Whittling Whistles and Thingamajigs

When I was young, my parents had a friend named Gold. He wrote a book. This book is probably the basis for my attitude to woodworking. but more importantly the first paragraphs of the Intro to the book ( I reread it over Christmas at my parents house) is, if anything, more pertinent today than it was back in 1974 when the book was published.

From “Whittling Whistles and Thingamajigs” by Harlan G. Metcalf;


WILL HISTORY SAY OF THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES THAT they had the daring and technological know-how to reach and walk on the moon but failed to use their God-given intelligence to find ways to keep their own land and planet inhabitable by human beings? It is evident that the degradation of our environment has reached such proportions that the survival of our children and their children to come is at stake. Somehow people everywhere must be persuaded to take the steps necessary to make their continued existence on earth possible. But how can this be done?

Love is the key. People do not consciously destroy or pollute the things they love, but rather preserve, protect and nurture them. The more people learn to love the natural world around them, the better will be the chances of protecting all life on earth. One of the best ways of inculcating this love is to teach as many citizens as possible (especially youngsters) the art of making useful and /or beautiful objects from natural materials by hand or with hand made tools without depleting the supply of those materials.”

The book covers whistles and spears, attle-attles and whammy diddles, bows and arrow, making your own string or cordage from things you find growing around you. There are no power tools mentioned,most of the work could be done with one knife. But it’s attitude about nature and about making things has influenced what I do to this day.

find the book in your local library

be well

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