I have followed Garret's work in Fine woodworking for some time, and admire his philosophy of the craft and this slide show is the cap on all I have seen.
The slide show illustrates an equilibrium and peace in Garret's life, which is what we all aspire and look for, but seldom attain.
I took a 4 year woodworking diploma course in the 60's and the "french polish finishing technic" was regarded back then as the best finishing one could apply to a piece of a beautifull furniture you spent many hours making. It had to be done properly, otherwise you would have a mess.
But that was before the many finishing products that exist today.
The other preferred method was waxing, and that was beautifull too.
I am definitly going to buy it, to see if the technic has evolved in 50 years.
After reading all the comments I hesitate in opiniating about Matt's writing.
To start, one has to define what is cheating - I think that cheating is to misrepresent the truth, to lie to others or to oneself. In this context, cheating would be to lie how one arrived at the end product, if it is an original design or a reproduction, if it has been made using hand or machine tools etc. If there is no lie there is no cheating.
As far as using exclusively hand tools or a mix of hand and machines, it's fine, if the person is happy with it.
Depending if one does woodworking as a way of puting food on the table or for pleasure, the use of jigs and machines becomes more relevant.
I can't speak for others, but for me what gives me pleasure is not only the way a piece comes out, but also the process of how making it, and I use hand and machine tools. Passing a hand on a surface planned by hand, how tight a joint is, how the overall piece has ended, and so on, gives me pleasure, and that's what counts, in my opinion.
More than 40 years ago I did a 4year woodworking diploma course, and I remenber how hard it was to spend a full year doing everything by hand whilest the 3rd and 4th year students were using machines, but I learned a lot with the curriculum.
In summary, cheating is lying, and using or not a particular method of working is not cheating.
Thanks Matt for fomenting this discussion.
I have also heard the Lee Valley will sell replacement blades for other brand planes, like Stanley Baily's. That wil be excelent, since I have a few of these planes. But I think the price would be substantially higher than the best blades available now - Let's see.
It is with high quality products that we, in North America, can be the cheap imports and wee need to this in every field, not only with tools.
If it works for you don't change it.
I am going through a rationalization in my small shop (shed 14x10) in order to be able to do some work. I use to have a contractors saw and I couldn't move inside. I have just bought a Bosch 4100-09 TS with the "gravity" stand and that helped a lot. I insulated the walls and I am puting insulated tarps covering the roof. With a small electric heater it gets pretty cozy, taking into consideration that I live in Canada.
All these chalenges makes woodworking more interesting.
I have also been looking at Ikea's "Numerar" counter tops and visited the showroom, but I didn't like that the top was not flat - the glue-joints were raised from the rest. I am not sure also if the slab comes finished with acrylic finish coat or plain. If the slab comes plain, not finished, I am thinking in buying a beech slab of 73-1/4"x39-3/8" (186x100x3.8cm) and take it to a local shop for belt sanding. If this works I will rip the top to 24" and rip a 15" strip. I will rip this 15" strip in 3 and laminate the edges of the 24" slab, giving this a bench top with 3" on the edges.
What do you think about this?
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