“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

In praise of bodgers.

On Sunday our annual visit to Chertsey Agricultural Show was enriched by watching a bodger at work. The term is usually associated with work that will only just pass muster but in fact the bodger was a highly skilled craftsman who set up his pole-lathe deep in the woods and having selected and cut his timber would turn the chair legs for the Chiltern furniture trade. Bodging  has always seemed to me to be a wonderful craft. The pole-lathe itself is a masterpiece of simple but effective technology and the idea of working with green timber with just the wildlife of the forest for company has a ludicrously romantic appeal. It's good that a few dedicated folk are keeping alive a tradition that is a world away from all that accountancy and software design that we value so much these days.

1 comment:

Gitane said...

The "draw knife" is also an important bodgers tool. Recently we trained a 16 yr old to use one and within a day he had outstripped the skills of all of our "master" carpenters!
The lesson we learned was that the more primitive and "natural" the tool, the easier the skill development became. As a toolmaker in my apprenticeship we spent 6 months in developing bench skills, filing, hand drilling, eye calculations etc. From that we were put onto various machine tool skills and never went back to practice the hand skills we so easily acheived at 16 or 17 .