Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Beginning

Today marks my first day as an apprentice at J.D. Lohr's School of Woodworking. Tucked away in the hills of Pennsylvania, I find myself in the shop surrounded by seemingly infinite stacks of varying wood types and tools I couldn't even begin to call by name. I am writing to document the daily events and lessons of woodworking apprenticeship from the perspective as a 20-something young woman learning the ins and outs of the craft from the ground floor.

Aside from sitting atop the cellar stairs for the first ten years of my life watching my grandfather work on his carpentry bench, I have no training or background knowledge of woodworking. After applying for a job titled "Woodworking Apprentice/Teacher's Assistant", I am excited to have the opportunity to be a part of such a positive and unique environment. On the property, Jeffry and Rob host a Practical Woodworking course roughly once a month for any and all students around the nation. Beyond that, they are masters of the craft as they design and build arts & crafts furniture to sell to the public.

My day began with the construction of my very first fire. It is, after all, almost December in the north east and the light layer of snow on the ground outside says we need to keep the shop a little warmer than it is outside. I recently moved to Pennsylvania from south west Florida which might explain why this morning was the first time I have started a fire for warmth. I even got to chop a piece of scrap wood with a hatchet thus completing my first wood-related task on the job.

After the fire, I was moved along to the coal stove. Shovel coal into a bucket, fill the back of the coal stove, empty the ashes from underneath. Repeat at the beginning and end of each day. Another task that keeps us warm in these winter months. I have already been warned that I will be more than pleased when the Spring comes and nature is kind enough to warm the outside enough that I don't have to shower myself in ashes daily.
You should know that I am a math teacher by trade and living among the hustle and bustle of city life in Philadelphia. Each lesson, day, and picture that I document is all new to me. There will be photos galore and probably some laughs at my inevitable niave mishaps. I will be sharing tips and tricks, lessons, anecdotes, recaps of classes, and student profiles. These coming years are sure to be a one-of-a-kind experience and I look forward to sharing it with you.

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