|Josh Smith presents a bench to classmates at the College of the Redwoods Fine Woodworking program|
You hear these little nuggets around the shop from time to time, whether in a lecture, a ‘walk-around’ or just in conversation.
And some of them are just begging to be written down and shared.
I guess the journalist in me is still alive and well because I always have to record them.
And now I think I’ll share them with you all.
“I have a friend who is a contractor. He makes money. I have a friend who is a cabinetmaker. He makes money. I am an artisan.” – Ejler Hjorth-Westh
“I used to make money, then I came to this school.” – Ejler
“When you walk into a room that is full of loudness, it is the quiet piece that gives you refuge. A loud piece essentially says ‘stay away.’” – Ejler
“Learn to love the 1%. People are lovable everywhere.” – Ejler
“I see the beauty of the wood, but I still want it to be what I want it to be.” – Ejler during a lecture on applying finishes
‘Seek the inner beauty of the wood, and be wary of overly vulgar glassiness, which is a real temptation.” – Ejler
“Shiny shit sells.” - Ejler
“It’s easy to measure a gap. You can’t put a measurement on taking a risk and a successful project,” – David Welter quoting Krenov
“The entire time the thought of carving out that seat scared me the most. So that’s where I started.” – Welter
“Krenov used to always say there’s no ego in this work. But there was never a more willful man that walked this Earth. That always puzzled me.” – Welter
“The piece reflects the attitude in which it was created.” – Welter
“As JK said: Hand tools give us the fingerprint on the work. Machines give us the accuracy, the precision.” – Yeung Chan
“Overcoming what you already believe – I think that is part of the learning process.” – Tim, while presenting his table to classmates
“A curve should be like a blade of grass in the wind. Where it is thin it bends a little more and there is motion and movement.” – Welter describing Krenov’s view on curved lines in a cabinet.
“There’s a tendency to confuse sharpness with exactness.” – Welter
‘Death alone can prevent you from making mistakes.” – Krenov
“It’s fun. It’s those little touches that takes this work a cut above the others.” – Jim Budlong on why we make handmade catches and latches
“It became more important for the cabinet to be beautiful. And in the end people will put into it what goes into it.” – JK on a student debating whether to make a cabinet 5’ deep or 7’
“When does something rich, ample and voluminous become just fat?” – Krenov
“You can’t have too much wood. It’s impossible. Unless you don’t plan on living long.” – Krenov
“He saw it, and it wasn’t. He saw it again, and it was.” – Krenov describing an incident where Malmsten told a student something wasn’t quite right, then came back after lunch and thought it was perfect (though nothing had changed).
“A chair is a negative imprint of the body. When it is empty, there you were a little while ago. It’s a lovely thing.” – Ejler
“Sometimes it is the absence of a person in the chair that actually makes the chair. And we must recognize that a chair sits empty most of its life.” – Ejler
“Your chair won’t last forever but it needs to last forever enough.” – Ejler
“It’s good to work cheap, once in a while, for the right reasons.” - Ejler
“Sometimes almost perfect is perfect enough.” – Laura Mays
“Let’s keep this school going. It’s the last thing in the world that means anything. It’s all going to shit.” Brian Newell