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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

If You Make Things, You Are My Brother, Archive C, Shelf 7-B: Making A Jarvi Bench

Reader and commenter and all-around swell guy Leon suggested we might like this video. We do, don’t we? It’s one of the better looks into real work in a real shop I’ve seen. There’s lots in it a civilian might not get to see much: steam bending, portable sawmill, and various other barbarous arts and crafts.

I love Mike Jarvi’s energy. That shop has elbow room I could use, too. And three-phase power, I think. He puts it all to use. There’s mad scientist/insane bartender finish mixing at the end too, which I like.

It’s funny that the bench is called “Contemporary” style. It’s like the appellation “Modern.” To me, it suggests a style about eighty years old. To everybody else, they just see the words contemporary and modern and think it’s contemporary and modern, not Contemporary and Modern. It’s just a few years removed from Victorian, really.

So let’s salute Mike Jarvi’s bench making.

But I must warn Mike, I’m sort of a jerk, and I have an impenetrably high opinion of my own work, which boils down to this dare: I can make a bench faster than anyone that can make one better, and I can make one better than anyone that can make one faster.

6 Responses

  1. Agreed about Contemporary and Modern. In fine art, contemporary is "contemporary," meaning current. Modern means "Modernist," like Degas and Cezanne in the 1890's. Also Jackson Pollock in 1950, but not Jasper Johns in the 70s.

    I still dig Modernism, though. It was the last optimistic movement. Till now, anyway. Good prose is "modernist," at least in the sense that it strives for innovation. Some guys some where want to be "Re-Modernists," but they don't seem too slick in regards to language.

    Neither am I. Anyway, I wish I worked with wood more in my misspent lifetime. It gives.

  2. That was a purty piece. What ya figger his shop cost him–10 or 20 times yours?

    Good to know your self-esteem is on the boil. You got good reason, from what I've seen.

  3. Great googly moogly.

    Whadda ya think the finished piece would bring?

    1)thet there woodmizer is jiggly
    2)dude needs an edger – or turn the raw blank 90 degrees or so to edge
    3)izzat dick dale surfer music mixed wit summertime blues @ 8:40 or so?
    4) lotsa clampin 'n jiggin goin on – could ya start with veneer?
    5)cold molded plywood would accomplish same
    6)obviously not a production shop

  4. Cool! Whenever I need a fix of 'men making things' I know I can come here and find just the thing. Pitcher frames AND a spectacular process to turn that slab into something it never thought it could be. I still adore my lovely table from your workshop…..and it might wear out from all the appreciative strokes it gets. Thank you for being one of the men who make things!

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