The old time woodshop journals #47: Resurrecting craft in a throw away society

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Blog entry by jjw5858 posted 02-04-2014 08:56 PM 2772 reads 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 46: A book worth more than just shavings Part 47 of The old time woodshop journals series Part 48: Tool pickin', cleaning and using! »

Somehow things in our modern world have moved so fast that I think the craft, care and pride has become second to strictly making money off of dumbed down consumers. Tools, automobiles, furniture, so many things seem spit out of a robotic assembly line and tossed in our faces through constant visual media.

The machine of the marketing world I think at most depends on our stressed out, overworked lifestyles to cave in and just except modern junk. It attempts to pacify our weary minds with fast buttons on amped up hand held gadgets convincing us that the next fast and gratifying minute is worth forgetting our present moment. We continue to see jobs where souls once gave their hard earned hours now being taken over by computers, robots and people so desperate they are willing to work faster, cheaper, and keep the machine of big business selling us a lot of stuff.

We live in a throw away society. I feel sad that many of todays youth feel fine being ignorant of the simple pleasures of living in order to have more gigabytes to speed things up and push buttons to make things seem fantastic. We are slowly becoming hamsters spinning around without even realizing it.

The latest phrase that the marketing ignorant are selling our modern household is “I can be the hero” I think that stinks. I think of our veterans, young men and women today without limbs…our modern world of self entitlement needs a swift kick on it’s backside and a fast dam humbling. Every time I see a WWII veteran I am in awe of them….they are hero’s. I would not even have the right to type this if not for what they did. We are losing values I fear, so many of us focused on ourselves with plastic junk that we toss away.

Well, I need to share some good things now. I am not here to blog and bum everyone

Life is what we make it…so let’s make something!

I had these rather rectangular and boring looking hinges that I will be using for a new tool box I have been working on.

I suppose my previous rant above was in my head looking at these cheap hinges. Sure they will do the job, but I thought…perhaps I can resurrect the craft in a throw away society….jazz these suckers up a

Here is a before and after to get the idea of the original shape:

I set about my task with a Rats Tail file and Combo file to follow my new idea. I used my Grandfather’s vise for the job. I tried a little Whitesmithing I suppose, it’s alway fun to work metal. If you do so please try and wear a mask.

Now onto the new tool box I hope to unveil in the upcoming month. I like the curves and the bit of flow these hinges give off now. It felt good to take something and customize it, sort of add your stamp on it.

Well I surely know that my little hinge operation will not solve the worlds problems, but I do think it keeps my focus on some things that are important. We all have the great option to make things, to take media of any sort, paper, music, timber, metal, etc. and excuse ourselves from throw away mass produced junk.

No matter how well or how rough our creations become, they have soul, and I like to think they honor those that paved the way for us today. Make no mistake, it is a world of wonderful things. We have made amazing gains in many fields. My thoughts are that we all need to keep the course on the shore of fast waves and ever changing tides. Unlike our computers, there are no reboots in our lives, try to enjoy each moment.

Thanks for stopping by…and file those hinges!

I will always keep a sharp saw in the till for ya,


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

12 comments so far

View mike1950's profile


364 posts in 3295 days

#1 posted 02-04-2014 09:04 PM

Agree on the Rant and Nice job on dressing up the hinges…...

-- "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is."– Albert Einstein

View dbhost's profile


5913 posts in 4728 days

#2 posted 02-04-2014 09:14 PM

While things such as pride in ones work, craftsmanship, and traditional values are taking a pummeling at the hands of corporate sponsored popular culture, all is not lost. I have met many young people here, and in person doing volunteer work for my church to know that the love of craft is far from dead. And while anyone that knows me in person knows the only reason I would ever hug a tree is either I have had a few too many beers, or I am trying to figure out how many board feet are in that thing… But I must say that if our society is going to be sustainable, then durable craftsmanship will be the way to go forward instead of the disposable society that has been built up… And honestly, something I figured out a long time ago, if you want it done right, and you have the ability to, you had better do it yourself. Nobody else cares as much about the quality of your things as you do…

By the way, I really like the way you dressed up that hinge. I hope you don’t mind if I borrow your idea…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 4353 days

#3 posted 02-04-2014 10:12 PM

Joe what a great hinge uplift, can I borrow the idea :) I’ve a collection of old style slotted screws as well could be a nice
Joe I’m fortunate enough that both my family and friends don’t get
caught in hype thankfully. My customers buy into my values. I stand by
my products and don’t discard wood with a minor flaw. Today I did a run
of 100 plus of one product. I’m pleased to say there are no two the same.
A friend popped in for a blether (chat) and ended up shaping some parts, his
radiuses are different from mine. I could jig more I could go the CNC route, I’m
choosing the wonderful warm human element.Be well my friend.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Joe Watson's profile

Joe Watson

317 posts in 5043 days

#4 posted 02-05-2014 12:29 AM

Check out Popular Mechanics on google books. The issues from the 50s shows that. I like the look of the hinges.

-- Got Wood?

View madts's profile


1961 posts in 3836 days

#5 posted 02-05-2014 02:06 AM

Quality rant anD nice hinges.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4805 days

#6 posted 02-05-2014 05:00 AM

You hit the nail on the head with your quality/craftsmanship and pride thoughts. One of the main and important reasons I really like going to and participating in craft and art shows is that it is a community of creative people that take tremendous pride in their creativity and work…and many of the people who visit are those who appreciate what we do.

Nice hinges…

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4831 days

#7 posted 02-05-2014 09:16 AM

I like the hinge idea. It came out great. As for society being what it is, follow your own star and try to get others interested in making stuff. Most folks aren’t that interested in creative pastimes, but then we need them to say wow! when they see our projects.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View AnthonyReed's profile


10196 posts in 3937 days

#8 posted 02-05-2014 08:59 PM

Nice work Joe.

-- ~Tony

View Jake's profile


850 posts in 3127 days

#9 posted 02-06-2014 05:44 AM

I really liked that rant. Favourited just because of that. Favourite part “It attempts to pacify our weary minds with fast buttons on amped up hand held gadgets convincing us that the next fast and gratifying minute is worth forgetting our present moment.”

So true in so many ways. PS! The hinges aren’t half bad looking either. :)

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4300 days

#10 posted 02-06-2014 12:43 PM

I agree with everything you said Joe.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 4336 days

#11 posted 02-06-2014 01:24 PM

A brilliant Idea.
You are a genius.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 4099 days

#12 posted 02-06-2014 08:06 PM

Thanks everyone for the comments. I am always inspired by all of your fine works, and glad to share as well as learn with all of you! I thank you for taking the time to read. Have fun filing!

All the best,


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

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