Chisel in the Left Hand, Hammer in the Right

Updated: Feb 24, 2021


The Artisan has become such by eliminating unnecessary, superfluous movements and combining two or three basic movements into one that is swift and seamless, although complex. To one who is new or unfamiliar, these movements can appear magical.


The chisel is in its proper place and sufficiently sharp. The hammer is immediately available to grab, even subconsciously. There's no longer a need to concentrate on holding the chisel with the proper grip, placed correctly on the mark, at the proper angle. There's no thought of the hand on the hammer as the head swiftly connects to the chisel top with perfect, elegant force. All moves have become one, deeply internalized flow that allow the Artisan space to consider other things, like the next lesson for the apprentice.


Mastery begins with the most basic of tasks. The chisel in the left hand, the hammer in the right. What's the proper grip? What's the proper strike? What's sharp enough? What's the proper angle? A thousand times later and the answers become intuitive. The tools, cumbersome at first, start to dissolve away in their simultaneous simplicity and complexity and become extensions of the mind.