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corvi
corivax
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October 2008
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corvi [userpic]
competence

I had my first woodworking/cabinetry class tonight. The woodshop was a wonderful thing, full of clean sawdust smell and the hum of the uptake system to keep dust out of the air. There were plenty of machines I already knew how to use from robot-building projects - grinders and bandsaws and lathes and drillpresses, and some neat new ones to look forward to.

The instructor is twenty-something, acts unsure, and says "you know" at least once a sentence. He repeats himself a lot, and goes rather slowly, and spends about as much time informing you that he'll go over this in more detail next week as he does actually teaching. He's not my idea of a skilled teacher.

But. He keeps a tape measure in one pocket, and a pencil in another, and whenever he wants either, they just appear in his hands, like a conjurer with a silk flower, or the way I've always imagined a stiletto in a wrist sheath would work. He appears to be entirely unaware of this bit of small magic, born of years of practice, but I spent a great deal of his boring, repetitive lecture watching tools appear and disappear at will, and I was very entertained. He reminds me, a bit, of my glassblowing instructor, all motion and ease, beat and breath. There's a music to that degree of competence.

I want to be that good at something someday.

Comments

The thing that always amazes me about woodworking freaks is their ability to just *look* at a board and estimate its dimensions to within 1/32".

I'm always amazed they can build things so well in such a messy medium, using such imprecise tools, using such sloppy measurement techniques. Why doesn't that scale to real materials?