I made some dove tails in a woodworking course, than stitched up a simple leather wallet at the end of my trip to Ottawa.
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It only seems fitting after commemorating the vicious cost of war that I should leave Ottawa with a little nod to a symbol of peace. Over the (ahem) tail end of last week, I had the great fortune to take a course at the Ottawa City Woodshop with the Minimalist Woodworker, Vic Tessalin (Shameless plug, buy his new book here!). The course focused on the essential basics of woodworking right from the theory side of woodworking (there’s a surprising amount of detail to be learned here) to the cutting my first-ever dove tail joints and the making of a small wooden box.
Vic’s knowledge, experience and passion for woodworking made the course engaging and extremely informative. On the third day, after learning some theory and seeing the skills demonstrated, the class proceeded to saw, chisel and (in my case) hack away at some small pre-cut pieces of pine. Coached along by Vic and some additional help from Mike from the Woodshop we proceeded to construct our boxes.
I’m really pleased with the result, and to add another skill to my inventory. I’ve been doing pretty rudimentary carpentry for years, but proper joinery is something that fascinates me. The most beautiful part of this is that aside from a couple of electric saw cuts to get all of our materials ready (en mass), this whole project was done with hand tools. As I read and watch more tutorials I’m steadily realizing that hand tools are an far sight faster when you’re building custom pieces. The tendency to pull out a table saw, skill saw, or sander to build simple stuff is huge, and especially for beginners, they’re far less intimidating than something like a hand plane.. Which really is counter-intuitive..
Let me tell you though, making shavings with a hand plane is OH-so satisfying.. Sooooo much satisfy…
Seriously, if you’re in, near or travelling past Ottawa any time soon, go take a course.. These guys are awesome!
But wait, there’s more..
So, I’ve got to confess. While I’ve been on a bit of a minimalism kick lately, I’ve been finding myself going a little stir-crazy without having tools to make, build and create.. I’m waiting on some of my stuff to arrive from Calgary, and that will help, but I couldn’t help myself any longer, so I tracked down Zelikovitz Leathers in Ottawa, and bought some basic supplies to do a bit of leather work. I tried to get stuff that I didn’t already have, and now I’ll have a pretty well rounded kit when the rest gets here. It’s also worth mentioning that the ladies at the shop were incredibly helpful and very friendly and I’ll definitely be back when I’m through town again. I did find leather prices quite a bit more expensive than my favourite shop in Calgary (Buckskin Leather) but their selection of equipment and tools was awesome..
I’ve wanted to build myself a wallet for a while, and never quite got around to doing it, so after the woodshop course was done last night, I stayed up a bit late and built one.. I’m super-pleased with the result of this one too. My stitching is a bit askew at the corner, but overall it seems to hold my cards really well, and I’m super pleased with the Zelikovitz brand Midnight Blue leather dye. It’s water based, and super-easy to clean up for a sloppy maker like this guy!
I even made a sheath for the stitching chisel that I picked up Zelikovitz; these are an in-house brand and super sharp!
(Sorry about the colour on this photo, I’m trying to get this post published and well, the colour correction department is on holiday..)
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As my learning journey here in Ontario begins, I have left the wonderful home of my hosts Dave and Simone, and headed for Ottawa in time to attend the Remembrance Day ceremonies in our nation’s capital, Ottawa. This journey is as much about learning new skills as it is about understanding what it is to […]
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As my learning journey here in Ontario begins, I have left the wonderful home of my hosts Dave and Simone, and headed for Ottawa in time to attend the Remembrance Day ceremonies in our nation’s capital, Ottawa. This journey is as much about learning new skills as it is about understanding what it is to be Canadian, and I feel that spending time in this part of the country is essential to achieving a more complete understanding of the latter.
In my youth, and as a member of an Air Cadets squadron I participated in more than a few wreath laying ceremonies. Back then we unquestioningly donned woolen socks, long sweaters and trench coats to parade in frigid temperatures at a variety of cenotaphs and war memorials to honour our fallen soldiers. At the time, it seemed a tiny sacrifice in comparison to the one we were saluting.
Since those days, I’ve seen much more of the world, and acquired what I hope is a more complete understanding of how the world operates. It’s also my hope that I’ve developed a bit more wisdom, and the capability to think for myself. I’ve long struggled with the oft repeated message “lest we forget” and with every year that passes my frustration grows. My hope with attending the ceremony here was to connect with what it means to Canadians, or Canadians in the capital, or even just what it means. I went with an open mind.
I watched as men, women and an assortment of teenagers in pointy hats, and fuzzy hats, and circular hats, and floppy hats all marched past me. I listened to the conversation of college students, home makers, and retired military personnel that surrounded me in the crowd. We all watched as dignitaries showed up for their duties, but it wasn’t until the parade of veterans arrived that I realized how empty these words we utter so repeatedly really are.
I grew up in a time when the number of WWI & II veterans was dwindling and Korean war vets were also in short supply; Cypress was but a textbook memory. Every year of parade saw less veterans and smaller ceremonies. It was almost a mark of pride that we had none to replace them as they died of old age. What shocked me with the Ottawa parade was the number of young veterans present. As I watched them march past, the realization that we have indeed ignored the message hit me full-force. We here in Canada (aided by our international partners no doubt) have come up with increasingly effective and stupid ways of wasting human life, destroying families and muddying our name internationally.
In my criticism, I never want to undermine the efforts, and the legitimate sacrifices that our military personnel have all made in their various deployments, but I do question the reason for most deployments in recent history. I’ve always believed that military should primarily be a defence force, and as a Canadian I’ve sat back and watched our military be converted to an international aggressive police force as a result of political posturing. I do have great hopes for our new government, and a new era of peaceful international behaviour. Time will tell whether this will change.
With that, I shall step down from my soap box, and share some images of the day’s activities.
First, the plethora of service branches represented today:
The people keeping us safe today. The real heroes of the day were really the paramedics, who saved countless soldiers from the inevitable consequences of standing perfectly still for long periods of time. Those who haven’t tried it, ought to before judging. Without practice, it’s an incredibly difficult task.
Also, the snipers. Probably more there for the Prime Minister than for us as spectators.
Veteran service dogs were well represented in the crowd today too.
And a few shots of the tomb of the unknown soldier, surrounded by onlookers laying poppies. The wreaths were laid at the base of an enormous stone and cast sculpture depicting our troops charging in to battle.
On the lighter side, I caught my first glimpse and took a tour of our Parliament building today:
And had my first ever beaver tail. Yes, they’re delicious, and no, I’m not going to share.
Well, okay, maybe if you ask nicely. :)
Overall, it was an interesting day spent surrounded by a people united. I’ve not managed to get any closer to reconciling my feelings on the ceremony but I’ve added another experience in my quest to understand what this place is all about.
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Jordan is... Well, um, a lot of things. Most of them are even good.
currentlycontinually seeking a definition for myself that inspires, enlightens and enriches the lives of others. This is long-term work in progress.
Jobs I've held run from busboy to bartender, computer guy to directional driller, photographer and tour guide too.. Rarely do I ever identify myself by a job title though.
Over the past ten or fifteen years, I've traveled through some 40 countries and always relish the opportunity to do things that are out of the ordinary.
On this site, you'll find musings about photography, the oil and gas industry, travel, robotics, electronics, full time RV living, and social responsibility among other bits of my life.
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