I’m happy to say that I will be heading to the annual primitive skills gathering known as Winter Count down in the Sonoran Desert. Thankfully, it has moved to a more remote location further into the desert and far away from the Phoenix sprawl.
I will be teaching a course that I have been doing for some time now; Constructing the Ancient Frame Saw. I say “ancient” because this style saw goes back to the very beginning of metal working. It is a way to create an extreme amount of tension, and thereby stiffness, on a very small piece of metal; saving on a very precious resource.Even though this, in essence, can be thought of as a one-off craft project. I hope that people will take time to learn the skills and take away more knowledge than a simple material good.
I think it might be easy, at first glance, to think of a project like this as a cheap way to get something that you might not be able to afford otherwise; and that is fine. However, learning basic skills like layout, simple joinery, and the use of hand tools are transferable skills that can be used for a myriad of other projects; from constructing a spear-thrower to timber frame building.
There is even plenty of opportunity to add one’s own style and artistic flare to the project.
Learning to operate even a few simple hand tools, edges and wedges in this case, connect your brain to your body in a way that pushing buttons and looking at screens could never do.
Working directly with a raw material like wood, with its own unique properties, connects us to a deeper understanding of the wider world.
Maybe I’ll see you there someday.