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New Year’s Eve 1986 was a particularly auspicious one for George Nakashima. The celebrated woodworker’s vision to transform a massive tree into a symbol of peace-which had begun three years earlier on a Long Island estate-had finally come to fruition. Before an audience of about 5,000 people, Nakashima, then 81 and still going strong, arrived at New York City’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine for the consecration of his first Altar for Peace. The massive heart-shaped slab of black walnut had been felled on Long Island, milled in Philadelphia, dried for two years, and shaped over the course of some two months. Back in 1986, Nakashima was quoted by the New York Times as remarking that the altar was meant to serve as a “tangible” symbol of peace-“if we can contribute something to the stability of this world, it would be fulfilling.”
From the original Altar for Peace (photo-R) was born the idea for the Sacred Peace Tables: “consecrated by clergy, and aspiring to peace among peoples joining the American, European, and South Asian continents.” Today, more than 20 years after his death, Nakashima’s work goes on, managed by his daughter Mira. The next Sacred Table scheduled for construction will eventually reside at the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre in Cape Town, South Africa. The Sacred Peace Table project is a costly, time-consuming endeavor. Sourcing the material, constructing the table, and shipping it halfway around the world will require an enormous sum, and two upcoming events are meant to help offset those costs. But take heart, even if you can’t attend either of these events, you can still help. The Nakashima Foundation for Peace is accepting tax-deductible donations via its website.
Read on for information on two upcoming fundraising events chock-full of woodworking demos, music, and more!
Pennsylvania Hardwood Dealer to Auction Slabs In a bid to support the Nakashima Foundation’s efforts to construct and ship a Peace Table to the African continent, local hardwood dealer Hearne Hardwoods will host several silent auctions and raffles in conjunction with its annual open house, held Friday October 5, 2012, through Saturday October 6, 2012. Of particular interest will be two sizable black walnut logs slated for sawing at the event. One of these logs will go up for silent auction (bidding starts at $300), to benefit the Nakashima Foundation for Peace. The second log will benefit another worthy charity, The Moringa Community School of Trades.
The Nakashima Foundation for Peace is currently accepting tax-deductible donations to fund the Sacred Peace Table project.
Once again however, you don’t have to be in attendance to participate. Two 30-in. wide by 10-ft. long sapele planks will find a new home during the event. These planks will be offered up via raffle (tickets are $20 a piece). You can purchase tickets over the phone by calling (610) 932-7400, or by attending the event in person. A total of 200 tickets are available, and any tickets not sold online (online sales close a day ahead of the live event) will be sold at the door on Friday and Saturday, so be sure to act quickly! Much like the black walnut logs slated for sawing at the event, one sapele plank will benefit the Nakashima effort, while its mate will benefit the Moringa Community School of Trades, in Africa. Visit the Hearne Hardwoods site to purchase raffle tickets and learn more about the event.
For those folks lucky enough to be able to attend the event live and in person, the weekend looks to be chock-full of a variety of vendors and display booths featuring presentations by the Philadelphia Furniture Workshop, the Society of American Period Furniture Makers, Lie-Nielsen, and more!
Visit the Hearne Hardwoods website for the entire event lineup.
Nakashima Foundation to Host Benefit Peace Concert On Sunday, November 4, 2012, the Nakashima Foundation for Peace will host a benefit concert at the Nakashima Studios at 2pm. The event will feature singer/songwriter Pam Ortiz and will include a performance of the “Story of the Wood,” an original composition performed at a concert honoring George Nakashima to help send off the second Sacred Peace Table to Europe in 1999.
You can reserve your spot for a $50 donation to the Nakashima Foundation for Peace. RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215.862.2272
The event will be celebrated at the Nakashima Arts Building, 1847 Aquetong Road – New Hope, PA
But remember, you don’t have to attend the event to help support the Peace Altar effort. Any contribution, no matter how small, will make an impact on raising the tens-of-thousands of dollars required to bring this latest chapter in the developing project to fruition.
I won’t sugar-coat this: these are tough economic times, yet if the woodworking community can come together to help complete the journey that George Nakashima began more than 30 years ago, perhaps that-in and of itself¬-would be the best reflection of his yearning to contribute something to the “stability of this world.”
Launch of a dream. George Nakashima with his first completed Peace Altar in 1986.
Carrying on a family tradition. Mira Nakashima (2L) looks on during the sawing of a massive slab at the 2011 Hearne Hardwoods Open House.
One serious slab. Last year's open house event at Hearne Hardwoods featured the sawing of one gargantuan English walnut slab.
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I'm surprised at all of you, maybe the woodworking community doesn't know this yet but if you plan on contributing to an actually constructive conversation on the internet, "don't feed the trolls". I had to read all 29 comments in order to find out that rather than a healthy debate, this entire thread is 28 people (29 if I count myself) responding to one antagonistic comment, that is in truth only reacting to one small element of the article (it's raising money for a project that works with an institution that is named for someone that at least one user has a problem with).
