Copyright HH 1988 contact HH 25 SE5 8BN UK.

Fnday Woodworkers. no.4. 21st. Oct., 1988.

Today was another action-packed episode in my peculiar little life. When I got home it was at first hard to sit down and write. There was unopened mail, the car was being difficult, there was a dance band performance to get readv for - which was then cancelled only after I had put my dress-suit on. And of course I felt I had to take it off again before I could start.. and so on.

Myrtle was not there this morning! She did not come in all morning. Nobody could get on! Patricia (who was in for the first time this year) said it was like losing the class monitor. Anyway, she brings in a kit of unusual tools of the type we might not have in the class tool cupboards. Was she well? people said. Had she been in contact? Nobody (that included me ) had heard.

John turned up. He has only been in once this term and that was mainly to say he wouldn`t be in for a few weeks. He asked me how to make a tapered dovetail housing and I could not think what was meant by that. But his book recommended it for what he was doing, and so not to be outdone by a book I drew him some sketches of what I thought was meant. Ah, that`s what it says here, he said! His real problem was that the illustration was not very good and he needed another view of it.

(illustration 0024)

(tapered dovetail housing and use on small circular centre column table)

Frank's cheval mirror is coming on nicely. He`s cutting parallel grooves up the uprights to give it a reeded effect. Very Edwardian, and very nice. l rather think they'll all want one (including me) in the end. The only thing is, I wish he wanted to make a moulding plane to cut the reeds all at once instead of using his combination plane to cut a groove at a time. Besides, I'd like to have access to a plane like that. I suppose it`ll be me who makes it in the end. I do like his quiet intelligent confidence. Although he in fact tells me he thinks of himself as being a bit dim. Peculiar how difficult it is to know yourself.

Peter`s table is a lot more sturdy and stable than I expected when it was part made. He's now trying to get the effect of French polish without French polishing. You never know. Peter loves a good chat, and by the time the morning is up not only has he discussed a huge range of different ways of getting the finish he wants with several of the others (thereby throwing some into great confusion!) but he has discussed graffiti with me, and we`ve swapped a few favourites. such as -

"My mother made me a homosexuial. If you send her the wool she "11 knit you one too.`'

and

" Kevin Bailey has the answer. Beer isn`t bought. it's rented" (in the Gents of a pub., see).

Victoria made the tea. They are funny these people . They give me special treatment just because I`m the teacher. She poured me my tea, gave it to me and --I dropped it straight on the floor! Sorry. I did a quick round of the workshop and when I got back she'd poured me another. " stand back!" she bellowed, putting the tea 'in the farthest end of the bench away from her. I see the point.

My spilling the tea had at last caused the final demise of the 1985 Daily Telegraph that has been lying about the workshop all these years. it was used to mop up the tea. I got into reading' the share prices in it last year. BP in 1985 was (at that time) about 585p! I wonder if my ill-advised purchase will ever reach that kind of level.

Patri ia (who spent last year finishing a job she had started the year before I took over the class--talk about long-winded ) was looking in the scrap metal box. When I asked her what she was looking for she said she was looking for a screw she'd put in there last year! There's optimism for you. Our scrap box is a most useful source of all the things you least expected to need. The system is that you throw all your unwanted metal things in and you take out whatever you want. With 20 or so people this works really well.

Vi has asked me what I want her to do, and I've asked her what she wants to do and she's asked me what she should do and I've asked h er what she`s trying to do and so you see she's lost her confidence to make decisions again. T tried to show her how to mark out her joints (why does she always want to make something with joints in it?) and failed. Then I tried again. I managed to put my story over eventually, and she set about it. But she has trouble with the marking gauge. I tried to show her how to hold a pencil rigidly in her fingers and slide a finger along the edge of the wood whilst sliding the pencil along the surface of the wood as an alternative. So easy for me and so difficult for her. I think I ought to try making it more difficult for myself by doing it left handed. That will give me some idea of what her difficulties are. What is really needed is to design a different tool or a different method.

At 11 45 Myrtle and her husband turned up. They were greeted like someone who had just teen to the moon. We told her we were finding it diffiult to go on. They`d come to get her job because she wanted to finish it at home in the half term holiday next week. He`s not very tall (about 5 feet) so I got it down o off the top of a cupboard for them. Midst much fuss and bustle they parted. we`ll see her after half term. But no.They hadn`t parted. Myrtle was back saying di I want a trumpet? Yes. What was it like? Well it was about 15" long and nad lots of bits of mechanism and keys on it. Sounds more like a soprano saxophone to me. what an extraordinary thing that would be. And by the way, do I want a viola or is it cello? Well, you would have to stand it on end to play it. Sounds good. I know a lady who wanted to learn to play one after hearing some muusic I had written for one! Now, that really does make me feel proud. They are going to put a deposit on both for me (the instruments are in an Oxfam shop) and I can buy them if I like. Of course they may be already sold by now.

Sandra`s husband is self -employed and does things in the exhibition trade. I told her I was looking for freelance and temporary work and she tells me he often engages drivers. Now, I did this (HGV) for 10 years, and though it is very tiring and dirty there was from time to time the odd bright moment. Long-distancce, however, I find outstandingly yawnful. In fact, that was the main danger. I kept wanting to go to sleep. Anyway, if I`m short of work I'll take it and do it to the best of my ability.

Someone (in another class, I suspect) has taken to using chisels to get nails out or something. They are getting dents in their sharp edges. If this keeps on I shall separate a collection of chisels just for our class, and let the others sort themselves out. Victoria reckons it`s because people just don`t care nowadays. Maybe. Nut also it may be that either they don`t know they are doing any harm or the other teacher is so crochety that they just quietly put them away and hope he won`t notice - which I presume he doesn`t, as he does no rectification work on them.

David Woody Allan came in to say he couldn't come in! You see, his son is in the car and he gets very impatient and they`ve got to go shopping .....anyway see you after half term....by the way......

The two Scottish Davids are going along nicely with their toy boxes. They have reached the lid-fitting stage, and amazingly the piece of 1 1/4" plywood they have left is only 1 /4" in either direction bigger than they need for the two tops! That's economy for you.

The one with the sewing box turns out to be David when I had been calling him Jim all day. Just when I thought I had got it all sorted out. This means that there is one unidentified Jim knocking about somewhere. How frustrating.

Jim no.2 (the one who had sciatica) is back. I am pleased. He`s such a jolly man. We Were all pottering about (including me) when he suddenly started waxing lyrical. "I do love the smell of wood," he said. Jim no.1 (quite obviously his best and longest-standing friend) joined in, saying it was a bit addictive, wasn't it? It should be banned to anyone under 18, he reckons. Anyway, we now know why Jim no.2 came back - to maintain his habit! He went on through his list of favourite smells in life (speculation about why dogs behave the way they do in accounting for taste...etc.)

.........Newly cut grass. summer rain alter a dry day. bread baking.....

Perhaps he should join a baking class held in a clubhouse somewhere.