Old Dogs and New Tricks SOLSC 9

This was originally posted on http://www.yetthereismethod.net/

Like many (probably all) of the slicers participating in the SOLSC, I hope that I and my students will be lifelong learners.  That phrase–lifelong learners–means different things to different people, I suppose, but for me it means that I’m always looking to be able to do or know things I couldn’t do or didn’t know before.

I’ve been someone who enjoys working with my hands since I was very young.  Woodworking, gardening, drawing, painting and even sewing have been pursuits of mine through the years.  Lately, a new term has come into use for people with my (and many more) varied interests: Makers. The “Maker Movement,” as it’s come to be known, embraces traditional do-it-yourself activities as well as today’s technology.  Simultaneous to the emergence of this movement has been a rise in the number of “You-Tubers” publishing videos showing their techniques and methods. (Some say the two occurrences have fed each other.)

Anyway, about the slice of my life.

The other day I was watching a video about how to turn large pieces of wood on a lathe.  The young guy (I say as one in my 50s) had a large, thin paper pattern and laid it on his wood to transfer the shape he was going to cut.  As I was watching him, I thought that there was no way he was going to be able to accurately trace paper as thin as the stuff he was using.  To my amazement, he didn’t trace it.  He laid the pattern on the piece of wood, reached for a can of spray paint, and painted around the edge of the paper, creating a negative silhouette that he was able to use as a cut line.  Wow!  I mean, Wow!  Some of my readers might not think this is a big deal, but for me it was pretty darn incredible.

Last night I was in my garage shop working on a baffle for the post of a birdhouse (the better to keep animals other than birds out of the house).  I needed to cut a piece of wood into the shape of the inside of a piece of flexible stovepipe. The shape was almost, but not quite, a circle, and even if it was, I couldn’t accurately measure its diameter.  Normally, I’d take a pencil and reach down two feet through the pipe to attempt to trace the shape. And, normally I’d be frustrated by the effort since I’d undoubtedly bump things out of place.  Not last night, though!  I grabbed a can of spray paint, shot a quick burst of paint into the pipe, moved the pipe out of the way, and voila! The shape I needed to cut was there on the piece of wood.

Old dogs, new tricks, and all that.  I love it.

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