Pencil Panic

Front and back of my last box of Blue Band Velevet #5572 As a daily comfort I prefer quality, vintage pencils, which I use in the course of drawing, writing and working with wood. I’m in a bit of a panic, down to my last box of Blue Band Velvets, manufactured by the American Lead […]

Fluke Waxes

Wax sections of our Fluke sculpture hang by a window at Artworks Foundry in Berkeley Something about seeing the Fluke waxes for the first time, hanging backlit by the foundry windows like curing hams, signaled the arrival of autumn. Maybe it was the lower angle of the sun, or the sweet smell of wax melting, […]

Vaka Moana

One of eight vaka sails into the harbor of San Francisco’s Treasure Island Last week I attended the welcoming ceremony for a fleet of vaka moana that had just crossed the Pacific from New Zealand, where the eight craft were built. Using traditional sailing rigs supplemented by solar-powered electric motors, the craft and crew made […]

Coincidences of High Summer

It’s been a bumper year for wild plums, and our few trees, bent to capacity with ripe fruit, have been feeding the birds, raccoons and a solitary bobcat, who harvests from our rooftop at night. We’re eating our share as well, and Ene has already prepared a few gallons of ‘plum brandy’ that should be […]

Hancock Shaker Village

I especially love the simple tools the Shakers made, like this dust pan. We took a jog off course on our recent East Coast college tour to visit the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Mass. This was my first visit, though I made frequent excursions to the Shaker Museum in Old Chatham, NY when I […]

Dedicated Tools

I love my vintage Craftsman “60” one speed drill As challenging as it can be, it’s always wise to extract as much satisfaction from the task at hand as from what the task yields. This is especially true in production woodwork, where tasks are sometimes tediously slow, repetitive and physically demanding. My approach is to […]

In Praise of Ruins

The Occidental Yacht Club in 2009, before it began to seriously buckle Maybe the Occidental Yacht Club was not such a great idea to begin with. At six hundred feet above sea level, the town of Occidental is a dozen winding miles down to the cliffs and breaks of Sonoma’s unforgiving shores. While I have […]