Easy

wanted to make a small joke birthday present for a friend. I did the lettering on the Epilog laser in about ten minutes. It took more time to resaw and plane the native cherry wood for the sign blank than for the laser to execute the design.

Compact tools for efficiency and cost

Lots of us have small shops either through design or necessity. In my case, I deliberately downsized as I shifted from doing larger maritime work like quarterboards and transoms and started focusing on ship and boat portraits. Whatever reason you have for smaller quarters, I encourage you to rethink the conventional wisdom that large is always best.

Stability

A while ago, I read an article in the New York Times on how artwork produced in the past seventy years was disintegrating rapidly. The deterioration was due to impermanent pigments, aging materials, and chemical conflicts between elements in a mixed media artwork. Some things were never meant to last forever, and others were never intended to be together in art.

Brightwork

What you coat a carving with has distinct practical and esthetic consequences. I tended to make things for boats; quarterboards, billet heads, eagles, or transom banners. I always used carefully applied varnish, paint, and gold leaf.

Book Hunts

Since my interests as an anthropologist and as a woodcarver have tended towards the maritime, you'd expect that my library would be heavily weighted to those interests, and you'd be right. However, I used library sales and second-hand booksellers to do this for less than a fortune. I could and should recite a panegyric to praise libraries and their book sales. And if you are interested in arts and crafts, you should also.

Old Head

You only get one clean slate. That's when you are a kid. After that, you can scrub at it, but it'll always be a sort of palimpsest, with bits of the old layers faintly showing from below.

Rules

When I taught media and television production to seventh and eighth graders, I always insisted that being a bit juvenile was OK. Rather than being a curriculum and text-based course, I taught the subject as an enrichment. Every couple of weeks, there was a new project. Included was a scriptwriting workshop, storyboarding, planning the shots, and walk-throughs of the action. Along the way, technical aspects of editing or camera work got addressed. To make this work, because there was a lot of work involved, it also had to be play.

Go to School

You can find out what grit of sandpaper you need to use on the internet. But learning what that thin whisker of a wire edge really feels like on a just sharpened gouge or chisel may be more challenging.

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