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Re: Pennsic classes; Woodworking

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  • David
    Well, I was standing by the sidelines on this, but since you mentioned me by name, I ll chime in. It might be the difference between driving through territory
    Message 1 of 42 , Aug 11, 2013
      Well, I was standing by the sidelines on this, but since you mentioned me by name, I'll chime in. It might be the difference between driving through territory and walking through it. You get a lot more detail and understanding of the terrain by walking, but driving gets you from point A to point B a lot faster.
      I have found many times that using hand tolls produced a better result,and often more quickly, than power tools. I was carving some lettering into a sign for a friend at lunch time at work many years ago, and my boss said "Why don't we just do that on the CNC router?" And I replied that I only needed this once, and I could finish before they had programmed the router and surfaced the wood. In daily life, I'm a production engineer, and my job is to make it all more repeatable and involve less labor. And that's what the end product looks like. The hardest thing I had to overcome in making medieval reproductions was to lose the modern aesthetic.
      As to what a Laurel should be capable of, i feel lacking on the skill side. I always felt hat I was a "jack of all trades, master of none".
      I'm not so comfortable with the peerage on the skill side; but I'm entirely comfortable on the mentoring side. I've tried a lot of skill sets, and don't feel like I mastered any of them; but I never give bad information, and I'm never ashamed to say "I don't know, but I have a good idea of the person who does, let's go find out."
      I've been generous with whatever knowledge I have, and with my tools and materials, and I feel that this is helpful to the society. I have an insatiable curiosity, and I try to infect people with this. Should I have been elevated with my rudimentary skill sets? I don't know, but what's done is done, and I strive to grow into it, and improve my skills, and in the mean time encourage everyone who i can influence to better their skills and knowledge, because there is more than skill that is needed in a peerage; but I certainly aspire to the levels of skill that are being discussed.
      Tristan de Worrell
      (Broom: the heralds finally let me go back to the more common spelling of my family name)

      --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, Broom <IAmBroom@...> wrote:
      > Eddie of Effingham wrote:
      > > Clothing Laurels can use sewing machines, can they not?
      > Actually, they *must* master hand-sewing, and on just about every garment
      > they make, there are details that won't look right if not hand-sewn.
      > So, this example mirrors the woodworker hand-tool argument well: it's OK if
      > you produce things with power sanders, but don't expect that work to
      > advance you very far towards the laurel.
      > > We don't keep Laurels away from armourers who use oxy-acetylene welders,
      > belt sanders, grinding wheels, jigsaws, and so forth, after all.
      > This one's a bit more complicated. No period master armourer would
      > hand-polish armor - they had apprentices to do the grunt work. Also, power
      > saws *were* used in period. They were water-mill-driven, not
      > electric-motor-driven, but smiths and millers were probably the first two
      > professions to make use of water mills.
      > .
      > However, your quetions leads us to:
      > Why do we require knowledge of hand tools?
      > Is it simply because they used them?
      > Maybe partly. That would be simple "purist" ideals, which have their
      > place... but I'm not sure I'd want to use that as a bar.
      > Is it because the hand tools produce noticeably different results?
      > Certainly true when comparing scrapers with belt sanders, hand-sewing with
      > machine sewing, and so on. I'm not sure this is really true of
      > power-polishing armor, or using a jig saw versus a coping saw.
      > Is it because the hand tools teach the user something about the process,
      > that power tools don't (or that is much slower to learn with power tools)?
      > I think there's merit in this, as well. My friend Master Tristan de
      > Warrell, a consummate craftsman in many fields before he joined the SCA,
      > said to me that "you can learn the same thing by using the fast, modern
      > approach, but because the tools themselves do most of the work, instead of
      > learning a lesson in 10 items, it may take you 100 items to understand the
      > impact X has on Y in the finished product." IOW, with hand tools, you have
      > a very real, constant, and fine-grained feedback from the process. You
      > can't just "power through" a knot. You can't ignore a warp in the grain.
      > You have to work with these minor problems, and from that work, you learn
      > how to deal with them... and the very next time, you remember the extra
      > time and effort it took, and you become choosier about the wood you pick.
      > So, IMO: we place a high value on hand tools because the power tool user is
      > unlikely to have mastered all the minute skills that we can't really gauge
      > from the final product. Does he or she really understand working with the
      > grain? Does the product look "period" to the expertly trained eye (no grit
      > marks from sandpaper, etc)? And, of course, the final question that many
      > laurels like to ask: "If you dropped them with a time machine into a period
      > workshop, could they make a living at their craft?" (Whether or not you
      > agree with the last question, I think you'll see the merits of the other
      > ones.)
      > ' | Broom IAmBroom @ gmail . com
      > ' | cellphone: 412-389-1997
      > ' | 923 Haslage Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
      > ' | "Discere et docere", which means:
      > '\|/ "The Hairy Ball Theorem of mathematics predicts there is always
      > '/|\ some place on earth where the air is perfectly still. I'm not
      > //|\\ making this up."
    • Jerry Harder
      I am sure there are a few bad eggs out there. But remember peers are people too. Yes we have been recognized that we are models of what a scathen should
      Message 42 of 42 , Aug 13, 2013
        I am sure there are a few bad eggs out there.  But remember peers are people too.  Yes we have been "recognized" that we are models  of what a scathen should be.  We have sworn to uphold the ideas and traditions of the society.  But, We have our bad days.  Its hard to be chivalrous when someone tells malicious stories or spreads out and out lies about us, stabs us in the back, and sometimes when things just don't go right.  We get angry and frustrated with things that happen in life.  We are expected to "play" at a higher level, but what happens when your the autocrat for the event, and the feastacrat doesn't show up and your other two major helpers got into a fight, one just left, its an hour before feast and no food is on site and no one seems to know where it's at or even if its been bought.  Inters now a  5 year acquaintance introducing someone interested in woodworking to you THE woodworking laurel.   Your response, however gracious, may be interpreted as snooty, or unapproachable.  Forgive us a little.   There are a few of us who would make a loud "pop!" when our heads are extracted from out you know whats, but you still get to choose who you to talk to and associate with.  None of us are perfect.  We are all flawed.  But we all love the SCA and hopefully are trying to make it a better place.

