Worth a Day’s Wages

* Take note that Issue Three will not be available in our store for much longer. If you don’t yet have a copy of this one, make sure you order now, before it’s completely sold out!

“I would have quickly gone bankrupt as an 18th-century cabinetmaker.” Such was my thinking throughout this project, as I tallied my hours. My goal was to finish this piece, worth a day’s wages, in a day’s time, and I might have just barely squeezed under the 24-hour mark. Clearly, a maker specializing in candlestands would be fighting an uphill battle. This, however, was the key to the success of the rural entrepreneur: diversification. Owning a basic mastery of hand skills, many forms, from stands to chairs to hayforks, could be produced. A day’s turning might produce stuff for several Windsor chairs, candlestands, and perhaps a table. A day of felling and splitting might supply stock for barrels and twigs for baskets or brooms, not to mention firewood.

It is difficult for us to comprehend the craftsmen’s knowledge of these basic materials they sourced directly from the land. This knowledge kept them alive and helped them to thrive – and that knowledge remains worth pursuing today. Projects like this one can help form an enlightening connection with the ways of the past, as well as provide a convenient and graceful place to set a glowing beeswax taper to keep the darkness at bay.

Michael Updegraff, excerpt from “Making a Stand: Form Function for $1.50” in Issue Three, available (at least for a little while longer) here.


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