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End of Year Thoughts on Woodworking and Other Ramblings

We are not in an age of folklore, but be it superstition or science, the results have certainly been interesting: the New England Farmer says, "The moon has potential influence in the various parts of her orbits, that by cutting one tree three hours before the new moon and another of the same kind of tree six hours afterwards, a difference in the soundness of the timber will be noticed." "When the moon is new to full," reads an old almanac proverb, "timbers fibers warp and pull." There were rules even for cutting firewood, for an entry for January 6, 1799, in an early Almanac advises, "At this quarter of the moon, cut fire wood to prevent it from snapping and throwing embers beyond the hearth."

Eric Sloane, American Barns and Covered Bridges, 1954

For end the year I have to give a warm and hearty Thank You! to Luke Townsley of for picking up my blog. Luke, may you never grow tired of my blog! I hope to always post something that will interest you and hopefully, help you learn something new! Thanks to his site my blog has gotten over 19,000 hits in the last six months! I had been blogging for 4 years before this and had only received 640 hits! Thank you, Luke, because of your work I have gotten to meet such great folks as Terry Kelly, Tico Vogt, among others, and all the people who have viewed my blog. This December, Robin Wood, that wonderful English bowl turner extraordinaire, also discovered my blog. I believe that he has single-handedly revived the art of bowl turning on a spring pole lathe world wide. Thanks to all of you!

It was a touching year, my wife and I moved from my ancestral home in northeastern California back to her ancestral home land of gold, Gilpin and Boulder counties Colorado. There are many people who are gone and still loved that I would like to talk to again to make sure that everything that I am doing is "correct and proper" because they were the ones who taught me in the first place.

Wood working is a very personal act and any part of creating is, but remember, always look over your shoulder because somebody is looking, there is always an audience and you must strive to always to do your best.

I have 2 guitars that I will be building this year and I am already worried about who will play them and what kinds of music will be played on these guitars. I know the sounds, richness, fullness, depth and clarity that I want these guitars to create, I want them to express the music of Llobet, Smith-Brindle, Tansman, Thea Musgrave, de Visee and Dowland with all the nuisances a performer can get out of them.

Don't comprise quality, fellow woodworkers and don't be slaves to copying James Krenov or Dave Ellsworth! Robin Wood, Tico Vogt and Terry Kelly have it right, take the work that was done before us, honor that work by equaling or exceeding their work!

Terry, this emblem of the Red River Lumber Company is for you, this is what Paul Bunyan really looked like, Everett Jackson (The Marvelous Adventures of Paul Bunyan, Louis Untermeyer) was close with his illustrations but Paul really did have facial hair. Though Paul may have started the destruction of the old growth forests of the United States, because of him and my grandfather's hand tools I started wood working, I also gained a love of trees and what can be created from them. We are not the first people to love and know trees, our Bronze age ancesters knew what wood made the best bows and arrows, knife hafts and living structures.

Fifteen years ago or so, a good friend of mine, Andrea Gunderson, reminded me that winter is the time to come to one's self to regroup and become quiet in thought, like the trees and rocks around us that embrace winter with the eternal knowledge that spring, and new growth, always return, life is revitalized and with it new thoughts and acts of creation.

Here's to a happy, wonderful and productive New Year!

Thanks everyone!



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