Saturday, October 24, 2009
quiet time pillowing
After getting all 16 legs refined in shape on all four sides I started on "pillowing" the faces. This is the first shaping detail I've gotten to on these pieces and I'm happy to be here.
Some might ask me why I have "so many" spoke shaves. If you count all of them I have 9 with space for more. Some have rounded bottoms, then there's low angle and spoke scrape, and some of different sizes for scale of work. Basically I would like to have the right tool for the job... and for some reason I just really like spoke shaves. So I can have multiple tools set for different stages of the same job. When I was working on the Cherry legs of a cabinet I had 3 tools set for rougher to finer shaping. Because these woods aren't the friendliest cut-depths need to be kept quite light so I'm using "just" two :)
The spoke-scrape in action. Different material calls for different tools. This is the first time I've really put this tool to work. It needs to be sharpened more often than the spoke shave but it's a simple process and quite easy to set up once you get a hang of it. I'm so glad I have this tool around I have a feeling there would be some headaches and more time sanding with out it.
The legs are getting just a subtle pillowing. One can hardly see it but put one of these legs next to a flat one and you know something is different. I have just finished the two outside faces of each leg. The backs will be pillowed too but with a tapering increase of pillowing towards the bottom of the leg which will likely end up even less pillowed than the outside faces.
It is a simple process but it takes a long time to do, just to get that little curve of just about 1/16". That's ok, I enjoy this time. Turn on some good music, put on a pot of tea, get comfortable as consciousness fades into a light rock and sway.
Perhaps one of my problems is that my brain wonders and ponders during these times. Those that might know me may agree that I think too much. Sorry? heh
As I sway back and forth feeling the tools getting warm from running across these legs I start to think about the work I'm doing. Taking so much time to add these little details. Beyond a sophisticated CNC machine I don't think there's any machine that can do this. The legs are curved with varying intensity, the front and back with different curves, and the thickness of the legs vary through their flow. A seemingly simple task that only the hand can accomplish.
Is this the way it was done before me? Was it important to the craftsmen gone by or was it done just because? Why have these details been all but lost? What kind of things have been lost? Has the majorety of people lost sensitivity to these kinds of things? Will this be appreciated? Is anyone willing or wanting to see or touch this? How many people have never seen a thing being made let alone understand it?
Why am I feeling a sense of hopelessness combined with the affirmation of process and meaning in craft? Am I going nuts? Hey, was I nuts before?
Like I said, it could be a problem.