Whether or not it is appropriate (I believe it is) for FWW to include amongst it's countless articles on the techniques, tools and practices necessary to produce wooden objects of beauty and utility a simple reminder that the craft that all of us have a passion for has the potential to impact others in a positive way, it is without question less appropriate to turn the comments section of this post into a forum on the merits of Desmond Tutu's politics.
If someone's being obnoxious on the internet, feel free to ignore them. Because here's the trap; If instead one finds oneself so antagonized by a deliberately antagonistic (or just ignorant, practically speaking it amounts to the same thing) comment that one is compelled to answer it in a logical rational way then the responder has elevated what started out as a crazy person on the internet saying crazy things (this happens all the time by the way) to a rational debate. By responding calmly, logically and rationally to a comment that uses inflammatory language to inflate a fundamentally weak argument about a minor point, one not only takes attention away from the actual substance of the post but at the same time implicitly (and presumably inadvertently) gives the original comment an appearance of substance. A rational response is implicitly stating that the argument requires a rational response.
I would like to thank Fine Woodworking and all of those who exhibited or attended our open house and fundraiser this last weekend. The event was a big success and brought together a wonderful group of people who have a passion for wood ranging from beginners buying their first tool to the likes of Mira Nakashima, Chuck Bender, Bob Ortiz, etc. We are going to make this an annual event and will consider promoting other charities connected with wood. Every dollar contributed goes directly to the charities.
Thanks, Rick Hearne, Hearne Hardwoods Inc.
I've found the responses to this post illuminating. I've learned that the spirit of Nakashima's peace altars are are still dearly needed.
Bravo to Fine Woodworking! Thank you for sharing this beautiful work and a woodworker with a dream beyond his/her shop. This article has a well deserved place on this site. I am saddened to see the negative postings. We may not always agree with another's dream but that does not give us the right to detract from it. I also find it sad that any would denigrate peace in our world. You may not agree with another's methods but in today's world we need all possible solutions for peace. In order for us to find peace as a country we must be willing to lead with peace. Nakashima was pursuing peace in his way. Bravo to Nakashima and to Fine Woodworking for featuring this.
I am growing from the same root stock as Oaken and Kerkwerks, those who feel threatened by views that differ from theirs usually have shallow beliefs and are afraid to expand their horizons. Celebrating peace anywhere is worthwhile, one of the altars is in Russia, God knows they need peace. I think it is worthwhile to know the person behind the furniture to better understand what the art is expressing. No one is being forced to contribute anything, free choice is a precious thing as is charity. You contribute to what you believe in but don't tell me that I don't have the right to do the same. As for FINE WOODWORKING I say bravo for bringing some life into my passion for wood instead of rehashing one more router review, it's not the router it's the hand that's guiding it! Meanwhile I am supporting the peace altar.
I'd like to echo the thoughts of Westerncraftsman. How does a suggestion for a contribution for art for peace create such cramped and provincial responses. No one is holding a nail gun to anyone's head here.
You talk of peace--leave the getting of it to those of us who defend it. We've made the sacrifices--you make the altars.
Some of you readers need to get back to work and try not to stick a chisle into your hand while you are fuming about this article. While the article is a little outside the norm for a woodworking mag, woodworkers all around the country often engage in charitable work, and the 'Peace Table' is not much different. Those of you who thing it's better to "keep it home" are behind the times and very narrrow minded. Home is Earth, and when all people recognize this we'll all be better off.
What woodworker doesn't love Nakashima's work? But there will be no peace until the Prince of Peace (Jesus Christ)returns to this earth. Until then, we shouldn't be deceived by those like Tutu who can't understand that genocidal maniacs have to be stopped. The man would sit around all day and call for peace while defensless women and children are slaughtered in the streets.
Consecrated? Lets not lose sight of the real intentions, its just a table. Although a magnificent piece of work, could not the money be used more wisely.
Desmond Tutu is not Mother Teresa- he has his detractors and some of the issues they raise are not without merit. I think this publication got a bit carried away by going beyond the wood working angle. Well intended, but in hindsight perhaps not the thing to do.
Like to last post I have never been so moved to comment about a magazine article in FWW. It is obvious from to previous posts that the Nakashima issue has stirred political sentiments on both sides. Not that it matters to any of the FWW readers, but I do not believe this event should be worthy of support by American woodworkers. Let the Foundation use its own monies for its causes.
It should be a lesson to the Editors of FWW to stay away from politically sensitive "news" articles and focus on what we all expect from the magizine--the best in woodworking techniques, tools, projects, and outcomes.
Get back to what you do best FWW.
I have never before been moved to comment about a magazine article, but I find I must in regard to this issue. I hope that Fine Woodworking continues to bring us the news of this type. I find the comments of some of my fellow woodworkers to be overly emotional and frankly disturbing. If some one tells you about such an opportunity, you don't need to insult them or denigrate the cause. If you don't believe in it then don't partake. Your opinion is not the final arbituer of the newsworthiness of information. Let's hope our heads and hearts are not as hard as the wood we work with.
