I am late again on this post, because I was again off of the internet, in this case in Oregon mixing with people who have hobbies that engage the hand as well as the mind. My non-rigorous study once again concluded that people that have hobbies that require manual skills as well as thinking are happier than those who do not, especially as they age, and understand quality in all of its dimensions.
In particular, Bill Boller (mentioned in a previous post) and I attended the Oregon Steam Up last weekend (link here), a festival of old machinery, as well as visited a couple of individuals who love to acquire, restore, and preserve old machinery. I will devote this post to a few photos, to give you a feeling to what some of them do. I had been to this event before, but this time was so inspired that I am finally going to focus on my Making Fixing, and Tinkering book. In fact, I will focus more on the interaction between hands, brains, and products in this blog for a while.
You have seen examples of model steam trains in the post referred to above, but the photo at the left shows a few beautiful models from the show . The photo on the right shows a project that is nearly completed by one of Bill's friends, George Lavacor, an ex Oregon highway patrolman, who lives in the area. It is a full sized locomotive, being restored essentially by George himself with the help of his friends. Granted that it has so far taken him 30 years, but he has other activities, such as a family and fire trucks. And it is a large (in many ways) project. The next photo shows a group of happy people eating lunch by their steam engine. The last photos show a few of the objects acquired and restored by Alan Schurman, who lives in Ridgefield, Washington, and is the proprietor of a large machine shop that makes saw mills, and of Tired Iron Ranch (referring to his home). A link to it is here.
If you don't have a hobby requiring using your hands, you are missing a bet— for instance throwing pots, wood or metal working, spiffing up old tools you like, restoring a cast off version of your first car, repairing a ragged tapestry, or otherwise making something old beautiful, do it now. If you get hooked on the process, you may become less grumpy as you age, as well as less frustrated right now.