I am not generally a prideful person. At least, I don’t think I am. When I teach classes I tell the students right off the bat that I don’t know everything about saws…far from it. But I do promise to share everything I have learned.
That said, with the completion this past weekend of the first ‘Build a Backsaw’ class at The Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, I was left with an overwhelming sense of pride and joy. I cannot describe to you with any justice the emotions I experienced as I watched my three students thoughtfully shape their totes, file their teeth and take the first few strokes with their new saws biting into wood.
I am honored to unveil the fruits of their labors….
At the end of the second day of class, I stood next to one of my students and instructed him on how to use a bench hook and saw for the first time. As he eased his new saw forward in the kerf, and felt the teeth dutifully slicing away the transverse fibers of the wood, his face told a story of profound revelation. In that moment, colored only by a single utterance, he rediscovered a power and skill long forgotten and dismissed by our mechanized and virtual world. His eyes widened…his brow lifted…and the smile on his face shone clear across the room. He was seduced in that single moment by the might of a fine tool crafted painstakingly by ones own hands. Simply wonderful.
As we cleaned up the shop and said our good-byes, each student came over to thank me and say how much they enjoyed the class. There was nothing poetic about their words, nothing dramatic about the scene. It was just four guys packing up their tools, sweeping the floor and wrapping up another day of work. But what struck me most about it later on, and what will undeniably stay with me for many years, was the irony of their words…they each thanked me for my time and for the class. They thanked me.
Hmmm. No my friends, it is I who must thank you….for your company, for your attention, for your efforts and for what we learn together on our quest of rediscovery.
P.S…..Some of you have emailed with questions about the class, and so if you’re interested in taking the class on building your own backsaw, I’m teaching it again on February 18th and 19th at Shady Lea Woodworking School in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. More info and registration here: ‘Build a Backsaw’