Monday, November 25, 2013

The Future of American Trades, Part II

Contrast this video with the previous post.  The video of George was shot objectively, simply letting him tell the story of his life working at a trade that is almost obsolete, and what the future holds for him.

This video, with a much higher production value, tells the story of Eric and what he has done with his life, and how he is changing the future.

Eric, George and I are all from the same generation.  They are my brothers.

This film should inspire you!

Blue Ox Woodworks


shipwright said...

Thanks for these insightful entries Patrick. While my experience differs in that I am Canadian rather than American I can empathize completely with the real points being made.
Along with furniture restorers, boot makers and live shaft driven wood shops you can certainly add custom wooden boat builders. There are still a few schools around but no one is going to be building the big wooden commercial fishing boats anymore. It's all fibreglass and aluminium now.
Sometimes I too look at my hands and almost can't believe what they have done.
This was a great post. Thanks again.

Traian Gherga said...

Your video really made me cry Patrick... and in addition with the previous post... I'm a young restorer, only 25, and I wonder if there will be work for me in the future 20 years... this trade is hard to learn, and many many years of experience needed to be good at it... thank you a lot for your posts on this blog... they've helped me a lot... we need men like you to teach us this lost art...

W. Patrick Edwards said...

Shipwright: I wonder how many woodworkers even know what a "live shaft driven" wood shop even looks like. I know, as it was my job, as a very young boy, to lubricate the shaft that drove the belts. In my case, it wasn't overhead, as was normal. It was under the floor, which meant I was chosen because I was small enough to get through the access door and crawl along the shaft.

I think you can realistically add house framers to the list, since wood houses will certainly be replaced by metal framed houses at some point.

Traian: When I was your age I lamented the lack of instruction too. I was lucky to find "old timers" who would pass on some of their tricks. You are fortunate that the internet has made this possible regardless of where you live. Imagine my situation: living in San Diego and looking for experts in 18th century furniture. I had to find the money and time to travel to the East Coast, visit museums and historic towns. Of course, gas was less than a dollar a gallon at that time.

Anonymous said...

I greatly admire what you are posting here of your work and sharing your knowledge of your work. My regret is the geographic distance that you are from many of us but this blog has made you more approachable. Here are two of examples of tradesmen working with their hands using machinery driven by a line shaft . One single individual (Ben Thresher) and three generation (Tom, Tommy, and Pierce) working in line shaft shops.

Ben's Mill: Making a Sled
I first learned of Ben Thresher from and entry in Scott Landis “The Workshop Book” Taunton Press. This is an example of a line shaft shop powered by a water turbine.,187

Central Texas Tools (Texas Country Reporter)
I had known of this shop for many years but had not stopped in for a visit until after I viewed this YouTube video. I have since made many 'soda pop time' visits and what is shown in video is what I can expect the time to be. Pierce has graduated from college this year and is a full time employ now. Sadly many of these shops and trades will cease to exist but I think hunan desire to learn and develop will sparrk a desire in some to go back in history to learn about how things were accomplished in past times. Formal training has been lost for some trades and crafts but is being revived in many sectors.

Jack Ervin

W. Patrick Edwards said...

I enjoyed the video of Ben building a sled. Growing up in Southern California, I would never have seen one of these in use. However, there is a wonderful marquetry panel by Spindler showing the team of workers bringing the timber out of the forest using these sleds.

Just a note: Blogger doesn't allow me to post links in the comments section. However, you can easily use copy and paste (Edit tool) to select these links and then find them with any search engine.