        On 8/11/2013 11:15 PM, Rachel Stallings wrote:

        I have run into one of each personally and people I have known have have also run into it and if you go on Facebook there is a page  specifically for people who are trying to become artisans and they relate their personal stories. That is where I got the information.

        On Aug 11, 2013 10:17 PM, "Helen Schultz" <helen.schultz@...> wrote:

        I’ve got to chime in a bit here.  Your last comments about “stories” worries me a bit.  I think most of them are just that… stories.   I’m not a Laurel for woodworking, but a Laurel is a Laurel, no matter their chosen field.  A part of our pledge to the Crown is to keep teaching.  Also, when we are looking at someone in the Laurel Circle, how they conduct themselves and pass on their knowledge is key to whether or not we recommend elevation.   I don’t think I have ever in my 29 years in the SCA (and 19 years as a Laurel) encountered a snooty Laurel or Brass Hat.  I have, perhaps, just been really lucky, but I tend to doubt it.  I get people coming up to me after I have taught a class and tell me how much they enjoyed the class and that I was not intimidating at all.  This made me very happy, because I strive to be the same person I was before I was elevated, just more knowledgeable now <grin>.  I think Master Avery is also not a heck of a lot different than he was before his elevation, personality-wise… and I am a bit awed by his knowledge base with wood (as mine is so modern and fragmentary).


        But, I can say this type of Peer-fear is also prevalent in mundane life.  I spent 20 years in the Air Force, the first 5.5 years as an enlisted carpenter, and the remaining years as an officer behind a desk.  I remember being on fairly friendly terms with high ranking officers (like the Base and Wing Commanders) when I was a carpenter, and my own father being totally surprised I had the guts to talk to them as though they were normal people.   People just have to learn that Peers are people just like they are… we all put on pants the same way; one leg at a time <grin>.   


        I do like your thoughts about prominently posting levels in classes… this is something we tend to forget to do from time to time.  The same applies to some Kingdoms’ A&S criteria (my own Midrealm is a problem here, too), there should be judging based on experience levels, not just one for everyone.  Beginners are not going to approach a project the same as an intermediate or advanced artisan.


        Rachel, I don’t think you stepped on any toes, but I think you did inadvertently point out one of the saddest failings of human beings… we tend to believe nasty stories and rumors rather and  try to find the truth of the matter. <sigh>


        Katarina Helene von Schoenborn, OL




        From: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com [mailto:medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Rachel Stallings


        Wanted to offer an opinion...


        Personally, I would feel less intimidated about asking a non-Laurel questions than I do a Laurel. 

        Also, there is a period correct (approx 14th century, I think) tourney fence that I think you could make into an hour class for a single section of fence (even for a beginner like me). Instead of having everyone haul home a single section of fence you could try to find a sponsor (group, or a horseback rider or simply an interested party)to buy the materials for....say 10 to 14 students and the sponsor keeps the fence, but everyone in the group goes home with a usable skill, and keeps all the space in their car for packing all the stuff they bought with them.  I would really like to see classes marked for Complete Novice, Novice, Beginner that knows how to sand, (and/or stain, or use a hand brace). that way I know that the class is in my skill level and I don't have to worry about feeling overwhelmed or wasting the instructor's time (by needing too much of his or her class time) I would like a class that it's okay for me to be a rank beginner who is really afraid to start off with out any kind of safety net. (I'm a worry-wort, in case you cant tell.) I think that as far as elevation goes a major criteria should be the individual's attitude and willingness to teach and be supportive. The stories about Laurel Snooty-pants or Brass Hat So and So having been hateful about a first effort is intimidating, and a bit worrisome to beginners like me. 


        Also a class on finding documentation, and ensuring it's authenticity would work for all A&S not just woodworking. 


        Okay, sorry for the verbal diarrhea, and hopefully I didn't step on any toes. 


        I hope you have a great day!

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