The Wonder of Woodworking

I was working away at my computer yesterday afternoon when my husband Andy stopped by to give me a heads up. He told me he was going to be using the table saw and I said, “Great, be very careful” (I always say that when he is going to use power tools and he always replies, “I am always very careful.”). I was very immersed in my writing so I didn’t press him on what he was going to be working on. I went about my business while he went downstairs to the basement workshop.

In the distance I heard the table saw in action—a sound that I find incredibly comforting which is surprising given how dangerous blades are, but not unexpected given my history with woodworking. As a little girl, one of my favorite activities was working with my dad in “the basement”—his workshop. Together we used his jigsaw to create many different items from small to large.

We made a jewelry box that we lined with purple velvet. We made a jewelry tree shaped as an arm and hand (I probably used my hand as a pattern).  We carefully selected the piece of wood and cut so that a prominent knot in the wood defined the palm of the hand.  And we used wood dowels for the fingers. We also made a desk and bookshelves. All items were for my very own use in my bedroom—my favorite place growing up. I still have the jewelry box and jewelry hand and I have used both to keep my jewelry all my life. The bookshelves are still in my childhood room though the desk is—well I don’t know where it is. 🙂

My appreciation of woodworking stems from having fun working with my dad—a wonderful reason on its own. But I love woodworking because the smell of fresh cut wood is incredible, the texture of wood is sensual and the art of creating something from a natural material is amazing. Working with a piece of wood that was living and growing before it was magically transformed into a new shape is magical (see my weekly blog Magical Moment Mondays).

I forged ahead with my work yesterday and several hours passed with Andy out of sight. He worked on the table saw outside his basement workshop (that he also uses as his trumpet practice room) in between sessions on his trumpet. It was an interesting sound of trumpet scales and pieces followed by saw noises, followed again by trumpet and then more sawing.

When he finally emerged from the basement (his practice is 1½ – 2 hours long), Andy came up to me and handed me the most beautiful piece of sculpted wood. He had made a cuboctahedron. The geometric form is a pleasing shape no matter the material, but this specimen was made even lovelier because it was hand-made by my husband out of a block of wood with particularly strong contrasting colors in the grain. Not surprising because he is structural engineer (and Garden Engineer blogger), Andy is fond of geometric shapes. Cuboctahedron Engineering is his company name and he has a nice collection of his namesake cuboctahedrons. None are as magnificent as his woodworking creation that now sits beside me on my desk. Lucky me!

XOXO Rachel

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2 thoughts on “The Wonder of Woodworking

  1. Lovely essay. Wonderful arc of the love of woodworking from childhood to now and the joy of the work, the objects and persons loved.

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  2. My enjoyment of woodworking–and most of the few skills I have–also derives from my father, who was an accomplished carpenter. He had a small workshop (he had to share with the washer and dryer) from which emerged bookshelves, tables and–his specialty–individualized jewelry and knick-knack boxes (everyone in the family had one). It was fun to sit and watch him work, something I would do for hours.

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