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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The town I live in has had a farmer's market at the same place continuously for nearly 100 years. (I know, nothing compared to most places outside the US) I shop there frequently, usually 40 times a year. I see more hand made walking sticks in use there than any other place.

Today, fairly early in the morning and the market uncrowded, I saw a fellow w. a stick, and noticing that it had a nicely carved eagle head. I complimented him and asked if he had made it.

He had, and so we talked a bit. The head was carved from basswood. His comment, "just paint it, there's not much of any figure in the wood." And continued that other woods had figure and color that shouldn't be hidden.

I mentioned I was working w. some Easter red cedar. He replied that it was a beautiful wood. He said he did more turning than carving. He went on about how he had attempted to turn a bowl from a cedar trunk, bark still on. I don't know enough about lathe work, but I gather he ended up with a long vessel that reminded him a trumpet vine flower. So he took a piece of cherry, and fashioned that into the pistil, and carved a humming bird. I forget the wood. He ran a 16 penny nail thru the bird's bill and anchored it to the cherry pistil. The whole assemble was fastened to a slab of bark on walnut, as a counter balance.

Every year, he makes a donation to a silent auction for a local food bank. His cedar trumpet vine flower and hummingbird brought in $700 for the charity. Fine fellow!

We talked some about our backgrounds, mostly lamenting that so much of the wood work we had done for a living was done w. particle board or plywood, using screaming tools that produced clouds of dust. "Nothing but real wood for me anymore," he said w. a smile.
 

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We are a throw away society anymore. Mass produced, imported and above all cheap is the name of the game today, no pride in workmanship. It breaks, don't repair it, throw it away ( fill up the landfill) and buy another cheap imported piece of junk to replace it with. Sad isn't it..........................
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I guess it comes down to that cheap products mean, in the end, that both the maker and the user are cheapened. I suppose the difference between cheap and good value is like the difference between cut corners and real efficiency.
 

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It is nice to meat and talk to other craftsmen. Craftsmanship is a dying endever in most skills today. Fewer every year.
 

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The nice thing about getting something handcrafted by a local or otherwise it comes with a story, people like a story along with it.
 

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I don't know whether I'll ever become proficient at carving. Maybe I'll give it another go this summer.

Tulsa's woodcarver's association has a really nice, ongoing effort. Some of the guys and gals who are good at it make hand-carved canes with variations of eagle's as toppers, and these are donated to local disabled veterans. I sure would like to have the skills to contribute to that effort.

Retirement presents a lot of challenges. There are too many worthwhile volunteer things, and only so many hours in the week.
 
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