Sunday, September 21, 2014

The properties of wood

I haven't even picked up a tool yet, but I'm already growing from being part of the #SoulcraftCohort I discussed in a previous post.  I still don't have faith in myself that I'll leave with anything beyond kindling, but Peter seems to disagree.

Sean gave himself a challenge during our discussions to try not to find analogy and parable in everything we're doing here, but we learned a couple of things about wood today that make it difficult for me to make the same attempt.

From the wise mouth of Yogi Debelak:

A talented sawyer can create $10,000 of wood from a tree that in the hands of an average sawyer might be worth $300.

The grain is present in the wood and made from the alternating rings of tree growth.  The figure, however, is the beautiful, almost ethereal property that is innate within the wood, but brought out by the way the wood is cut.  Think about that for a moment...  I know this might be a little touchy-feely for some of you (frankly, its a little touchy-feel for me), but in each of our students is potential.  Do some have different potential than others?  Sure.  But each piece of wood can be cut in a way that shows its figure to its absolute potential.  The challenge is in knowing our students well enough that we know what needs to be exposed to let them show us all what they're made of.

Also from Guru Debelak:

The wood's bond to the glue is stronger than the wood's bond to itself.

Listen, I know Peter wasn't going for something deep here, he was literally talking about the best ways to glue wood to create furniture devoid of any metal hardware.  When he said this though, I swear the world slowed down Matrix-style for about ten seconds.  Glue the wrong way and just a little bit of pressure will split the pieces apart.  Casual and thoughtless relationships with students won't withstand even a little bit of pressure.  When we find the strongest way to bond, however, that bond is one that can help that student through almost anything.

Learn the innate properties of the wood.  Release its figure.  Glue in such a way that the bond can never be broken.  Powerful.