Today was my first official day of vacation. I was attacked by voracious mosquitoes, got a fairly nasty sunburn, sweated my tuckus off, and will require analgesics in order to so much as roll out of bed tomorrow. And it was awesome.
I’m in Pittsboro, N.C., with nine other students in Peter Follansbee’s joint stool class at Roy Underhill’s The Woodwright’s School. Today, Peter showed us how to take a section of a log down to boards that we then took to the shop and planed flat on one side.
Peter has a story in the October issue, “The Best Oak Money Can’t Buy,” in which he writes about the process – so I’ve read about it several times (first edit, second edit and binder). In theory, it doesn’t sound too hard. In practice, it is serious physical labor of a kind I haven’t done since I was in my early 20s (the heaviest thing I lift on a regular basis these days is my purse). And because we took turns with the wedges and sledges to split the oak, and with the froes and mallets to rive it, I wasn’t even working that much of the time.
You’ll be able to read more about the process of taking logs to lumber when the October issue comes out, but here’s a short video preview. Peter makes it look easy – for him, and for a couple of the guys here with me, it is. For me, not so much. Regardless, it’s a lot of fun.