Once again I’ve found myself embroiled in controversy, conspiracy, and confusion. Why? I don’t know; you would have to ask the woodworking Gestapo that question and maybe you will get an answer. But it once again leaves me wondering if I am the only sane woodworker in a woodworking world gone mad…
Am I the only woodworker that read the Anarchist Tool Chest and didn’t want to rebuild Jonestown in Guyana?
Here is a short list of some things I like: Baseball, Football(American style), American History, Robert E Howard books, and pasta. There may be people out in the world that truly hate all of those things, and to them I say: ‘Whatever makes you happy’. I’m going to say something quite controversial now…I enjoyed the Anarchists Tool Chest. I thought the tool selections were very good and that the chest itself was beautiful. I didn’t care for some of the “philosophy” of the book, though that didn’t stop me from enjoying it. But, it seems that if you are a person who really did love everything about the Anarchists Tool Chest, it has somehow become your duty to tell every woodworker who will listen that didn’t like the book how very wrong they are. I know the definition of the word ‘Anarchy’. I know Christopher Schwarz’s definition of ‘Anarchy’. If it spoke to you and made you happy, or realize something you missed, then good for you; I don’t care one way or the other. It’s a very unfortunate thing, but I learned to think for myself a long time ago, and I don’t need anybody to explain to me why I should like a book. The Anarchists Tool Chest was published in 2011 I believe, and if history serves correctly, I seem to remember woodworking surviving for a few thousand years or so before the publishing; that’s enough for me. If you enjoyed the Anarchists Tool Chest, GREAT! If you enjoyed The Anarchists Tool Chest and hate everybody who didn’t…I highly recommend Mein Kampf; I think they sell it on Amazon.
Am I the only woodworker that realizes that not all old furniture was great?
We’ve all seen photos of the Colosseum in Rome, or the great Cathedrals, or the Pyramids, and the Great Wall of China. We’ve all probably seen or read the teachings and Wisdom of Socrates and Confucius. We’ve all probably read the exploits of the great warriors of old. We’ve all seen the wonderful pieces of furniture held in museums and fine antique collections. It’s easy to see and read about some of those things and feel inspired, and even to wonder how they were made, or even feel that everybody back then must have been much smarter and braver and skilled than anybody who exists today. Well, for every Colosseum there was a building that collapsed in a few years, for every Socrates there was a guy who couldn’t strap his sandals, for every Leonidas there was a soldier who tripped and impaled himself on his own spear, and for every lovely piece of antique furniture we see, there were probably a hundred pieces that didn’t survive. Just like today, the people of yesterday had “throw away” furniture. They had benches that were held together with nails and glue; they had tables that buckled after a few years; they had chairs that were destined to be firewood. The reason we don’t see any of that furniture today is quite obvious: it didn’t survive. If the furniture of old was all so great, the world would be overflowing with it and there would be an antique shop on every other corner. We as woodworkers strive to make the stuff that will survive and rightly don’t copy the stuff that made it into the fireplace. That’s smart. But nobody is going to tell me that every woodworker in the 18th century was Sam Maloof.
Am I the only woodworker that actually bought furniture from a furniture maker?
Okay, maybe I am taking this one a little far, but after reading thousands of heartfelt pleas from the anarchists of the woodworking world to “save the craft” and thousands more lamenting Ikea as “the destruction of craftsmanship” I’m wondering if anybody out there did anything about it? For the record, I purchased our kitchen cabinets and my dining room table and chairs from a local shop. I know that what I did is nothing more than a drop in the bucket, but they were made on sight by local woodworkers. I even looked into a living room set but I couldn’t afford it. At the same time, all of these woodworkers out there who are saving craftsmanship, and ensuring the survival of woodworking, maybe you could also help by purchasing a piece of two from a private craftsman. I don’t like telling people what to do, and it’s not my place, and maybe they all do and I just don’t know about it. However, I would think that if they were supporting “the craft” I would be reading about it, and they would be doing that small time builder a favor and giving his or her shop a little publicity and a good word or two. Funny, but NOT ONCE, have I seen anything like that on one of these high and mighty blog posts. If you’re so worried about craftsmanship and the survival of woodworking, put your money where your mouth is and purchase some furniture from a fine craftsman. Otherwise, you might just want to shut up.