We’ve been quite for a while here.  And we will probably continue to be until we have a handful of producing members.  For the time being anyone interested can head on up to Edgewood to talk with the Evergreen Woodworker’s Guild.  They are always happy to have new folks show up, especially young folks.  

Young folks.  There is a reason every woodworkers’ club in the world is always looking for young people.  They are worried that the next generation won’t pick up the skills drive that we all consider such a big part of our lives.  And, of course, if that happens, no more woodworkers. 

Chris Schwartz has an interesting perspective on this.  He recently wrote about it here.  

For those who don’t take the three milliseconds to click on the link, he talks about not worrying about it.  Here’s why:

Maker culture.  Maker culture is connected to, but different than the burgeoning DIY culture.  Makers are more interested in seeking out help and community that the average DIYer.  They are interested in sharing tools, space, expertise and opinions, always within a culture of support.  And they are setting up Makerspaces all over the world.  

Support is one of the major tenants of this movement.  Go to a Makerfaire.  See what these people are producing, and see how the present it.  There are no competitions; there are exhibitions.  No one is trying to be better than their fellow makers.  They just want to make and celebrate everything that is made by people instead of by the economic machines we call corporations.  

Makers are not often woodworkers in the sense that we, as woodies, or Galoots, or Joiners, or carpenters or furniture makers think of ourselves, but they do work with wood.  And because of the culture of interest, support and exploration, they are interested in learning.  This puts some responsibility on our shoulders.  We need to share what we know.  We need to teach, and we need to help make woodwork accessible. This may include opening our shops, sharing tools or just showing up to a local Makerspace to consult.  We may even find access to some tools we don’t already own.

One of the most important things we can do, as Chris highlights, is to give away tools.  Find young folks who want to learn and give them a plane and a saw.  I know we all have an extra one or two sitting around.  I’m not sure I’d pass along Lie-Nielsens like Chris did, but I’ve handed off several tools that are redundant, not quite up to the standard to which I’m trying to hold myself or that I wanted to upgrade.  Nothing like the absence of a tool to force you to upgrade.   

So, while the Tacoma Woodworker’s Club may not yet be up and running, we can all help to spread knowledge and passion as makers and as woodworkers.


The Good Work

The staircase in the Loretto Chapel (this can be easily found with an internet search)is said to be somewhat of a miracle.  The architect who designed the chapel left out a staircase for the choir loft and was then shot and killed before the problem could be rectified. 

So the nuns for whom the chapel was being built did what you would expect them to do.  They prayed. 

They prayed to St Joseph, the carpenter.  Nine days later a bedraggled looking carpenter showed up with a mule and his tools and took on the job.  The staircase he built is astonishing.  It is helical and does two complete 360 degree turns.  Also, it has no obvious central support.  The bent stringers are the support, but to anyone who doesn’t already know this, it seems to be floating in space.  And he did this all without nails or any metal fasteners.  Everything is pinned with dowels.

Then this guy disappears.  Just gone.  With no name and no address the nuns can’t even find the guy to pay him.

Two years later a banister and handrail were added.  Find a picture, there are many, of it before this was done.  It’s incredible. 

The nuns, having experienced what they deemed a miracle, announced that it must have been St Joseph himself who built the staircase, commissioned by Jesus Christ in answer to their prayers.

Here’s to doing the Good Work.