Category Archives: My journey

My journey 2

 

As you probably saw, I wrote ‘My journey 1’ over the Easter Weekend while watching school rugby in Joburg. This is the first time since then that I have had a chance to continue my blog-journey.

I know this is meant to be a woodworking blog, but as it is mainly for my own purpose, I have to elaborate on where I am currently and how it came about. While writing this post I am sitting on the shores of the might Okavango river, listening to the tranquil sounds of a light breeze drifting threw the reeds and a abundance of birds trying to out do each other in one continuous choir competition. It is even better than it sounds, but it took a bit of effort and good old fashioned African ingenuity to get here. This idyllic spot is situated (during this time of year) on an island surrounded on the one side by the deep Tigerfish infested waters of the Okavango river and on the other by a floodplain, which plays home to bad tempered Hippos and hungry crocodiles.

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We got stuck just meters away from the great river, only to find, once we managed to get unstuck and launched the boat, that the engine of this particular vessel did not function to the level needed in order to negotiate the dangers of the mentioned river, Hippos and crocodiles. Eeeeeesh, diess ones is broken!!!

So let us continue with the woodworking. I am a Psychiatrist by profession and love my day job, but as day jobs go, you end up doing too much of it, which tends to take some of the fun out of it. As explained earlier, I always wanted to establish a proper workshop to indulge in some creative work with wood.

Since the end of 2011 I have started to do just that. We bought a fairly rundown house in Windhoek, the Capital of Namibia. Despite being rundown, it had a couple of things going for it. It has a massive garden that is overpopulated by large trees for the children and an extra long double garage with a high sealing for me. Look, the wife chose the house so I am pretty sure she is happy with it to. Thought I should add that before I am accused of being a male chauvinistic pig.

The process of setting up my shop is what I hope to capture on this site. It has progressed quite slowly, because of several reasons. It therefore pleased me when I recently heard Chris Schwartz use an Eastern saying that goes something like: “do not fear slow, only fear stop”. The reasons for the slow progress have to do with a lack of time (like I am sure most hobbyists find), and the predicament of being geographically challenged.

Yes, living in Namibia on the Deep Dark African Continent creates some major challenges. I outlined the particular challenges in an article I recently wrote for the Modern Woodworkers Association’s newsletter. Whether it will get published I do not know, but I will put it on this site in some or other shape or form in the near future.

The idea of this site is to document the process for myself and the odd family member or friend who wants to check out how I am getting on from afar. I still do not know much about how to make the site look good and would rather do work in the shop than find out so it might take a while before it starts looking like something.

What I want to concentrate on in the mean time is to document the various small projects that I have been able to complete so far, so be on the lookout for posts on a leg vise, sliding deadman, mallets, marking knives, bench dogs, and various jigs.

My journey 1

I always wanted to do woodwork on a regular basis, but it simply did not look like a serious option in order to earn a decent living. The culture I grew up with (working class white people in the heyday of Apartheid in what is now known as the Old South Africa) suggested that only a University degree could enable you to do that. Over the years I realised that this is complete bs, but at the time I had to make decisions on a future career there were basically three options as I saw it (or maybe in hindsight, as my family and local community saw it): medicine, law and theology.

At least this made it an easy choice, so medicine it was. Soon after I made this decision it became apparent that it would almost immediately take me away from woodworking, even sooner than expected. By the age of 15 I had to drop woodworking as a school subject, because one could only take it at what they called Standard Grade, which did not earn one enough bonus points to even hope to get into Medical School. Therefore History replaced woodworking, together with the usual academic subjects such as Maths, Biology, and Science. That was way back in 1988.

Since then, woodworking became something I saw as a pursuit for “one day when I am all grown-up”. According to this life philosophy, I only grew up in 2010 (at the age of 39), which was the year when I started to setup a workshop in the double garage of our newly bought house in Windhoek, Namibia.

In future posts I will fill in the gaps and explain the idea behind this blog site. At present I am trying to figure out how this blog-site works, so hopefully it will become more attractive as I learn more tricks.