Bringing Order; Hanley’s Way


James Hanley

James Hanley is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.

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25 Responses

  1. Avatar Glyph says:

    Step 7 = please hammer don’t hurt ’em.Report

  2. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Wow! That is so cool!Report

  3. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Hanley’s Gavel. I like the sound of that. (Could you make a virtual version to keep all us blabberers in line when commenting on your posts?)

    As much as I like the woodworking aspect (awesome) and the over-the-top Professorial Coolness of this (impressive), I think it’s innerstin that the kids (the delegates? the Founders?) require leadership in order to establish a constitution. We all need a rule enforcer, I guess, no? And it doesn’t hurt to have a natural symbol of that authoritah.Report

  4. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Begging the question… why must order be brought?Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Kazzy says:

      Everybody talking at once is unproductive, and usually it means they’re getting goofy, and hald the simuktaneous yammering is just jokes and other nonsense (it’s really just like a blog thread). They’re not striving for fascistic orderliness, they just want a tool to get everyone’s attention when things get out of hand.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to James Hanley says:

        Heh, sorry, I should have been more obvious in my sarcasm.

        Along similar lines, I (generally) require my students to raise hands during meeting or lesson times to maintain order and structure to our discussions. I also insist that, during lunch, they raise their hand if they’d like more food (we serve from a central source); this is to avoid a chorus of “I WANT MORE!” These are the only times I require the hand raising. And during informal moments, they’ll just approach me and start talking. Like normal. But sometimes when I sit with them at lunch and we’re having informal dialogue around the table, they’ll start raising their hands to speak. “You don’t need to raise your hands to talk during lunch. We’re just chatting.” Yet they still do. I think they just like the little bit of structure it gives as they are not yet fully capable of structuring group conversation for an extended period.Report

  5. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    Ummm… Don’t you need another hunk of wood, one of those coaster-looking things — I have no idea what they’re called, to pound this thing against? Otherwise I’m seeing a desktop or two getting the snot beat out of it.

    Apart from that, cool bit of woodworking.Report

  6. Avatar Murali says:

    The hardest part for me would be getting step 4 right. It must take a real bit of skill (and practice) to narrow the end of the handle enough but not too much so that it would fit snugly inside the hole.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Murali says:

      That part worried me most, but it was really an issue of repeated fit testing. I used a small object to measure the depth of the hole then mark that depth on the handle, then used the utility knife to whittle away some woof, being careful not to take too much, then used the rasp to round it and remove more wood, frequently checking the fit. It went surprisingly well, considering I don’t have practice doing that, and my skills trend toward rough carpentry rather than finish work.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to James Hanley says:


        Ok, that makes sense. One further question, I’m still worried that the glue will come loose and the head will end up flying off and putting someone’s eye out. Wouldn’t it be more structurally sound to drill all the way through, secure the rod with two pegs and further secure the pegs by nailing it to the head?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:


        It would be both more structurally sound and less aesthetically pleasing.

        I anticipate–based on my experience with old furniture–that the loosening handle will become obvious long before the head is likely to fly off. And wood glue really does make quite a strong bond. I have in the past broken glued pieces of wood before I was able to separate them. Generally, lots of torquing and twisting will loosen a glued piece over time.

        I probably could, with my nail gun, put a nail or two through it, but that seems inelegant to me.Report

      • @murali
        Why bother with the nail(s)? If the mortise is deep enough to allow a hardwood peg all the way through the head of the gavel, all parts properly glued up, and I’d bet the gavel would outlast all of us, even given the low quality of the wood in the head and handle. For that matter, even the way James did it, I’d bet the wood fibers in the handle fail before the glue does.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to James Hanley says:

        @james-hanley @michael-cain

        Fair enoughReport

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:


        a hardwood peg all the way through the head of the gavel,

        Do you mean a peg that goes through the tang of the handle? I like that idea and could do that. I’d need a drill press to line it up right, though. Still, maybe that’s a project for later, or maybe for my next gavel (our political science honors club, a chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honors Society, has in the past expressed desire for a gavel, too).

        even given the low quality of the wood in the head and handle.

        I beg your pardon? The wood is silver maple. I wouldn’t build a cabin from it, but it’s perfectly suitable for this.Report

      • If an apology is in order on the wood quality, I offer it. Silver maple or no, I’ve never seen a chunk of deadfall that didn’t have problems.

        Tang, tenon… the part of the handle that fits into the hole drilled into the head. Yeah, you’d probably need a drill press to do a reasonable job, and it would be gross overkill for this. Depending on the fit, you probably wouldn’t need glue. People built houses and furniture with no metal fasteners, just pegs, that have lasted for centuries. I’ve always loved — but have not a prayer of ever acquiring the patience or skill to do — Japanese joinery where the pieces look like a 3D puzzle that you can’t figure out how they were fitted together.Report

  7. Avatar Damon says:

    Ah, what I could do with that gavel and a black robe. ‘Cause you know, it’s ALL about the gavel!

    That’s a nice gavel you got there!Report