Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dale Brotherton - Sensei

Dale Brotherton
Since Teresa and I acquired the Azumaya built in Dale's Japanese Woodworking class at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking - it became obvious that we need to put a floor in it. We had to go to Seattle this week so I arranged to pick up some Port Orford Cedar from Dale.

Dale has a large warehouse where he keeps his stock of wood and prepares the packages for the buildings he creates. Some of the lumber there was truly impressive. I also admired his Japanese built planer which has an infinitely variable feed speed! (Why don't other planer manufacturers pick up on that?). Really low speed for for those squirelly woods and high speed for initial rough milling.

However what most impressed me was Dale's workshop - in a mezzanine above the doors into the shop. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out what was different. Literally there were no machines in there. Just handtools - and all exquisitely maintained.

During his class Dale quoted  (more accurately paraphrased) Paul Discoe:
"To think of Zen in terms of woodworking, true concentration. Takes a deep knowledge of the materials, highly refined technical skills and speed achieved through dedicated practice.... and yet the concentration driving the practice is not "goal oriented". The aim instead is to be fully present in the act of working with wood."
 Dale lives those thoughts to the full. Hence my accolade of Sensei in the post title. Thank you Dale for the inspiration and the great wood!

Dale's Shop:


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