Monday, November 23, 2015

The Studley Effect



Even though my exposure to the H.O. Studley tool cabinet and workbench was more than six months ago, the effect is still a constant in my life. It's like a perfect brownie with warm gooey chocolate goodness beneath a thin crusty, crunchy top layer. I had been aware of the cabinets existence from shortly after I started woodworking in the late '90's, but the intense time I got to spend around Mr. Studley's work helping Don Williams with the exhibit in Cedar Rapids. Even with some distance from the event, I'd call it life changing. 

Before I was even home from the experience I had found on eBay a couple small jeweler's hammers similar to those in the cabinet and bought them with no hesitation. Once I had the them in hand (complete with shaped ebony handles) I knew I had to something special for them. 
Seeing the cabinet with all the tools in place is one fantastic thing. Seeing it without tools…another level. It's a challenge from Mr. Studley stretching across time. A line in the sand. He's saying, "Here's what I can do…how about you?"  

This photo is Narayan Nayar's and I stole borrowed it from one of Chris's blog posts somewhere. 
I started a frame to hang the hammers in before the end of May and I've been slowly puttering on it as my confidence rises and putting it to the side when it falls, but the challenge of it taunts me and I can't abandon it.

I do not consider myself a finesse woodworker. I refuse to work within the confines of a fraction of an inch's dictating success or failure. I don't believe wood is that kind of medium. But at the same time I am obsessed with the details that matter, at least that I consider matter. I can accept some gaping in my dovetails if I can nail a work's proportions and pull off some fractal repetition, Still I've never been into "perfect" (whatever that means) but with this stupid frame, I'm trying for it. 

I've stalled out for a while trying to work out hanging the actual hammers to the actual frame. But today, newly relocated to the warm haven of my winter shop, I sat down at the bench to re-enter the ring with Henry the Stud again. This must be round eight of who-knows-how-many. 

He's the champ, and I'm sure to lose. I just pray it's by decision and not by knockout. 

Ratione et Passionis
Oldwolf

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