Relax…You’re Supposed to Relax.

From week to week, construction class pings back and forth between gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Some weeks we are outside building a shed or siding a building; other weeks we are in the workshop crafting furniture.

I suspect this alternation is similar to cross-training for athletes. It’s good to practice all the muscles.

After working outside cutting rafters and hanging 4 x 8 sheathing, we’ve been inside this week, making Adirondack chairs. A couple of takeaways:

1. Adirondack chairs are surprisingly complicated, with many parts and angles and much repetitive work. For example, each chair has seven back slats and nine slats on the seat, many of which had to be cut with specific angles to create the illusion of a smooth curve.

2. My woodworking skills have improved tremendously since Christmas. Back then, when we were working on the barn doors, every cut was a struggle for me. I had to summon my courage before tackling any element of the design. But all these months later, I have become so relatively comfortable with jigsaw and router that I actually found myself drifting off into a meditative reverie while doing the repetitive work of cutting, routering and sanding chair parts. For the first time ever, I see how people could perceive woodworking as a relaxing pursuit, rather than as an exhilarating fight to the death against demon power tools to save the soul of lumber.

Meanwhile, for those times when woodworking can’t help you achieve ultimate relaxation, a nice rocking chair can always get the job done. Fortunately, I know where you can get one…

(Stay tuned for details on how to buy handcrafted Adirondack chairs, including rockers, from our construction class at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Nashville.)

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