breaking through


One day I had about four teachers working on finding me a source for hardwoods.  It’s really surprising to me how unresourceful they are!  They can’t understand why I want to go to a real brick and mortar building in person, because it seems that all of Korea orders everything via the internet.  Even the head teacher who does woodworking buys his wood sight un-seen through the internet.  None of them can fathom that I want to view the grain or eye the wood for it’s straightness or choose an individual piece for its color variation or…He did point me out how to get to the Korean woodworking “cafes” but google translation barely penetrates that and I can’t read any of the content, and obviously nobody is wanting to invest any more time on it.  :(

Hopefully my co-teacher will find some time, and I gave her the links.  She has seen photos of the art installation, so I could tell she took my request as not a trivial one!

I mentioned my hardwood needs to the Architecture teacher, and he took me down to  some rooms I didn’t know existed:  the school’s huge woodshop.  The school is remodeling, and there was lumber laying around all over the place and he told me I could take anything I wanted.  It was like walking on a bridge to nowhere which just expands and expands in front of your eyes and suddenly you can see fantasy land appear…He couldn’t really understand why I needed hardwood and why I didn’t want the pine.  Half of the wood was some native Korean wood – kind of dark – almost the color of a dark beech or a light walnut, and harder than pine, but I still didn’t trust that it wouldn’t bow if strung tight over an extended period of time. These pieces were to frame openings and doors and much too big, so when I indicated how small I needed them to be, he then showed me all of the machines and told me any time I wanted some wood cut, that we could stay after school and he would cut them for me.

ginko tree branches
monkey puzzle tree branches

Speaking of trees, the trees that appear so fluffy when seen from a distance are the Ginko’s.  They have these long branches that don’t split off into more branches, and the leaves are really tight to the branch, and the trees are fleshed out by a profusion of long skinny arms, vs. dividing into many sub branches,  kind of like the monkey puzzle tree.  Now one is a deciduous, and one is a coniferous, but it’s curious to my ignorant eye how both of these living fossils seem so similar to each other:  one spiny / one fluffy…

The machines were all huge industrial cast iron things and seemed scarier than I remembered.  These table saws and band saws, etc.  were big enough to make the Flintstone-like massive furniture you see all over Korea.  When I told him how small my project was, and that I needed hand tools, he took me to a tool closet and pulled out almost everything he thought I would need.  (but not even close) and they were all also too big for such fine work.  Like a hand saw that was two feet long…etc. I thanked him profusely, of course.  Too bad I didn’t have some pine furniture-making project.  (I’ve already acquired waaaay too many possessions as it is during the course of 1.5 years)

I went on the F-class teacher board and asked if anyone knew where to buy hardware and salvaged goods, and tomorrow I go to check out that area.  My gyopo friend also told me about the Nogwan Arcade, which is a music instrument market, so that also is on my list, so I can hopefully find tuners, fret wire, and guitar strings. Sounds like a BB Translation service kind of day…

I also found some great super-shallow pie tins and flat steam trays at DAISO for $2-$3 each, which will make awesome resonators, but am still searching for a box big enough.

Who knew getting a stick of wood would be so hard.  Anyway, who cares, it’s an interesting challenge.

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