Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Halving joints

The work is getting noticeably easier and quicker, it’s just practice but all the same, satisfying to notice the change. Though not readily tangible it’s progress.

I set up a little production line to make halving joints, nothing flash just a system. The centreboard case goes through the middle of frame 3 and to build the case in such a way that it slots into the frame when assembled and adds to overall structural integrity, required not a few halving joints. Along with the now customary umming and arring, chin scratching, huffing, puffing, grumbling and cursing that accompany most boat building decisions in the Invisible Workshop.

The halving joint was the first piece of carpentry we were taught at school. Chippy, the unimaginatively named teacher, was a domineering presence in the woodworking class, so much so that I couldn’t concentrate on the work for fear of a clip round the ear and consequently my joints were shoddy. One thing that got Chippy’s goat more than anything was a plane left face down. Quite why planes were on the bench when we were doing halving joints I don’t know, but woe betide the boy who had a face-down plane in front of him. Chippy clipped ears with a wooden ruler and planes had to be left on their sides.

My next teacher, in a different school, was lax, wonderfully lax. Good-natured and genuinely interested in carpentry he also started us on the halving joint. He didn’t really fit in and he must have asked himself everyday what the hell he was doing in that school —a question that most of the alumni probably asked themselves too. He was smart enough to realize that no amount of cajoling and threats could make disinterested, apathetic children (we weren’t an inspiring bunch) wizards of the halving joint. And so he dedicated his attention to the keen boys and turned a blind eye to those dissolute few who sneaked out back for an illicit smoke.

And so I spent the woodworking hour developing a smoking habit that reached two packs a day at its height and left school having categorically failed to learn the halving joint or much of anything else.

So it was not without a little satisfaction that I witnessed these little fellows popping off my bench with more regularity than either of my teachers could ever have expected. Some of them don’t actually go together too well but its nothing that a liberal dose of epoxy won’t fix.

I see now that I forgot to take a photo of my plane. Face down.

3 comments:

Gaff Horse said...

Those look very neat. I tried making some last year, for the set I was building for the Sevdah Opera. I only had a very blunt handsaw though, and the results were disastrous. Also, each one was taking me over 20 minutes. I gave up after an hour, and took the whole load to a joiner and paid him £30 to do it.
My experience of woodwork lessons is very similar to yours, like many things about the schooling we both endured. I didn't realize you managed to work up to a 2 pack a day habit. I take it you were smoking number 6 or embassy? That would have cost you nearly a pound a day - where did you get the money?

I've been trying, unsucsessfully, to sign up for a google blogging account, but either I'm being very dense or there's some error with the website (you choose which) it won't accept my data for some reason. So for the meantime, I will continue to hop between OD and here.
I'm tempted to pay you a visit next week, but both kids are off school with flu at the moment, and I'm pretty busy at home carrying trays of food and fetching dvds.

Ben Crawshaw said...

I didn't hit the two packs a day mark until Barcelona, where I discovered Ducados at 52 pesetas a pack. At school Embassy, number 6, rollies or anything that came our way. Visitors to the school usually managed to lose their cigarettes to an accomplished band of hard smoking kleptomaniacs, so you'd find boys smoking wierd things like kool or sobrani cocktails.
I went to blogger.com for this blog.
Flu also rife here.

Gav said...

For more on the Trow, see http://intheboatshed.net/?p=421