The Occult

The Occult

I sit down, and shed all reason and logic, as I open my pamphlet entitled:

“So you’ve decided to do away with all that filthy productivity and join the cult.”

It’s not a good sign but I decide to keep reading. I flip open the hand folded tract and see what more information it has to impart to my longing soul.

“You don’t have to live the repressed life of your narrow minded generation. Open your mind and breath easy. You have begun your first step towards a life without the domineering overlord of 3 phase wiring or mindless repacking of your wearing motor bearings. Can you imagine a world without concerns of blade drift or constant mechanical tuning? If yes, then I bid you welcome to the cult. Please remove your jeans and t-shirt and pick up a linen smock and a tasteful pair of dark breeches.”

It turns out, that my new hobby has some rather bizarre fringe members. Like any other family, the woodworking clan has a number of relatives that most people just never talk about. They often refer  to themselves Neanderthals. Electricity? Oh yes they’ve seen it. It doesn’t matter. They shun it. Many of them started innocently enough. Purchasing a hand plane here, a set of chisels there and soon a rip saw, crosscut saw and before you know it, WHAM. They’re a full blown cult member with knickers and a period ponytail, sneering at those of us with table saws and electric sanders.

“You know… you could do that be hand?”

“Make molding? By hand?”

“Yea. You would only need a spokeshave, and simple scratch stock, and couple of hand planes. Should only take 20 minutes per 3′ foot board.”

“My router can do that in like…oh I don’t know…4 seconds.”

“But it won’t be handcrafted.”

“By handcrafted, do you mean tedious and aggravating?”

For every hand tool there is now a new modern equivalent that came into use with that ridiculous dark period of our history known as, The Industrial Revolution. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate learning the techniques and skills of craftsman gone by, but contrariwise I have zero plans of freezing time at 1865 when my back saw could be interchanged for cutting drawer joints or amputating infected limbs. I like this era and I welcome the inviting hum of whirring motors and spinning drive belts. For me, the machines are half the fun.

To me, when looking at a set of hand cut dovetails side by side with machined cut dovetails they look identical. One took 30 minutes, and one took 3 minutes. Unless of course we are talking about my hand cut dovetails, which look more like ragged New York City pigeon tails after being run over by a an angry cab driver. So take your pick.

I suppose this could all just come down to jealously, or possibly the countless hours I’ve spent at my workbench trying to do anything that looks slightly passable as craftsmanship with my hand tools. Nah, that can’t be it.

So I took my leaflet, crumpled it up and threw it away. Anyone want a loose fitting set of dark breeches?