Born Again

If you’ve ever attempted to take video with your phone or a camera you know how difficult it can be to stop the frame from shaking. It’s why people use tripods. The more steady you can hold the camera the less shake in the frame. To exacerbate the problem, the more zoom you use the more shake is exaggerated. It’s like trying to hit a moving target with a spit ball.

Woodworking has a similar problem that’s nothing like what I’ve just explained. Wood moves. Different species of wood moves more or less than others. Wood moves in three directions. Longitudinal (is parallel to the wood grain), radial (is perpendicular to the annual rings and to the wood grain), and tangential (is tangent to the annual rings and perpendicular to the wood grain). Confused? I too, and it’s not very interesting. Why should it matter, who cares and what good is it to know this arcana? Truth is it doesn’t matter if you’re happy letting a tree grow up, die and become fuel. If, on the other hand, you want to see the tree live on after death it matters a great deal. Yes, a tree can be born again, and it doesn’t have to be as obnoxious as some religious rebirths.

When a tree is born again we call it furniture or some other structure. But for that to happen the tree first has to become smaller sticks. The sticks then must be joined together to become fatter sticks and slabs. That’s what furniture is. Sticks and slabs. The process of joining sticks is called, of all things, joinery. It’s done with joints that can be strengthened in a number of ways. Glue is the most common. In the old days, whatever they are, the people who did that were called joiners. Much different from the language we use today that doesn’t define anything accurately. For example, we often call liars politicians.

I think, given the density of the material discussed, that’s enough for today. Class dismissed.


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