details that result in that beautiful thing. It is those “small details” that makes us feel fulfilled in our work and probably why a lot of us do the craft in the first place. As JK wrote, “Within the little details, there is a search for meaning”
I don’t think anyone has ever seen how much effort and time I put in to getting the drive shaft detailed just right on the Mach, but it was very important to me. I can assume Connor took no short cuts on the Panzer. . . I have a Wabi Sabi cabinet in my house and my wife has walked by it everyday for year. Then one day she reached out and ran a finger along a side and said, ” I never knew this was curved”. That was, without a doubt, the best part of building that little cabinet, when she saw beyond the paint.
Part of this craft or any craft is taking the time to educate those around us about it. Insert my job here….:)
At IP the school focuses heavily on grain selection and the manipulation of grain, many graduates are masters of it. Nicholas Nelson’s swiss pear cabinet and Lael Gordan’s Sitka Spruce beauty are two examples of well thought out grain selection, these guys are masters with the grain spray gun. Check out the IP website for more inspiring work. http://www.insidepassage.ca/cabinets/. True not all woods are friendly and cooperative, and I can’t forget that these boards for Debra were leftovers sitting in back bunks at school. Grain selection with 4/4 stock isn’t always your best option. Crazy I am still learning this craft after all these years, yet another reason why I love it so much.
Nicolas Nelson/Swiss Pear/Gorgeous
Lael Gordan’s Sitka Spruce Walnut cabinet.
So it is that Debra confounds me at this moment. Door handles and choices for a suitable wood for drawers is not something I want to mess up. Pick the wrong rims on that Vintage muscle car and you have officially butchered it. I have looked at Boxwood, English Ash and even something as banal as Red Oak. I am trying to pick up on some of the colors in the Ash. The Ash is very white with some Bronze coloured striping through it. A beautiful piece of figured Olive from Gilmers keeps swirling around in my brain, a wood of Biblical importance. I think Deb would like that. However, there is also Anigre a wood from Africa, or possibly some quartersawn Sycamore, I have a chunk of that sitting not 10 feet from me right now; then of course there is…………………………………
I thinks I need to call the master next week and ask for his opinion….
Hopefully a few will lift the hood and take note of the dovetails…