I am ripping down a piece of 135mm Tas Oak for a drawer-bottom. Straight down the guts of it, I mean: the sectional cut of greatest area; the big-board-to-two-thin-boards break; if you see what I mean. The sort of thing done in twenty-five seconds by a band saw or resaw, but taking me an hour and a half (maybe; I’m not counting, and I don’t think you should either). I sharpened my dad’s dad’s ripsaw yesterday (well, it’s sort of mine now — and how I love the thing!) and it’s now doing it’s centenarian best (no, actually I’ve no terribly firm idea of how old it is — it appears in a 1918 catalogue though) to rip straight and thin and planar. My muscles are attempting to keep up with it, and not doing so well. Perhaps another few drawer-bottoms, or wardrobe-backs, or other thinish bits of furniture cladding (which don’t mind their backs been furry) will see me back in condition. Perhaps not.

Ripping timber like this is fun ('ripping' good fun?). That’s why I’m doing it. I don’t really need a drawer bottom made in this way — my dad gave me a perfectly suitable panel of ply just three days ago, that he didn’t want and that I’ve not other use for — so it must be for fun. Why else would I have eschewed the much faster (and yes, certainly more structurally stable, and probably stronger) route of plywood-and-glue and have the drawer slid into its home and gone from my todo list by now?

Because this isn’t about making a drawer, it would seem. (And oh! what other new-age clichés are to come next?!)

It’s about standing at my bench, making sawdust, hearing the tools in the wood, breathing with the strokes of the saw… feeling non-analytical for once! Just doing, very slowly, and not thinking anything of the future, or how all this is meant to work. It’s time to let the programmer’s brain sleep for a while…

(Oh, and “non-analytical”?! Yes, quite; but I didn’t say “non-ironic” did I? Hmm…)

A couple of years later I took this hard-ripping lark to a new line and cut the 19 mm board into three thin boards, and it works pretty well.

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