This is the last of the catalogues I’m going to post unless I find one dated back to the 18th century which I don’t even know if they actually had toolmakers who made tools as a business. Generally woodworkers and blacksmiths made tools for themselves and the latter for woodworkers. Anyhow, I feel the catalogues I posted is more than enough.
This handbook is quite interesting, it brief instructions on mixing your own stains, what saw files you should use on different point saws etc. It’s not many pages involved in reading but I think you learn quite a bit from it.
The secrets to become the master is not at all a secret, but one known to us all and reserved only for those who are prepared to undertake a journey I am to reveal or maybe I should say, remind you and myself of something we all already know.
Let’s take a brief journey into the philosophical world of martial arts to better understand ourselves and the journey we are about to embark.
If we look up the definition of Kung Fu we’ll get many descriptions, but only one nails its true meaning, “to refine the body and its mind.” Kung Fu is supreme skill that can only be attained from hard work. You see Kung Fu doesn’t only relate to martial arts but to all that have mastered their trade. A painter Leonardo Da Vinci can be said to have reached Kung Fu, French woodworker Andre Jacque Roubo can be said to have reached Kung Fu. A skilled masterful musician who can move the hearts with his music can be said to have reached Kung Fu. Even a servant who loyally serves his master flawlessly can be said to have reached Kung Fu. Anyone who has mastered the arts be whatever that may be, whose skills have reached perfection and cannot be perfected any further has reached Kung Fu.
Kung Fu is not about fighting but about mastery of the arts. It’s about self discipline, self sacrifice, struggle, endurance and determination. Strong will power.
Let me give you a quote from a master of Kung Fu of what is needed to reach Kung Fu. “Preparation, endless repetition until your mind is weary and your bones ache, until you’re too tired to sweat and too wasted to breathe. That is the way, that is the only way one acquires Kung Fu.”
Would it surprise you if I said even those who have worked wood for 40, 50 or even 60 years have not reached Kung Fu, they are merely black belts who know enough to get them by. But I personally want more than that, I don’t want just to know enough to get by.
Shaolin monks undergo severe physical training to attain true Kung Fu and it all boils down to that definition to refine the body and its mind.
We are all different in body and mind to each other, many of us are happy and content with their current status, then there are many who want more but are not willing to step forward to get it, but only a few small group want it so bad, that they’re willing to sacrifice themselves to undergo severe training of both body and mind to reach Kung Fu. They do this not for fame nor fortune but to attain true skill, self elevation in their chosen art.
I, and I speak for myself only want to achieve Kung Fu, I want to reach a level of mastery in my craft and I’m not referring to become the best of the best because I know all too well, that there are no best of the bests in this world, only God can claim that title. When you believe, you are the best, know that someone somewhere out there is better than you, but to become a true master among many masters is what I want to achieve.
This means going back to basics, re learning simple skills is the key to mastering them, honing with repetition until my mind is weary and my body aches beyond endurance is what I’ll have to do to master each skill in this trade. When I saw, there can’t be good days and bad days, every day I saw to that line must be perfect in every sense of the word. When I plane the edge to the line it must be square and perfectly parallel to the opposite edge with no severe time lost. My tools must be an extension of my arms and all must work together harmoniously. My knowledge must be pure and extensive with real purpose in mind. To execute an operation it cannot be clouded with doubt but only with sheer conviction of its purpose and success.
I have built many clocks in my lifetime and many of them struck people with awe, I gained popularity due to my workmanship, honesty, integrity and generosity, so I can never say I wasn’t successful in my career as a clock maker and seller. But had I remained content with only building clocks I would never have found myself, my true purpose in life, I would never have discovered what I truly want out of my craft. As you all know there are many aspects of our craft and choosing only one aspect is evidently clear to me now more than ever that that is not enough for me. So, my journey begins on a different route all over again but this time with clarity and single purpose in mind as an apprentice, and am not ashamed to demote myself in order to reach my final destination.
This blog has gone beyond my wildest expectations, it’s not about self promotion or self marketing but about a woodworker who is unknown in this world, who is of no real importance nor holds any celebrity title. It’s about a man who has taken upon himself to take a leap of faith into himself, to undertake an enormous journey, a task of determination through self discipline and hard work to achieve his goals and objectives in life in order to better himself until that final destination of Kung Fu is reached. And you’re all welcome to join me should you so desire.