Poor, poor choice to put in this magazine, wow...
I'll bet there will be many supporters of the Nakashima Foundation who wont be so vocal as those who write in magazines opposing this project. I'll further bet that who oppose were the same ones who supported apartheid by taking the stand that it is not Americas business to interfere.
Anyway it is a woodworking magazine there is no point discussing this topic and bringing in extraneous stuff. If one does not want to contribute for whatever reason just don't do it. There is no need to turn it into a extraneous discussion.
Here's my wish. I wish other people would stop asking me for my hard earned money. My wish is to keep what I've earned and support my family. What happend to woodworking articles? What's next political campaign money requests? American heart fund? etc.
As a South African Australian I can find no objection to Tutu as a man. He has, and still fights injustice. However as a FWW project I believe that this is outside of the scope of what we as a woodworking community should accept. There are more issues to address at home - both US and Australia - that should command our attention.
Besides, the project is housed in Cape Town and until the South African, and indeed Africa as a whole, can rid itself of the blatant corruption and discrimination that exists, we should not support it.
Ya, lets send some more money off to God knows where and how it'll really be used. Let's save the world and forget about our own. We're so big, fat and rich that everyone has jobs and doing great.
This makes absolutely no sense at all. Will we ever look at reality and see what's going on here at home? How about giving your hard earned extra cash to the family down the street that's living in their car or about to lose their house. Please wake up and look around.
There so many better places to spend our money than, again and again sending it over seas when it does no good in the end when we get spit on. When will people learn that we can't keep doing this and expect our government to bail us out? Only we can do that. Only we can get us back on track.
Keep our money here at home. Buy American goods, help American people first.
I doubt Tutu is anti-Semitic (though he is no friend of Israel). He did indeed claim that "the Iraq military campaign had made the world more unstable 'than any other conflict in history'” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19454562) Since Tutu is an educated man and had at least heard about the two world wars, I can only assume that this lie was deliberate. There are many honest people seeking peace, so I won't be supporting this particular man's efforts.
Frankly, I'm a bit surprised by all the opposition to the donation funds to a charitable organization that's named after Desmond Tutu. I looked up Tutu's stances on various issues, and don't see anything offensive or objectionable whatsoever:
As a Canadian (yep, one of thooose people), you Yanks really crack me up sometimes.
"No to TuTu"..........And let the Nakashima compound/Foundation,pay for the table with the millions of $$$ they are worth!......Sell a couple of the hundreds and hundreds of slabs they store in their warehouses at New Hope,Pa. And lastly,please no more political items on the Fine Woodworking Web site.
For those criticizing others, and continuing rancors, I simply recall my teacher who taught me that the best approach to peace is to forgive and forget.
It is great to see a man stand up to ALL apartheid regimes and I will be making a contribution.
Concur with Tom, TuTu is not my idea of a representative for peace... At least not world wide
May I correct my prior posting re Desmond Tutu. I referred to "Wood Magazine". Obviously, I meant to write Fine Woodworking magazine.
I am disturbed that Wood Magazine would permit a blatantly political and unsupported and potentially slanderous posting on a forum that I use to learn about woodworking. I hope that the Editors will review their policies for the future.
Having said that,I would urge those readers who have an interest, to review Wikipedia's extensive biography on Desmond Tutu which discusses the rumors of Anti-Semitism and reports that according to The American Jewish Committee, the allegations are unfounded.
Thank you, Tom, for an accurate description of the Archbishop. While this is a woodworking site, not a political one, our community should be made aware of this man's true character and not what is whitewashed by the media.
A brief bio can be found here: http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=2416
I would like to believe the Nakashima Foundation is unaware of the difference between "today's" Tutu and the anti-apartheid Tutu of decades ago.
This beautiful altar will in no way detract from my love and admiration of George Nakashima's work.
I urge all American woodworkers to refuse to help donate any item, let alone a "Peace Altar", to Desmond Tutu. He is both anti-American and a raging anti-Semite.
This is the same moron that said "The Iraq military campaign had made the world more unstable “than any other conflict in history”. Really? He conveniently ignores World Wars I and II?
The Nakashima Foundation can do as they like. But I urge all American woodworkers to refuse to be a part of advancing Tutu's anti-American stance.
Go on a lumber run with Matt Kenney and he'll show you how he reads a stack of lumber to help him find the perfect board
Make something fun while learning new skills
Fast, fun approach to making a comfortable, casual seat
In this video Michael finishes the first of the three boxes. Gluing-up, planing, sanding and finishing bring a new piece of art to the world.
In this video Michael starts work on the second box, a carved and painted Saddle lid box.
Michael begins carving the saddle lid box with his ripple pattern along the top. Then turns to his 5/30 gouge to texture the sides of the box. This isn't work…
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