No Passive Aspects

“There are no passive aspects of hand-tool woodworking, no downtime as you absent-mindedly feed that board for another trip through the planer. Our bodies are integral to every motion, every operation. And this engaged work is actually beneficial for us: Much ink has been spilled declaring the positive effects of physical activity, especially as we age. There are myriad studies that universally proclaim the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle, and they can be summarized with the words use it or lose it. A habit of physical inactivity will eventually kill you, but before it does that, it will take away your ability to meaningfully engage in creative work.     

If using our bodies and maintaining physical fitness is the ideal, we would do well to consider what sort of woodworking process is best for us as humans. The kind we passively engage, feeding a board into a howling machine as we slouch idly by, enshrouded in layers of PPE? Or the kind that gets our body moving, gets the blood pumping and the sweat rolling?”

–Michael Updegraff, excerpt from his upcoming article in Issue Twelve: “Risk & Reward: Skill as a Safety Net”


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