Do You Want to Carve a Snowman, Or Sharpen Chisels or a Saw?

It came time to work on the table today and I just did not have it going on. I am sure I am not the only one to ever have this happen. Sometimes I can go into the shop turn on the lights and get rolling or fake it til I make it or something. Today I had nothing. So I decided to begin carving a snowman based on Olaf from the Disney movie. You know the one set in the icy north. Actually we watched the 2nd film of the series on Sunday which was my favorite movie ever by the Disney I think. Pretty good. It was Roya’s birthday on Sunday and she turned four. It was a good day with presents good food and family. Then on Monday I was able to spend the morning with her and instead of hauling loads of fire wood or me going out to the shop while she played we sat and read books by the woodstove and I drank a bunch of rounds of chai. She requested we read Grandpa’s Workshop.

Grandpa’s Workshop is a beautifully illustrated kids book by the Lost Art Press outfit. It follows a few days in the life of French joiner and carpenter Pepere Grosbois who spends some days in the shop with his grand son Sylvain who is visiting. Pepere “knows how to hammer-saw-plane-rasp-sand-drill-hew-carve. He builds furniture, doors, windows, and TOYS.” Pepere’s tools have stories and he tells these to Sylvain on breaks from his work. There are elves, dragons, journeys by ship, mule, and delivery truck. There is a dream where the elves tell Sylvain the story of one of the tools which he relays to Pepere the next day. Sylvains curiosity takes him to a dark corner of the shop one morning where he finds an old tool box, which belonged to Pepe Clothaire. Pepere shows him each tool inside and one that he got with it that did not fit inside called a besaigue, which is the most befuddling tool I can think of. It is a long piece of iron and one end has something like a slick chisel and the other end has a mortise chisel. There is a handle coming out perpendicular to it into which a longer wooden handle could theoretically be attached. I can’t imagine the utility of this tool. It seems you want a mallet for the mortise end to be properly utilized but there is no where to hit it. You can use the slick chisel end but that mortise chisel sticking up seems a hazard. I think I will stick with two separate tools one for each purpose unless someone can convince me otherwise. Probably it would take a French person to do that.

I think I would fight a dragon with this thing…maybe.

Anyways, this is a really good book though I kind of edited the story of the broken hammer from Clothier’s old tool chest where one Grosbois brother bludgeons the other with it. Little too violent for my taste there, little too Cain and Abel, but I still recommend the book overall. The stories are told so well it will definitely hold up to many readings and Sylvain is so curious in the book that I think kids feed off that curiosity. Every time through one will notice something different. So I look forward to more children’s stories from the company including one upcoming about an oak tree in Wales. I will surely get that book and review it here.

So today I found myself in a failure to launch scenario so I started carving one of the greatest animated characters who never lived but lives in our hearts and imaginations, Olaf, the wise and unpredictable. As I worked I started to feel better and I think I can see my path forward again. When I finish the little guy I will post something about it here. Until next time my friends, stay safe, stay together in a spinning time.

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