During the last week of September, we were joined by Jac, who was celebrating his 21st birthday by making a 5’10 Fetch with us. He travelled to us from West Wales in his pop-top T25 with his girlfriend, Fliss, in which they’d be spending the week camping and dodging the wind and rain that peppered the week. Being autumn, none of the weather stuck around for too long though, and we enjoyed many spells of sunlight streaming through the workshop doors.
Jac had been looking forward to spending some time in the workshop ever since he found out about the gift from his parents back in May, so he was bouncing off the walls with excitement on Monday morning as we got started. We worked our way through the first few days of gluing and constructing with very few hiccups; that was until the final gluing stage late on the Wednesday evening. As we glue the deck skin down onto our surfboards, we ask the timber to bend in two directions – something it doesn’t ever want to do – and although they are only very shallow bends, occasionally we have cracks that propagate quickly along the grain of the wood as it is put under the clamping pressure. We heard this happen and soon saw the crack appearing, which is never a fun moment, but poor Jac’s heart sank and head dropped. Despite reassurance that we’d find a way to get round it, it didn’t make for an enjoyable emotion to end the day on; normally it’s high fives all-round after the final gluing phase at the end of a hard day’s work.
However, on Thursday morning, our first conversation revolved around how was best to resolve the issue and by routing and filleting some different wood into his board, we would actually be able to make a beautiful and unique feature of what had happened; a reminder that working with wood is never completely predictable.
Once we started the shaping, Jac really got into the swing of things and even managed to make up enough time that we could squeeze a surf in on our lunchbreak on Friday, which is always a lovely way to finish the week.
Often throughout workshop weeks, we hear of our workshoppers heading back to their families and spending their evenings recounting all of what happened during their days. Jac though, had to report back to more than just his girlfriend, so had long phone calls with his parents each evening too, who wanted to hear what had happened blow by blow. As well as these long and thoughtful conversations, he also took many notes throughout the week. He said about how nice it was to have a purpose about his writing and that it was a really fun process which helped in his learning from day to day and he spent over an hour writing in his journal more than once during the week.
How lovely to have awoken more than just his making skills; his writing ones too.