copyright Hugh Harris 1990.

Friday Woodworkers. No.16 3 Feb., 1989

I open the door. "We've poot the other fire at your end--it wasn't working properly."

It's Vi. She's on cold-strike again.

Peter's got his job down from the top of the cupboard.

"You've got that spot on," he says. Last week his job went hopelessly out of square and we'd had to cramp it up in the opposite direction as it were, in the hope that it would gradually square up. And it has.

It's not yet starting time. I announce I am going to the post, leaving them with the tool cupboards open. They're "keeping an eye on each other." I'm delighted to meet Myrtle on the way in. She is looking very healthy and well after her 4 weeks off from everything. Another thing is that she is not wheezing at all, and this is the first time since I've known her that it's been so. Peter immediately goes to talk to her. How lovely to have such friends. A jolly greeting.

Frank has been making a large and heavy mahogany fire surround. As I walk past I hear him say to someone "I've come to pick people's brains." I move on a bit sharply, because it is better if he picks everyone else's first and mine after. That gives everyone a chance to be mentally stimulated if they want. He is trying to make the thing look right in terms of what mouldings it has. Frank has really got into mouldings and moulding planes this last year or so and gradually the non-functioning old and incomplete moulding planes are coming out and being fixed. Soon, I will have to start looking for metal to make blades out of. Some builders who were repairing the school playground stole my moulding planes. They were caught, of course, but the police will keep the planes as evidence, and it is unlikely I will get them back. They also stole all our G cramps.

Sandra is silent again this week. As she told me last week she only makes herself felt when she needs help I leave her alone. She is cutting more and more 'housings'. It seem endless, and when I consider it, it seems likely that a cabinet of the type she is making will have at least a dozen in it.

Frank has stood up the whole construction. I notice that there is a sloping moulding on the edge of the top of the mantelpiece. I point out that if he has people getting drunk at his house they are bound at some stage to put a glass on the slope and thereby tip it on the floor. But of course, Frank doesn't have people getting drunk in his house! Sandra tells us that the same thing happens with a piece of furniture she has with a large edge moulding (she obviously does have people getting drunk in her house). He's outnumbered but he's doing it that way anyway.

Frank has also repaired the kettle. There is much discussion about volts, amps and resistance. Nobody can remember what the formula is for calculating electrical resistance on the basis of the wattage of the kettle. Luckily I keep a small library of useful books in a corner of the workshop. It is done like this:

The kettle is, say, 3000 watts

The voltage is, say, 250 volts

Watts divided by volts equals amps, so 3000 divided by 250 is 12 amps.

Alright so far. But now one must concentrate. The stronger the kettle, the more electricity it uses,so the less resistance it will put up to the flow of electricity. So, the stronger the kettle, the lower the resistance of the kettle. The answer is, therefore:

Volts over amps = Resistance

thus: 250 volts over 12 amps = 20 and 10/12ths

and it is rated in Ohms, after the famous electrical experimenter who it is allegedly discovered this fact (all on his own?).

We put Physics for Schools back.

Well, that was fun. It is surprising how many people get involved in such things. Victoria (arguing violently with all and sundry), Frank, John, Peter, Sandra and I actually found it out, but the rest were in on the act, throwing in jokes and suggestions from all sides. Lovely. the kettle boils. We have tea. Whistle and ride--nobody stops properly.

Patricia is putting her cassette box together with panel pins and glue. I walk over to see and notice she is trying to hide it from me. One or two pins are bent over and I straighten them and bang them in the rest of the way for her. "why do you try to avoid my seeing?" I ask.

"I suppose because I am used to having my knuckles rapped--hammered would be more appropriate."

There is no end to the inventiveness of these people. Victoria wants some dowels. She bores a hole in a piece of steel, sharpens the edge of it (the hole, that is) and bangs strips of wood through the hole. They're quite good, too.

The fees are going up again next year, and Myrtle and Victoria being there we get into some pretty hot debate on the subject at lunchtime. The attitudes are varied:

1. Education costs, and so should be restricted to those who contribute most for longest with it.

2. It is usually not possible for someone of young years to innovate much owing to lack of experience.

3. It is only possible to innovate with lack of experience. Experience gets in the way

4. Education is something we pay for in the rates.

5. The rates are too low to pay for adult education as well.

6. Pensioners have already paid for their education by working all their working lives, so it should be free for them.

7. The rest of us pay for such things out of our taxes, so it should be free for all.

8. Freedom of choice should come into it. Taxes should be lower and education all chargeable according to the amount consumed.

Stone me. It goes on and on. I'd never really thought about the subject before. Whatever way, I don' t expect my classes to last much longer.

David Woody Allan comes in. "Better just get round and post these letters. Only I've got a lot to do.... my son.........alright if I bring in fish and chips?........He's off.

The 2 Jims come in. This should brighten things up. "No music?" says Lyrical Jim (I've decided to make something for myself this lunch). We all potter.

I ask sewing box David what he does to get students for private tuition. Once you get it going, he says, it is just endless. What if it is someone whose mum or dad want them to do it but they don't? When that happens, he usually has a talk with the parents and is 'not asked to call again next term.' You can take a horse to water, but you can't force it to drink.

Peter arrives in the afternoon (when he's not usually in) just in time for tea. He has made a special trip to lend Myrtle a little mitre-cutting and cramping device. "Well I'm blowed. I've got one of those at home and didn't know what it was for."

We haven't seen Hugh this term. He goes to Ireland for a bit at Christmas, but it is now February. 1 must phone up, as people keep asking where he is.

Little Jim's gate is looking very fine. He is patch-repairing it enough 'to see him out'. We have a short discussion about coping with life/going to work/the endless treadmill of it all. Even eating takes a vast amount of preparation and cleaning up. It's surprising we ever manage to do anything except just survive. Some animals don't, of course......"and just when you think you might be on top of it someone kicks the ground away.........." His wife died recently, and I don't know how to help. I can only look sympathetic, and feel very weak. Lyrical Jim reckons (he told me on another occasion) the best thing to do is to keep on doing things and talking to people. Come to think of it, you either stay on the bus or get off, and there is no other choice.

I have finished my radiator box, discussed my new shelf making service with Victoria and got into some heavy friction with her about it... prices... cheap... expensive... quality... She's going to have it done her way if she can. I have also helped Elizabeth tidy up some of the shot-holes in her Job and it is now home time. But..........because I am not yet packed up they don't stop. I decide to lock all the tools away and leave them to pack themselves away.

I hope they sweep up properly.