I'm sitting at a repurposed and newly repaired workbench. Its amazing the stuff you find in a village home but I'll go into that later. Now quickly; we have finished building the workshop finally, it took 4 days and a fifth because Julius showed me a million mistakes. All of that will be detailed in a later post. Sachin and I wasted no time, we spent a couple of days repairing an ironing table to serve as a workbench and are now settling. The workshop is the main topic of this post.
If you've read my post and blogs you would know that Sachin is an old student and now an unschooling mentor and my host at his farmstay Mohraan. These guys follow some very simple principles of organic farming, enriching the soil and relying on nature to do a lot of work, especially the 'maintenance' work. I've been here for about 45 days and I'm sowed, I've planted, I've weeded, I've trenched and I've even done some rice planting. But I've hardly done any woodworking. Both Sachin and I knew that woodworking was going to happen eventually, when the time was right. I'd go so far as the say that it was an unofficial part of the reason I came to Mohraan.
Last week, when everybody was in Mumbai, I was asked to begin the workshop and also give S and S a list of the tools, etc to provision the workshop. I'm very, very pleased with the bamboo structure that I've designed and got built. So much was learnt. Even now there are a few leaks to be plugged and tools to be sorted out. But the workshop is ready; Sachin can be taught and more importantly, he can practice. In fact the first thing that we did was repair an old Sheesam table and repurpose it as a workbench. The table in question was 10 years old and made with a strange combination of pegged mortise and tenon joints and 5 inch threaded metal rods. As expected the wood had messed up the metal and the rods had murdered the wood and the table that we picked up was rocking more than I when I'm 5 drinks down. I taught Sachin how to open up the joints without ruining the wood. Then after a quick how, what and why of the joint, I showed him how to repair a mortise and rebuild a tenon without compromising the strength of the wood too much. Finally we've braced the table with diagonals of plywood. I would have used solid wood and some simple joinery, but that would have taken too much time. This morning we completed the table. Drove in 8 screws through the top into the frame of the table. Miscalculated something and drilled about half the holes in the wrong place. Fixed that eff up and declared the workbench done.
True to form I tested the table by having us leap on it and pose of pictures as I have done for every table I've ever built.
The workshop is now ready for anybody to come and work, learn and practice. I can imagine a few of Mohraan's guests coming in here and making some really cool projects using the resources of the farm itself and the tools that populate the workshop.