Joinery as Meditation

I have been working on a new design, a desk, that calls for more joinery than I usually work with.  I use mostly handtools, so there’s been lots of hand sawing and pairing with chisels.

To saw accurately, writer and woodworker Christopher Schwarz suggests thinking of the saw in your hand as a bird- you don’t want the bird to escape, but you don’t want to crush the bird, either.  Mr. Schwarz states that “the best way to saw is to minimize the sawyer.”  In other words, “the best sawyer is the one who isn’t there.”  Doug Stowe has a name for it, Saw Zen.

The hand and the eyes know how to chisel and saw, thoughts just get in the way.

With this project I have found the joy of joinery.  The layout is the ritual,  joinery the meditation.

It has been a good week.


About Randy J. Arnold
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