Full Chisel Blog

February 21, 2008


Filed under: The Trade,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 7:50 am


 Apprentices were sometimes indentured, meaning that the parents of the apprentice pay a craftsman to take and train their child in their particular trade. Many were merely written agreements to provide training in the particular craft or trade.  Some were orphans and many were volunteers to learn a valuable skill and trade. Apprentices served from 4 to 7 years following the European tradition.  Most apprenticeships are fulfilled in 4 years here in America.  Menial tasks are first assigned to the apprentice a boy of 9 to 12 years of age; until trust was established then real training began. 

The term apprentice struck fear into the hearts of every journeyman as these young upstarts were after all, after their jobs.  Early training was guarded  An apprentice was expected to work for 12 hours a day, given two meals a day and a place to sleep out of the weather, albeit it in the wood shed or loft in the shop.Aside from food, clothing and shelter, an education is provided, as the apprentice needs to know their ciphers, good grammar, penmanship, manners, etiquette and social skills.  It is important that one be versed in the classics, philosophy, gentility and of course spirituality. 

They were then trained in the mysteries, secrets, skills and tricks of the trade that made them proficient in their craft or trade. When the term of apprenticeship is completed and if the apprentice had not run away or expired, they are presented with a good set of tools, many of which were made by the apprentice.  These pieces called test pieces were made as the skills develop.  They were also given a good set of clothing (custom of country) and their walking papers. 

They were then free to make their journey. Now they had achieved their ‘journey’ status and were able to take their journey and many were free and encouraged to remain in their master’s shop.  After working for pay and saving money many started their own business and became masters of their own shops.  Or maybe with a tip of their hat they may be down the road to work in other shop to receive more training or establish their own shop in new climes.   Stephen

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